This week besides yesterday has been quite uneventful but very much ENJOYABLE, YES I DO enjoy my time as a missionary Dad, and I am also grateful for the questions that you posed for me to answer and as well imagine all the other specific principles you taught me when growing up. Like mom said though, sometimes you have to almost relearn what you have already learned and in doing so strengthen what you already have. I just have to realize again that I am supposed to be having fun here. I DO appreciate all of the many unique opportunities I had growing up to learn how to work and think outside the box. In my last email as you can imagine I was only saying that I had gotten into a rut of thinking what I knew missionary work to be which it really isn't. Either way, Thank you for the gentle reminder of what I have had a chance to do and what I can do in the future do to the many lessons I have learned.
Summer Vacation could be the perfect way to describe the time here on the Isle of Man. :) By the way, I get the pun of Faucets ALL the time!! Or Force it because people think we are trying to force them to be happy. :) You HAVE gone to work in the back yard making it look all pretty and everything. Now that it is done what are you going to do next? :) My only questions are, where are you going to throw the football now and when are you going to cut that tree down? I loved the analogy and lesson learned from the Salt Lake Temple statue thought up by both Mom and Dad. I shall be using that in the future to help people understand what marriage is supposed to be like and how it can always be made perfect again through Christ and his gift. Haha, what did the family say when their child broke the statue. I am sure they were mortified. Everyone who sees a picture of the Salt Lake Temple exclaims how beautiful it is!!
And now you are getting ready to head over to the West. How long are you going to be there for? Where exactly are you going to sleep? On Air mattresses or something? I am sure Carisa & Scott will enjoy the company and as well the help with keeping the yard looking nice. I cringe to think what is happening to it with no supervision this summer. Sometimes the weeds can get out of hand when you leave them alone for too long. I hope you all have fun pulling weeds, trimming trees, etc. Because I would be if I was in your place. I absolutely love doing service of labor (or Labour here) as a missionary. :) This upcoming week we should be mowing someones lawn, pulling their weeds, and other things. As well for someone else we will continue to stain their deck. Have I ever told you how much i love painting?!
Now onto the week that was had. My driving has improved drastically and I have appreciated the fact that as missionaries we are on the Lord errand and we are entitled to the Lords help even in driving. I am sure that if we were not we would have been in a couple of accidents by now. (I don't fully understand the laws of the road here in the UK. :)) We have had a couple of close calls, but everything is ok. I also appreciate the fact that I now fully know how to drive a manual. Something I did not think I would learn as a missionary!! Elder Tellem has been a great back seat driver telling me what to do and everything to the point of annoyance. Unfortunately, it is because most of the time I needed it. Now though we don't have too many problems. So that means I can now drive the mini right Dad? :)
Over the course of my mission so far I have been able to work on one very important weakness of mine, Patience. Everyone who knew or knows me (especially my family) knows that I am not the most patient person ever and that I really need to work on it. I have heard many times that the mission is something that brings many different blessings in your life and I have found that to be very true, including helping me develop the attribute of patience. (Still working on it by the way, but it is getting much better) Just recently I was reading in the Book of Mormon about Ammon and his brothers who went through many sore afflictions and trials on their missions and because they were humble and bore them with patience they were able to see the blessings that came from enduring. Also recently we went and taught a recent convert out of PMG about charity and patience. It turned out the the recent convert taught us more than we taught her. We had not seen her in a week and when we arrived at her house she went on to explain all of the trials and challenges that she had been going through and how hard it had been for her. Then the very day she felt as if it was too much she received a letter from our mission president.
She explained how in that personalized letter it answered all of the questions she had been wondering at the time, specifically about members of the ward and their imperfections. She said something on the lines of "all members will have different personalities, skills, etc. but they are all imperfect. If at any time someone offends us we can turn to Jesus Christ as the Center anchor of the church who can make up for those imperfections." She said that line of the letter really stood out to her and helped her realize how to react to other people and their imperfections. The Gospel is perfect, the members trying to live it aren't. I was very grateful for the letter out Mission President sent this Recent Convert in her time of need even if he didn't know it. This is just another example of the power of revelation and the keys that our mission president holds, and I want you to know how much I truly respect that. It is a comforting feeling to know that our leaders are truly guided by the Lord in the work that we are doing. As you say, there is no such thing as coincidence when God is involved, and God is always involved. So for my siblings, your parents are your leaders and they receive guidance for you. You would do well to listen to them. That also includes me, so now I am going to review my past 10 years and see what my parents taught me about living out of the box and then applying it to my work here. :)
Yesterday we had the blessed privilege to be a part of Kris's Baptism. A member earlier in the day said to me that no matter how many times you witness a baptism or even if you are a part of it, it feels completely new and is always a powerful experience. As a missionary with a purpose of Baptizing and bringing others into the fold of Christ that statement is so true. Each baptism means something real special for that person and it does for you as well. Kris was the most prepared person I have taught on my mission thus far and it was amazing to see the change in him from day one to baptism. Many members commented on how much he had changed in both appearance, personality, confidence, and demeanor. He has been taught something new and true and has latched onto it like a bloodhound on a fox. It amazes me every time he bears his testimony and shares how much he loves the savior. Even more touching and humbling is when he explains how grateful he is for us as missionaries to teach him this gospel. I can't explain in words as you probably know, how it feels to be a part of something so good and so right. I look forward to the experiences ahead that will continue to strengthen my testimony of this great work.
Another part of Kris's teaching process that I wanted to mention was how fantastic the ward was in fellowshiping and making him feel truly welcome. Not only at his baptism last night but through the whole process of Lessons, Church, and activities. Kris was proactive in meeting members and getting to know them, and in return the ward adopted him and showed the love they had for him even if he was a little different at first. The Douglas Ward is very good when it comes to working with Investigators and Recent Converts and I am grateful for that. I know that they will do all in their power to keep Kris strong in the gospel. I enjoy working as a missionary more when I know that the ward is so excited about missionary work and bringing friends to church, letting us know, and then expecting us to teach them. Or whenever they see us they will ask us how the work is going and then they truly expect an honest answer and then ask us how they can help or express their gratitude for the work that they do. I have found that the Work is far better when the ward has the same vision as you do.
As I have said before, Kris has been a bit different than the other investigators I have taught and I am extremely happy for the relationship that we have now and that we will continue in the future. Now we need to get him confirmed on Sunday and then in a year we need to get him on a mission. Haha, that would be amazing. He says that he is thinking about it. I am excited for the time we will have to take him out as a fellowshipper to teach others. He has such a solid testimony of the Church and how it can help all people. Elder Sturt was able to make it just in time to baptize him which was a spiritual experience in itself. So now he is no longer a missionary and I have met his parents (quite strange...). Later today they are taking us out to lunch, it will be great!!
Well, that is all for me this week!!
Love and Thank you!!!