Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to Ben

Dear family,

All is well. I am glad that Dad had a good birthday. Although birthdays just aren´t as fun when you get older. And they are even less fun in the mission. It´s ok though. Some religions don´t even celebrate birthdays! 

THANK YOU for the package!!! We are having a zone dinner tomorrow for Thanksgiving. But I am not bringing my special thanksgiving food. There will be too many people. Plus it´s not even Thanksgiving. So Weenig and I might invite the other elders over on Thursday and we have everything bought to do the real thanksgiving feast there. I am going to make turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole...the works. I am excited!! It cost a pretty penny but it´s definitely worth it. The ensign was my favorite part :) 

Things are going well. We had a really good week. I was very happy. We set four baptismal dates. We found some pretty awesome investigators. A 20 year old boy called Henry, who is really prepared. He´s from Ecuador. We have this Bulgarian investigator called Rosa that is going to be baptized on the 20th of December. She´s progressing very well. Jaime and Diana are doing well. Slowly progressing. It´s hard to meet with them but they are SO nice and I know that they need to hear this message right now. 

So there is a Sister in my ward that is going to leave for Brazil on December 2nd. She is in Brigham´s same group, but she is Brazilian and doesn´t need to learn the language, so she enters a little less than two weeks before the field entry date. So she is totally going to see BRIGHAM!!! Her name is Sister Barbosa and she is super awesome. She speaks english so she´ll be able to talk to Brigham. I was super excited to hear that. 

So I don´t have a whole lot to say. I really have missed my family this week. It doesn´t ever go away. I cannot wait to see Spencer again. And I feel like I won´t see Brigham for years. Which is totally true :( It makes me sad. Sigh. I didn´t anticipate this whole ¨let´s all serve missions at the same time¨ thing being so stinking difficult on me. But it really is. I can only imagine how it is for my parents. 

Church is always a joy. Yesterday we had to sit in primary the whole time because Elder Weenig is apparently the only mormon pianist in all of Alicante. Haha. It´s ridiculous. Even the other ward calls us and tries to get us to go to their choir practices every week. I am not the biggest fan of being the pianist´s companion because we waste lots of time. But at least we are serving the members. Well. My companion is :) I sing in their choirs though so I think that counts for something. Anyway. The primary in Spain is just special. It´s basically nursery with larger children. Those poor poor primary teachers. I have so much respect for them. 

I was thinking about my testimony during church. I feel like before the mission I had never ever really sat down and contemplated my own testimony. It´s certainly changed a lot in the last 20 months. The little sapling has grown into a pretty sturdy, young little tree. I have ways to go. But I do enjoy having testimonies of so many different aspects of the gospel. All of the principles. The commandments. I have the biggest testimony of obedience. I truly understand the commandments and the reasons for which we have them. I love living them and I am so grateful for the clarity that I feel. The mission has been the biggest blessing in that regard. The life of someone who lives the gospel is SOOOOOO different than the lives of those who don´t. I am ridiculously blessed. I really have learned how to rely upon the atonement of the Savior and apply it into my life. And I really do know that this church is His. I feel it everytime I think about it. It has become so clear in the mission field. 

Sometimes I ask myself why I was born into such incredible circumstances. The best time of the world, into the best family ever, into the greatest country ever, with the gospel....I really just don´t understand it. Herriman is such a special place. It´s different than the rest of Utah. I honestly couldn´t have asked for a better situation in life. My life is perfect and it scares me. I have everything that I could ever want. Weenig and I talk about it a lot. He said something that impacted me a bit. Where much is given, much is required. My blessing says that exact same thing. And it´s true. We are expected to live much different lives than the rest of the world. I really do want to give back all that I can. He has given me so much. I don´t have time to write about all of the things that I am grateful for, but if you really want to know I´ll let you read my journal come March. God has given me EVERYTHING. 

I was reading the ensign that you sent me. Thanks by the way. I love it. I especially love Elder Eyring´s talk about receiving revelation. I feel like I relate to him very well on certain things. One of them being our relationship with our mother. In his talk he recalls coming home at night and quietly walking past his parent´s bedroom, and then hearing his mother call ¨Hal, come in for a moment¨ Hahaha. Oh I know how that feels. He then walked in and sat on their bed for two hours or so, and then perhaps his father sent them out to the family room because he was tired and needed to sleep for work the next day. So he and his mother went out into the family room and talked for another two hours. It probably ended with a very very long hug, maybe some tears. Elder Eyring mentions that his mother sought revelation to help her son who may or may not have been struggling. And, just from reading his talk, one infers that her inspired counsel made a lasting impact upon his life. So profound that those counsels have stayed with him until this day. Even though his mother passed away over 40 years ago. 

I love reading that. I have been blessed with a similar mother who seeks revelation to help her struggling sons. And an equally incredible father. The counsel that was given to me has also stayed with me throughout my short life, and it will be something that I remember forever. I am eternally grateful for that. For the effort that you two put forth to help me SEE clearly. That was always a common theme. The things that are truly important in this life, and the things that are not. Seeing clearly and taking off the teenage blinders that cause us to put so much emphasis on things that really don´t matter. The importance of striving to develop a testimony at a young age. I wish I had listened more. I think the message that most sunk through was ¨don´t have a girlfriend before your mission¨. hahaha. But now the Spirit bring things back to me and I say to myself I wish I had listened to them. I wish I had tried harder to understand the gospel and listen to the spirit. I wish I hadn´t wasted so much time on things that weren´t really that important. How I RELISH those memories. Those long, late nights. Those nights have made a profound impact on my life. I am so grateful for two parents that have invested so much in me. I really hope to make that investment worth it. 

I have been thinking about my mission. I can´t believe I have this much time here. Hermana Herrera asks me all the time ¨What would you say if you had to sum up your mission in a few words?¨ or ¨What have you enjoyed most about your mission¨? I hate those questions. I hate having to look back over my mission and see that it´s coming to an end. I randomly broke down crying in the streets the other night. We were walking and I was thinking about how much of a miracle the mission even is. It shouldn´t work. Young adults should not be willing to give up 2 years of their life to go and talk to people about their religion. It´s so weird. And they certainly should not be able to convince people to change their entire life and join a church and then do the same thing. It really doesn´t make sense how the missionary program even functions properly. But it does. And it´s successful. I am so thankful for this time that I have been given. I am especially grateful for the 3 and a half months that I have left. It´s going to be a wonderful time and we are going to make the most of it. I have had the greatest experience out here. I would reccommend this to everyone. And I do. It has changed me completely. I have gained so much more than I have given. 

Anyway. I love you all. 

Happy birthday to ben 

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