|On the way to Chichester.|
I'm glad to hear that so much good is going on back home. Halloween was kind of whatever here. It's geting bigger, but apparently they've only really been celebrating it the American way for the past six years. This year was the first that any substantial Trick-or-Treating was being done. We were just told that we should just go in when work was no longer effective. We had a dinner appointment that night, and part way through it, they started getting people knocking at the door. So, we just stayed there for the rest of the night.
That's so cool hearing about Jesse Waite Owens. I would love the article, if you could send it. (We think Braiden's great great grandfather served a mission to England in the early 1900's...we are trying to find out what area he may have been. Also, we found some information about other family members that were converted in England in the 1860's and then traveled to join the saints in Utah.)
I mentioned last week something that Uncle Ben said to me in a letter, and I've been thinking a lot about it this week, as well. He was talking about how when he was on his mission, he made sure to be Positive, Obedient and Working hard (or as he puts it, POW). It's amazing just how true that is. These past few weeks, I've just had this huge desire to just work as hard as I can. We all know I was pretty lazy back home, and that's one of the reasons that I've been so focused on that. I've seen now that I can accomplish so much more when I'm actually giving it my all, than when I would put forth the minimum effort required to get something done.
With the obedience, that's something that Elder Schorzman really impressed upon me. I've just seen that when I decide I'm going to be exactly obedient, I am able to do so much more, as well. If you've ever seen a copy of the white missionary handbook, you know that despite it's small size, there are quite a few rules. So often, it's easy to rationalize, and say "Oh, well I'm not listening to inappropriate music, I'm just singing it." or "Well, this song has a good message, so it's not a problem if I'm playing it through my head all day." etc. (Mine are all music related, pretty much). However, it's such a blessing to see what stronger impact the spirit has on your life when you do follow every rule. As they say, "Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles."
But what I've noticed, is that the glue that holds it all together is a positive attitude. You can go out and try to work hard, and do your very best to be exactly obedient. But it can weigh on you if you let it. Missionary work can be hard work. It can be long days sometimes, because sometimes, as Brady Hanson warned me, every appointment will cancel. And you'll be walking from door to door in the pouring rain, and no one will want to listen. But what's amazing is that you can either love it, or hate it. It's your decision. You can say, "That's one more slammed door closer to someone who'll listen." You can, and should, have fun doing the work, and that's not inappropriate at all. Brad Wilcox points out that there is really a difference between light-heartedness, and light-mindedness--the former being such a saving grace, and the latter taking your attention from where it ought to be. I think about how often it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, "Be of good cheer, for I am with you." We're here on earth to be happy, and if we're not, then we always can be.
Anyway, that's my spiel for the week. We're still working on strengthening the ward. We see so many miracles every day--I wish I could enumerate them just to show you how amazing it is.
I love you so much, Mom. Thank you so much for all that you've taught me. If I do anything good out here, it's truly only because you and Dad have raised me to be who I am now, and because you've helped me to turn to Heavenly Father.
Love you all,