Two years ago, in the MTC
Happy birthday Mom!
Did you like the singing? I even love you so much that I have decided to make an appearance in person this week for you. Your other present is en route to Raymond, AB as we speak. You will like it.
I don't know about you Dad, but I am sorry to hear about Mom's schedule this upcoming week. Working Monday-Wednesday and Friday morning will keep her mind at bay (to a point), but having Thursday as her day off is going to kill her. I hate to come across as vain, but what is she going to think about all day? Seeing a son come home from his mission, enjoying a long car drive up to her hometown with 2 of her kids, only to see another of her children and grandkids...poor girl...hang in there Mom. I am sure that Dad's mind will also be hectic, but no where near Mom's.
Let me tell you about my remaining time. There is no way to sidestep going home now, so I won't even try. I am going to Auntie Susan's to supper tonight. She will get to meet yet another missionary I will be with. I think the Warnes have not seen me with the same missionary twice...I am excited to see family before I leave. It has been a little taste of home out here. Also tonight we welcome Elder McDanel into the Office as the new Assistant. He was trained in Dryden while I was in Kenora and I love that boy. He is from Preston, ID and only a couple miles away from Elder Bodily. That's good country, let me tell you. Tuesday will be spent at District Meeting at 10:30-noon and pictures afterwards. Then I return to my "exit interview" at 2:00pm. I will be able to spend some time out in my area that afternoon, then a supper appointment with members, and more time to work. Wednesday: District Meeting, then I will have to leave early and go to the airport to pick up the new missionaries. The new missionaries (all 10) will have their interviews that afternoon and evening. My assignment is to supervise them and get them through all the necessary orientation---all day. It will be fun doing my best to inspire them. Thursday (Mom's long day): Breakfast at the Mission Home at 8, then I will take a missionary out on exchanges for an hour or 2 and then set up Transfer Meeting at Dalhousie chapel and have Transfer Meeting at 2-3. Then I hand in some of my CWM things that afternoon and get a little training I guess you could say. Then I have supper at 5 and head off to my Farewell Fireside at 7pm, where I am hoping to see a lot of people from Kenora, and various other people too, including Auntie Susan and Brent and their family. They said they will try to make it out. After that, lots of pictures, packing and then sleep (?). Friday...5am wake up to have breakfast and get to the airport for my plane--which, by the way Dad, I will not miss---, take-off at 8:45, then a layover in Minneapolis and then arrival in Boise at 1:30ish. That's what I know, and I only know it because I asked about 10 minutes ago. I love being a missionary and I will until the moment I get on/off that plane. Then it is time to move on, as Bro. Callens so eloquently put it, "enjoy the place of life you are in now". Then to paraphrase the rest, Do not dwell on the past or future. Live for the now. That does not mean to not think about past experiences or future experiences but I think you know what I mean.
Mom, I have to ask...have you been counting down the days for my entire mission? Lately I have heard of a lot of moms doing that....anyway, I love you. See you Friday.
Dad, are you going to surprise me and shave your mustache? Now that would be a shocker. No better time...
For anyone contemplating on whether to serve a mission or not I give this advice: not only has the Lord commanded it, but you will grow in more ways than you could ever imaginable--if you apply yourself. I now have the tools to be a better instrument in the Lord's kingdom, to be a better person, a better friend, a better future husband and father, a better disciple of Christ and my testimony of the gospel has been fortified through experience. I declare there is no other way to lasting happiness than through Christ. He will make you free. Serve a mission, do not even think of not.
A few things from a fireside last night on agency and then I have to close. "It is not a big deal to know the gospel is true when compared to choosing to be a part of the Lord's training program (this life)." Faith without works is dead. The gospel is a gospel of change and action. The gospel works, it is real, it is true. Because it is real and true, Jesus is the Christ, God lives and it is our duty to share such a glorious message, whether a full-time missionary or not. I am eager to fulfill whatever calling I will be given when I return. Sure I will have the RM fire, but shouldn't we all? Is it not a blessing to serve the Most High? Are His commandments not for our benefit? I testify it is a privilege to serve others and that commandments are for our benefit. My exhortation to all is to stand for truth whether in the comforts of church or home, or in the face of opposition. God will bless us, and He will build us. Let us all choose to "be anxiously engaged in a good cause", is my prayer.
One last time...what is the best part of the gospel? It is all true. I love you all.