FYI the really INTERESTING STUFF is at the bottom, BUT...you have to read the top first. Just to let everyone know that they should keep reading after I start to ramble on because it gets crazy.
Ok, so I had the chance to write a lengthy letter to you, Mom and Dad, which will go over a few things, don't worry anyone else reading this, it is nothing secretive, I just wanted to write my parents whom I love so much. Anywho, that will go off today or tomorrow; it is right in front of me now to help me write this email.
I want to first thank Delaney for the Dear Elder I got from her. Delaney, I am excited for the possibilities you have in front of you and in the stage of life you are in. You have so much potential, and from my experience I know that the best way to reach that full potential is by living the gospel. It will bring happiness, trust me, actually, trust God that it will. Read the Book of Mormon and try your best to understand it. I know it is tough! Even the prophets find new things when they read. Think over the principles taught very carefully, like why God loves you so much, and after pondering them, pray and ask in your prayer. See what happens.
Again, thank you to everyone that has sent me things or thought or prayed about me. Thank you. I have such little time in the mission field to get back to people it may take a week or 2 to get back to people, but I will! But no-one can use the excuse "he won't get back to me". I love getting letters (granted I have only gotten 1 thus far) and I read them over and over. So, thank you again.
Nate, I did get that Dear Elder email and have been bragging to my friends for a few weeks that my buddy is going to the Philippines. I hope I spelt that right. Ya, the word for faith is like 6 or 7 syllables long and the Book of Mormon is like 700 something pages. Good luck. As for Soundgarden, it can wait 2 years, though I do sing it occassionally. To be truthfully honest, I do not know what kind of music I will listen to when I return home. Probably nowhere near as much rock as I used to, if any. I don't know, but its fun to hear about Soundgarden anyway, so keep it coming. Those 2 months will be the longest 2 months of your life, so have fun. Say hi to Nick for me in the MTC! Oh, and one of the missionaries up here plays BANG and brought it! So we play it on P-Days. Tell Devon, he will laugh. Plus, great to hear about Jared and
So to Brendin and all other friends, I need you to contact me so I can say something sassy back.
Mom and Dad, I did have that Meredith DeFrancesco (pronounced Day-fran-chess-co, they are quite adamant about that and I still butchered it the first time) introduce herself to me. She is in my ward! The little Gateway ward I serve in...little, being quite pronounced there.
Hey, Mom and Dad, tell Elder Lawson that I think about him all the time and just need to find time to write him something. Make sure he knows that I look up to him so much and he is the type of missionary I want to be: always excited, energetic, happy to do the work of the Lord, and determined to serve Him. I love Elder Lawson! I miss that man. Give him my address if you could please, as I still have his.
Let me be the first to say, Happy (early) Anniversary Mom and Dad!!! That is so great that you may go camping or to Monte Cristo! Yes! I love you both.
And Dad, I still have the Monte Cristo pictures on my camera. I know I keep harping on this, but I loved that trip so much! I loved spending time with my Dad. Plus, its an interesting place to be, and with a hyperactive pre-missionary, it is a really interesting place to be.
Bro. Crandall in a senior golf tournament? Impossible, I wouldn't bill him over 30.
Tell Grandma Jeannette thank you so much for the email! I'm glad to hear from her, and as always, wish her the best.
Now, here is where it starts to get a little more interesting...
My past week...I describe this in much more detail in my letter that I will be sending, but here is basically what is in it:
I cannot get enough reading in. There just is not enough time in the day! I love learning now. Too bad I didn't love it so much 6 months ago, but I cannot get enough of it now. I am reading a bunch of stuff. I love Jesus the Christ. It is really deep and thorough, but I love that about it! Preach My Gospel is so great for studying. Then there are these 2 other books that are VERY thorough. They work so well together, and when you really search and ponder what they teach, are soooo eye opening. I think...I think they are called the...Book of Mormon and the Bible (?). You may have to check me on that, not sure. For example, I was having difficulty in accepting the fact that some of the scriptures said the Godhead was one. Even Mormon 7:7 says it. I wanted to find evidence they are separate and distinct beings from old revelations (not the PoGP and D&C). I was troubled for a while about this, then I looked at Acts 7:55-56 again, and another scripture that says that Jesus and God are one flesh, then I read Genesis 2:24 and had an Aha moment.
Next. Finish the following statement: nighty night, don't let the ____ ____ ____. Ya, I hate that saying now. If you have not guessed bed bugs, you need to consult your mother. I hate bed bugs. And I don't use that term lightly. If you have not guessed that I may have "found" some bed bugs, I don't know what to tell you other than I have found bed bugs in Canada; specifically my mattress and hundreds of these little red itchy things all over my body.
Yep, the past 3 days have been a battle over bed bugs. I was cleaning my apartment all yesterday and am taking a break to email now. Friday or so I noticed little red dots, almost like flea bites underneath my bicep (when I flexed of course). And I have a few on my upper arm. Saturday I woke up and saw that these bites were over my pects, and down my arms. I was starting to think these were not just mosquitoes. After waking up on Sunday to find hundreds of bites over my body I kind of guessed something was up. Naturally I was freaking out, but in the mission field I cannot say freaking, gosh, dang, darn, sweet, cool, anything slang, so for the record I did not just say all those words. (Yes, that is most of my vocabulary right there, so that is difficult) But I had never seen a "bed bug" before. I mean, that sort of thing only happens to kids in Africa right? WRONG. It is really bad up here in Winnipeg. So I talked to a higher-up about it, and he mentioned I look in my mattress and box spring. Well, I looked, and there they were. Gross. These little black things with their poop desecrating my box spring. They had wedged themselves in the corners so they were difficult to find unless you deliberately looked for them. So I found quite a few on the side my head is when I sleep. Gross, again. Long story short, we've been washing EVERYTHING the past few days and vacuuming EVERYTHING. Gross. I count 35 bites on my left hand as I write this and 30 on my right. I don't want to burden myself by counting my arms and neck--and face. It sufficeth to say that I have many bites on my upper body, thank goodness they weren't rude enough to go much lower. (Count Your Many Blessings, name them one by one...)
I mean, isn't your bed supposed to be a "safe" place. I thought so. But now I know that all that cleaning we do in our houses is SO worth it. I hope I am inspiring people everywhere to clean things and gross them out enough to clean everything. Do it.
The best part, is that I am handling it fairly well. Thanks to my companion, Elder Woods, I am still smiling and just trucking along. I mean, it could be worse. But seriously, it has humbled me, and is forcing me to be more patient. I am still striving to be as obedient as possible, in an attempt to bind the Lord (D&C 82:10). I mention the scripture so people don't think I am literally binding the Lord, but knowing that as I follow Him, I will be blessed, and will be essentially forced to bless me. Yes, semi-selfish, but I am slowly developing that love for others, and am beginning to serve out of that love.
It is crazy to think how much I have already grown in my 1 month (ya, 1 one month already) out. I am different. How do people grow-up without missions? I will be a man when I come back, I'm excited, ha.
Missionary work is tough, nothing like the glamor I thought it was prior to me coming out. It is hard work! For me, the physical hardship is things like the mosquitoes that torment me (and bed bugs), not so much the walking while tracting. I find missionary service much more mental. Satan does everything he possibly can to thwart the good cause. He has tried making me miss things, which I do. I do miss mountains (or hills for that matter), miss BYU, miss family and miss friends. Truth be told, I really do miss all those things and at times want to hug my mom more than anything, or see Snoqualmie Pass's green landscape, or BYU friends. But as hard as those things are, I know that missionary service is where I am and what I need to be doing. I am setting the foundation of my life. Michael, I cut out a quote from your email to me in the MTC, that mentions that. I would love to know more on that if possible.
But the things I am doing now, I know I will continue after my mission. I won't be able to live without studying something gospel related everyday. Natalie, I am studying much more than my 30 minutes per day. Much more. And these are not just on cars, rather, only the gospel. Everything ties together somehow, it works. I have pondered things and if I have questions, I seek them out and find the answer in the scriptures. Every time.
So, to wrap up, I found a way to include all of this in one email. I would love letters from everyone, but especially my brother and sister. Sometimes I just need that extra support, that one extra prayer to keep me going. No-one said this was easy and by-golly it is not. I had a man, whom I had tracted into, sit me and Elder Woods down and discuss some really weird, but good, questions. He seemed ok at first but it later was apparent he was bashing on the church. I had several topics "fall-into-place", through the Spirit, as he talked. Then I stood up, bore my testimony to him, gave him a pass-along card and told him if he had any questions to visit that website. I was pumped, and so happy I stood for Christ.
Mom, I have only had Mac M Cheese 3 times in the past 2 weeks, be proud. Dad, I have had some rice and beans. Sorry this is so long. I am quite scatter-brained as I write emails. Love you both. Love you all.