Sure seems like there is opposition in all things eh? I hope you are all doing well. There is a lot going on back home. I pray for you daily. I had an interesting experience with opposition this past week. I went on exchange in a small city near Winnipeg with missionaries and while on a doorstep a man and after asking if there was anything I could do to help him he pulled a baseball bat on me. He threatened me and yelled expletives, and I just reminded him that I asked if I could help him and he stormed back into the house. I had never had anything like that happen before. I knew I would be safe because I was doing what I was supposed to and being obedient. Talk about opposition. Ha, and an hour or 2 before then I was an eye-witness to a police chase on foot. It was an interesting experience in that town. Despite the opposition, I feel like I am closer to God than I have been before. I feel like I am confidently recognizing the promptings of the Holy Ghost and I wait for those promptings. I cannot claim to recognize every one, but I am trying to rely on the Spirit more and trying to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ even more in my life. It is apparent to me that living the gospel brings freedom and happiness. Anyone who denies that either needs to try living the gospel or has not yet recognized the blessings from living it. That is where a good part of my testimony came from: the realizing that those around me that were not living the gospel had a bunch of things that they were dealing with. Now I am generalizing a bit and we all know that everyone has their share of "life", but pause and take a moment and evaluate how much the gospel has blessed your life and where you would be without it....wow. I would not be in Winnipeg. I cannot begin to describe how much happier I am because of the teachings of Jesus Christ and his gospel. I thank my parents for my upbringing. I know that God lives because of simple assurances of peace, comfort and clarity. These feelings are not simple coincidences, but I know them as divine--for any who read this and are seeking to know truths, it begins with SINCERE study, and the 3 things Moroni mentions in Moroni 10:3-5: sincerity, real intent (really intending to act on the answer you receive) and faith in Christ. I can see where I may have been if not a member of God's restored Church, and am full of thanks to not be there.
I better answer some questions and refer to the last email. Way to go on your citizenship! I am so excited for you. Sounds like you "aced" your test--I would expect nothing less. Happy birthday to Tayson! I'm excited to spend time with my nieces and nephews (when the time comes), I just hope they are as excited as I am. I will spend May 7th in Winnipeg, hopefully on a golf course for my p-day...we'll see. Those travel arrangements look fine. I don't like talking about this either, but I suppose I must, right? Would I get released when I arrived in Boise? (Again, not looking forward to it, just logistics...) What is reporting to the High Council entail? Let me know some of those dates when they are solidified because I may have a few people from the mission make it to the Boise talk---(Elder) Jimmy Butterfield, and a few others possibly. Do you remember Elder Butterfield? He made a huge impact on me early on. I was a ball of energy that needed to be channeled in the right direction and he helped. Do you remember any or all of my companions? As for your question last week regarding why there are so few missionaries in the mission right now compared to before, is that we didn't need that many missionaries. Remember how I was 1 of 3 companionships in the same ward? Now there are only 1 set per most wards (my current ward is an exception with the Assistants and a "normal" companionship here). There are a few outlying areas, but most missionaries are in the cities of our mission now. In August there will be 56 missionaries again, now there are 48. 56 is the most we will have, and will serve us really well.
I appreciate you including those segments from Elder McDowell's email. I gleaned a few good ideas. He mentioned boldness. I can still occasionally be shy while out proselyting, but I have become pretty bold in proclaiming our purpose--to invite all to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Faith is the power, Obedience is the price, Love is the Motive, the Spirit is the Key, Christ is the Reason. Everything revolves around the gospel of Jesus Christ. Callens was right when he once said "if you boil everything down, it all comes down to the Atonement of Jesus Christ". It all does, so I am trying to involve the gospel and the Atonement in my life more.
A few odds and ends...I met with your cousin Pres. Randy Oler and ate at his place yesterday. Oh, good food, let me tell you. He had a few heirlooms: my 3rd-great grandpa's handcrafted nursing chair (Richard Hall? he thinks) and a rose tapestry piece that won honorable-mention in the 1900 Chicago World Fair, made by Auntie Let Hall. He thought you would love to hear those things. The Blue Bombers offensive coordinator is in my ward...Pres. Paulson must love that. Also, apparently the Area Seventy who serves my mission, Elder Terrance C. Smith, knows Mike. Elder Smith lives in Raymond and is a physician...I guess that makes sense. Dad, as for cars, I have been in Chevy's for all my mission, I have to look for the good in life, yet still know that there is better out there, for sure. No, the feelings for Toyota are still the same--no changes there--I am still me, after all, haha.
That is about it for now. I sure love you all and will send up a few more prayers this week in all of your behalf's, or as Canadian's would say, "in all of yous behalf's". Ugh, everyone says "yous" up here. Hey yous guys, sort of thing.
I love you all,