Sunday, June 1, 2008

April 14th email

I'm glad to hear my things are safe...I hope they continue to be safe and waiting for me for the next sixteen months or so :) We all figured Elder T. (I won't finish it because it's too hard and long haha, his name that is)...but we figued he'd have to be switched. I'm glad he's not just going home though. I kind of wish I could communicate with everyone else from my district in all their different areas better and see what it is they are doing to adjust, to continue learning the language and to teach. I keep asking all the other Americans and Tongans who had to learn the language also but the just say "oh, it comes" haha...I'm sure it doesn't JUST come. It's hard to actually see the progress because I guess it does just gradually come and I really just need to have patience with myself. I get caught up in trying to balance patience and making sure I'm still working hard enough that I will learn. I'm so anxious to learn, though, because I want to communicate better with everyone SO much.

We did a lot of travel this week...especially for conference. Pres and Sis Mortimer showed up at our district meeting which was a blessng because they informed us that we SHOULD go to both sessions of conference. Due to travel issues and waiting for the jeeps when the bus decided to just pass us and not stop made us late and we missed the actual sustaining which I'm kind of sad about but we heard all the talks that morning. That afternoon, however, they couldn't get the satellite to work so we did a lot of sitting around, I played the piano and finally they got it working so we heard the last two. Sunday we got to see everything and it really was a fantastic conference as President Monson stated himself. I heard it all in a new light with some of our investigators present and just considering missionary work in general. I wondered how they felt about some of the topics brought up and if it touched them in the same ways it did me. That morning I continued my reading in Edler Ballard's "Our Search for Happiness" I really enjoy it and felt the message we have to take to people sinking deeper into me as I read it.

I sent a letter last Tuesday...wrote it Monday and they said it would take two weeks to get there. It's kind of expensive for me to send letters so my MTC habit of sending eight or nine a week to family members and friends may need to not continue. I still haven't receieved any week is ZC so if anything has arrived from anyone yet I'll get it then. So, I think I talked about one of our investigators in that letter, so this news will precede it. HIs name is JP and he's twenty now I think...maybe nineteen still. One of the RM's in our branch referred him and he has concerns. Our lessons to him are the only ones where I have taken a really active part in teaching larger sections of the lessons from the beginning so I guess I feel really attatched. It helps because he tries to help me understand what he's saying and helps me to help him understand what i'm saying. It's a little harder with some of the younger people we teach or families because they can't help me quite the same.'ll have to wait to hear about what I wrote in the letter, but basically after we returned he had done what we asked and read, prayed etc. and he came to church and said he would come to conference the next week. When we taught the second half of the plan of salvation I felt really involved. He asks a lot of questions
and seeks for better understanding and I understood well enough to add testimony and understanding of certain things like the spirit world and what happens there. His response to this new information was once again that he believed us and he said he was "glad" he was glad to know about the three kingdoms about the way judgment happens that there isn't just heaven and hell and really even if he didn't fully know it he was glad to know about God's mercy because that's what his plan and an understanding of his plan teaches us...that he has mercy and follows order in all things for our good and to obey the laws of the universe. Knowledge of these Godlike attributes are what help me know that he is God. It's what the Book of Mormon teaches that he must be or he would cease to be God. The best part for me was that as we taught my testimony was renewed, it became real to me again instead of just something I've always said or heard or known but it was new again and real and important and an active part of my life and why it is I'm doing the things I am and why it is I'm serving a mission. I've also felt rather comforted by the fact that I can say this is hard. What i'm doing is really hard and really you're a liar if you don't say that a mission is just plain hard. people usually focus on that, especially after? No, because we are all willing to do hard things because they are important things, saving things, Godlike things and that's a message many of the apostles and leaders shared in conference. I noticed that they will flat out say things are hard...but almost in a cheerful sense. We cheerfully do these hard things, as best we can, and rely on the support of the atonement in our lives to sustain us when we can't walk anymore and when we're not strong because we know it's true and like in Romans 8: to be the heirs of the kingdome of God, heirs with Christ we must suffer with him.

My heart is always aching...I've noticed this about myself before. Stories people tell about instances where something was taken from then that they loved or just wanted or really were excited about or found joy in hit me hard and stay with me and I feel deeply for them. Dad's story about not getting to go to disneyland because someone stole their money and about having his brother destroy some of his prized posessions of few and mom not getting to go to her dance tours because she had no money make me want to cry all the time. Well, this one brother was watching me watch the tab choir that was playing between sessions and he asked me if I had been there. I have in fact been to many of their live concerts and I own a lot o their music, although I recall thinking that I wanted to buy some more. I told him I had, and he asked if I owned some music and I non-chalantely said I had some maybe...some amidst my thousands of songs of music. With excitement in his face he told me that even before he was a member, the choir was his obsession. He loved them and then he joined and now he wants to go to Salt Lake to hear them SO MUCH and he has a CD of theirs "but they are so expensive" and as he said it I realized as I had answered it hadn't been that big of a deal. Of course I love them and was showing excitment, of course I thought I was grateful to get to attend and listen and have their music but I said it so every day normal like and for him it's like a life goal/dream for something he really enjoys and I understand that joy because it brings me joy also but I never REALLY had gratitude for it. I did, I remember instances at concerts or just in life where I felt grateful to be so close to things like that but at that moment I wanted to send him in my place and give him all my music to listen to as often as he wanted because he doens't have enough money to buy more of it himself.

I was wondering why the little girl, so tiny and grinning at happy to see me and to shake my hand had teeth that had fallen out already and were rotting and she was dirty and runs around in the street all day and lives in a house with a dirt floor and walls that will fall apart when the next storm comes...wondering why she's here so little and so soon after being in such a more wonderful place with her Father in Heaven. Why did he send her here and why did he send me to where I was born? I suppose I don't know all the answers to that...except last semester in my religion class I gained a testimony of the knowledge that God sends all his children and has it planned out so that he can save the largest majority of his children. I just don't understand how it works. It doens't matter where we are or what we have or how we live as long as we have a knowledge of where we came from and where we are supposed to go back to and as long as we feel Heavenly Father's love for us and really truly know it exists despite anything that happens to us or anything we see around us. I can't make everything fair, in the way I see fair, I can't fix everything or share with everyone but I cand do everyday just what I can and get up everyday and pray and learn and work and serve and love the people. The statement that to whom much is given much is required contiues to run through my head. My entire life will be required in service because of all that I've been given. I really feel like the sons of Mosiah who could not stand that any soul might perish and not know of the possibility for their salvation and so they wasted out their days in teaching.

So, maybe my roles will change and I probably will have a hard time adjusting to that. Right now I teach the people here and it's my full time job. When I return I'll have to focus on things that will probably make me feel really selfish again and self-centered, but I can serve in my wards and my family and help the missionaries in ways I never knew I could before I served my own. And...I will maybe be able to serve and teach and save my own family and children one day and
go through life with someone else who wants to serve just as I do and teach Heavenly Father''s children that he sends specifically to me about who they are and where they want to go. It will always be different, but always important and important to remember that I can't do it all and shouldn't try to or I will ultimately accomplish nothing. I don't need to either because all things are made fair through the atonement in a way that I don't completely understand, but they are and will be and we can each known we are loved and that we are saved as we improve upon each day and focus on the most important things and do not allow ourselves to waste time in discouragement but just get up and move forward again. We can't stop ourselves from moving forward to our ultimate end of mortality...but we can stop ourselves from growing sronger as we do it. I love the doctrine that as we obtain light (line upone line, in God's time, piece at a time so that we will understand it and improve upon it) and as we are true to that light then we can obtain more and if we are not true to it then it will slowly be taken away from us until we have less than we even started with...but otherwise we can become perfect day by day and understand each mystery of God day by day until the perfet day in which we are perfect also and glorified to who we have let ourselves become. This requires patience, doesn't it? Haha, funny how I've always been so bad at patience and never even knew it. I've always been good at looking forward and realizing I don't undersatnd things I wish I did, realizing i'm not as mature as I wish I was and allowing myself to live in frustration at this knowledge wanting to be perfect immediately but that ruins my ability to learn as I do it.

Something that kind of goes along with this...I never noticed before that in the story of the brother of Jared he sees the Lord's finger...but the Lord was not yet born! It says that Jared's faith was so great he was able to see him as he "would be" so he saw his flesh although he was not yet born and still a spirit. It later talks about this experience and explains that the faith of Jared was so great that the veil could not be witheld from him. When we have great enough
faith and have allowd ourselves to grown enough those things hidden from us by the veil are not any longer...we only have it there to test our faith to make sure we choose to do what we should without a perfect knoweldge or seeing like a child who would do good even when their parent is not watching them and so once we have enough faith we can learn the myseteries of God and see the things beyon the veil that we saw before! How great is that! Anyway my time is nearly up so maybe I'll stop preaching about things now.

I think we're going to try sending you pictures over the email. It might not work so then i'll print them and send a couple of my living quarters and surroundings. I'm wondering...can nobody else in our family type because my lack of letters means I've only been hearin from Dad these day and would really like to know what's going on in everone elses lives and thoughts etc. Anyway I hope you all get these and read them and really they are super long because I have an hour and can type fast, haha. I'll make novel readers out of you without you even knowing it just by having to read my letters.

Okay so it seems pictures won't work...I'll print them today hopefully and hopefully be able to send them. Time is up...bye for now.

I love you all