Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 3, 2011

Dear Family,

That was absolutely the most ridiculously fast weekend of my entire life.  I remember in the Saturday Afternoon session looking down at my watch and realizing, "Wow!  This is already the last talk!"  It was like the Superbowl for missionaries.  We didn't really get the chance to go and do a ton of work because of conference and the transfer, but nonetheless it was still such an incredible week!

It is very nice having a new companion.  It's just so great being able to learn new and different tricks from other Elders and using them in your own way!  I know that every single thing that has to do with the mission in just the way that the Lord wants us to learn and grow...  And it's always going to be the best way at that time!  It was so wonderful to hear from one of the speakers about how the Lord knows exactly where we should be and who we should be with and I'm a witness of the truth of that.  I love Elder Garnica and it was great being with him, but now it's time to move on and keep doing the will of our Father in Heaven!  

My new companion's name is Elder Jones and he, like Elder Garnica and Elder Jenkins, is also from Mesa, AZ.  He says it really is just like another Utah to the south.  I just know that we share a lot of weird similar interests like our dream cars (ha ha probably not the best thing to be talking about as missionaries) and some of our favorite music and a lot of our ideas on the way things work in the gospel.  I think that we are going to probably baptize the entire city of Jacksonville in the next 6 weeks!  

I don't think I've told you this, but our mission just got combined with part of another right when I got here.  Part of the Maycomb, Georgia mission is now a part of the Jacksonville, FL mission and it's called the "Savannah Zone."  Well anyway, that's where my companion is from.  It's incredible how you can tell the difference from the missionaries from here and from there.  Different leadership calls for different types of missionary work and missionaries, so we are all trying to become integrated into one.  

I just loved General Conference so much.  That was absolutely ridiculous when the prophet announced another Provo, UT Temple.  His spirit was so optimistic and giddy during that mini-talk I couldn't believe it.  What an example to look up to... Ha ha it really was contagious.  My favorite talks were the one that President Uchtdorf gave on Saturday about our worth in the sight of God and the one that President Packer gave.  It really felt like they wanted to emphasize the importance of being an example and standing up for your beliefs, even if you are alone.  I also loved Sister Dalton's talk.  It seems like the topic she always picks is about virtue and being the "guardians of virtue."  I think that Elder Holland spoke in Priesthood, so I don't really think you "missed" it...  I hope you can still watch it though because he was incredible as ever.  I just feel like every single word from this conference that was spoken was directed exactly at me and I can't even believe how direct the answers to some of the questions I went in with were.  I know that it's probably not that powerful in an e-mail, just reading words rather than hearing them, but I still just want to testify that I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this church.  

I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today and that he receives revelation directly from our Heavenly Father.  I have never felt such power from anything he has said than from this conference when he told us that "he is just trying to do the will of God."  He then told us that "he loves us and he prays for each of us" and I could feel the truth of those words through the power of the Holy Ghost.  There was just something about the way he looked straight into the eyes of millions of people all around the world and said, "I love you."  

I know that each of us is able to and responsible to receive our own personal revelation and should be something we seek to do daily.  

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Kingdom of God on the earth and that it is not just another American philosophy.  It is the same church that Christ is the head of in heaven.  The priesthood is real, restored, and accessible to all those that come unto Christ.  "Whatsoever is bound on earth" by this power "shall also be bound in heaven."  I know that there is nothing better that I could be doing than to be serving a mission at this point in my life and that the only reason I am where I am now is through my faith in Jesus Christ.  I am absolutely nothing.  I will never be anything unless I trust in the redeeming power of the Son of God to lift me up at the last day.

I love you all so much and I am so happy to have the knowledge that we will be together forever.  I don't know what I would do without you.  You really don't know what you have until it's gone and you don't realize how much you have until you see how little others do.  I can thank you enough for all that you have done for me, but I can love you.  And I do!  I love you all so much and pray that you are happy and safe.

I didn't mean to make this letter so long, and I'll probably start cutting back a little bit on the size of my e-mails, but I just felt that you needed to know that I am never going anywhere away from this testimony I have because these are not things that I believe anymore.  They are things I know without a shadow of a doubt.

Thank you so much for all of those pictures!  I can't believe how adorable all of these little girls are and especially how big they are getting...  You have no idea how much I love seeing those little twerps!  

Jacksonville is finally cooling down and the days are starting to feel more like mild, Colorado summer days.  It's absolutely wonderful!  It doesn't even feel that humid.  I'm feeling fantastic as ever and I hope you all have a wonderful week!  As always I feel I left something really important out of this letter, but I try my best...  Have fun in San Antonio and tell everyone I love them so much too.

Always remember to look up! 



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