Well, it is strange sitting here typing this from England when I know it will be my final email that I send in this country. I can not believe that two years have passed! I honestly can not believe it! I have loved my time here. Every single moment! There has not been one moment where I wished I was somewhere else. It has been, like some may say, the best two years of my life to date. Why has it been the best two years? It is very simple. Because of the marvellous experiences I have had every single day. Not one day has been dull or boring or uneventful. Every day has been miraculous, adventurous, and eventful! I have loved it. I do not know if I can say it more strongly or if I can feel more passionately about this privilege that I have had.
I have learned so many things about people, about myself, and most importantly, about Heavenly Father. He is our Father. He does love us. He does all things for our benefit. Jesus Christ is His son. He also loves us. He does all that He does for us! They both do! They are missionary Gods! Everything they do and everything they are is for others. Their entire purpose is to help us find happiness and eternal increase. And if they are the happiest beings in the universe by focusing on others, should we not do the same? That is the theme I have noticed on my mission. Focusing on helping others (missionary work) is the greatest secret to happiness in this life and the next. Isn’t that great? To know these things? It brings such joy, peace, and comfort! God really does love missionary work. It is what He does 24/7 for eternity. I love missionary work. I have had the privilege of experiencing the joys of it 24/7 for two years. Just because I am being released however, does not mean that I have to stop helping and serving others and sharing what I know brings happiness! I have an eternity to get this right and the sooner the better, so why not keep going with the things that I have learned? Why not serve and love and share as I have been learning to do these past two years? There is no reason why I shouldn’t!
I love you all. I hope you can feel of my love of England and of the people here. I hope you know that I do know that God lives. He cares for us. And that if any of you have any questions, you can ask me them and I would be overjoyed to help! In closing, I testify that we are each given exactly what we need. I testify that as we look for the good in situations and change our attitudes to that of gratitude that we will be happy. We can all come to know the truth of all things as we open our hearts. God lives. His Son lives. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His church. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
See you all soon!
So! Over the past 5 weeks I have been summarizing the main lessons I have learned during my time in England. Well, today is going to be the sixth of the six main lessons. That lesson is the importance of desires. As I continue, forgive me if I get really serious, but I feel like I have to to really get the point across that our most deeply rooted desires are granted to us. Throughout my mission, I have been blessed to see many many miracles. I can’t think of a “normal” day; not one. I have loved every single minute and every single second. Every moment has been simply incredible. Now that doesn’t mean that I have been on a cloud for 2 years, completely oblivious to the world around me, but it does mean that I have felt God’s love and have remembered His goodness to me. There have been trying times. There have been laughing times (lots of those). There have been crying times. Through it all, and no matter what the situation, I have learned to be very careful where my immediate desires are.
For these past two years, my overriding desire has been to serve and help as many people as possible by inviting them to come to Christ. That has always been my main desire. What I have found, however, is that immediate desires can quickly overpower overriding desires. For example, there has been more than once on my mission when it was pouring down rain while we were out working. In the early parts of my mission, it was very easy to think, “If only I could be inside my flat and not getting rained on.” The irony of it was that as soon as I thought that thought, my desires had shifted from teaching people to be inside and comfortable. As a result, I could be sure that for the remainder of the day I would be out in the rain with no success. See how it works? Later in my mission I learned to shift that thought to “If only I could be teaching people instead of just walking in the rain.” And suddenly I found myself out of the rain and into people’s homes! See how that works? Our immediate desires are very powerful. It is no wonder that that old saying says, “be careful what you wish for, cause you just might get it.” Experience has taught me, “be careful what you desire, because you will get it.”
I love England. I love the people here. I still have one week so I won’t close just yet! I have one overall lesson I have learned to share still! that’s next week! Love you all!
Another warm and friendly greeting!
So the clock keeps on ticking even if I am completely unaware! I can not believe that I have been living in England for nearly two years now! It is just beyond me. Anyways, last weeks I shared the lesson of faith. I have continued to learn more about that and would love to share a quick miracle before I move on to the next major lesson I learned here!
Two days ago, Elder DiPeri and I went out to find people to teach first thing in the morning and quickly ran into a man named Anthony. He let us in and then told us that the day before he said a prayer to God asking to be guided to the true church. He even wrote the prayer down and showed us! It said something like, “July 12th will be the day I turn my life to God. I want to give up all my addictions. I want the best for my family. Please guide me and show me the way. Give me a sign to join your church.” And now the very next morning he meets two missionaries on the street! He was blown away! Even more, he found out that morning that his partner was pregnant with their second child! It gave him an even greater motivation to change and he is now making so many changes in his life to do what he knows he should do! MIRACLE!
These kind of miracles happen all the time as a missionary. We come to know in a very real way that we are guided. Such guidance has come to me throughout my entire mission, but one time in particular that I remember was when I lived in Oldham. When I arrived in Oldham, I was not exactly sure why I had been moved from Newcastle-Under-Lyme right when everything was going so well! I soon found out. Within days of being in Oldham, my companion and I were guided to prepared people and soon found ourselves teaching over 90 people! Some were Hungarian, some were Czech, some were Romanian, and some were English. It was the busiest time of my mission. All day every day we were going from appointment to appointment, teaching families. Teaching in different languages the best we could and seeing miracles! Everything was just great! We even had 16 people that we were teaching come to church in a single week! We were having a blast! Well within one week from when we had 16 people at church and over 90 people to teach everything seemed to fall apart. Of the 90+ that we had been teaching consistently, 70 of them dropped almost instantly. All 16 of the 16 that came to church decided not to come back. A baptism that was scheduled fell through days before. We were in absolute agony! Why was everything going wrong? Were we doing something wrong? That was perhaps the hardest part, not being able to identify what was causing these things to happen. I remember one Sunday I sat in sacrament meeting just trying to pinpoint exactly what I was doing wrong to cause so much of a drop so suddenly. I was really thinking hard and nothing was coming! Then a sudden thought came to me. Words found in the scriptures that Job said, “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Now I am not saying that the Lord took away those people from attending his church. But I learned the lesson. Everything is Heavenly Fathers’. I understood that I needed to be humble and malleable and to be patient in His timing.
I love you all and hope that you too can learn patience and trust in His timing!
Another wonderful week has gone by! More lessons have learned and my love of missionary work has gotten even stronger! I know you are all busy, so I won’t rattle on forever. Last week I spoke on the third major lesson I have learned as a missionary. This week I will speak on the fourth. This week there is nothing complex about what I learned. It is quite simple in fact. The simple lesson is on the power of faith. After I left Liverpool I went to the Newcastle-Under-Lyme ward in the Newcastle-Under-Lyme Stake. This was the same stake where I began my mission and going back there really got me excited! I had seen so many miracles in that same stake already and truly came to expect miracles daily. Within days of my arrival, I received a powerful spiritual experience that reminded me to refocus on the power of faith. With my faith focused on seeing miracles and sharing miracles, we went to work. To keep it very simple, we saw daily miracles. REAL miracles. The kind of miracles that just blow your mind and teach you so specifically that faith truly does lead to miracles.
Not only did I learn how powerful faith is, but I also learned that faith is a catalyst to everything in life. Not just a catalyst to missionary work, but literally to everything. We do the things we do because we believe that something will happen as a result. Whether it is having the faith in a television remote to turn on a television or getting out of bed because we believe the sun will rise, faith leads to action. It really is a motivating force in our lives. Can you see how having a true faith in the most loving, most powerful, most caring being in the universe can lead us to do many good things and to become our very best selves? Faith is a catalyst to action. Faith in Jesus Christ is a catalyst to perfect action.
I love you all!
Another week has gone by! And what a crazy crazy week it has been! This week has been full of emotion and ups and downs! On Friday, my companion and I said our farewells to our dear mission president, President Preston, and his wife, Sister Preston. They have completed their 3 year assignment and returned home. We will miss them so much, but we are so grateful for lessons that they taught us on choosing the right! The lessons they taught us on being a disciple and learning to do the right thing because we want to, not because we feel like we have to, will bless my life forever. I am so grateful for them! Even as we said goodbye to them, our new mission president and his wife arrived! They are called President and Sister Ulrich. They come from Sandy, Utah and are just the kindest, most energetic and enthusiastic people ever! In the last 5 days, my companion and I have spent most of each day with them and have already learned to love them and to trust them. They truly are inspiring! I look forward to spending another 4 weeks with them!
Now, back to the lessons I have learned here. This week is lesson number 3 and is a continuation of the past two weeks. Exactly one year ago, I was living in Liverpool. Liverpool was very different and unlike any place I had ever lived. Different cultures, different accents, and different missionary work! The work in Liverpool was always exciting because every day brought its own surprises. As I lived day to day, I felt more and more confident that I knew what I was doing. Perhaps, I became a bit too confident. Feeling like I could take on the world and feeling like everything was too easy for me, I began to boast in my own skills and in my own accomplishments. I started doing things my way, thinking that my way was the best way. Maybe I did not consciously make the decision to do things the way I wanted all at once, but slowly, pride began to creep into my thoughts and worked its way into my actions. Within days of this incorrect assumption, everything fell apart. I found that for the first time on my mission, I had hardly no one to teach. I was confused as to why I was not having success. I ran over every possible solution in my brain and could find nothing. After all, I was doing everything skillfully and with great confidence. The problem was, however, that the confidence was more in myself than in God. Finally after nearly 1 month of having no success, I was humbled to the point of genuine, sincere prayer. I truly wanted to know what was going wrong. I received a simple, but powerful answer. The answer was to humble myself and to do things His way, not mine. To make a long story shorter, I repented- I changed my ways into His ways and saw immediate success in great measure. In thinking back on that experience which lasted in full over 3 months, I have learned that humility is the concept that allows us to improve and to learn. It allows us to see what we may really become. In short, humility is happiness.
I know that when we trust more in ourselves than in God we will not be happy. I know that when we trust in God more than in ourselves we will be happy.
I love you all!