Sunday, December 11, 2016

December 5, 2016 - Personally...

Well... I will definitely try to include more day to day stuff and see if I can balance that with spiritual insights so you can tell how I am doing both temporally and spiritually 

Okay so as a missionary you go for the simple, a few days ago I decided to make easy mix pancakes... (I do not like these kind I am afraid dad spoiled me with his from scratch pancakes so I just added a lot of butter) the problem was I was not thinking and put a bunch of water in first and then applied the desired dosage of pancake mix, as soon as I started mixing I found out that I had just made pancake flavored water... so I had to add a ton more of pancake mix and kept adding and adding until it was good enough to cook... so I have had pancakes for breakfast lunch and dinner all week and there is still some left... learned a valuable lesson about measurement and that woul always apply the liquid to the powder not the other way around...

I have also learned what my response is when a rabid dog is running at me, I crouch down and hold A copy of The Book of Mormon out for it to chomp on... not the best picture for a missionary in regards to a sacred book of scripture... so here is the story... 
I was on exchanges with Elder Johnson my district leaders companion and we were knocking home to home, when we reached a fenced off yard, the standard approach is to whistle to see if there is a Dog and then if nothing comes its safe so we usually go in and knock the door and share our message, it was no different here, we whistled and no dog came so we opened the gate and closed it behind us and proceeded to walk to the door, which was about 40 feet away, as when we got about halfway we heard the neighbors dog barking only... it wasn't the neighbor's this huge dog came barreling around the corner barking like all hell was loose. Elder Johnson turned and I looked behind me and there was no way we could make it to the gate in time, so I panicked and did the first thing that came into my mind, first put an object in the way of me and the dog (The Book of Mormon) second crouch down... (Get my face closer to the dogs jaws... smart) and slowly back up, it was a mangy beast with hair disheveled and it just looked like a demon dog I was about ready to meet my maker when it got to us... and what did it do? it jumped at me and... started sniffing away and wagging it tail and we found out that it was a nice dog and we just pet it and it threw itself against my leg to petted more and be scratched by the ear, so we went a knocked the door.
At the next house we whistled a bit louder to make sure there was no dog, nothing happened so we entered the gate and had a bit of difficulty in closing it but finally did so when again we heard barking, just about as fast as we could we wiggled the latch and pried it open getting out just in time to see this little dog waddle out and run up to us, by this time we were so shaken up we nearly had to sit down. 

Life often presents itself in such a way as these, when scary things come at us, we must stand strong and most of the time it will turn out for our good, and those things that seemed so hard when they were coming up just turned out to be a happy moment. I remember when I was preparing for the GED as it came up I was nervous and the closer it got the less and less i wanted to face it, but in it and after I felt fine and it was relatively easy. God teaches through trials and we have to be willing to face them, as Paul said to the Hebrews "We are not of them who turn back" so whenever a hard time comes your way remember that to face the challenge with steadfast and immovableness is better then to bend and to brake under the shafts in the whirlwinds, but in order to be steadfast we must first have a foundation on which to build and that is Jesus Christ, as long as you put your trust in him you will never go astray, I think it was Nephi that said if you don't believe in The Book of Mormon, then believe in Christ, because if you believe in Christ then you will believe in what comes of his hand and his fingerprints and presence are found all over the Book of Mormon and this Church. I know that it is true. 

Love 


Josh

Pics and Movie:



https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3TKWzpofJnhWEdHcldzQWRqdDg/view


Dad and Josh Conversation:

Dad:

Hi Josh, Sorry I didn't get a letter off to you! We sat down and wrote hand written letters to you yesterday so in my mind I'd already written to you!

Happy almost a year! I'll send some more but didn't know if you'll still be around to get it.

Josh: 

There is something about hand written letters that is magical, did you only have hand written when you were on your mission?

Dad:

Ya. Only hand written! So we always got week old news or more! I like both. It is fun to give you the latest updates.

How does it feel to be almost at the year mark? Does your mission have any crazy traditions at 6 mo. and 1 year marks?

Josh:

Well... I burned a tie at six months and for a year mark you are supposed to burn a shirt, but we aren't allowed fires so I will have to start something... it feels weird almost being a year out because it feels like a blip and everyone says the second year goes by faster, if this is so I will be walking off the plane in no time, so i have to dedicate as much as I can in this short time I have. 

Did you have any traditions for your mission?

Dad:

Not really, actually. Not like they do in the Edmonton mission. One quick story. On Sunday, Sis Neitz came back to our ward and shared some of her experience serving a family history mission in SLC. There, they wear their tag on the right side vs. the left where you mostly wear yours. Its because they are doing missionary work for people "on the other side". Thought that was kind of fun.

Josh:

haha that is fun. I miss you guys and can't wait to call you on christmas sunday.

Dad:

Ditto, Josh. Love you lots. Keep up the great work and let us know about when we can plan the call.




Nov 28, 2016 - Its just... California

From Mom: "The Hardest Thing I Ever Loved to Do"

Dear Josh,

I have been thinking about the phrase from your last letter about "the hardest thing you have ever loved to do." It applies in so many ways and I'm finding it to be a great attitude maker. 

Right at this moment, it is early morning and I am in the new house (second night) in bed under the warm covers writing you an email on my phone. I can hear Dad sawing and pounding in the basement in preparation for the Inspector to come. Technically, we aren't supposed to be sleeping here yet, but our renters wanted to be in by Nov 30, so we needed to get out in order to clean the old place, so here we are in the new place with no running water, no furnace or plumbing. We heat the house with three electric space heaters, go freeze our butts in the outhouse and make do with bottled water in the meantime. It's an adventure and I am loving it. I will complain about only one frustration, and that is losing things with moving.... so far, a set of keys, bolts to put the girls bunk bed together and Dad's box of ties.
Dad went to church tie-less yesterday but didn't complain. I, on the other hand, like to complain far too much but am trying to stop it. Any tips? ;)

In other news, I was surprised to see Russell Jeffrey at church yesterday, home early about three months from his mission. He was released honourably due to some health concerns/anxiety issues. When I saw him, the first thing he asked was, "How is Josh doing?" I told him you were good. I also explained that you write long and interesting letters, but you don't say too much about yourself. How ARE you, Josh? I know your testimony is burning bright. I know you are doing your best, but tell me some day-to-day stuff. Like, what do you normally eat? How many kilometres do you bike a day? What is your favourite time of the day? Which do you like better?... companion study or personal study? What is a tedious frustration you have to deal with? As you approach your year mark, do you need new socks?

Moms want to know the little stuff, too. But I shouldn't complain at all because Zack told me he didn't write his Mom at all in the MTC. Apparently Sis. Nesom called and tattled on him and the mission Pres had to get him in trouble. Lol! So, you are a good son and write us back. 

I love you. Keep striving. Look for miracles. I am more of a believer in miracles than ever. I mean, we are ACTUALLY on our acreage. Getting out here was the hardest thing I love to do, and I'm going to keep that attitude, because I think that's how miracles happen. My Dad says, "God helps those who help themselves." And I think, after all we can do, we can stand back with the utmost assurance for God to reveal his arm. It is a good fight. Keep on, my boy. We are with you.

Love,

Mom

From Josh:

I do admit that I have not been giving as much information about myself as I could have... I just don't know what to put. So thank you for the questions Mom. 

Let me see let me start by first saying that there have been a lot of times where I have wanted to complain, and a lot of things are super frustrating to me as a missionary, and I definitely complain a lot in my prayers and I am sure that it can get annoying sometimes so recently I have been really trying to look for the great things in life, whenever I feel bitter or when I want to complain I have recently started to list off my blessings... the other day we were biking fast and my legs were burning so bad, they pretty much are sore everyday whether I am biking or not now, in the middle of biking I was just complaining to myself that my legs were sore, it was super cold out (about 15 C :P) but then I stopped myself and decided to be grateful I even had legs to get sore, and that I could use them in such a way that they would be hurting. I was grateful it was cold out because it reminded my of fall back home (Not to the point of being trunky though) Even within the hard times there are things to be grateful for. When we stub our toe we can be grateful that we have a toe to stub and that we can walk fine, when we are out of breath we can be grateful that God gave us healthy lungs. Something I said to one of our investigators was this "God gives us trials so we can grow" everything we are given that is hard is our pleasure to experience, everything we are given in this life is the privileged of those who chose to follow God, think about it, we are lucky enough to actually have hardships, we are blessed enough to be given trials, Satan and his followers are cut off, meaning they can not progress, we are lucky enough to experience cuts and scrapes, sorrow and pain, we actually have a physical body to do those kinds of things, and experience them to their fullest. The story of Legion a demon who begged Christ to grant them even the privilege of being in the body of swine for two minutes, those who gained no body would love to experience a bump on the head... and when God spoke to Adam when casting them out of the Garden, what did he say, "I will curse the ground..." sounds pretty harsh if we don't consider the next part "...for your sake" We are given the opportunity to Experience life! Sounds pretty great to me. 
Something that I get caught up in though is when I lose my eternal perspective, when we lose our eternal perspective, the here and now become more important, and in the moment, that moment becomes our universe, but when we take a step back and broaden our perspective then we see that everything is for our good. Russel M Nelson spoke on Joy and spiritual survival what he says I think is very good for understanding joy, and how we can look for the great in everything...


I am doing really good, though I sometimes struggle with how the work is going, it seems that people here are not the most receptive, and we are sharing the Christmas Video the church has put out this year and I have never been more dedicated to persuading people to watch it than I am now, and yet still people turn us away, there was one lady who professed to believe in Christ and we asked if she had a short three minutes to dedicate to Christ and watch a video that didn't even promote our church but promoted being more like Jesus, and she simply said I am too busy I don't have time, that really got to me. I hope never to be like that, someone who is too busy for the Lord because he was never too busy for me.

My main diet consists of Eggs... Milk... and cereal... sandwiches occasionally, and left overs that ward members give us... people tell us to cook better but it is the fast simple things that we make, because for me personally i either want to study the Gospel or take a nap. As well as sticking to my budget of 20$ a week which if we go out and eat someplace reduces it to 10 dollars for shopping on P-day, which can be limiting but feels great when at the end of the Month everyone has no more money and I have 40 dollars left.. but I do need to ease up on my budget a little because the thought of eating scrambled eggs again is pretty hard, and i have had to force myself to eat them at times. Our days consist of studies (I like personal study best because I can go in as deep as I feel, in whatever it may be) then visiting people, Lunch, visiting people, Knocking doors for 2 hours which is the set time for the mission, from 4-6 then dinner then appointments till 9 (unless we have nobody for dinner then we usually visit people and have dinner at 8) then at 9 we plan every hour of what we are going to do the next day and then lay on the floor for a little, then get up and write in my journal (though I have been slacking lately)

As for biking, we live about a mile out of our area so we bike in a mile then our area is about 5 miles wide and on a typical day we bike about at least a third of our area consistently through the day, so I don't know probably 15 to 20 miles a day which is bout 35 kilometers. We have had to bike our area a few times in the past though so on those days I would say we bike 70 kilometers. Just constant biking for 5 hours of the day... Luckily our area is pretty flat. 

My frustrations always lie in the hard hardheartedness of myself and those around me... I have noticed that the companions I get most frustrated with and people I am most annoyed at are people just like me.... what does that say about myself, I have a lot to work on. 

Okay, and inventory of what I have gone through in the last year supplies wise. 
I do need new socks, I have lost about 3 pairs and have holes in 2
two pants have been worn completely through and two have lost the hemming on the leg so I am down to two pairs left and one of them is getting a little see through on the crotch and one of them is my suit pants and they are dirty and need dry cleaning... so I will probably be getting new ones soon.. maybe next transfer. 
my shoes are holding up nice though they are beginning to look rather like old missionary shoes. Which is okay as long as I can still shine them, all my shirts are starting to get a little brown on the collar...(luckily I saved two long sleeves and two short sleeves in the packaging for my year mark so I should be good on shirts)
all in all I am doing good but I would love socks for Christmas. And the more I am here in the U.S the more I want Canadian appearal so I am still trying to think of ways I can get a Canadian Flag and a shirt... but that is just a fickle wish of mine. :) 

I am doing great, there are days when I have to find the motivation to go out and continue biking, but when I do I find it feels great to lose yourself in the work.

This past week has been rough we were only able to teach one less active... no one else was interested and we managed to offend three less active members on thanksgiving just by stopping by and saying hi and leaving Happy thanksgiving cards, they have given us some crap for that and one of them doesn't want us to come by anymore... which hurt a little. but we are still trying to help, and do the best we can. Something that sucks about being a missionary is that your get taken for granted by the wards you work in and when you leave hardly anyone will remember you. So it can be hard at times to gain any firm attachments and I keep telling myself that I am here for a purpose, and I need to focus on that. It is so easy to get caught up in the world... the fight to maintain an eternal perspective goes on.

Well that was me.

I love you all so much, Please remain to be valiant in the testimony that you have in Christ. 

Joshua

P.S.

I heard a great idea from one of our senior couples who served in Palmyra at the church history sights, that a lot of people when their children got their mission calls took them on a tour of church historical points like the sacred grove and the smith home. Thought that was pretty cool, maybe you could do that Sam, and Ben.  

Pictures:

Freezing at 75 F 
















The place where they filmed transformers one when Bumblebee turns from an old car to an amazing car
 


#lighttheworld Share it with everyone and get started on December 1 with the challenge!


Weekly planning


District meeting


To Friends, From Josh:

All city, tons of homeless people, famous movie sights, crazy music artists, all these things are nuts.

The other day we were walking and we stopped by this one house and this guy walked out and said he was writing a new song and wanted to get our advice, it was a christian song and wanted to know if he should put Jesus is my pal, or if there was a better word for it, we told him that we thought Jesus could use a better word and advised him on using Jesus is my Brother instead. so we left having advised an up and coming music artist, then we stopped by an up and coming actor who is waiting to get in a good movie, went and talked to our member who worked on a bunch of old showes in production for "Its a wonderful Life", "Giligans Island" and a host of other old shows, we were on exchanges and across the street a famous actor was visiting her sister. When we were biking to the bishops house for dinner we stopped and snapped a couple Pictures where they filmed a scene in transformers.
All these things while doing missionary work, in this city all this crazy movie actor stuff and production things are common place, I have shared messages with Napolian Dynamite, went to nickalodian with someone who has worked on spongebob and Avatar: the last airbender. been by Beyonce's house, met the man whos father started the Grammy awards. What a world and literally this is the most worldly place I have ever been in. I know the meaning of Living in the world and not of it. I am sick and tired of all the worldliness and to think it is only going to get worse. I love my life and I am so grateful that we have clear access to the truth and that confusion can be wiped aside by the simple testimony of the scriptures and by a prayer to God. I pray all will come to know of those things that bring joy and peace in this life 

Nov 21, 2016 - What a week!

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

My turn to write. We've been a busy bunch this last week. I've been very thankful for Sam and Ben lately as they have willingly pitched in and helped wherever I've asked them to. This has included moving heavy desks, putting up deck railings, installing stairs, and anything else to get us moved over to the new house. Mom has been working out the move logistics for mail, arranging for the gas line to get in, and making sure the budget keeps balancing. The girls were a big help painting and sealing the basement floor. In short it's been a family effort to get things in place for our move at the end of the month.

How's our favorite missionary? We enjoy your letters and the kids take your advice to heart. You are doing a great work and are a wonderful and powerful example for us. How are your investigators progressing this week?

In teacher development this week, we discussed preparing to teach by the spirit and discussed D&C 84:88 and the role of preparation in receiving inspiration and teaching by the spirit. It took me 18 months to really start to understand this on my mission and to really start teaching by and relying on the spirit to bring about conversion. Hopefully you are feeling that sooner than I did!

Grandma and Grandpa Bruce are up to help again. They are amazingly helpful to us. Steps called last night. She is coming up for a week or so before flying home Christmas Day to be with Tyler. Grandma and grandpa Smith called as well. Uncle Jeff just got called to be Bishop! They just got back from a vacation to Oklahoma to visit my uncle Richard.

Life is going to very busy for the rest of the school year especially for Ben. He will basically be leaving home at 630 am and getting back around 730 or later most days of the week. Praying we will be safe with all our travels. We are looking forward to this new phase of our life.

Happy year transfer! Don't get trunky. Best year of your mission is still ahead.





Love Dad


From Josh:


Hey Family! It sounds like a lot of work getting that house ready and I am kind of excited to come home and see all the changes in everything, though I am patient and I promise that I will do my best at not being trunky, as of now I am super excited and love being a missionary, I can't wait for Sam to experience the ups and downs of missionary life as well. It is the hardest thing I have ever loved to do... though a lot of missionaries go home because of one reason or another, so when going to serve a mission decide now to stay out and work hard, it is important to maintain an eternal perspective in all things throughout this life, a lot of people I meet in California are super depressed and turned off from God because they think that if God was really there then the world would be a better place, because how could God let all this crap happen in the world... well the important thing to know is that God will not impede on our agency and allows us to face trials to gain experience in this life that will prepare us for the next, I have also met a lot of Atheists who believe only in science and that there is no afterlife, and to that I always think of a quote I heard once "it is better to believe in God and find out he doesn't exist then to not believe and find out he does" lucky for us we can know for sure right now if we exercise a little bit of faith and read from the scriptures pray to know if they are true and follow Gods commandment, God will never leave us clueless, Elder Maxwell a quorum of the twelve in the past once said that "things have a habit of resolving themselves" so any question we have if we go by faith we will eventually be given the answer to what we are wondering about, and like Deiter F Uchtdorf said once "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" this world is super confusing thanks to Satan and people using their agency in bad ways, but if we rely on God the revealed scripture we have been given and if we live the commandments which we have been given then in Gods own time it will be revealed to us what we need to know.

Speaking of confusion we were exiting an apartment Complex when we heard this voice call to us from the third floor "Hey! missionaries! Come back up!" so we went to talk to him and he brought us to his apartment and sat us down and told us he wanted to talk about Hitler... which was weird so he put on this History tv show about the secrets of U.S history... then we asked him if he had spoken to missionaries and he said yes they had told him to look up the churches history but he mistook it as the nations history, he went on to explain that he knew a lot about Mormon History, we were based in Idaho and we originated in Salt Lake, we tried to explain that we Originated in Palmyra New York and were based in Salt lake but quickly found out that he was crazy and non receptive. So we excused ourselves and continued on home... but it was quite weird. 

Many things in life I have questioned one of which was that if God was not a God of confusion then why was there so much of it in the world, I have since determined that it is because the Truth will always be apposed, Satan the master of all lies once convinced the world that God did not speak to man anymore, but since Joseph Smith came and restored the truth Satan has brought out more lies, when we tell people that there is a living prophet on the earth everyone seems to take it as we can all be prophets, as well as spiritual gifts in some churches people think that if you speak gibberish you have the Gift of tongues... in the world so full of lies about everything, people are losing hope in God and in everything that gives us stability and foundation, Families, The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Church leaders, The Bible, everything that is important is being thrown in the trash can, so we need to take a stand to help protect the things of God. We have a wonderful family, We have The Book of Mormon that gives that second witness to the Bible, we have direct communication with God and a Prophet to lead the world in the ways of right and truth, People call us brain washed but our leaders in the church encourage us to receive our own revelation as to if they are chosen by God or not, because God will tell us all truths, I have learned that of myself as God has answered everyone of my prayers in his own time, I know this church is true, and i know that we must be Valiant in our testimony of Christ, and true to the covenants we made at baptism, Standing as a witness to what we know to be true, Keeping all the Commandments, Acting always as Christ would act. 

Please be strong in the faith, even if your faith is small, hold to it.

I love you all


Joshua. 

Pictures. 

Do you think I could pull off a gangster? 

I just got pooped on by a bird!


Selfie:



From Mom:

Oh, Josh. I love you.

If I sent you a "currently" picture, you would see Sis. Kruyer in a hospital bed sleeping with her mouth open. I don't think she would appreciate that, so no picture. I brought her a Booster Juice to maybe tempt her taste buds as she has no appetite due to a skin infection that started to eat away at her calf muscle. She almost died.

As it is, they operated and removed the damaged tissue but now she has to learn how to walk again. It's been painful and a difficult time for her. I just love her though. Dad and Sam brought her the sacrament yesterday and we visited for a bit. My heart hurts sometimes watching people struggle, but I guess it's not such a bad thing to have empathy and love for our fellow travelers.

We will be out of our Leduc house in about a week. Busy packing and moving. I wish we had your cheerful attitude and muscle to help out but we would rather have you where you should be, which is serving the Lord on your mission. I love what you said about "the hardest thing you've ever loved to do."

Keep on, my boy. Life is amazing!


Mom

From Josh:


 I love you Mom, I don't know if I can say it enough.


 you are the best mom I have ever had. ;)

Everything that is on the earth is meant to bring us down. Gravity, depression, money, work, wars, lust, hate... and many other things, but the most interesting paradox I think is that if we fall down before the Lord in more ways then one, in Humility, upon our knees, then we are lifted to a place where nothing can bring us down. So take time to pray, when life gets you down then let it pull you to your knees and then let your voice be drawn to heaven. His arm is stretched out still ready to bring you up to his rest. 

Nov 14, 2016 - Just a Little Effort

From Mom:

Dear Josh,

I am so thankful for the Sabbath lately. It seems we are running from one place to the next with always something to do and racing deadlines. As soon as one thing is accomplished, we need to turn our sights to the next pressing matter. Sunday gives us a much needed respite despite the temptation to work anyway. But we don't work, and I trust that as we keep that simple commandant to keep the Sabbath Day holy, the other six days will be magnified. And truly, we have seen the Lord's hand in our lives during this whole process.

Time and weather is really what we're racing now. We rented our Leduc house for December 1 to a family with four sons. (Another HUGE tender mercy with our current stressful rental market.) The mom is delighted that each boy gets his own bedroom and I think they will be good renters. This gives us 15 days to be totally out of our Leduc house. But we can't move in to The Wizard Lake House (I've taken to calling it The Blue House) until we have an Occupancy Permit, and we won't have an Occupancy Permit until the gas line is dug, drywall is put up in the basement, and all utilities are hooked up. It would be really nice to have a stove in there too. Think we can get it done in time?
So far, there has been a thousand tender mercies, which of course, are always there if we take the time to be aware of them. The first and biggest is the help my mom and dad have been. They've been here twice for a week each time helping paint and fixing things, and they're coming again at the end of November to help. They've saved my sanity. Second, is the weather. It's been unseasonably warm despite our early winter weather in October. If that snowy weather had stayed, we would have been in trouble. Third, is your father's unwavering effort... he just keeps pressing forward even though he is so busy with everything else (job, calling, coaching, etc.) He amazes me with his ongoing tenacity.
As for me, I'm feeling overwhelmed most of the time. There always seems to be so much to do that I don't know where to start. Today I need to pay off the contractors, wash the concrete floor in The Blue House, paint Dad's office, catch up on laundry, balance the budget, and the ever looming presence of cooking, cleaning and educating (the last three have been sorely lacking lately). I've learned that if I just get started by exerting a little effort, I can gain the momentum that I need. Sometimes I need a little push to get going though. That push comes in many ways... Wendy bringing a meal, Mom telling me to get off my butt, Stephanie sending me a text, reading your emails, feeling a spiritual prompting. When I get that little push and exert a little effort, I usually can get a lot done and fall into bed at night satisfied with progress. And progress is what we're looking for, even if it's only a little.

Did you know that Ede and Renata Bango moved back to Leduc? They've been here for over a month. I asked them if they would be coming to church sometime. Renata laughed and said it's really hard to get up that early. I jokingly replied that I should come over early on Sunday morning and help them wake up. She said, "yes! Do that!" So yesterday morning, I found myself armed with a box of Cheerios and some orange juice, knocking on their door at 8:15 a.m. I had to call Ede on his cell phone to come open the door because they couldn't hear my knocking. Lol! Well, they got up and came to church. They also came for our Sunday meal and we spent the day with them. It was so fun. I was reminded that we seem to always be rewarded a hundred times over when we put forth a little effort. The Lord blessed us.

So that is my goal for the week. Exerting just a little effort. It's actually a really fun way to see how the work pays off. I suppose that principle also applies to missionary work.
Bailey left for the England MTC last week. Erik deVries gave his farewell talk yesterday and leaves on Tuesday to the Provo MTC (eventually to Toronto) along with Seth. Eva Driessen told me yesterday that she submitted her papers and is now waiting for a call. She's feeling extremely impatient and doesn't want to wait another day. Matthew is taking a girl named Hannah out on a second date, which he is very proud of. Russell Francis comes every now and then for supper when he is feeling lonely and yesterday, he came to church. Russell Jeffrey is due to come home in five months. Time is passing and everyone is growing up. Life is good though. Fantastically good. People ask about you often. Yesterday it was Ada and Renata. I always say, "Josh is amazing." And it's true. Amazing is when you don't give up. Amazing is when you study the Gospel and fortify yourself. Amazing is when you realize how quickly time is going because you're working so hard. Amazing is when you write to others to lift them up. Amazing is getting caught in the rain and smiling about it.
You're amazing, Josh.

Remember how much love Dad and I have for you. We all pray for you every day.

Love forever,

Mom

P.S. I received your signed affidavit in the mail. Thank you! Abby also received your letter and was delighted. (Make sure you send something to Mia now.)

Our new address is:


Site 2 Comp 51 RR #4
Calmar, AB. T0C 0V0

From Josh:

Wow, 15 days is quite a deadline! but i guess the fact that we have a home is better then nothing. 

Something that has really been bothering me is insecurity, and not knowing if what I do is enough. We went by a potential investigator this other day do see if we could set a return appointment and when he came out he just told us if we had come by earlier he probably would have talked to us, and it was probably best if we stopped coming by... which is hard when you try your hardest, and someone says that to you, then you start doubting if that really was your hardest or not, and if you could have been better, so that was something i had to get over this week, I can truly attest that I am still that sensitive child you took out of school all those many years ago, I get wounded very easily and have to really establish some ground after reeling back in shack to some things people say. There have been many times where this has happened and initially I am at a loss, but I love it because it pushes me to search within myself for a deeper understanding of who I am and what God thinks of me. 

Another thing I have been bothered by is how many less actives we are working with seem to have such a strong testimony of the truth of what we share and as we teach them they seem to love missionaries and love their home teachers and love everything about the church, they have a favourite Apostle, and read the scriptures periodically, they remember their baptism as being one of the best experiences of their life... but they simply won't go to church, they struggle with paying tithing or hate a member so they won't go back because of offence... they have a testimony of Jesus Christ, but they will not enact the atonement to its fullest measure, or they are just too lazy and don't want to do the work it requires to be active. This has really concerned me because I don't want to be like that, I can feel it in myself that I could be like that if I gave in to my inner and carnal thoughts and desires, but what would that do for me. In Doctrine and Covenants there is a place where is speaks on the three kingdoms and we all know this, the celestial is the glory that will only be received by obeying the laws set forth for our happiness, now we would think that if everyone wanted to be happy this would be an easy road, but because of our lazy and carnal selves we often don't desire to do the work required for happiness. Now the highest degree of the celestial kingdom can only be achieved by entering into eternal marriage, not because God commanded it to be so but its simply a requirement for an eternal posterity and how can you have a posterity if you are not marries... anyway back to my point, the next glory is Terrestrial the glory of the moon which is but a reflection of the sun... this place is reserved for good people who didn't accept the Gospel, and that includes those who were not valiant in the testimony of Christ... so listen, when you gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ then it becomes your privilege and duty to maintain and act upon those things which you know. This Gospel is not a self gospel, I have learned this week that when we make a covenant with God we must turn and help others, Baptism-Baptisms for the dead, Temple ordinances are done for ourselves then for others past on as well, and the Priesthood that we bare as men it is not for us, it is a calling for the help of others, we cannot lay hands on ourselves but can only do it to others, the priesthood is the Power and Authority to act in Gods name for the benefit of man, not for ourselves, it is of service, we are not payed for our ministry in this church, we must pay our way through sacrifice and effort, as youth Sam you have been called to lead and build up your peers, Ben, those your age look to you as a leader, Abby and Mia, you are called to first gain a testimony and then act and speak to others in such a way as to help them to come unto Christ... I learned this week that the greatest leader is not one who is good at public speaking, nor is large in stature or other things as this, No the thing that makes a great leader is a powerful testimony of the gospel, Ben you have a wonderful opportunity to lead out in school what you believe and will have multiple opportunities to be a missionary now, Sam in your work you encounter many who are searching for truth, in and out of the church, you MUST have a testimony of this gospel and it must be strong in order to have the spirit necessary for you to find the truth then to lead others to it, You have more influence as a young man then many older more experienced people have, because if your testimony is of such a light that it cannot be hid, many young and old will marvel at the strength of one who may not be good at speaking or shy, whatever our weaknesses may be, if we are grounded in the testimony of Christ and this Gospel then we will be leaders. So study The Book of Mormon and the Bible, Ponder and pour over the words of Jesus Christ to the Jews and to the Nephites, listen to talks given by living Prophets and apostles today! and like Christ said to Peter, "Convert yourself, then strengthen your brethren" I have found so much strength in reading the Book of Mormon and Bible and have learned so many new and wonderful truths that have never been before heard by my ears nor considered in my mind, I have never felt such a strong connection with my savior then when I am reading and praying. I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Master, I know he died for me, I know that The book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, I know that I am not even beginning to understand the truths of God and I am so excited to learn more, and I encourage you to do the same, study your patriarchal blessings Pray with all the energy of your heart, every night make sure to thank God for all the Blessings you have seen and ask that your eyes may be opened to the tender mercies of the Lord. I know with all my heart that God answers prayers and he will answer yours if you are an honest seeker of truth, and you pray with real intent. 

I love you all, please never take your eyes off of the savior..


Josh

Nov 7, 2016

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

We have had a life in a week this week. Lots of ups and downs and great learning experiences. We are seeing the Lord’s blessings all around us and stressing probably more than we should be as we are learning to trust the Lord.

Were you part of the North America broadcast yesterday? There were some good messages, though we had to piece them together as our building internet was sporadic. I liked the talk about learning how the Savior teaches and striving to emulate that. President Champion gave an amazing talk about patience and it was helpful for our situation. The Lord’s time is different than ours and he loves us infinitely, so we can trust him especially when we obey his commandments. D&C teaches that the Lord is bound when we do what he says and if not, we lose that promise. We are more than ever trying to trust and obey him. One thing that was mentioned was that if we want a particular blessing, we should look to understand the law upon which it is predicated and live that law more fully and completely and then watch in faith for it to happen! A great idea, I think.

Grandma and Grandpa Smith came up for a visit this week-end. It was so good to see them. Grandpa Smith and I put in the back stairs to the basement door and were pretty proud of ourselves for doing our own stair stringer! Ben helped cut the stair treads using the skil saw. The weather has thankfully been very cooperative and quite warm for November which is a tender mercy.

 



Another disguised tender mercy came when we learned that the carpenter that was to do our internal stairs backed out due to other time commitments. This was concerning as we also hoped he would help us put in cold air vents for our furnace which involves cutting holes in our upstairs walls. I was nervous about doing this myself mostly from a tools and time perspective, but in the end worked with Grandpa to discover that it wasn’t as hard as I imagined in my mind and we were able to get 3/5 vents cut in Saturday evening. It is actually a great way to spend time together, working on something and talking. I really love my Dad and am thankful for the heritage of faith in our family.

We had the walk through with the builder on our house upstairs and everything is pretty much ready for us to move in! Mom is super excited and me also, just a little worried about money as usual. That is my lot and the lot of husband providers everywhere. Trick is not to obsess or be paralyzed by it. Another great opportunity to put our trust in the Lord.

Mom has her own stresses. She’s taken the lead on getting our Leduc house ready for and showing it for renting December 1st. Keep us in your prayers for us as to be able to rent it to good people for the rent we need to cover our expenses. This is  a critical piece for us.

Another tender mercy happened Sunday as I have been trying to think about what to do for the basement stairs. Then I talked to Norm Depeel at Church and he knows where to pre-order them! Whew, another piece to the puzzle falling into place. Sometimes the Lord truly does give us line upon line instead of everything all together!

The garage pad was poured this week. That was a great step for us too. Most of the big critical jobs have been done now except for the gas line.


Grandpa and Grandma asked a question that you are probably a little bit uncomfortable answering but that I’ll ask anyways J How many baptisms have you been able to participate in?

Sure love you Josh. We have a great family and you are a key part of our eternal family. Your example and encouragement is a huge blessing to the eternal lives of your brothers and sisters. Thank you for choosing to serve and to server faithfully!

Love,


Dad.



From Joshua:

Well family! What can I say but that I love you!

It is crazy how fast time has gone I was thinking about when I first trained a new missionary, that was only yesterday... then I thought about it a little more and realized that that was almost an entire 6 months ago! that is half of my mission so far and right now I am almost at half my mission, I got a new calendar today that goes to December of next year! Wow, how time flies. Was it like this with you Dad? I will be home before I know it and it is scary to think how literal that is, I feel like I am running out of time to do all of the things I need to do... to answer grandma's question I have been a participant in two baptisms, one that I found then I left and a few months later I got an email from my trainer that he was baptized so it was a neat feeling to have been the introduction to the gospel, then the second one I came in and helped David Garibay to set up the program for his baptism so I don't really count that as one from me but I was part of it. 

A mission is a great and wonderful experience, we have been learning a lot about faith recently and how it cannot change two things.
1. Other peoples agency.
2. Gods will.

This week we knocked into this man named Brian, he was really nice to us and invited us in for a drink of water, I thought it was such a great opportunity to share the gospel with him and we entered into his abode, we sat and he went to get us some water, I looked at his desk and saw two bibles on the table marked and written in a lot... something that could mean two things, that he is looking for truth or he will try to impose the bible on us... he cam in and we sat and had a friendly conversation for a little while, we learned he had taught a bible study class for ten years... uh oh... he shared with us he had numerous conversations with other missionaries before... its starting to look like the second option... and he said he had some concerns... yep, second option, but maybe not... we talked for a little while agreeing on many things, and after we had agreed on those doctrinal points, he asked "well if we agree on so many things, what don't we agree on?"... opening line for a bashing session... Being careful with my answer not ready to make the first move here and trying to avoid conflict I asked him what he thought we disagreed on, he answered that he wanted to know about the Book of Mormon, why we believed that there was another book when revelation 22:18 said different, we explained how each of the books in the Bible were separate at one time so it would probably only be talking about the book of Revelation, then we shared scriptures from Deuteronomy 4:2 and Proverbs, so we shared how God had not meant for the bible to be everything, but that he wanted us to speak to all his children not just those in Jerusalem but also to those in other countries around the world, we also shared John 10:16 of Christ speaking of other sheep which were not of that fold. He was quiet for a second then he started talking about another thing he was concerned about that we believed baptism was essential for salvation, but that he considered it to be a work and it wasn't by works that we were saved but by faith alone, we shared how it is a commandment of God Jesus Christ said that it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness, just before he was baptized and again when he spoke with Nicodemus how we must be born again of water and of the spirit to enter into the kingdom of God. Brian discounted that fact and said that Jesus could have been talking about anything, that that was too little proof for something as significant as baptism... about halfway through the conversation I could feel the spirit stand up and walk out of the room, and my one thought was we should probably follow him too... but I felt like I could change this mans mind, forgetting that without the spirit you cannot teach, he continued his debate saying that it was unimportant for people to be baptized for the dead, because of the thief on the cross, and Jesus telling him that today you will be with me in paradise, thus building the justification for death bed repentance, we shared 1 Corinthians 15:29, he read it and said that that was only a sliver of information and that he couldn't accept it, with everything that we said I could almost see a brick wall in front of his head and everyone of our words hitting it and falling short. So after two full hours of this we excused ourselves to the words that The Book of Mormon is false, we shared that we knew it was true and that was it. But I learned a valuable lesson that you should learn from me Sam and Ben, Bashing someone with the Bible is fruitless and if that someone has it in his or her mind to bash you then you will get nowhere, when someone starts a bash they usually have already set in their minds that they will not listen to you, and they sure will not be proven wrong in the bible, there are 2500 different christian denominations in the world and all of them claim the bible to be true, do you really think that people who bash you will be convinced through the Bible, yet something that none of them have is the Book of Mormon something else that is wonderful about this church is that if you have any doubts you can pray to God to know what is true and he will tell you, you can trust in him completely, now if you are struggling with your beliefs then pray, and then honestly seek the answer through much study and pondering, and you will find the truth, and that truth will be the same as everyone else's answer who honestly are seeking, because truth is not different for every person, absolute truth is just that, absolute and based on eternal principles and no one can deny that. I have come to find out that The Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith truly translated it as a Prophet of God and that there is a living Prophet that is the mouth piece of God in these days and that Christ is truly heading his church, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. 
Now the only question you have to ask yourselves is "am I an honest seeker of truth?" because if you are you will find it, on the condition that you are willing to act in accordance with the knowledge you receive. 

We have had many experiences this past week and some will be answered with pictures.

We ate out at an Asian buffet and I tried spicy octopus for the first time and it actually tasted good once you got past the look of the thing and the suction cups on the tentacles, we bike a lot and the picture of the tent and the graffiti pretty much sums up Van Nuys for you. Homeless people and hooligans.

Love you all and will be praying for everything with the houses to go right, be safe until we meet again. 

Josh 


Monday, November 7, 2016

October 31, 2016

From Joshua:

The start of my year mark transfer is scary and exhilarating! I have been a missionary for nearly a year and I am almost starting the countdown home!... not that I am but honestly it is the down hill rush from then on. 

Time flies when you are having fun... or working hard, but if you don't enjoy it then it isn't the greatest time spent, for me I have loved my mission, i have had my high times and I have had my low times and there have always been the in between, where I just don't care. It is true that missions are mini lives and are the best and hardest experience.
A few days ago we were knocking a street where no one was interested in the least and I could not find the words to say to help them understand that this Gospel is wonderful, it was a struggle for me on one of the doors a child opened up and said hello and from the background we heard the parents say they weren't interested and as the child closed the door the simple words "looks like we don't need you" sounded from her mouth, and I walked away with a heavy heart, because the young girl had spoken aloud the words on so many peoples mind to God, to religion, to help, to forgiveness, We don't need you, we don't need God, religion, help or forgiveness, we can live on our own... are there times in our lives where we feel we don't need things? Jeffrey R Holland Said, "aren't we all beggars? Don't we all beg for forgiveness?" Never should we feel like we can live this life on our own, we all need help from our savior, we cannot do too much on our own, we are dependent on God for everything, for every breath for every step we take, for everyday we wake up and are well, for a wonderful family we have and all the many things we have been blessed with, for the fullness of the Gospel that is living in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, may we all take the opportunity to humbly bow and thank God for all we have, and when we pray, make sure we mean it, too many times when I bless my meal I shoot off a hurried prayer "Thank you for this food, please bless it." So focused on the food that I forget who I got it from, and I find that far too often I have no gratitude in my voice, no love and appreciation, just words that are automatic and empty. 
So I have determined to catch myself every time I say an automatic prayer, and to put much more meaning and respect to the God whom we are indebted to in everything.


Speaking of New experiences we were going door to door on a different day and started talking to this lady who believed in lots of gods, (first person I have met that believes such a thing) and why does she believe in lots of gods? because the God of the Hebrews is too harsh, he is a wicked God who kills people by flooding the earth, we tried explaining how he is actually a loving God in fact it says in the New Testament that "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son" she in turn presented a scripture that showed in her view that God hated Jesus "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" she used that to show that Jesus was forsaken by God and that he was so loving that The God of the Hebrews didn't want him to be loving. So he forsook him, then we shared how Christ commended his soul to God as his last words, she again refuted that idea, so after ten minutes of trying to persuade her that God was a loving God that he was the one person we should worship and none other, we finally gave up because she was convinced of the evilness of a God she didn't know and would never try to know because of the things done in the Old Testament. But the answer I came up with for myself was without an eternal perspective a lot of things in this life seem limiting, and horrible, but when we take a step back and look at the marvelous plan of salvation in which God has laid for us, we see that the hardships we go through in this life are to prepare us for the life to come, and those who die in this life without having had the chance to hear the Gospel will be given that chance in the spirit world, Moses 1:39 "This is my work and my Glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." and I am blessed to be part of that work and glory. 

Elder Blodgett my new companion is a boss, he served a year as a service missionary and is now nearly done his two year mission as a full time missionary, his dedication to the Lord is so amazing, we were biking to visit a Potential investigator and it started pouring rain for the first time in 9 months in fact it was the only water from the sky we had seen in that period of time, needless to say we were not prepared and biked in our white shirts and ties till we were soaked through to the skin, I felt we should go back home and dry off, but he kept trucking onward determined to meet the man we planned to visit, we got there and we were greeted by a woman claiming to be atheist and said he wasn't there at the moment, so we got back on our bikes and headed home fruitless but knowing that we did what we could, rain or shine. 

I love you all please keep yourselves safe and will be seeing you in only another short year.


Joshua



From Mom:

Dear Josh,

We're deep in the heart of fixing up the house for rental. Pray we'll find a good, responsible tenant. I hear what you're saying about people feeling like they don't need God. And maybe that's the big problem of our day ... Pride. And I'm speaking for myself as much as anybody else. I've been praying lately for help to choose humility more often and it's a dangerous thing to pray for so I specifically asked God to not give me a devastating life experience, but a gentle one... to open my eyes to the every day stuff. Oh, man, do I ever see a need for improvement. But the funny thing is that I'm appreciating the experience as a refining one. I'm learning to think before I speak, too. Don't I wish I learned this lesson earlier in my life....

Anyway. The secret is in the striving. Don't give up. Find joy in the process. Endure well. Totally and completely worth the peace of mind. I think when discouragement strikes, a good practice is to ask Heavenly Father to open your eyes to His tender mercies. They abound. They really do.

A giant tender mercy for us my parents being here. They've helped us so much, more than we could ever do on our own in so short a time. Pictures to follow. 

I love you a million. And I'm so honoured to have you for a son. I'm not sure if there is anything better in this world than to see your children walk in truth.

Love,

Mom

From Dad:

Sorry we didn't get a letter off today. Busy week-end with Grandma and Grandpa Bruce here helping to renovate. Also have the Ames here for Halloween. I'll send some quick pics off to give you some idea of what we're up to. We love you and are proud of all you are doing.


Dad










Sunday, November 6, 2016

October 24, 2016

From Mom:

Dear Elder Smith,

I'm sure you have the same problem as me. Sometimes, when I look back on the week, I can't remember what I did or how I spent my time, only that it seemed I was extremely busy doing something important. I think it's time to start writing in my journal again. I do really well with journal writing in the winter when we stay inside, and that time is fast approaching. I think I told you we had a dump of snow Thanksgiving weekend (Oct 8). I was positive winter was here to stay but Mother Nature is full of tricks and it actually melted and dried up! (Probably in time for the next snowfall. lol!) We are grateful for it since the construction site of our house was a muddy apocalypse. All those big tires sinking down and chewing up the meadow (which is now our front yard). Does it seem weird that you will be coming home to a different house? Abby is worried about it.

So, yes, our time (and especially our brain space) is tied up with getting the Leduc house ready for rental and the Wizard Lake house ready for an inspector to come and deem it worthy for occupation. Mix in our regular life with those two worries and you have a mother that feels like her head is about to explode. So, I think I will tell you what a godsend it is to be served by angels disguised as humans. You will be very proud of me, as asking for and receiving help seems to be a difficult thing.

Angel #1) Paula White. She has taken it upon herself to cook me a giant hunk of meat every week. She drives from Edmonton with a fully cooked ham/roast/chicken early the week so we can eat it with whatever we can add to it. Usually her contribution stretches over the course of a few meals. It's helped tremendously as you know, cooking is the first thing to go when I'm stressed. (We've been eating a lot of cereal and pb&j lately.)

Angel #2) My mother. She came for a week after Thanksgiving and got right to work helping me dejunk and to start painting. We cleaned the entire garage (and I won't even try to explain the mouse infestation. Ugh. I almost died of gross) and painted the back entrance and the girls room. Her and grandpa are coming this week to help some more (like fixing your bedroom ceiling where the pipes froze a few years back). Angels, I tell you. They are saving me and my sanity.

Angel #3: My visiting teacher, Diana. She came to me and said, "what is the best way I can help you during this time?" Honestly, it just feels good when someone cares enough to ask. She's also bringing us food. Do you see a theme here?

Angel #4: Your father. He is the best of men; doesn't ever give up, even in the height of stress. And he's very patient with me all the time without one critical word.

I know that more angels will be made manifest over the course of the next six weeks. As for you, you can send us your faith-filled prayers. We need those, too.

I went for my first ever parent/teacher interviews last week regarding Ben and high-school. The first teacher (English), Ms. Peacock (isn't that a great name?) walked directly to me with her hand outstretched and big smile on her face as I entered the room, "I am SO glad you came! I wanted to meet the parent who raised such an extraordinary child."

Um. Okay?

Apparently, Ben is, and I quote from Ms. Peacock (I had to type that name one more time...) and three other teachers (English, P.E. Career and Life Management, and Math).

"A breath of fresh air."
"A delight."
"More mature than all his peers."
"A leader."
"I would have never known he was homeschooled." (Funny, right?)
"Personable."
"Curious."
"On an entirely different level."

So, basically, I went from room to room hearing teachers praise Ben's name. It was a good day for a Mom. As I walked away, I considered how honestly extraordinary you all are (Abby and Mia are still under construction). Extraordinary. Valiant. Strong. Self-confidant. Humble. I wish I could take all the credit for Steph, you, Sam and Ben, but I know you all really just came to me that way. You are MY teachers now. And the funny thing? It took public educators to open my eyes to the fact.

Humble pie. I am eating it.

Sam is still working everyday and we're waiting for that happy day when he is laid off, but also hoping he can work longer to save up. You know the dance. He went in and asked Jack for a raise, which Sam received because you know what a hard worker he is.

Abby and Mia are still the same as always, although Abby is shooting up. She will be in Young Women's in January, if you can believe that. (I can't.)

And life goes on.

I was thinking this morning how much I adore the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we could be reminded every day of his transcendent sacrifice, like, REALLY feel it in our heart, it would affect every aspect of existence, guide our every action and bring peace in every moment. I haven't reached that point yet, but I would like to get there eventually.

Keep on, my boy. A worthier fight there never was.

I love you forever,

Mom


P.S. A few pics of the house, which is all I ever used my phone for last week. That is your dad climbing in the front door. 








From: Joshua

Another week, I must agree it flies by, its hard to believe that I have been out for almost a year, and its even harder to believe that am nearly coming home in another year at that, it goes by so fast that I can't keep track of it, and you are right the only thing I have to remember it is my journal. I wish I wrote in my journal more often then I did, but now is the time to change that, so my advice to Sam and Ben and Abby and Mia is write in your journal! find the best way for you and do it. 

this week has been crazy we were packed all day every day with back to back appointments which is hard when you are on bike because you have to peddle like nuts to get to your appointment and even then it takes 10 minutes to get there, so my thighs are starting to get bigger and bigger, so when I get home I will have thunder thighs and will have to get new pants... even now I put my wallet in my bag because my pocket is too tight now... the wonders of a bike. 

There are a lot of things that can be discouraging as a missionary, a lot of our investigators went from progressing towards baptism to all of a sudden not being interested in learning the Gospel, which really saddens me. The other day we had a crazy encounter with an middle eastern man who was catholic, he gave us a book called reasons to be a catholic, which was weird, but after reading a little bit of it I determined that I like being Mormon, this church is a life style not a class we go to. I know that the Gospel has been restored and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, I have heard nearly every piece of anti that there is and have come to the point where it only strengthens my testimony when I hear it because I have learned from the spirit that this is true and my foundation has been built, may we all build our testimonies so that our foundations are set never to be moved, you will hear a ton of anti through your life, you will see people you love turn away from the Gospel but we are called to be elect of God and we will never turn away, may we grow our humility and our love, may we reach out to those who are struggling and help all we can. There was something I read recently that said "others should be able to see your commitment to Jesus Christ through your example..." which is hard because your character has to be such a one that you reflect all aspect of Christlike attributes. We all need to dedicate ourselves to this cause and never look back. Follow the council of the Prophets because they know what they say and they too are committed to Christ, and in bringing you closer. 

Elder Orchard is getting transferred to a different zone and I will be taking over the area which is a bit nerve racking but I asked the Lord for trials to shape me so I am looking forward to aligning my will with Gods because when I do that I am filled with confidence and love for all people.

I love you all 

Joshua


Me and Elder Orchard weekly planning
 

Tracting


More weekly planning


Sewer pipe graffiti



street art (If you look closely they use everything from pennies to mother boards)


From Dad via Grandpa Smith:

Thanks Dad for the weekly emails. It is a great way to stay connected and use the internet for good!

I think in many ways we are finding joy in the journey of building this house. I don’t think that it would be true joy if it didn’t come with stress and challenge as per the fall of Adam. We’ve had some of that, but also many moments of excitement and anticipation. This last Thursday, Ben and Abby and I went out to lay down insulation and wire in the basement in anticipation of the in floor heating pipes and were sure thankful when we ended up having Sam come out after a full day’s work to help. Sam is a builder and doer. He jumped right in and did most of the cutting around footings etc and we wouldn’t have finished that night without him. Abby and Ben placed insulation, and mostly tied wire sheets together. Finally finished at 11 pm, tired but triumphant!


Basement Insulation Crew

 
In floor heating, here we come!


We also had some moments this week where we were totally wondering if we’d offended the world as we saw work on the home grind to a standstill while contractors argued over the foundation walls and how to fix them, came home Saturday to a flooded basement (and eventually replaced the HW tank), picked up the van from the dealership with a hefty repair bill, and saw our washer stop full load and not turn on again.


Sam and Ben mopping up the flood


But guess what? Life didn’t end, the repairs got made, some money miracles occurred and things are back on track this week! Life is a proving ground for us to learn to trust the Lord that’s for sure!

This week I had the chance to teach Priest Quorum and ended up only having 5 or so minutes due to an ordination as well as some planning conversation. I had completed the Christlike Attributes survey in Preach My Gospel and enjoyed the opportunity to see opportunities for improvement. The 3 areas I identified for myself were:

1.       I trust the Savior enough to accept His will and do whatever He asks.
2.   I find joy in others’ achievements. (Alma 17:2–4)
3.   I set goals and plan regularly. (D&C 88:119)

I’m grateful we have a lifetime and more to develop Christ like Attributes and I have gained a testimony of the joy and peace that comes as I do.

We are grateful for our growing family. Steph is enjoying the stress of applying for grants and carrying a full course load, Tyler is pondering his future career with this current company vs future prospects and rock climbing to relieve stress, Sam thought he was finished work after it snowed but we’ve been granted a grace period where things are thankfully drying up a bit, Ben is doing well in public school and looking forward to basketball tryouts, Jen is handling the stress of the budget and trying to pack up our house and fix it up for renting, and I’m trying to keep the bills payed, coach Ben’s struggling community basketball team and coordinate contractors etc. Busy but great and certainly worth it!

Love you all. BTW, how is Demond doing? Do you know when he may be let out?

Have a great week!

Chad.