Dear Elder Smith,
We attended a fireside last night put on by Brother Patrick showcasing some of the fun stuff on his mission. Did you know they had to come back three months early due to their son and daughter-in-law, Spencer and Shani, having premature twins and needing help? So technically, the Patricks should still be on their mission. He started the fireside by saying, "I would rather still be on my mission because it's way easier than real life; the whole world is praying for you, the Spirit is with you all the time, you get to associate with awesome missionaries, and people generally like you." Haha. At the end, Matthew Wright asked him if could go on another mission, where would he go? Brother Patrick responded, "Anchorage, Alaska." Lol! So he really loved his mission.
It was worth coming home early to attend the fireside. Sam and I were in Cardston to "help" with branding time at Liz and Jeff's. Mostly, I just wanted to see what it was like and Jeff put Sam to work. His job was to wrastle the calves down so they could brand them, immunize them, give them a booster shot and castrate them if needed. It was hard, messy work. Steph was there doing a documentary photography project and Tyler was put to work wrastling as well. I helped Liz in the kitchen as all the farm hands come in later to chow down on some grub. It was so interesting to experience a small part of ranch life and, of course, we loved spending time with cousins and seeing Steph and Tyler.
The next morning, Steph and I went for a run along that old highway on the Bectell property. As we were jogging along, enjoying the scenery and chatting, I was struck by the realization that there was no place I'd rather be. Later, we were hiking in Waterton with everyone and Grandma and Grandpa Smith and I thought, "There is no place I'd rather be." When Sam and I drove home and sat down with the fam to tell them everything from our trip I realized there was no place I'd rather be. Now, this morning, as I'm writing my missionary son an email, there is no place I would rather be. Wouldn't it be great if we could say that about life all the time?
"There is no place I'd rather be."
I think when we are in the right place at the right time, we can be assured that it's important to live that moment to the best of our ability. Like Neal A. Maxwell said, "Moments are the molecules that make up eternity." I decided to try to make my moments matter more.
This reminded me of a visit I had with 95 year old Sue. She was sharing with me some regrets she had about her life. I asked her if she could do it over again, what would she change? Her reply was that she would make every day matter.
The only way I know how to make my moments and days matter more is to partner with the Lord in everything I do through keeping the commandments, praying and studying the scriptures because this enables the Spirit to be with me. The Spirit is the defining factor. I'll let you know how this week goes in my next email. 😊
I also had a really great experience last week with Cindy Garbutt, who you met in the Dartmouth Ward. You know she moved here and has been trying to figure out western Canada. One of the things she wanted to do was attend the Cardston Temple, since she has never been. She is the only member in her family and didn't really want to go alone so she asked me if our ward ever goes there on temple trips. Of course, we don't... ever since the Edmonton Temple was built, so I suggested we take a trip ourselves and invite some other people to come. We ended up going with four of us: Ada Driessen, Annelle Lawrence, myself and Cindy. You know that Annelle and I were friends when we were kids, right? Her and I sat in the back seat and chatted the entire way about life in general. I loved it. When we arrived at the temple, quietly waiting for the session to start, I see Siobhan Westrop come in. (She's the one we visited in China, remember?) So, there I was in the temple, sitting with dear friends and feeling that the Lord puts people in our lives for a reason. We went through the session and visited in the Celestial Room discussing spiritual things. We walked away feeling edified and strengthened.
I so much appreciate the covenants we make with God at baptism and in the temple. They are a lifeline for me, constantly reminding me of what is most important in life. I think reminding myself of those covenants might be an effective way in making my moments matter more.
And gratitude. Being thankful for all the tender mercies and fantastic things life has to offer is other way to grasp hold of moments. When Sam and I drove up to the house yesterday, I was tired. I was nursing a four day headache (still struggling with whiplash stuff), and felt sore and impatient. The girls started whining and crying the minute I came home. Dad said they were good all weekend. Go figure. I was feeling discouraged with all the things that needed to be done. In that moment I was not thinking, "There is no place I would rather be." I wanted to hide in my bed with the light off, door locked and earplugs in. Haha. Instead, I noticed that Dad had built a raised flower bed in the front yard just like I wanted. (The front yard is all tore up and we're slowly redoing it.) I went out and looked at it and felt so grateful for a loving husband. I remembered that life does have it's ups and downs but good can always be found if we look for it. After the fireside, some food and a good night sleep, all those gloomy feelings are gone and I'm ready for the day. I'm excited to get some flowers in!
So, keep on keeping on, my boy. In all the ups and downs, remember there is always the good, even if we can't see it in the moment. I love the Gospel for the fantastic perspective it gives. I love the Gospel for its ability to make my earthly moments matter. I appreciate the Spirit which guides and directs me to choose the greater good. Always remember that you are where you need to be, that you are doing a great work (even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes), that your moments are adding up and building you into a person Heavenly Father designed you to be. Remember that you are loved by me and Dad, by your siblings, by your Grandparents and so many others. We are proud of you and think you are so fantastic. Keep moving no matter what because Movement is a principle of the Gospel. When we do our part, then God can work miracles. I really believe that.
Love you forever,
P.S. Matthew Wright wanted me to ask if you received his letter of a few weeks back. Did you?
Hey! sorry I wasn't able to email yesterday, holidays that are on Mondays are to be treated as a regular work day, and so we got to do a whole bunch of things for memorial day yesterday, we were mostly faced with rejection though, so that was sad. One thing though that we got to do was catch someones dog that had gotten away from her, with that we were presented with the opportunity to share of the Gospel and testify of the truth of it to her, we gave her a book of mormon and invited her to read and find out the truth of it for herself. We will be going back in a week to teach her more.
Its so good to hear all of the adventures you are having and the opportunities to grow and experience, wrastling a calf sounds like a fun time!
The other day I got to go on splits with a priest in our ward who is Sam's age and the whole time I couldn't help but think of all the great moments we had as brothers, every moment is something I treasure immensely.
While working with him we knocked on this house and this man opened the door and looked really excited to see us, he called his daughter out with him and we went through who we are and what we were sharing and then he asked if he could share his beliefs he went on to ask who we thought Christ was, I told him that he was our savior that he died for us, that he is the son of God, that was where he stopped me and went on to tell us that we were sorely wrong, that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit were one being, that Jesus was in fact God, and that it was his job (the guy speaking) to correct our misbegotten ways. With adrenaline pumping in my veins and my heart beating rapidly I told him of Joseph Smith and his miraculous vision, I shared my conviction of the Book of Mormon, and how it is the evidence of all we believe and talk about, I invited him to read it and pray to know of its truth. The whole time I was speaking he looked at me with a condoning smile as if I was a young child who did not know anything at all, and after I finished he went on again and repeated everything he had said about the trinity adding that because he loved us he wanted to let us know that we were wrong, that we could never be saved unless we changed our views, and before he finished I pulled an Elder Thorpe, which was to wish him a good day and not waste any more time with him, so I turned and walked away.
This is just one of the many times that this has happened, and I want to tell you that telling someone they are wrong will only cause hurt and pain and will not change a persons mind. In 2 Nephi 26:27 is Gods command to persuade not persecute, Persuade means to urge, impel or influence someone and it is the best way to bring someone to their own understanding of the truth. To build up someone while helping them to change.
The time I am spending here in Saugus has really brought me to an understanding of my own short comings, and I don't know how I can change to be a better missionary, in one of our district meetings we spoke on change and left it to the missionaries in our district to help understand what we can do, and one of the sisters said that we must first understand what we lack and she shared the experience of the Rich young merchant when he asked "what lack I yet?" So our challenge in our district was to pray fervently to ask what we lack, and I have come to find that I lack a lot of confidence to act. So a lot of my studies have been dedicated to how I can gain confidence, and everything usually boils down into Faith, having faith in the Lord and putting full trust in him breeds confidence.
I have come to realize that another one of my shortcomings is in writing letters and emails, I think way too much on what I am going to say and soon run out of things to say.
all I really want to say is be faithful, and grow your testimonies, Abby and Mia, try to read in the scriptures as much as you can, because in them holds the words on life, and I have found so much steadfastness in them, I challenge each and everyone of you to not only strengthen yourselves but share these words with everyone.
We are fighting a real war here, and we need every man and woman to fight for God.
I love you all so much.
I Got Matthews letter, and I have my response ready to send so I will be sending that today.
You all look amazing, and I am so glad I have the chance to see you.
The first picture is me my district, from right to left
Second picture is our boy band picture with me Elder Thorpe, Elder Clark and Elder Wade looking the other way
us goofing off again
Us at David Garabays Baptizm
Right to Left