Dear Elder Smith,
I have it on good authority that you made Brenda Wright's day today. She texted me specifically to tell me what an awesome person you are. Well, I already know THAT, plus I've loved you for forever, so I don't take much convincing. I adore stories about how your goodness affects those around you.
Well, we're finally hoooooome. After a month of traveling. The weeds have taken over our garden and we have a lot of work to do on the acreage but it was worth it. I want to tell you about one "bad" day at Koocanusa. I was driving back to camp after picking the boys up from LYR when Dad messaged me with the news that the bank had withdrawn our financing for the house. Whoooo-weeee. What a mess. They were saying it was because of the dormant oil pump. Can you say STRESS? I offered a quick prayer and felt the immediate comforting influence of the Holy Ghost. I wondered how it was going to turn out. I arrived back at camp to sad faces all around. Mom was in too much pain to participate and was lying in her bed in the motorhome, Steve's van was broken down and needed an expensive new alternator, Mark's tent zipper had broken and he had to drive into Cranbrook to buy a new tent, my cousin Jeremy had a flat tire on his car, Corbin had been puking due to sun stroke..... and even Jamie was sad because the little wagon she depended on to haul stuff around had blown a tire.
Since food helps us to cope, we made and ate dinner and prayed together as a family for my mom and general help. It seems like a miracle thinking back on it but every single thing was resolved a day later.
The bank reinstated our financing because our banker forced the head office to review our file. Mom was in the hospital awaiting an emergency gall bladder surgery (which she is still recovering from, but she'll be okay). Mark's tent was fixed. Steve's vehicle was fixed. The wagon tire was fixed. Corbin was running around like nothing was ever wrong.
I feel like the lesson I learned was to bear all things with patience because it works out in the end. I'm still shocked by how quickly everything resolved though.
Then on Sunday, someone shared an experience he had on his mission about getting repeatedly set up to be slammed. He learned that contention is not the answer. He learned to simply bear testimony, which then a nice day and move on. I was thinking you've probably already had that lesson, eh?
So, three things: 1) bearing things with patience; 2) live your personal conviction without contention, and 3) Trust that things will work out.
Goodness always wins out in the end.
Love you a million,
From Josh: -Why a mission is Worth it
Man what a week there has been so much that I have been discouraged about and so much that I have been blown away by, just yesterday was stake conference and David Garibay (recent convert) got the opportunity to go up and give a talk about why he was converted and it was really amazing, he has had an interesting life that has brought him to this Gospel, and after stake conference we had the blessing of talking with him, and sharing a recent convert lesson, where we really just talked about his life and about the influence of this Gospel on families, He grew up in a home where his Mother was Jehovah's Witness and Father was Catholic and every sunday was always a religious war in their home, that resulted in a lot of confusion for him and a feeling that God just wasn't there, in his search for the truth throughout his life he has gone to many churches and talked with a ton of people, and in reflection he said that not one of them put their center on family. After our talk he asked a question that was really bothering him about the church, it seemed that whenever he asked a missionary about the churches stand about Homosexuality he was always sidestepped and the missionaries would always kind of go around the subject... I thought about how I might reply that would not be overly negative to people of that mind set, and before he asked we had talked about how families are central to Gods plan, and I told him that we love the sinner not the sin, wanting to go into more detail we talked about how everyone had specific challenges in life for some it is Pornography, in fact I have stuggled with Pornography in my life myself, and for others it is having those homosexual feelings we talked about how if families are central to Gods plan, anything that takes away from a complete family of a Mother and a Father as God has set in place is contrary to the Center of Gods plan, which as stated before is family, and thus destroys the essential role that family plays in our lives, while talking about how other churches aren't motivated by building the family I had the chance to testify about all that it has done in my family, and I am so grateful for the powerful influence of loving and Gospel centered parents, that we have a father who is worthy to bare the priesthood and be a guide and patriarch of our family, I told him how ever since I could remember we have had the blessing of the priesthood in the home, how dad could give us fathers blessings, and how we have grown together by reading from the scriptures and how we have programs in the church to strengthen the family, home teachers, youth programs, seminary, FHE that all are meant to build us up in the Gospel and have a Gospel centered family. In Fact David Garibay had a conversations with one of his co-workers who asked him what he believed and why, and David just turned the question back on him and asked, what is your religion doing to build you up to be a spiritual leader in your family and what is it doing to build up your family, and David told us that his co-worker said "I don't know, nothing I guess" I testify that this is the true Church, that it is the same organization that existed in the primitive church, that heading this church is truly Jesus Christ himself, and that no unhollowed hand can stop the work from Progressing.
We also had the opportunity to teach a family that we have been trying to get in with for a month and a half, there have been a lot of frustrations but honestly what has been keeping me going is really striving to be patient and the story of Dad's mission when over and over again he was trying to get in with a family and finally they got to teach him and his family by breaking into his house for him.
We finally got in to teach them yesterday and it was such a wonderful experience of the spirit, they kind of described what they had felt was lacking in the churches they went to and described what they wanted in a church, in doing so they basically described exactly what the Church of Jesus Christ is. We taught them the first lesson and invited them to baptism, we are hoping to get in to teach them soon and set a date for when they can be baptized.
These are the experiences that make it all worth it, we get doors slammed in our faces people putting us down for our beliefs, people who yell at us and try to prove us wrong with every means they can think of, but through it all the experiences make everything fade into the backround and just strengthen my faith that what we are doing is right.
Me after a long day of work
a couple sisters in our zone getting ready for a service project, from left to right, sister brown sister Brumbles, sister Hanson and sister Christianson
Me and Elder Postelnicu at the service project
More of service
and I am putting your cookbook to good use.
the sand canyon fire of last week.