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.
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
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..