Sunday, December 11, 2016

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 

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