Monday, March 13, 2017

Feb 26, 2017 - Remembering

Dad: - Remembering

Hi Josh

I'm sitting in bed in Florence Italy at 4 in the morning unable to sleep yet as the jet lag is full force. 

I happened to be reading some old talks and letters I'd written back when you were younger and had a flood of memories come to my mind. I am so proud of where you are and what you have had to overcome to get there.  I'll attach a couple. One is a letter I wrote to you after some struggles and one is some lessons I learned as we went through some of those struggles together. It made me ponder and reflect on the grace and power of the Savior to take any choice we make and every experience we have and turn it to our good and growth. 

I was also reading an old talk I wrote a few years ago  and came across one of my favorite quotes by Boyd K Packer that reminded me of your last letter and the role of tough moments on our lives. 

"We live in a day when the adversary stresses on every hand the philosophy of instant gratification. We seem to demand instant everything, including instant solutions to our problems. …
It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal.

Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out.
There is great purpose in our struggle in life.

Spiritual independence and self-reliance is a sustaining power in the Church. If we rob the members of that, how can they get revelation for themselves? How will they know there is a prophet of God? How can they get answers to prayers? How can they know for sure for themselves? …"

We are glad to hear you are getting fed more often. We are praying and hoping for miracles in your area so that you can meet and teach Californians ready to hear your message. 

I'm sure Sam may write to you about it, but we were proud of Sams initiative on Friday as he organized a successful "Mormon Party" at our place. We had about 16 youth come over from 5 - 12 and no video games were played. Just lots of old fashioned games and snacks. They got good use out of our air hockey table too. 

Abby is excited to go to her first winter camp this week-end. She was packing 11/2 weeks in advance. Just one more reminder that girls are different than boys. 

Ben plays his last basketball game today and he's actually pretty sad the season is over. It's been a tough one but he loves the feeling of brotherhood in the team. Something powerful about a shared experience. 

Steph called the other day to have company as she walked to her car after a late class. I love how she keeps in touch and I hope out family can continue to find ways to stay connected as you kids get older and more independent. 

Mom and I are looking forward to seeing Italy over the next two weeks. Yesterday we saw the David statue and marveled at the talent the Lord blessed Michaelangeo with. 

We will have more to report next week on our travels. The Lord has been so good to us. I'm feeling a strong desire to purify my thoughts and actions lately and can already feel an increase  in the spirit. As you seek the Lords help in finding those to need to hear the gospel in your area, cultivate the hope that come from doing all you can to qualify for his blessings and ask in faith. 

Love you lots. 


Some Pics from Florence

Josh:- New Transfer

Hey family! A whole new transfer and a whole world of possibilities, I have to be honest I love missionary work, but there is so many times that I feel completely inadequate this last week we only got to meet with 4 people, a lot fell through the cracks and we had a lot of missed opportunities partly to do with circumstance and partly to do with ill timing and bad planning. I have a hope that this transfer will be a better one, I want to be all the Lord needs me to be, with all my imperfections and weaknesses I know that they are given to me to be humble so I can trust in the Lord with all my might. It is pretty hard to do it, To live a consecrated life we need to turn our wills over to God, meaning to do what he wants done, say what he would say, act as he would act, Christ being our perfect example. 

My diet for these past weeks have consisted of Cereal, toasted pop tart treats and beef jerky, Elder Nelson has a bit of a knowledge of superheroes so we have been been discussing different ones, the one we have been most fascinated about is Batman, he of all superheroes we have agreed on is the most complex and in depth. 
Bruce Wayne was prepared at an early age to take down his most difficult foes that any normal person would have mental scarring over, threw his trials it made wo he was, just the same as us, we learn the best and are formed through our trials, Batman also gets the fact that he needs help from time to time so he has Alfred and often a sidekick to assist him, like that we need to learn to rely of each other for support and love. 

​We did a lot of service this week, I love giving service, we had the opportunity to pick up trash along a public walkway and from it we picked up a potential new Investigator, we were also able to go to a different christian denomination "the prince of peace episcopal church" to help them to feed the homeless, it reminded me of the declaration of king benjamin in mosaic 4:16-26, that as we impart of our substances to those who are in more need then we are living our religion, if we don't then we deny the faith. In "Joseph Smith:Prophet of The Restoration" there is a scene where they are helping an old lady chop wood and work around the yard and she comes out to speak with Joseph and says "I don't believe in your religion, but I thank you for your help." and Joseph says something that is pretty great he says, "I would say that is our religion." 
King Benjamin said "When you are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in service of your God"
May we remember to offer service at every opportunity.

I love you all so much and hope each one of you is safe, Mom and Dad in Italy Steph in Provo, and the rest back home, Look to God for your support. 



It's 9 p.m. here. Dad is snoring beside me. Haha. He can't stay awake even though he tried. Jet lag blues (I had the luxury of a nap.)

I spent the day alone in Florence today. Weird! I had no one to exclaim to or help me figure out the map. I did okay but it sure helped me realize that I love my family and experiencing life with them. Here's what I put on Intagram...

I also had the luxury of a long study session this morning, which I already wrote to you about. I'm learning more and more as I get older to always took to Christ. He is the Master Navigator. He said, "I came that ye will have life, and that more abundantly." Truth! I would like to have as abundant a life as possible, but that can only happen through the Saviour.

I also learned a very useful Italian phrase, "Parla inglese?" and most Italians will help me out when they see I'm making an attempt at their language. (The Canada pin that I am wearing might help a little, too.) I discovered a perfumery that is 400 years old, started by Dominican monks. Eventually their concoctions made it outside of Italy and became famous. So interesting. I bought some perfume that is 200 years old and it smells amazing. I explored the Santa Maria Novella, a huge, soaring basilica. The architecture is designed to draw our gaze upward, presumably to God, and it is definitely awe-inspiring. I sat in wonder and pondered on the way we worship. Personally, I'm grateful that the God I believe in let's me worship wherever I am; whether in my bedroom in prayer, at a Mormon temple or even in a basilica. 

 Love to you always, my boy. So proud. 

I'm excited for your new transfer! Where, exactly? And you need to eat more fruits and veggies! (Although our diets match today. Beef jerky is pretty yummy. Lol!)

And what is happening with your teeth? Details!

And, where are you now?

Josh Reply:

I love you mom, tell dad he is the best when he wakes up . 

Well I got a few cavities that was able to be filled and covered by the mission because i got them on the mission, they are filled and I am determined to keep them in perfect condition forever. so flossing twice a week and brushing rinsing with fluoride... I don't like cavities. I will try to eat better this week though all I have in the fridge is eggs and milk... and cheese and cereal getting into the habit of missionary meals... not a good idea. 

That made my week mom, I love you both so much!

I am still in Tarzana I will probably be here for 3 more months at least.

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