Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 13, 2017 - Shafts in the Whirlwind

From Josh:

This week I realized something pretty scary, during the beginning part of the week a lot of our lessons when I went to go teach the words would catch in my mouth and when I did speak It always came out confusing, so I really had to look at my life and found that a lot of the problem had been that I was neglecting my studies, the spirit had not been able to come into my life as strong because I was not creating an environment where it could thrive, this had several negative effects in my ministry, I became less confident, confused as to the things I was teaching, I began to doubt a few things that I believed... and I realized that neglecting even a few days worth of study can lead to these things and It scared me into re evaluating not only how I was studying but why I was doing studies in the first place, was it because I was told to? or because I wanted the spirit that day? was it because I was following a mission challenge or because I was honestly seeking the truths found in the Book of Mormon and the Bible? I hope that everyone can learn from my experience and recognize that without the small and simple things we would be open to all the shafts that Satan is throwing at us daily.

Another thing I seem to be struggling with at this current time is Charity, I have realized that I get frustrated with many things people do, missionaries, people, right now I hesitate to talk to people who claim a certain religion, there is a specific denomination which preaches Anti Mormon sermons and they love to take our time and debate as to religion and relate opposing views to convince us of our devilish ways, and whenever I come in contact with them I struggle to share our beliefs because I know that it will most definitely lead to a confrontational experience. I fear that at every moment Satan is doing anything and everything in his power to negate the effect of God on this world and to the few faithful he will try everything to stop them from sharing the Gospel. And it is worse that we relate outcomes on past experiences, if those past experiences of sharing the Gospel have been negative then there is a fear that comes into sharing the gospel. 

This week I have been surviving on Hot Pockets and eggs... its not that I have not money, it is that 
1. I have developed a "quick" meal mentality and that has kept me from buying any time consuming ingredients 
2. My mind shuts down when i shop. 
3. I am not good at planning my shopping list.

any tips for shopping? 

Other then that my companion is getting really trunky as he is on his last three weeks and a few of the members here have found my weakness, as they relate superhero lore and future movies, that make me pretty excited, they also get my companion sent into a trunky wave. 


If you want a few more details all you gotta do is ask. I am not really good at thinking about my week on my own. :)

From Dad:

Shoot Josh, 

Sorry I didn't get a letter off and this is probably too late. I'll send some info anyways so you get it next week.

It's been a crazy week in many ways. From a flooding basement to end of the year concerts and Seminary graduation, we've been running a lot.

I'm grateful you are recognizing the times when you need to improve and are taking steps to do it. I need to follow you example. I'm not studying as consistently as I need to lately either and it does make a difference.

I don't think there is anything wrong with being wise about who you look to share the gospel with. You are there to find and teach those whom the Lord has prepared. Discerning by the spirit those who are more interested in berating and bashing than learning and accepting the gospel is part of your calling. Recall the story of Alma as he taught the people in Alma 32 when he turned away from those who weren't ready to hear and instead taught those who were humbled and ready.

Last week, Ben competed and did well in provincial festival. He was very relieved to be done piano competitions for the year. I was proud of him. I had an awkward parent moment during the performance. I hadn’t listened to the whole Beethoven piece end to end very many times, and when Ben completed one movement and was about to move into the next of his first piece, I thought he was done and needed to wait for the adjudicator to make notes so I began whispering almost unconsciously “Wait, wait”. It caused Ben to look up in a bit of confusion before he went ahead and finished the second movement. I was quite embarrassed and ducked my head a little and thought that there is always endless opportunities for humility!



He had a fun chance to play his “fun” songs (Root beer rag, Lost Boys, Waterfall) during his school choir concert at Hawerlak park in front of about 200 people! He was asked to do some preview music before the concert and he played “Lost Boys” and “Waterfall”. I was a little disappointed that he didn’t play “Root Beer Rag” by Billy Joel, as he had never had a chance or forum to play it, until I learned that he would be playing again while they took down the Jazz band setup. His teacher, Mr. Steinwinkl stood up and announced to the crowd “Who wants to hear Ben Smith play again?” This was greeted by a chorus of cheers and Ben sat down, tested the volume on the piano and proceeded to let his fingers fly! He was so into it he barely noticed that the choir was ready to start and had to get a cut off signal from his teacher before ending it a little early. The crowd cheered and some stood up and gave him a partial standing ovation. He cooly acknowledged the applause and took his place in the choir. It was a fun, proud parent moment.



Last Wednesday, I had a frustrating evening as none of the Priests showed up for our canoeing activity on Wizard Lake. So I sent a few text messages and Sam and I went Canoeing anyways. I sure love your brother Sam. He’s going to make a great missionary. He was called on to report his experience going to a fireside with Elder Ballard on Saturday on the spur of the moment in church and didn’t even hesitate and did an amazing job.

   




(I’m not a very good selfie taker. I can’t seem to avoid the double chin affect 😊 )

We also enjoyed going to Abby’s end of year concert for Acro Dance. She did well and I was blown away at how much she’s grown up and looks like a YW now. Especially with make up!



As for your question about shopping and eating, I probably wasn’t much better. I ate mostly potatoes and hamburger gravy on my mission with Poutine and cheese toast hot dogs supplementing. Hopefully member meals help with the nutrition! Just remember how closely our bodies and spirits are connected! Taking time to rejuvenate the body with good food will help your body and by extension your mind, thoughts and ability to teach by the spirit.

I’d challenge you, Josh, to lead out and help your companion finish strong to the end. These are the most effective weeks and months of your mission. You have learned by your own experience the ups and downs, how to teach by the spirit. Show the Lord you are “All In” and willing to serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength to the end.

You’re an inspiration and a blessing to us as a family. Because of your choice to serve, your siblings will serve and the blessings of the Gospel will continue in our family “for all generations of time and throughout all eternity”.

We are sending your license so when you get it make sure the Mission President knows so you can drive again 😊

Love,

Dad.

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