Hey guys, I CAN¨T BELIEVE YOU MET ELDER JEFFERY HOLLAND! I’m so jealous, we watch his devotionals all the time here at the CCM and he has a spiritual presence that is like no other. Look up the devotional about checking your religion at the door at Dixie college. [Elder Holland's Talk he is referring to is here: http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2012/01/israel-israel-god-is-calling?lang=eng]. What did it feel like to meet him?
I can’t wait to leave this spiritual prison! haha we call it that because we grow so much but we can’t leave this gated community!
My Spanish is coming along and it is going well because I can kind of express myself okay through it, but I just need to improve my vocabulary. In less than a week, I will be in the field. I am kind of nervous for the field because I don’t want a trainer companion that is lazy or impatient, or is hard to get along with because I will be stuck with the guy for 3 months! It’s okay though, because the Lord knows all of us and if that is his will, then so be it, because He knows I have to learn something from it.
My experience has been great at the CCM and I am glad I was sent here rather than Provo because here you are forced to speak the language whereas Provo probably only speaks it in the classroom because everyone is American there. I just got the letters Monday, they were great! The newsletter thing was really nifty and I enjoyed receiving the copy of my blessings. Mail is like gold here, we only get to hear from families once a week.
We had a devotional about courage this week and it was really pumping all the missionaries up because it was really great. Courage is fragile, but is a strong thing. Fragile in the way that even one small thing can break it, but strong in the way that courage can break barriers and bring many good things to come to pass. For example one of the great examples of courage in the Libro De Mormon is Abinadi. Abinadi in the face of death from King Noah would not renounce his religion and his teaching even until he was burned alive. Job in the face of devastation and oppression would not renounce his faith. Mormon the only Nephite left from a once great nation, fled from the Lamanites and survived holding and keeping the faith that one day the church of Jesucristo would once again be revived on the earth. Joseph Smith through trials and tribulations would not give up on the faith he had in the Lord. All of these examples make me realize: would we be as courageous as these great people in the face of the same oppression? Would we have the courage to say I believe in Lord Jesus Christ while they are lighting piles of wood on fire at your bound feet? Would you have the courage to believe: One day someone will have the faith necessary to bring this church back to the face of the earth, after seeing the nation that you once fought for, and were so righteous, be devastated and fall into wickedness? Those are some kind of far out thoughts, but today many people do not have the courage to even talk about their religion with others. I can say that I lacked courage and had fear many times in my life, and I regret myself for having those feelings.
The mission is so great. I love it here being able to serve others. I pray as I enter the mission field next week, that I will have courage enough to work and preach the gospel to the best of my abilities and give it my all. I am on the Lord’s errand and on the Lord’s time so I have no desire to throw his efforts away. President Nickolaysen told us "you are here for only 2 years, I want you to go home and be exhausted because you gave all of your heart, might, mind, body, and soul, in the service of the Lord. I want you to go home with not a single drop of regret in your heart..." and what he said is true.
I am glad things back home are going really well. Keep working hard in school Elijah! I want you to do better than me! My biggest regret from school is not doing better than I should have. I realize now (kind of too late...) that time only passes you once, you can’t relive a moment, and you can’t go back and fix your grades from freshman year. So start early and stay ahead of the game. I will miss my friends that I made here, but I know that I will see them again. Most of them are going East with me anyways, and we figure some of us will probably be companions along the way.