It is really cold here. About 9 degrees in the morning and in the day it gets up to about 15 degrees. Very warm. Haha. I love it anyways. It helps people feel compassion for us so it is more likely that we will be able to go into people's homes and teach a message. It also causes people to be home more so we are not knocking on so many empty doors. That is nice.
This past week has been an interesting week. We had talked to lots of return missionaries that are less active and it makes me sad to see that. There was one person who was an AP on his mission and he went less active and has a difficult time believing in God. He still reads the Book of Mormon and watches conference and lets his wife and kids go to church, but he is struggling so much. It is sad to see that backwards progression. There have been lots of those people here. We have apartments in our area. It is different than most of my other areas. We get to see families that have strange relationships (gays lesbians). We try to get in and teach them and most of them used to be active members and they just went astray. It is different. They now want nothing to do with the Church.
We have an investigator from Korea and he is an exchange student and wants to be baptized. He will be baptized this week. I am really excited for that to happen. He is having another foster kid who is 16 do the baptism. That will be a neat experience. I am excited. We are doing well in this area. I learned a lot from our mission president this past week. We had a mission leadership training meeting and it was very inspirational. I loved it. There are huge changes happening in our mission. He is changing a lot of the things of our last mission president. Our mission was a little unique because we were so close together we could do workouts together in the morning. Now that is gone. We also used to have district lunch about 2 times a week and that is gone as well. He just went through the whole mission and changed everything. Lots of missionaries are mad at him for the changes. I think it was necessary to make those changes. He told us a principle:
Are you facing the lord?
Now I am going to try to explain this, but it will be hard.
If I were to line people up each facing one direction (so you were looking at the back of a person's head) the first person is Christ. The next is the prophet then the mission president then zone leader then district leader and finally the missionary. (The missionary is not facing anyone). Do you see the picture?
So now if I were to turn the zone leader and face the mission president. That would symbolize him back talking the mission president or not taking his advice.
Now a huge problem arose. We have a leader who does not like what the mission president said. It causes so much contention in the rest of the line. Do you now see who we have to face? Not the Lord, but those we have stewardship over and the ones that the Lord is facing. We need to go in his direction and not the opposite way.
I hope this all made sense. I wish I could draw a picture.
Now what we all need to do is to follow our leaders, even if we do not understand. Our mission president said that he even does not understand why he is doing this. He said it was Revelation from the Lord! That is cool to be able to see inspiration happen in our mission. Now my job is to support him the best I can and I need to support the Lord's decision on everything.
Rumor in our mission is that we will all get iPads at the beginning of the new year! I hope it is true.
Cool thing that also happened. So Dad, you said that I might cover the prison in my mission. It is in my district and I ate lunch at the Serving Time Cafe (a restaurant on the prison ground and run by inmates). A doctor that works there payed for us and said that anytime we go in we say his name and they will put it on his tab. He said to do it as much as possible to show the inmates that work there an example. That was cool. He was a very nice guy and the food there is about $8 for both our our costs combined. I love that place. No we will not abuse it Mom we will be respectful of him and his kindness. It was still really cool.
I love my mission. It is a wonderful time to be a missionary. We have so many resources that we get to use. I love my mission. I could do this the rest of my life. The joys are so great and the spirit is so strong. This is the most righteous I have ever been in my whole life and I love it! I still have lots to work on, but I know that will the Lords help I can over come all! and I mean all!
I love you family. Have a happy Christmas!
Robert keep being the kind kid I know you as even as you grow up
Monica keep these great times in your life a memory.
Ben keep doing a great job at inspiring many people.
Alex and Bj I love your example for us. I remember when I was studying in your house. Alex and you were reading the scriptures and how much you loved them. Keep it up
Mom I love your letters and the example of a great Mom and the willingness to follow Christ in the responsibility he places on your shoulders. (example when your shoulder was frozen and did not move that did not stop you from going to the temple and from cooking us dinner and every day things [Ed. note: or directing the choir]. I was thinking about that in the temple a little bit ago and I felt your pain) you are a great Mom even when you need help to get dishes off the top of the shelf.
Dad I think of you often. Last night me and Elder Mansfield were talking about scouting and the love that both of us had in going on trips with our fathers. I see so many people that do not have fathers or fathers that don't do any thing with them. I am so lucky to have you as my father.
Thanks family for being so strong in the faith. It helps me a lot. I see many families that have one person that does not go to church or does not believe in Christ or many other things. I am grateful that I was born in this world with this family and this life. I can't thank you guys enough.