Thank you everyone for sending such thoughtful emails, letters and packages this week. I am really grateful for all of you love and support. Also thank you to Grandma and Grandpa and Papa and Ama for your fun cards and your generosity, I really loved them. You all helped to make this a really great birthday, one that I will always remember.
I really loved the birthday package that you sent as well. I have loved reading those books, showing the little poster off to the other missionaries, wearing that awesome tie (I have gotten a lot of compliments on it and it is my new favorite), and using my new scripture case. We are actually planning on using that little book mark to teach an investigator about the Plan of Salvation soon too! It was a really good birthday and gave me an added boost of motivation to be a better missionary. Tank you Tank you!
The Dikets had us over for dinner on my birthday and they made some good Mexican food, Tacos. They also had this death by chocolate cake...a 4 layers dark chocolate cake that like its name is to die for. They also gave me a bunch of fun, wacky presents and I really did feel loved. After that Elder Bennett and I had our own little birthday party at our apartment, where we had the little cake bites, sang happy birthday to me and took weird pictures and a funny video to document it all, I will have to find a way to send it to you sometime haha. It was a really good birthday, so thank you again everybody for making it special! It is hard to express how awesome it really was.
This week was pretty crazy, we had two meetings in New Orleans that took up most of our day, Zone Conference and Zone Training Meeting. President wall in Zone conference talked a lot about hope. As Missionaries and also as members we are messengers of hope. President Wall, years ago, was really afraid of elevators and getting stuck in one and so his solution was to carry a heavy duty crowbar with him in his suitcase everywhere that he went. He could use this crowbar to pry open the door, unlock the hatch at the top, or even chop through the wall if he needed to haha. But this crowbar was a symbol of hope for him, something that he could cling to, something that brought him peace of mind even though he never had to use it. Our duty is to bring hope into others life through inviting them closer to Christ. Hope can come in a variety of ways, maybe cookies, or a smile or mowing somebodies lawn, or a spiritual message just for them. Anyways we can help people have hope in a world that seems to be void of it. Pretty cool! He also talked about struggles that we all have, he related it to a story about a butterfly. Once there was a scientist that was observing a butterfly making its way out of its cocoon. The butterfly was struggling to pull itself out and seemed to be on the verge of giving up, so the man decided to help it and cut it out. The butterfly then fell to the ground with a fat body and shriveled up wings and ended up dying. For butterflies to fully develop they have to struggle their way out of their cocoon on their own. The struggles and challenges is what gives them their wings and helps them become what they are meant to become. President Wall said that is just like all of us. Our struggles and challenges help us to become who we need to be, help us to develop spiritual wings. He then gave us all butterflies (or eagles) to tape on the back of our name tags, so that whenever we are having a hard day, we can pull it off and remember that we are being challenged to become more like our Savior.
Recently I have felt like I have been a little static in my progression. Just sort of treading water, sitting in my cocoon and not really going anywhere. I have noticed that I have a lot of work to do to be stripped of my pride and become like a little child, humble, gentle and meek. Sometimes I wish I was still quiet and shy always quick to listen rather than quick to speak. But... I am so grateful for the opportunity to change and to become better through the grace of Christ. I know I have a lot to work on, but that is what the refiners fire is all about right? haha it is good to have Elder Bennett too because it helps me to stay on my toes and try to be a good example.
This week we also played beach volleyball with the district which was a lot of fun, went out to lunch to this really good hamburger place in New Orleans as a district for my birthday on Friday, had some members put some music on my ipod and I have been listening to Phil Collins for the last couple of days. I especially love the Brother Bear soundtrack because the song look through my eyes is essentially a song about the gospel and Brother Bear is my nickname. hehe. Also Dad and Haley and Mom and anybody else who wants to haha you guys should look up this band called the Lower Lights, they are a mormon folk band that signs hymns like folk or bluegrass songs, it is really cool. I sent you one of their songs on that CD, the banjo rendition of Hie to Kolob. It is a lot of fun. And I loved how you listened to the Avett Brothers and Tallest man for my birthday, you lucked out haha.
Maybe to end I will share to cool miracles that we saw this week...both at walmart, who could have guessed?!
So last P-day we were walking through walmart and the assistant manager walked past us and just asked us how our day was going like we were already best friends. We got pretty excited haha because we love getting warm hellos. She then said, "Hey, I need you guys to bring me that book." So we talked to her a little bit and told her that we would come back the next day with the book. We came back tuesday night looking for her and she wasn't there, she had already gotten off work. We were in line just buying a little snack and the lady in front of us started talking to us. She said, "You guys must be Mormon missionaries. I can tell by your little costume." We got to talking to her and it turns out that she is head of admissions at Nicholls university and she knows President Stock, Charlie Stubbs and loves Donny Osmond. She said she had met with missionaries in the past and she would like us to stop by her office this week and said that if we need anything to give her a call. We gave her a Book of Mormon and thanked her and are really looking forward to meeting with her this week. That was a miracle and a tender mercy but we still needed to bring the other person we met there a Book of Mormon. The next morning we went to Walmart and ran into Lisa right away, we gave her the Book and she started telling us how years ago she worked for a Mormon dentist, he gave her a hardcover Book of Mormon with his testimony and she had kept it with her for 20 years. Recently she moved and she misplaced it in the move and was really sad. When she saw us in Walmart, she decided to ask us if we had one and she was really excited that we could bring her one. As soon as we handed it to her, she pulled it in and said " I love this Book." We gave her our number and told her to call us anytime. People really are prepared to hear the gospel and it is so cool to see how Heavenly Father is putting them in our path. Being a missionary is really fun!
I love you guys so much and thank you for all of your prayers, I know that they are helping these miracles to happen. lub you.
Prayers and Thoughts always
Elder Brother Bear
Ps I did get your email and I am glad you guys are having such a fun fall break!