Mi querida familia,
Thanks for everything! Liz, you look absolutely beautiful in your prom picture! I love you all so much.
I did end up getting a 10 day extension so this will not be my last email home, but next week will. I'm pretty excited that get to tarry I little longer in OKC. We have two baptismal services planned for the next two weeks, one from the sister missionaries and then the Clements family on May 10th. The service will be at 10 am and then I fly home at 3:15. It will be a crazy day. I still get to go to the temple this Wednesday with my MTC group and spend the night at the mission home, and then Thursday I head back to my area to keep working. Elder Beus and I (much to Elder Beus' dismay) will be in a trio with Elder Collins. Let's just hope we all don't self-destruct in 10 days from cramming into a small apartment. Just kidding, I'm sure we'll all be best of friends.
We had such a crazy weekend. Saturday was probably one of the most incredible/stressful days of my life. Elder Beus and I went to Paul's Valley to go see a family get baptized that Elder Beus helped teach and find. It was one of the most spititual experiences of my life. The husband and two sons got baptized, the mom (recently reactivated) gave a talk, the sister missionary that originally taught and baptized the mom and grandma 20 years ago came back, and it was just very apparent that the Lord's hand was in it all. The main theme that kept coming up was how we need to be willing to make sacrifices and hard decisions in order for God's plans to come to pass. The sister missionary was the only convert in her family, and right before she left on her mission, her mother (not a member) was diagnosed with cancer and was going to die. Her family begged her to not go on a mission, but this sister missionary decided that serving the Lord was more important than anything, and perhaps that includes family. And this sister missionary met a young mother with her daughter who got baptized, and then we just saw the baptism of the daughter's family. I was just so astounded. This Church is true. God's hand is in it. The REstored Gospel saves families from the calamities and temptations of this world if we will just listen to the Holy Ghost!
Anyways great baptism, and Paul's Valley is beautiful, it reminded me of Vernal.
Then later that day, Elder Beus and I walked through one of the most intense/stressful experiences of our lives. It was John's birthday, but it quickly turned into a huge fiasco. John got angry at something and it all blew up, no one was happy and we showed up right when everyone was at the peak of anger. John was crying. And I just felt so sad. Satan is so tricky. If he can one person angry enough, he can destroy the happiness of 10. We must be mature enough to forgive and not be easily offended and avoid contention. Elder Beus and I went to buy a birthday cake to help cheer John up and that helped a ton.
Then part 2 of the fiasco started. Michelle and her three kids were living in an apartment with a less active who was doing bad things (bad enough that would risk Michelle losing the three kids). So Tammy, the mom, enlisted our help to go move all of Michelle's stuff out. So we went, we assumed that we'd put all the stuff at Brother Holman's house. Then we get to the less active member's apartment and emotions just blew up. Anger filled the air, Tammy was mad at this less active member. We ended up moving all of Michelle's stuff to our apartment because Brother Holman didn't have room at his house. And then yesterday we moved all of Michelle's stuff to a member's house.
I just gave you the watered down version, but now Tammy isn't sure about being baptized, Michelle is homeless, and we aren't sure if we will have a baptism on the 10th.
Don't choose to be angry! It does absolutely no good. I'm grateful that the mission has taught me to be patient with people and love them even if they offend you.
So even with the stressful weekend, I'm still hopeful and happy. Some of the missionaries surprised me this morning with coming to our apartment to decorate the door and our truck for my birthday, and I'm just overcome with gratitude for these last two years that I've had to change and repent and become a better man. I hope that these next few weeks will all work out. Even if they don't, my happiness does not depend on the good or bad decisions of others; it comes from living a life of consistent, true principles. Sure I rejoice when are baptized into the Church, and I grieve when others don't accept the message, but I know that I've made sacred covenants that if I keep, the rewards of eternity will outweigh everything.
I love you all! Have a great and I pray that you enjoy the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I gave a talk yesterday in church and I think the best way to not sleep through the Restoration is if we always strive to follow the promptings of the spirit and stay from anything that will hinder the involvement of the Spirit in our lives (selfishness, addictions, competing priorities, see President Uchtdorf's talk from Priesthood Session.)