So can you believe it? I've been out for 10 weeks! Well the biggest piece of news this week is that we got our travel plans! We get to fly Delta, so we get two carry ons and two bags to check. Its nice. A lot of missionaries going to Asia only get 1 carry on that can't exceed 15 lbs.
But the plans! We leave August 1st, and we fly from Salt Lake to LAX, then we fly from LAX to Bangkok! It's going to be such a long flight! We leave LA at 12:40 PM on August 1st and we arrive in Bangkok at11:05 PM on August 2nd! I'm so excited to finally get there! I'm not going to lie-- I'm kind of nervous, but I'm more excited than anything else! My branch president said that we could call home, and I can only call my parents, so I'll call home at around 7:30-9:30 if you will all be there. I hope so!
This week was great! Sunday was fantastic as usual. I loved watching the Tabernacle Choir in Music and the Spoken word singing all about the Pioneers. I absolutely LOVE Come Come Ye Saints. We had a lot of people talk to us about how we are pioneers. I realized I'm kind of a pioneer because no one in our family, as far as I know, has been to mainland Asia (Like real Asia. Jeru is in the Middle East-- Sorry Jennifer and Cate).
The fireside speaker on Sunday was Stephen B. Allen. It was our fourth time hearing from him. He is awesome! He produced the "home front" commercials for the church. He showed us a bunch of them. He showed us one with Ali Schneider. I didn't know that she was in a commercial ever. It was wonderful to see her. He talked to us about not giving up, and always believing in Christ. He told us that we go to serve with honor, so we must return with honor. One thing that I really liked that he said was "Don't ever do anything stupid. It is difficult for the Lord to protect us from ourselves." It's a very true statement. The Lord can protect us, but if we use our agency and choose to do somthing stupid, its hard for Him to protect us, because no matter what. He won't take our agency away from us.
Then, instead of watching Legacy, we went to watch a talk that Elder Holland gave at the MTC in 2006. All I can say is, Wow!
It ws an amazing talk. He told us that we are apostles with a lower case a, because we don't hold the keys of the Quorum of the 12. But for these two years (or 18 months), we have the opportunity to be apostolic. We defend the name of Jesus the Christ in all things, and in all times and in all places. I don't want to miss this chance I have now to be apostolic. From the moment I wake up, from the moment I go to bed I am striving to keep the spirit with me. The leaders of the church need this from us for 24 months, all day, everyday. Elder Holland told us, "Don't you dare go out and waste those 24 months." He also said, "Allow yourself to be put in the company of Peter, James, John, Isaiah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Alma, Amulek, Paul, Nephi and Lehi!"
(Hel 5). He said not to think about what you're going to do in real life. I quote, "Your mission is the closest to REAL LIFE you can get." And after our missions, he said we shouldn't go back to being who we were. Some things should change, but a lot should stay the same. Our love for the Lord, the people, our companinon. He said we should, "Keep the fire for your mission in your life forever."
He also told us a poem that I really like.
"Come to the edge he said, no we'll fall.
Come to the edge he said, no we'll fall.
Come to the edge he said. So we came to the edge.
He pushed us. and we flew."
Elder Holland said to go where miracles happen. So much depends on so little, we must go where there is high risk. It is part of following Christ. There is so much that he said, but I don't have enough time to share it with you. I will when I get home. But one more thing he said that really sticks out in my mind is this-- When investigators or members ask the question, "Why is this so hard?" we can share the answer that Elder Holland found for himself. The answer is, that the atonement of Jesus the Christ was hard. We can't be a true disciple until we have an experience similar to that of Christs. The road to Salvation goes through Gethsemane. It carries a cross. Salvation is hard because it is not a cheap experience. Why should it be easy for us if it was not easy for Him? It CAN'T be easy.There is nothing easy about this work when push comes to shove. Just sweat and tears. We go through hard things so that we feel a portion of what Christ felt. If a mission is done right, it's hard. It's the same with life. If you live your life right, its hard. Read Helaman 5 and Mosiah 27 to read about men who did hard things, because they lived their lives right. I know that these words are true. And I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that we must learn to know Him in this life. He will always be there to pilot us over life's tempestuous seas. Turn to Him daily.
I love you all more than words can express. Be safe. Be smart. Take care