Hiowa! (Pronounced Hi-O-Wa... Say it out loud. I made it up, cause I'm in Iowa...:))
Here I am again, one week further into the mission! Just to explain the title of my email, I need to spin you a little story first.
So Elder Lindhardt was a cross country runner in high school, and he was pretty good too. We go running every other morning, just like Elder Adamson and I would. Now, I don't want to give anyone any crazy ideas, so let me explain. When I say run, I mean that Elder Lindhardt runs and I frequently ask him to slow down so I don't keel over and die. If we make it two miles, it's been a good day. But! I need to stay in shape, so we keep running!
Our regular course that we run is down by the Mississippi in a park right along the banks. For those of you who have never been to the Mississippi or have any illusions about it's cleanliness, it's probably the grossest river I've ever seen. It has these MASSIVE lily pads growing in huge patches all over the place. I'm 90% sure that it's toxic, and I have a hard time imagining why people would take a boat out on it, but they do!
So, naturally, today as we ran by the river, my companion said, "man, I really want to go and touch that water." I responded as my old companion would have, "If you do, you'll probably grow a third arm." "Wait, from where? Like my stomach?" Elder Lindhardt says with a puzzled look on his face, then suddenly he grins, "Sweet. I'm gonna go touch it!"
I wish it HAD made him grow a third arm. Maybe it would have slowed him down and helped me out a bit with the crazy pace! But alas, he still only has 2 arms!
Anyway, I have some serious questions! Dad, you told me when Melanie leaves on her mission, but you definitely left out where she is going! That's really important! Also, I can't believe Shaun is home. That is amazing! It seems like he has been gone for forever, but at the same time, he was at college for a long time before he left as well. It sounds like he really did some good work down there in Brazil. That's why I love that guy! Tell him I say hello and welcome home!
Also, Brooke and Lyle sound like they are doing so good! I loved hearing about them canning and making dried fruit with Aunt Becky. I love them both a lot!
Dad, about what you mentioned with the grief for mom, that is actually very interesting. This last week was probably the hardest week of my life for the exact same reason, but here is the story.
We had Elder Robert C. Gay of the Seventy come to our mission this last week and give us a zone conference, and out of the 8 zones (about 190 missionaries) he interviewed 4 missionaries. One of the missionaries that he interviewed was me! I knew my time would be short, so the second I got in there, I started to just spill my guts to him. You see, when Mom passed, President Jergensen had been my mission president and he had helped me a lot. Not only that, but Elder Adamson knew the intricate details of the whole situation, and HE helped me a lot. Well, President Jergensen left shortly after I arrived, and then Elder Adamson just left last month. That made me feel more alone than I think I ever have before, and the feelings of stress and grief came rushing back. After I had told all of this to Elder Gay, he asked me to stay for another few minutes while he interviewed the other missionaries, and right after, he wanted to give me a blessing with President Jensen.
That blessing said that I would have the power to discern Mom's hand in the work that I was doing, along with the blessing that I would be able to turn to my mission president at any time that I needed. It also gave other blessings and told me to "get lost in the lives of the investigators."
The next morning, while pondering this spiritual experience, I began to pray harder than I have ever prayed in my life that I would have discernment right then. I began to ask my Heavenly Father if He would please just have Mom appear to me. Others have seen their loved ones, so why couldn't I? I prayed and prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. I went back to my studies feeling defeated, but with a prompting. "Read John 14" This is the scripture I read.
18 "I will not leave you comfortless (the greek footnote is "orphaned"); I will come to you."
19 "Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more; But ye shall see me: Because I live, ye shall live also." I learned that right now she is in a place where physically, I won't see her for a long time, but His promise still stands: "ye shall see [her]: Because [she] lives"
27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
I wanted flashy and immediate, but that is how the world gives. he does things a bit differently. he gives quietly, patiently, powerfully, and CONSTANTLY. He gives individually.
I know the gospel is true. I feel the prayers that you send my way every day. I wouldn't have made it this far without help from each of my family members. I'm sorry this is so long, but I've had a lot on my mind this week! Sorry sorry sorry. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
I love you Dad. I love you family! Thank you for everything you do. Hold on to His hand. He won't let you down!