Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Last MTC letter - General Conference thoughts

Sunday, Oct 6, 2013
Dear Family,
   If you’ve sent me an email recently, I still haven’t read it.  I’ve been especially tight-scheduled with General Conference these two days.  I’ll get back to you about anything you may have snet, but it may still be a little while.  (It’s probably more important to pack in order to arrive with all my things, and without a $200 overweight fee, than to write back right now about the slightly less urgent things I get in emails.)  One thing I will mention; I got Dad’s DearElder.  Thank you for sending that to me.  It’s good to hear from you and laugh as I read at night.  I liked hearing your thoughts about the poem; I thought of it when I heard Elder Uchtdorf speak at Priesthood session last night.  I thought the messages those two had in common were very good, and will probably help me change my view of “failure.”

Another thing I have learned from Conference so far:  Actually, I’ll just tell you what action I’ve been motivated to take by watching these conference addresses.  I have resolved to be a happy, outwardly cheerful missionary.  I want to make no one reluctant to converse with me or ask me a question because my countenance is gloomy or downcast.   I think of my favorite people to be around, and realize that they are always smiling, willing to talk, and uplifting in their words and tone of voice.  This is the kind of person I want to be as I greet people in Singapore and Malaysia, and for the rest of my life.
  I remember a few points from Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which I wish I could read again.  Even though I can’t read the book as a missionary, I would love it if you would send me the quote (from some other writer whose name I forget, not Carnegie) which contains at some point, “Whenever you go out of doors . . .” and ends with “we are gods in the chrysalis.”  I think it’s right at the end of one of the middle chapters – could anyone find time to send it to me?  Thanks!
Anyway, I was especially inspired by the following, likely misquoted, teachings from Conference:
-  It’s not where we have been, or where we are, but where we are willing to go.  – Edward Dube
-  Prioritize, simplify, take care of the things I already have.  Instead of asking the Lord to give me more, learn to do more with less.  – David A. Bednar
-  Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.  No one becomes a champion without effort, without discipline, and without making mistakes.  – Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
-  Believe in miracles – hope is never lost.  If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong.  You are infinitely more than your afflictions or limitations. – Jeffrey R. Holland
-  Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval.  One who faces his fears with dignity has courage.  – Dallin H. Oaks
And from my favorite talk by M. Russell Ballard:
-  It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best, when we are on the Lord’s errand.  There is no greater joy in life than being anxiously engaged in the work of the Lord.”
I found all of those things very encouraging, and I hope I can always remember to carry these things in my heart, and build my character upon them.  From Elder Ballard’s words, especially, I thought to ask these questions:
 Am I living up to my potential?
Am I filled with joy because of the work?
Moreover, am I filled with joy in order to do the work?
It has been my experience in the MTC, by my own choice, that every day is better than the last, and I find myself wondering each night how the day passed so quickly.  Although I’m sure that I will encounter great challenges in the field, I’m ready now to go out into the world and be diligent, bold, and joyous in doing the Lord’s work, taking with me the fire that has grown brighter within me in the last two months. 
Thank you again for all your love and your prayers, especially as I leave in 2 days. (Ahhh!)  I love you, too!
Sister Mina Edwards (my cousin) will leave for the L'viv, Ukraine mission in a month

I pose awkwardly with Sister Missy Broadbent

I pose awkwardly with Zan Ferrin, BYU student and my room inspector
Elder Fletcher and Elder Murray sprain their ankles in the same basketball game.  Sad day!
Elder Fletcher has Halloween and Christmas today.
Elder Fletcher has approximately half-a-trillion pounds of candy.  (and this is just one drawer!)

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