Monday, June 2, 2014

This is Country!

June 2, 2014

Dear Family,

This past week has flown by indeed. The day after I arrived we met with the Bishop to discuss how we could best serve the ward. I thought he would give us a couple of names and that would be the end of it. Instead he took us through the entire ward list name by name and identified active families, part-member families, inactive and less-active members. We went through until 9:00 pm and had to head home. Even then, we only got through a part of the list. 

We obtained maps of Andersen county and Palestine, and set about to plot each family on the maps. In the mission, missionaries are permitted only a certain number of miles per month.  It was near the end of the month and we had miles to spare so we set out to cover all the widespread members in the far reaches of the ward. This is country!

As Elder Heward and I have traversed Andersen county seeking out the lost sheep, I have grown in some regards. Going onto people's ranches, trailers, etc. without even knowing them at all has been scary at times. Some people are incredibly friendly, some are awkward, and some are unfriendly. Our Bishop told us that the ward is in need of all its members.  

Many active members hold multiple callings. That has proved a two edged sword that works both ways. In my previous wards, there were many people.  Instead of people shortages, there were calling shortages. When working with inactive, less active, and really anyone in general an approach of "you need the church" was what we had to work with. And with so many other churches already, there were few people interested. 

Now, we go about with the message of "the church needs you."  With this invitation, we encourage everyone - no matter what sins have been committed in the past don't let it stop you from serving God, participating in the work of salvation, and enjoying the blessings of God. Perhaps our efforts have already yielded fruit, perhaps not. But regardless of the choices of others, I can invite others to come unto Christ with boldness and I love it. 

I love you Dad. You so often encouraged me to improve, to do better. As much as I rolled my eyes, I listened still. I have found that as long as I offer myself fully to the Lord, holding nothing back and improving myself day by day, it does not matter what happens. It does not matter if I can point to numbers or worldly praise to feel good about my mission. I just feel great. Thanks for providing an amazing start to my life. Thanks for providing for my mission.

Love Ya!

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