Things are finally back to normal. I’m back from Zone Conference, Finland and everything and the next 3 or 4 weeks are just going to be straight up missionary weeks, which will be fabulous! We had a great time on our visa trip which, although it was shortened, was very relaxing. Something about being able to walk around architecture in Helsinki and just enjoy the air, clean water, and food that you can’t buy in Russia is a very therapeutic experience (not to mention the spiritual high created by being able to visit the Helsinki temple). I was able to spend lots of time with my close mission buddies from way back at the mtc– like Elder Nelson, Player, Rupper and Sister Calderwood (and Elder Wheeler who wasn’t in the mtc with me but I still loved hanging out with him). We played a whole lot of catch phrase, thanks to my families timely package. That helped fill the somewhere-around-10 hours of time overall that we spent in airports in Moscow.
The other day I read an article in the Liahona (a church magazine) that really touched me. In the article there was a teacher who shared a lesson about the Book of Mormon when Nephi and his brothers had to go back 3 times to get the plates– a scripture record engraved on brass plates– from evil Laban. After they had failed 2 times, Nephi’s brothers were discouraged, but Nephi went back the third time, not even knowing ahead of time exactly what he would do. He just followed the Spirit and trusted that God would lead him to success if he would put forth his own effort and show his faith. The article was about perseverance. In our lives we have these far off goals– maybe it’s who we want to become in the future, maybe it’s the life we want to have down the road, or some other hope that we have– that the world can be a better place, or that we can one day return to live with God. It’s important as we face difficulties along the way that we continually “go back for our plates.” I’m out of time, but there’s this quote that I really loved that I want to share with you: “Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. Iti s not idly, passively waiting for a good thing to happen. It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying.” Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ, no matter what happens, as long as we don’t give up, we will not fail.
thanks for your emails, thoughts, prayers, love!
Sean- if i were to do this crazy bike thing with you guys– would i have to have stuff organized before i got home? documents filled out, etc? when would you start? i’m not sure if i’ll be down or not, but it’s def. interesting
andrew- I need your address. I don’t know where to send stuff to you, where you’ll be living in 2-4 weeks. So let me know and i’ve got a letter with your name on it just waiting to be passed through the Russian mail system 🙂
Caitlin– you’ve got a letter on the way
Amber– you too. and I haven’t gotten anything in the mail from you, which means i probably won’t until the end of this transfer, in 3 weeks (idk if you’ve sent something or not, but jsyk)
Roman Ignatyev– I passed a cookbook to the couple who serve in the temple in Helsinki. I don’t know when you’ll get it, but hopefully some time soon! 🙂 We miss you!