HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. 9 YEAR OLD!!!!!!! How's my little buddy doing?! You're getting to be such a big guy! Pretty soon, you might even be able to beat me up!!! Well anyways, I hope you have the best birthday in whole wide world!!! I wish I could be there to give you great big hug! I sure miss you Joshua, and I am so proud of the great young man that you are becoming. You're always so good at making people laugh, AND you're so smart, and obedient, and cool (not to mention your huge muscles!). Keep being a great boy and listening to Mom and Dad. They know what they're talking about.
I love you so much more than you know. I think about you often. I love hearing about the funny things that you say, and even more, I look forward to being able to come home and spend time with you again. Until that time, I hope you have a great birthday and continue to smile and let your light shine! Heavenly Father loves you so much and is very proud of you. He is preparing you to become an outstanding husband and father. Keep reading the scriptures, praying a lot, and being righteous. Be a good example to Jacob and Caleb and everyone else around you. Again, I want you know Joshua that I love you very, very much!
Also, I want you to know that I have a testimony that this Church is true. Jesus Christ really did die for our sins. This is His Church. I know that we will be happy if we keep the commandments. Thank you for all of your faith and for choosing the right. I know that you made the right decision to be baptized. The whole reason why I am out here is because I am trying to other people to know that and do likewise.
You're such an awesome guy Joshua, and I'm so excited that you've turned 9 years old. You've got 10 more years to prepare and then you can be a missionary just like me. I know that you're going to be a really good missionary! I love you buddy, and I hope you have an amazing birthday!!!
Life on the mission is great. It's getting colder here, but hasn't snowed yet. We have 2 solid investigators right now: Samantha and Zeek Garcia. They came to church yesterday with their 2 kids (4 yr. old girl and baby boy), and later that evening they texted us saying thank you and that they had enjoyed church. We're really excited for them, and we have many other potentials who we're trying to contact right now. I hope all is going well back home.
No one commented on my t-shirt quote choice. Is that because you don't like it, but no one wants to tell me? It's okay-- I understand your predicament.
I'm sort of kidding, but in case that's true, I won't be offended if you want something different :)
Okay, I've got some time, so here are some of the things that I learned from my recent meetings:
Elder Jay E. Jensen:
"What would Sacrament Meeting be like without hymns?" Followed up with: "What would you're teaching be like without hymns?"
Reverence invites revelation.
Questions invite revelation.
"I'm never content with learning something until I can effectively teach it.
6 Principles to magnify your scipture study:
1. Pray- to the degree we pray, there will come a greater heighth, breadth, and depth to our understanding. This includes pondering. D&C 138. Pondering is a form of prayer. We should have "aha" moments regularly.
2. Pay the right price. What verbs in the scriptures are used to describe how we should study? (feast, search, liken, hearken, treasure up, etc...)
3. Link/Connect Ideas. Look for themes, patterns, processes, etc...
4. Create Outlines
5. Mark, annotate, cross-reference. "If there's white space, fill it up!"
6. Share- until you can articulate it, you need to work with it more.
Elder Russell M. Nelson:
In the last 2 months, 8 countries have been dedicated for missionary work.
"The Lord uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible." (said over and over again)
When you love the Lord more, your capacity to love others increases. Love must first be verticle, then horizontal.
You've got to BELIEVE! What's it going to hurt?
When teaching the gospel, we need to teach them how to really study and ponder the scriptures.
We must have URGENCY. There's no time to waste! We all need a little idle time, but I get sick of it very quickly. I'm happiest when I'm working.
The Spirit knows all things. Rely on Him to know what to say and do (all throughout life).
There are not enough brethren in the church with the desire to serve.
Desire- willing to pay the price. It's not easy.
When the Saints went west, Brigham Young wasn't concerned about them. What concerned him most, was his vision of our day. He was worried that we'd have it too easy.
I love you all! Have a great week!