To first start off, I would just like to thank all of you for the examples I have had in my life. There have been so many people who have picked me up when I was struggling and have really thought about all the love you have shown me. The other night I was thinking while we were in a lesson. First thought, "It's not always easy, but it’s worth it." The first person I thought of was Quincy. I began to think back on my high school basketball career and honestly sometimes thought Coach was crazy sometimes.. But since I am done with all of that I couldn't be any more thankful for him and what he has shown me in life. It's absolutely crazy; the same things I learned from him apply here. There are SO many missionaries who are not on time and do not work hard at all. It bugs me SOO bad because they are just wasting their time. Playing basketball for the best coach in the nation has truly shown me hard work ethic and how important it is to be on time. There are so many more great things that I learned but I just want to thank Quincy for being like a father to me and showing me the ropes how to work hard. No wonder he is the best coach in the state. I have learned so many life lessons from him and he will always be one of my heroes.
So, this past week was pretty hard. I cannot tell you how ready I am to leave this place and go to Germany. Yeah, the MTC is great and all but I am so ready to get out and teach. Sitting in a chair for so long has absolutely killed me and I have had the worst back pains. My companion gave me a massage for about 1 hour last night because I honestly was in so much pain. I am so grateful for him. But my back is feeling a little bit better and I am doing a lot better. My companion is doing awesome, this past week we have finally figured everything out. It's so easy to find your weaknesses when you live with someone 24/7. I have learned so much in just a month being here. I feel like a changed man already. He is doing awesome and I love him. He is one of the most spiritual guys I know and it has shown me so much. Yes, sometimes I think he is crazy but he has taught me so much.
Learning German has been very tough, but honestly the gift of tongues is real... The other day we were Skyping some investigators from Germany and Switzerland and I was having a full on conversation with them and explaining everything perfectly. (At least I thought so). My companion is really good at German so sometimes it can be super frustrating but I know the Lord has blessed me and if I can continue to work even harder I will be blessed even more. The most frustrating part is I can understand everything my teacher is saying but, speaking it is so hard. German is actually a pretty hard language to learn but I am slowly picking it up and working my hardest.
I love that Talons Farewell went great. Brother Harper is the man and took notes of it and wrote them all to me. I loved seeing pictures of all my best friends (Taylor, Shanae, Talon, Bobby, Jared, Dawson, Riley, Jesse) haha I love them so very much and so grateful for the examples they are in my life. We are all best friends and I can't wait to share these same experiences with them when they are out here. I can't wait especially for Talon to come in 1 WEEK!!! Ahhhhh I am so pumped, I am going to meet him out on the curb and I am giving him the biggest hug! I wish all my friends were coming in next week. Keep staying close to the Lord and pray often. I am proud of you guys and keep up the good work. It is the best decision I have ever made to come out on a mission and I hope you will feel the same way.
For the spiritual part, Elder Craig Zwick from the 70 came and spoke to us for our Tuesday devotional. Which are the best days of the week. It really did help me to understand a ton more about how to be a better missionary. So he was the architect for the Portland Temple and had 6 points to building the temple that could help us in missionary work they are;
1. Start with the End in mind.
My thoughts on this is what kind of person do you want people to know you as and remember you as? I need to develop more Christ like attributes and I want people to remember me as a good guy who really loves Our Savior.
2. Strong Desire and Commitment
Coming out here on the mission you need a lot of help from our Father in Heaven. Sacrificing so much is hard but committing myself to the Lord is even better and serving him with all my heart, mind, might and strength.
3. Willingness and Discipline to work Hard
Again, relating back to Quincy for helping me work hard. Even watching how hard my Mom, Dad, brothers and sister work for what they want. I know I have been blessed with them as my family. And families can be together forever.
4. Prepare for Challenges
There are so many challenges not only out here on the mission but in life as well. Prepare for them and remember the scripture Alma 36:3.
5. Structural and spiritual integrity.
Strengthen our faith in our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and develop Christ like attributes.
6. Total Dedication to the Lord
Being out on a mission has shown me so much how much the Lord loves each and every one of us. I have felt my Saviors love and forgiveness for me. My Favorite quote I heard this week is on a Mormon message it said, "I have let my Heavenly Father down so many times, but he has never let me down. And, I know for a fact he never will." The atonement is powerful. Jesus Christ loves each and everyone one of us and was willing to Sacrifice for the sins we have made in our life.
Again, I love this gospel with all of my heart. I have never felt this close to my Heavenly Father. Some times are super rough but I am hanging in there and knowing this is the best thing for me right now. My testimony is strengthening stronger and stronger every day I am here and I am learning what type of person I want to be to help others. I am learning Christ like attributes and if we all can do that we will all feel our Saviors love for us.
I love and miss you all!