1st and foremost - biggest birthday shout out to my OG brother Matt Lawrence aka Mufasa. See pic. Regrets and apologies that I couldn't share it with you, or at the very least wish you a happy day on the 13th
Gonna be skyping from the Caseres family's home. Angel and Susanna are their names. They don't speak English. I'll have 30-40 mins and it will be sometime between 11 am and 4 pm (Salta time). Not guaranteed this timing but that'll be the most likely. Christmas will be our p day next week so this is our last contact. I'll initiate the call. Whats your user name?
Most important thing concerning Skype (this comes directly from Pres. Levrino): "You will be speaking with a set-apart representative of Jesus Christ." I don't want this to sound arrogant or anything, but it's the truth. This call is about the worst thing I can do from the perspective of the mission and being focused, but the Church lets us do it for ya'll. Here's how it'll go: We're gonna talk about the obra misional, my investigators, the ward etc. I'd love to hear about your personal spiritual growth, appreciation for the Savior etc. Sorry, but I don't want to know about worldly things. Personal/family triumphs etc. are warmly welcomed, but movies, sports, music etc - nada.
This segways nicely into my message. Read Matthew 6:33 - "Mas buscad primeramente el reino de Dios y su justicia, y todas estas cosas os seran concedidas." Today, this morning, I finished the BoM (Book of Mormon) (my first complete read in the field). I read from Oct 22 to today, solely with the focus on resisting temptation (for me, its been to think about home, past and future, etc - aka "todas estas cosas.") It's taken me 10 weeks to really integrate myself away from my life and into the mission, and my first few weeks were mentally miserable as my mind wandered. I'm super, super happy now.
When we had the Christmas conference, when I read letters etc, I kinda got trunky (means wanting to pack up and head home). It distracts me from my calling, and neither side of my life benefits. I'll try to offer some advice for those of you who are in the world, working to not be of it. It's easy in the mission because I'm really not in the world anymore. I can testify that the happiness that results is sweet. This advice is inspired by Anna's awesome letter to me and a couple small things you (Mom) said.
Search the kingdom of God. Serve others - serve Him. Read your scrips, say your prayers, go to church. These things need to be priority number 1. When you get tempted to watch 5 hours of Netflix instead of that 1 or 2 hours of homework you have, read your scriptures, and then take care of business. I've wasted an accumulation of months on the things of the world, and I have literally nothing to show for it.
I'll leave my testimony of the power of the Spirit in helping us focus on the kingdom of God. I made the transition, leaving behind everything, thanks to the intense Spirit in the MTC and in the field. I can't explain it, but everyday I wake up, I want to work. I can't explain why, other than I know that I have the Spirit with me super strong.
Now those of you not on a mission, saying to yourselves: "easy for you since your a freakin missionary." I invite you to revisit your baptismal covenant and remind yourselves the amount of time God promises us His Spirit when we are obedient to it. You are entitled to 24/7 if you've been baptized. If you haven't, I invite you to the font. The church is true. God lives and loves. When we serve Him, and prioritize Him and His children instead of ourselves, we will be lifted far higher than if we only focused on ourselves. To answer your question Mom, I know without a doubt that if I literally lose myself in this work for 20 more months, I will find every thing I need when I get home. When we fast (a lot more than once a month), it is always for the benefit of God's specific children here in Limache.
To finish, I loved Brigham and Anna's letters in specific. I love you Anna. I regret not being better friends and I promise that'll change. When you feel lazy and unmotivated, serve someone else. Search the kingdom and you'll be happiest. Brigham - hahahahahahahhahaha loved the rogaine tidbit. Don't worry. Keep killing it in school and prepping for your mission. D and C 4:5 is your key. Develop those 4 attributes and strive to keep your eye single to His glory, and there will be no reason to be nervous. Faith implies action, Hope implies patience, Charity implies selflessness, and Love implies courage. You'll be so glad when you get out here, if you've devoted the time you need to to studying PMG (Preach My Gospel) and the BoM.
Love you all,