Monday, December 19, 2011

Being The Best "Me" I Can Be

Dear Family,

Hey guys.  What’s new?  How’s life, school … all that jazz?  Are you still dancing Belle?  I’m excited to get to see how good you are in April 2013.  Brittin … how’s High School treating you?  Any guys I need to write?  I’m so glad I’ll get home just before you turn 16.  That’s when I’ll really need to worry about the guys.  Kassie and Peter … any more problems with your house?  Is your heater working right?  Mom and Dad … all the cars are working?  No problems with the turbo on Mom’s car or anything like that?  Funny stuff how Kassie and Peter always have trouble with the AC … what I wouldn’t give for an AC in my house … and Mom and Dad with the car … what I would give for a car - or a bike even.


Last Thursday was Thanksgiving and what a Thanksgiving it was!  To start off .. I have to backtrack a little.  Lately ... I found myself reflecting on how I've been as a missionary so far.  I've been out in the field for almost six months now ... a quarter of a year.  It just got me thinking.  Am I a good missionary?  Am I doing everything the Lord wants me to do?  Am I a good companion?  Am I fulfilling the mission I was called to do?  I reflected back on some experiences I've had so far and also thought about the many letters that arrived with just the perfect thing I needed to hear.  One recent letter that stands out is one Mom sent me.  You shared a story about President Kimball (when he was an Apostle) and how he really looked up to and admired Harold B. Lee.  President Kimball would always compliment him and wish he could talk like he did and do things like him.  One day while leaving the temple, Harold B. Lee told President Kimball, “Spencer, the Lord doesn't want you to be a Harold B. Lee.  All he wants is for you to be the best Spencer W. Kimball you can be."  Then Mom, you said, to be the best “me” that I could be.  So I thought … “Ok.  That's all the Lord expects from me.  To be the best "me" I can be."  So that was the start of a very good week.  I also read some Ensigns that our house has (there are tons) and read the Conference talks.  They are so good.  They were all little spiritual boosters, along with my Patriarchal Blessing which is always a huge help!  I was feeling totally good this week and way "up".  But to be an effective missionary, you can’t just be up ... you have to be flying.  So how do I get "flying"?

There was something that really helped me take off.  A member loaned me a DVD called “On The Lord’s Errand”.  I have watched it once before on a division but it was in Portuguêse and near the beginning of my mission, so I didn’t understand anything.  It was on the TV at his house and I asked if I could borrow it.  He lent it to me and I watched it the next day (P-Day) on the portable DVD player we have in our house.  (If you guys haven’t watched it …watch it!!!)  It changed my life, quite literally.  It’s about the life of President Monson.  He is such a good example, especially about following the spirit.  I like the part when Jeffrey R. Holland is saying a big part of President Monson’s life are the frequent promptings from the Holy Ghost and his absolute devotion to following them.  I also love what President Monson says at the end of the movie and what was written on the back of the DVD case.  He said, “The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it and later find out that it was a fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need. And I always want the Lord to know that if he needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for him.”  I absolutely love that quote.

After watching that movie, I thought of how great an example he is ... but also his frequent promptings of the spirit and how devoted he is to following those promptings.  Every missionary wants frequent promptings but the thing is, if we don’t follow them, we won’t get them.  President Monson follows them devotedly and so he gets them a lot.  I also remembered in conference when he talked about his relationship with Heavenly Father and how much I want that too.  So I made it my goal to always follow a prompting, even if it seems hard, far, or if I’m unsure … just follow.  Like it says in the hymn “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go” …

"But if by a still, small voice He calls,
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
I’ll go where You want me to go."

This is my favorite hymn too.  The words are beautiful.  There have been times where I feel like doing something and I think, “Oh, we’re late.” or “I’m tired.” or “It’s really far.”  But I’ve gotten good at following, and I’ve been receiving a lot of help in the work.  Sometimes I think it’s driving my companion nuts.  haha  Like Sunday we walked past a really old lady that’s kind of odd but is nice and always talks to us.  She’s a member but never goes to church and is literally almost 100.  I didn’t know she was a member until Elder Costa said that on the way to church.  We had already passed her house and were close to the chapel and running late.  I got the feeling to go talk to her but then thought, “We’re late.” so I kept walking.  Then I got that feeling again and stopped and said, “Elder let’s go talk to her and invite her to church.”  She didn’t want to come to church, but she had a huge smile and seemed happy that someone would show a bit of kindness to her.  She’s all alone so maybe that kind gesture helped her.  I don’t know.  Anyways … on to Thanksgiving.

I got the thought to go up into this area where we did a service project.  It’s way outside of the city, but still our area.  It’s not even on the map so I don’t know if any missionary has ever been out there.  It takes awhile to get out there on foot too, but I prayed about the idea and one day during our planning, I knew we had to go out there.  I told Elder Costa and he said, “Ya let’s go.”  The next day came and off we went on our long walk.  We got onto the dirt road and came to a fork in the road.  I pulled out a coin and flipped it.  Heads we go to the right … tails we go to the left.  I caught it, put it on my arm, and saw heads … we went left.  Haha  When the coin was in the air, I felt left was the right way so when I looked at it and saw “right” I said, “Ok let’s go left”.

We started walking forever.  We finally came to a house, knocked, and no one was home.  We continued on.  We came to another house and I felt like we had to knock there, so we did.  They were awesome!!!  They even gave us a referral so we went to that house next because it was close.  He wasn’t so great but, oh well, we kept teaching and talking to people.  Then Elder Costa suggested going back to the fork in the road and heading the other direction to go visit Senhor Nelson.  We didn’t know what to do so I said, “Let’s pray.”  I said the prayer asking for guidance.  I felt best about continuing so me and Elder Costa decided on that.  We learned that the best way to receive revelation is to make a decision, talk to your companion about it if he’s involved, and then go to the Lord saying, “This is our plan” and he’ll let you know if you’re right or not.  (That was from our training by a member of the 70’s … Elder Evans.)

So once our decision was made, Elder Costa prayed if it was right and before he said “Amen” I knew it was right because I felt the spirit so strong.  We said “Amen” and I took off up the hill.  The spirit was so strong and I couldn’t wait to talk.  I just shouted, “Let’s get going.  There’s people waiting for us!”  Elder Costa asked, “Do you think this is what we are suppose to be doing?”  My reply, “No I don’t think so.  I know!”  A little while later he said, “Ya I feel really good about this too.”   We walked passed a couple houses and then another.  The last one, after we had passed it, I stopped and looked back at it and felt really good about it.  While looking at it I saw Elder Costa out of the corner of my eye already heading for the gate.  He had noticed I had stopped … looked where I was looking … felt the same thing and took off for the gate walking swiftly there.  Without thinking I just started going to the gate too.  The family we encountered there are really good!!!  They had questions about the creation, Adam and Eve, life after death, and judgment day.  Guess what lesson we felt we needed to teach?  Yup!  Plan of Salvation!  All those questions came out from just chit-chatting too.  So if you can meet someone ... chit-chat a bit ... have those questions come out … and you’re a missionary who has the answers to them … and had the feelings, promptings, and experiences that me and Elder Costa had … you were definitely sent there by Heavenly Father!

The lesson was amazing and we left them with such a good spirit.  Right as we were leaving, their Pastor showed up because he was having dinner there.  I’m pretty sure that he tried to rip us to pieces.  I just hope they can realize the difference in the spirit from the strong spirit we left them with, to what they feel when he’s there.  We’re going over there today in a little bit.  Wish us luck!  Although it has already passed by when you get this.  Oh, snail mail … why do you have to be so slow?  Haha  But … ya … that was my Thanksgiving Day experience!  It was great!

Well … gotta run!  I love you guys!  Hope you are all well!!!

Love,
Tavin

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