Monday, March 25, 2013

The Date Is Set! Plans Are Made!

(Elder Fox ... leaving for his mission April 27th, 2011 ... hugging his family for the last time for two years.)
("Soooo ... tell everyone, April 18th I'm hugging my Mom again!!!  And then the rest of my family!"  - Elder Fox)
Dear family

Hey guys what’s up?  How’s life?  I’m doing good but I’m so hungry.  Let me explain why.  Basically … I’m broke!  haha  Where I'm living right now, it’s not in the area we serve.  Actually, we live rather far from our area.  The house that was lived in before was infested with cockroaches and rats!  Thank goodness we got moved!!!  What that means though is that every morning and night we have to take about an hour bus ride to our area and home.  A passage on the bus is 3 reais so we spend 6 reais a day.  The money we receive, we get on the 15th and the 1st … so every 15 days.  In 15 days we spend 90 reais just on the bus!  They are giving us more money now so we can take the bus and still live.  However, there was a bit of confusion and I only received 130 reais, so that leaves me with 40 reais for food, deodorant, soap … basically everything.  Well … my money and food ran out.  So this morning it took awhile to get to our area, we’re writing now, and then I’m going to grab a bite to eat.  That will be my meal for the day.  Basically, until the 31st, I’ll be living off of my own personal money or money that the members give us for lunch.  We usually get money so I’ve been trying to be thrifty with my money to get me through.  Oh the joys of the mission.  haha



Anyway … about me coming home.  I’m coming home in April and that’s that!  April 18th I’ll be landing in the airport!!  :)  I got kind of confused on what I wanted to do.  I didn’t know whether I should have extended or not and I spent a long time thinking about that last week.  I had already accepted the fact that I was coming home in April awhile ago.  Then when my mission was extended, my thoughts got muddled.  I thought, “I could stay now!” and “If I go home in April I might be making things tough for the mission."  Thoughts like that.  But then I looked into it.  I talked with my buddy in the office to see what happened with the plane tickets and found out it was an error in the church travel offices.  They bought everyone in my group tickets for the wrong day.  So really you guys saved everyone because no one else’s parents called until they were notified they were changing the plane tickets.  THEN they all responded, “Well that is a HUGE relief!”  haha  The thing is … I could have stayed longer.  I had to come to peace with whatever decision I made.  I knew there wasn’t a right or wrong answer but I didn’t want to have any regrets.  So I prayed and thought about it lots last week.  Then the thought came to me … two years is two years.  I was called for this and what else do I still need to accomplish?  Nothing.  I’m satisfied with my work and I’ll be able to come home happily on April 17th!!!!!  I worked hard the entire time I have been here and, as sad as it is to leave, my time is coming to an end.  I felt good about that thought.  I’ve given it my all and I hope it was enough.  I’m fine about coming home on the day that was set for me to return.  I feel good about it, and to be honest, I’m ready to come home in 24 days!  haha  So continue the countdown and continue being excited.  I think I might have worded my last email wrong.  No worries at all about me staying more time or not.  Plus, it’ll give me more time to work to pay for college.  Soooo … tell everyone in the family, April 18 I’m hugging my Mom again!!!  And then the rest of my family!  Oh, and guess what else I discovered about my flight home?  From Sao Paulo to the States you pass through either the Dallas, Atlanta, or New York airports.  Usually either Atlanta or New York, but the most common is Atlanta.  Well, as you guys know, I’m going to New York.  Everyone else that’s flying to the States on the same day as me, is going to have their layover in Atlanta!  I’ll be all alone!  I hope I don’t have that "where's my companion?" freak-out.  To be honest, I don’t think I will.  I think it’ll be nice to have a couple of moments to myself instead of having a dude by my side like these last two years have been.  haha

Alright, here is my message to the ward:

My Dearest Arrowhead Ward,

Que saudades de vocês!!!!!  Oh, how much I've missed my ward!  I just quickly wanted to give a little message to you all, thanking you for your support and prayers.  I am truly grateful for it all.  I would also like to officially apologize for not being a very good letter writer.  haha.  I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed.  Two years goes by so fast!!!  I always thought that was something people would just say because everyone says it.  However, the time literally flies by while you're out working in the Lord's vineyard.

With my time soon coming to a close, I wanted to thank those of you who helped me reach this point in my life.  I know that I was only in the ward for a short time before leaving on my mission (about a year), but in that time I learned so much and received a lot of help from all the members of the ward.  You all played an important part in my time leading up to my mission and I am grateful for the friendships, encouragements, and kindnesses shown to me.  I would just like to bear my testimony that this work is truly a divine work, and the best experience I've had in my life.  It is such a great joy to see people's lives change and help them get to know the truth.  But even more incredible is the change that comes inside of you.  My testimony has been strengthened incredibly and I absolutely love this gospel!  I know that the church is true and that the message that we have is unique and here to change lives.  I’ve been a witness to this first hand.  The feelings that I have for my Heavenly Father and my Savior can’t be expressed in words.  They are real, they love all of us, and they have been there for me when I have needed them most.  When people talk about missions you often hear words like “sacrifice” … “giving two years of your life” … etc.  However, as I look back on my time here, the word that comes to my mind is “blessing”.  I can’t think of a better gift that I have been given but to be a missionary.  For all the youth … get ready to serve because it is the best choice you can make without a doubt!!  I love this church!  I love missionary work!  And I love all of you.  See you all in a couple of weeks!!!

Love,
Elder Tavin Fox

Well guys … I love you all so much and I can’t wait to see you all in 3 weeks!  Make some plans for when I get home because I’m ready to have some fun with the best family in the world!!!  I love you all sooo much and thank you so much for everything you do for me.  You’re the best family in the world and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.

Love,
Tavin

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