Monday, July 4, 2016

Letter #103

Dear Mum and Family,

Well this week has been a little slow for us. My companion and I caught a cold the beginning of the week and it didn't want to leave us until this week.  So that has really slowed us done a bit this past week. We are doing a lot better now though and should be having a better week this week. It seems like there is something going around with everyone over here. There have been quite a few people sick lately. 

We have been able to do a bit of finding this week and have had a bit of success. We have found some people who will hopefully meeting with us this week, which is always good for us. It is a pretty hard time at the moment for us, but we are doing our best and that is what matters the most. It has been a pretty good week though. It went by so fast though. I don't remember any week going as fast as this one has just gone. 

It sounds like everyone is doing great and is keeping busy and hopefully out of trouble. It seems like there are some exciting things going on and you are all enjoying yourselves. At least you are trying to stay out of trouble. Haha. At least mum is getting older so that means she won't have as much energy so it's easier to keep her out to of trouble. Haha. I am glad that you enjoyed your birthday this week though mum. I hope you didn't get too spoiled on your birthday. 

 It is a pretty big thing about Britain voting out of the EU. There haven't been any changes that I know of.  From what they are saying it is going to be about 3 years before there will be any big changes.  It is a big topic over here though so it is a good conversation starter that's for sure. Everyone over here has mixed opinions. Some like the change and others don't. I think you get that with anything big like that. 

Well I don't have a lot of time because we went to Birmingham today and I bought my second suit for home. That is all the shopping I have to do now. I am so glad because I still am not a big fan of shopping. Haha. It was great to go and see Birmingham again though. I can't believe how much it has changed since the last time I was there which was in my first area. There were a lot of changes. 
So we spent a bit of time there and now we are heading off to a members house for a BBQ for the 4th of July. She is so kind in throwing s little party for us American missionaries. Haha. So we are off to there now since it is a pretty long bus ride for us to get there. Sorry I don't have much time to email. 

Here is the thought for this week and I hope that you have a great week. Thanks for all that you do. 

Weekly Thought
I have really learned a lot from the scriptures that we had to Ponderize this week.  I have to admit that it caught me by surprise when Mum said that I chose the scripture this week. I quickly chose a scripture that I had read recently hoping that it was something that could teach us all something. From reading a few of your responses I have learned a lot and it seems like you have as well. 
As you already know the scripture was found in 2 Nephi 2:16 which reads
"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other."
It is pretty obvious that we learn that we have agency, or the freedom to chose, what we want. It is given to us before this earth life and it is not taken from us. There are good and bad choices thrown at us everyday. It is left to us to chose which path we want to take.  With each path there are consequences and by the choices we make will determine the consequences we receive. 
The thing that has hit me the most ask have been thinking of this verse comes from a parable that the Savior teaches. It is the Parable of the Sower. I am sure that you all know of this parable. 
The parable is found in Mathew 13:3-8. 

3 "And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."

As we learn from the  parable, the soil is our individual selves. The seed is the gospel of Jesus Christ and it is either able to grow in our lives because we have "good soil" or not able to grow because we have bad soil. The choices that we make determine what type of soil the gospel is planted into our lives. 
For example we might have not made the best of choices and we could have a few weeds that are springing up in our lives.  These things "choke" that gospel seed and it is not able to grow.  We need to do our part to repent so that those weeds can be plucked up and the good seed can grow. 
We may not have the gospel deeply planted in our lives because there are stones that are keeping the roots from growing deeper. We need to work to get those stones removed so that the gospel can be deeply rooted. Then when we face trials the gospel is able to be firmly planted and our faith won't be shaken. 
Maybe our hearts are a little hard towards different things in the gospel.  We need to work to soften up the ground, to humble ourselves, so that the soil will be ready for the seed. 
Maybe we do have seeds planted in good soil. We need to remember that weeds still like to grow in good soil and that the soil does start to get hard at times.  We need to make sure that we continually are plucking weeds out and taking good care that the soil doesn't go bad. We all know individually what things our soil needs to be able to produce a good harvest. 
Dallin H. Oaks said:

"It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful."
We have been given our agency to choose what we want. We can chose to let our soil get out of hand by not weeding it, plowing it, giving it the nutrients that it needs etc. Or we can chose to do things in our lives that will keep the soil good so that the gospel can continue to grow and be strengthened in our own lives. 
It all comes down to the choices that we make each and everyday. I know that when we do take care our "soil" in our lives then eventually we will be able to gather the fruit at the harvest. That fruit is explained in Lehi's dream as something that is "desirable to make one happy..." and " it fills our soul with exceedingly great joy."
(1 Nephi 8: 10, 12)
The fruit that is spoken of is eternal life with our families and our Father in Heaven. That is "the greatest of all the gifts of God."  (D&C 14:7)  That gift is obtained through our obedience to the commandments of God and through how well we endure to the end of this life. 

I love this verse in the hymn "True to the Faith"
We will strive to be found worthy
Of the kingdom of our Lord,
With the faithful ones redeemed
Who have loved and kept his word. Yes!
( Hymn #254)

I know that as we do "strive to be found worthy" to live in the kingdom of God we will be making the right choices that will keep our soil good. I hope we can all have living in God's kingdom as our end goal in life and that we can strive to obtain it.
I am grateful for all of your wonderful letters and I hope that you continue to have a wonderful summer break. 
Thanks for all your love and support. 

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