I hope you enjoyed the pictures I'm sending. This week was the first time I have been to the temple out in North Carolina. As for how I"m enjoying knightdale, things are deffinately looking up. We have schedualed several appointments with people that have some pretty good potential. One of the people I met was one of the examples of how hard life can be so I hope that we can help her. This last Saturday I had a special opportunity to spend some extra time with president Cotterell, but, its something that doesn't really happen very often so he told me to keep it on the DL. I'm not sure if he meant just within the mission, or in general so im going to keep my mouth shut about what happened just to be safe. But I can tell you this, it was really neat and I learned alot from it. It was a very unique experience.
I was on an exchange this week with my district leader (Elder Brewer) and we thought we would do something that we thought would be fun. We had heard that missionaries in the past had done this before, but niether of us had actually done it before. So we decided that night that we were going to drink some water that had epsom salt in it. I'm not sure what made us think that was a good idea, but we did it anyways. For your information, epsom salt is a laxative. So we filled up our cups and drank away, and let me tell you, if alcohol tastes anything close to what that did, I will NEVER have any. It may have possibly been the most disgusting things I have ever tasted in my life. If not in the top 10. So after our struggle of forcing down the rancid drink, we waited and talked for about an hour and a half. After that, we gained a personal testimony that drinking epsom salt water will surely clean out your system. I remember that one of us put it, "it brang the power of a raging bull to our intestines". Anyway, I wont go into much detail. What can i say mom? teen-aged boys can be pretty dumb sometimes.
In his letter to us this week Kent refers to conference:
In the talk, Pres. Eyring talked about "mountains" he says even though the climb is hard, the prize won is worth so much more than the price paid. It is well over worth it. I related that scripture to myself. Recently I have strongly desired for the gospel to go through me so that I can have a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ and of his atonement and over all just become more converted. I want to become more converted! I want it so bad. I want my weaknesses to become strengths. I want to have a deep love for all of gods children to be a large part of my very nature and personality. I know this is possible, but only through the atonement of Jesus Christ and through his mercy. Right now I wouldn't say that I am going through the hardest time of my life by any means, so I dont think that im climbing a mountain yet, but i am struggling. It's kinda weird actually. For one reason or another, all of our appointments have been canceled within the last two weeks. I havent counted all of them, but my companion has said that we have had 12 lessons canceled in a row. Believe it or not though, it has brought me closer to Christ. In my situation I have felt like I can either give up and not really try, or I can put my trust in God and put my shoulder to the wheel. I, WILL, NOT, GIVE UP. I KNOW that god knows my situation. I know that he loves me. I know that these things have strengthened me and my faith and testimony. I know that he lives.
I have also learned that one of the greatest expressions of pure love is sharing the gospel with others... especially those we love. heavenly father loves each and everyone of his children as you know, and like you (dad) told me before in a tender situation when i was at home, god has a way of making things, good and bad, work out for the eternal welfare of man. Or in other words, for good. Sometimes it makes me nervous to share the gospel with the ones i love.
I'm not sure on how well you can see whats going on in the picture but its basically a picture of a big branch. The reason why I took a picture of this is because one day Elder Edwards and I were walking in an area around us, and all of the sudden we heard this loud noise. We looked over to where it was coming from and we saw this big ol branch fall right off the tree. I was so confused. It wasn't windy, lightning didn't strike it, Elder Edwards and I thought that since it rained the previous night the branch must have soaked up so much water that it became too heavy to stay on the tree. Looking back on it, that could have happened with any of the branches on the trees. I hope I dont get squashed. It kinda reminds me about temptation. More often then not, we do not give into temptation when it is boldly getting our attention, but rather the devil works by small and simple means, and others will he pacify and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: all is well in zion; yea zion prospereth, all is well---and thus the devil cheateth their souls , and leadeth them away CAREFULLY down to hell. When the branch broke, it was not because of a lightning strike or because of a strong wind, but because water had seeped into the branch slowly and CAREFULLY, until the branch had no choice but to give way and fall from the tree. Now often times it seems like because of the craftiness of the devil, that we are being beat upon by strong winds, yea by his shafts in the wirlwinds. But we are promised that if we build our foundation upon the rock of our redeemer who is Jesus Christ, we cannot fall. I remember one time when I was really young when i was afraid of the dark, that satan could only bite at our heels. But because he doesn't have a body, thats about all he can do. And especially when we have the lords help and when we repent and rely on him, we are able to crush any temptation or hardship. Again this power is only found when we access the atonement of Christ and convert ourselves and be healed by his great mercy and power. All things are possible between two people as long as one of them is god. "fear not i am with thee oh be not dismayed for I am thy god and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help the and cause thee to STAND, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand."