Monday, May 12, 2014

April 21, 2014 We've been running on little sleep

Hey howdy hey family!

Well, it's been another solid week. We've been running on little sleep and had a lot to deal with, but we're enjoying it. We received another new batch of missionaries. They're going to be great. It's weird to think that when the next batch comes in I'll be going home. I don't know what to do about that. It's weird, I don't know whether it's best to talk about it or just ignore it.  Anyway, it shocked me how young all of the missionaries who came in were. I couldn't help but think to myself, "Was I think young, naive, and blind to the world when I came into the country?" Sad thing is, I was probably worse. Anyway, their names are Elder Wynne, Garrison, Hon, Platter, and Remy. It's a pretty interesting batch of kids. There's a lot of different personalities. The trainers were Elders Retallick (our one and only Brit), Kimball (great-grandson of Spencer W. Kimball), Neuner (from my group), Allen (whose mom and sister you meet), and Fotu (our favorite polynesian from Alpine Utah). They're a really solid group and they will do well with everything. Elder Fotu matched up with Elder Hon, who is from Gilbert Arizona and said that he met President Nattress once or twice maybe before he came out. Elder Neuner with Elder Garrison, Elder Kimball with Elder Platter, Elder Retallick with Elder Wynne, and Elder Allen with Elder Remy. We, the Assistants along with a few other Elders, were able to take the trainees out on the Rynek and go contacting with them on Wednesday for an hour or so. I was with Elder Garrison, a football player from Iowa. He's a real quiet kid, and a bit nervous about everything. He reminded me a lot of myself on my first day. We had some great conversations and handed out a copy of the Book of Mormon together. He's going to do well as a missionary.

It was a lot of fun to spend time with new missionaries and just talk to them. They're always so filled with faith and pumped up about everything that we do here in the field. As I spent time with them, it gave me a chance to reflect on my own mission. I'm shocked at what the Lord has done with me in the space of just under two years. I feel that I've changed significantly. Not that I'm in any way worse. I feel like He's molded me into the person He wants me to be. It's been a long process, and it hasn't been pleasant, but it's been oh so worth it. I don't know what will exactly be different about me, and sometimes it scares me to think that people will be expecting the old me, but I have faith that it will all work out.

So, there's a lot that I want to say, but time is short. I would, however, like to share some of my thoughts from this Easter Season. After all that I've been through as of late, my perspective on the love that God has for each and every one of us has changed. With that background, my view of the atonement has changed as well. I now understand better the love which was shown by God. I better understand the empathy which the Savior can have for each and every one of us because of the pain and sorrow He suffered in our behalf. My mission hasn't been easy, nor do I expect that anyone's has been. Yet, I add my testimony to Elder Holland's: "No, it is not without a recognition of life’s tempests but fully and directly because of them that I testify of God’s love and the Savior’s power to calm the storm" (October Conference 1999, "An High Priest of Good Things to Come"). The simple truth that God loves us all more than we can imagine has become more sweet and more meaningful to me than ever before because of what I've dealt with and what I've been through. I feel as if certain truths of the gospel have been written on my heart, never to be erased, so long as I am obedient and do what the Lord will ask of me. The gospel is powerful. No other source can heal the spiritual wounds caused by the daily blunders of life. The Savior is the one and only source of any lasting peace we seek in this life. It is only through Him that we all will be resurrected and rise from the dead. Such is the beautiful truth of the gospel.

There are many things to share, and much to be said, but one can only do so much through email. Luckily, I keep a good journal, and there will be stories galore once I get home. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday. Keep the Savior in mind, and enjoy the great time spent with family. I love you all. The gospel is true.

With lots of love,
Elder Vernon

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