Dear family and friends,
Good to hear from you all this week! I´m not sure what happened last week but I did end up recieving the email the second time dad sent it before I got off. Still enjoying the beautiful weather here! I don´t know what it is here but I can smell the blooming flowers EVERYWHERE. Luckily my allergies haven´t gotten too bad yet so I can keep enjoying the sunshine y fresh air without having the sniffles! Yes mom the package is here... but the office Elders haven´t gone to capital to pick it up yet. :S Hope dad had a great trip to Spain and that Brian had a great 15th birthday! What´s the car situation like? :P Kristen has her car, and Kyle has MINE, then the big van... what does dad drive?
Really interesting week. ´We started off the week great with an awesome Zone Conference. Pres. Stapley is focusing a lot in the importance that obedience has in qualifying ourselves to be worthy of the guidance of the Spirit. Almost everything he teaches us revolves around the "5 values of how we work" (which he came up with in his time as CEO of ¿Deseret Mutual?) and the "5 focuses of the mission" he shared with us in his first meeting with the missionaries. I don´t know if I´ve shared them with you yet or not... but the 5 values are 1. Be Happy, 2. Have Passion, 3. Help others have success, 4. Improve Continually, and 5. Be a hard worker! The 5 focuses of the mission are 1. Preach my Gospel (the Doctrine of Christ), 2. Baptism, 3. Love, 4. Obedience, and 5. The Spirit. Great principles and counsel that have helped me a lot to not only improve myself as a missionary, but that apply to all of us and will help me through the rest of my life.
Also this week we have seen some very sad family situations. I don´t want to go into any details... but one has to do with drugs, and the other has to do with abuse and an aborted pregnancy. It´s amazing the effect that the bad choices of one person has on the rest of the family. I´ve been amazed to see the great faith and patience that both families have had in dealing with the problems and hope all turns out well with them. Not quite sure what I am supposed to learn from seeing so much suffering, but it has really given me a greater appreciation and love for my family and my Heavenly Father who has blessed me so much. It has also strengthened my testimony greatly to see the blessing that gospel knowledge has in facing situations like that, that even in the worst situations we can recieve the strength and comfort if we turn to Him.
Yesterday in Church we had a great lesson in Priesthood meeting about our responsiblities as members of the church. The teacher focused in the 3 fold mission of the church. Perfect the Saints, Redeem our Dead, Preach the Gospel, and talked about the important responsibility that each of us has to work in each of these 3 areas. During the whole lesson I was thinking a lot about our responsiblities as members of the church to be obedient, etc. and I came to the conclusion that the most important responsibility we have as members of the church is to learn to Love as God loves us. Love is the key point in the 2 commandments Jesus Christ gave as well as being an important factore of Charity... the greatest of all the gifts of God. God himself is LOVE and our whole purpose being here in the earth is to gain experience in our body to one day become even as He is. If we have true love for God and for all mankind, we will be driven by the desire to share that love with all others... through missionary work, service to members, and temple work. I think all the problems in the world could be resolved if we all just learned to love a little more!
Hope you all have a great week and take good notes in General Conference this weekend! Looking forward to hearing some of your remarks next week!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse