"All is well" is a phrase I have been saying lately. That is because it is certainly true. I have had a very serious prayer in my heart recently. And truthfully it involves all of you. Well, it involves whoever reads this letter/email/blog etc. To start, I'll just begin by saying that there is a lot of pressure sometimes being on a mission but the pressure more often than not comes from myself than from any other person. We make goals as missionaries and one of my goals is to write better emails for everyone to read so they (you all) can grow and learn as much as I truly am. Again, it's a lot of pressure that I'm putting on myself but it's so necessary and I truly desire for all of you to grow and learn with me.
He quoted Doctrine and Covenants 88: 122 and I couldn't agree anymore. "Appoint among yourselves a teacher". . . The teacher is the Holy Ghost. "And let all listen to his sayings." . . "That all may be edified of all."
I pray that it won't be my words that shape, change or transform your lives but I pray that the Holy Ghost will teach you, and edify you as I learn and grow.
And yes, David A. Bednar did indeed come to Oakland California and we made the 45 minute trip to go see him along with the San Francisco/Oakland Mission. There were 500 missionaries and despite what that number sounds like, it was a very small and personal group. What made it even more personal was that he did not just read a talk but he made it a question and answer session. We got to ask an apostle of the Lord questions! We had to come prepared though! David A. Bednar had us prepare by reading three of his talks before the Saturday when he spoke to us.
"Seek Learning by Faith." https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/09/seek-learning-by-faith?lang=eng
"Converted to the Lord" https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/converted-unto-the-lord?lang=eng, and
"Ask in Faith" https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/ask-in-faith?lang=eng.
They were all amazing. I invite each of you to read them. All three. Don't worry, they're short and sweet.
A lot of things have been happening here in Livermore: From teaching little children in a neighborhood called Lahey Square to teaching an inactive family about the Plan of Salvation because their son just died.
I will do my best to tell you of experiences, what I've learned and pray that they Holy Ghost will accompany me so that you too will learn. Just as Elder Bednar gave his apostolic promise to us and all who could hear his voice, that we would "remember," I hope you all will too.
As we are preparing to receive i pads, Sister Gregerson and I regularly go through our huge area books. Actually huge in an understatement. (Who invented paper anyway? ha!) We came across a name that I was unfamiliar with and she began telling me of this family, their trials, their many struggles and over all now much sorrow and pain they've experienced (some of which was brough upon themselves for poor choices.). Because of this, I found myself not wanting to visit them because of their history and how they would react toward me. This family has basically a bomb waiting to explode and I did not want to be anywhere near it. Because I am a missionary and that is just not how life works, we got a call from the Relief Society President informing us that the son of this family had died. Not only had he died but his tragic death occurred next to his mother in their car. I will spare you all the details. As a missionary we are trusted into lives, literally sent across the world or country in my case and truly called to serve. This incident with this family is just a bit literally an ounce of what we are both privileged and asked to help/be a part of.
As stewards, we are expected to help. I was shocked and saddened at the sudden death of this family's son. Despite what I had heard about them and what people say, I wanted to help. We just didn't know how or when we continued to plan and prepare for our day unwilling yet willing at the same time to help this family. I believe both of us maybe even consciously were avoiding this family. We continued on with our day and to our shock all, every single last one of our appointments dropped and fell through. We literally had nothing to do. That never happens; at least to us. We decided, well, now is the time to visit them because, everything has fallen through, not realizing to the extent of how much we were truly needed.
We got to the run down house of this even more recently run down family and knocked on the door to find a woman waving a Book of Mormon in our faces yelling, "I want to know where my son is."
Answers were needed, the Holy Ghost was needed and I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for humbling us and allowing us to help this family, despite our prideful hesitation.
We are going to start teaching the non-member friends of this boy who died. We will teach them the Plan of Salvation.
I love this work. It is hard, but oh so good.
Miracle: We got to see an apostle of the Lord on Saturday at the Oakland Temple.
I love you all so much.