I'm glad that you were able to go represent at Uncle Brad's funeral. I'm going to miss that man. I'm glad that he got a cowboy send-off! That is awesome. I will most definitely visit Aunt Gale. She's awesome. Love that lady.
Anyway! I had a really really good week this week, and I can't wait to recap it for you! I'll start with the happenings of the week and then tell you about the spiritual bomb that got dropped on Sunday!
First off, I went on exchanges this week with Elder Fisher in Trail. Trail is about 3 hours west of Cranbrook and is the furthest area in the mission. It takes 7 hours to get to Calgary from Trail! The Trail Elders cover a city called Nelson that is to the North East. It is a beautiful place (Mikaila will know what I mean ;D). What's awesome is that we had to take a ferry to get there! It was so awesome. It is the largest free ferry in Canada. It took us across Kootenay lake and it was gorgeous. I'll have to send you some pictures of it. They are on their way. It was a really cool experience to be able to ride on the ferry. Really only missionaries that are serving in Trail usually take the ferry, so not many missionaries get that opportunity.
After that happened, the week blew by. Things just seem to be getting faster and faster around here.
Lately I've been pondering a lot on the principle of Self-Discipline. It's been interesting to see how a study of it has effected me. I have really started trying to apply myself with the little things in life to try and conquer my greater vices. Little things like making my bed, putting things back where they go, washing my dish after I eat. All of those things I did before, but it was always "I'll do that after I.....". It has been cool to watch how much more disciplined I have become just by doing things NOW. These little steps gave me a lot of motivation to try something big, so I started it with exercise. There was only one day last week that I didn't run a couple miles in the morning. I was actually really surprised at what a boost it gave me to accomplish that goal. I feel so much better and not just in a physical sense. It makes me feel good that I accomplished a goal that I set. But I've learned a deep spiritual lesson from all this, as we all often do from achieving physical goals. I have learned a lot about putting off the feeling of pain or exhaustion, or whatever, and just hanging in there. I've learned a lot about putting off the immediate gratification for a more lasting - or even sometimes eternal - reward. It's been really awesome to see the change in myself fundamentally as a person. And it didn't just happen over last week. I've been working on this and pondering on it for quite a while.
Alright, now for the really amazing story.
As I told Mom, I have been working in the primary during the 3rd hour of church as the primary pianist. This is literally the calling that I want for the rest of my life. It is amazing. Singing time has always been my favorite time, haha. Anyway, Sister Shortridge is our primary chorister, and she is awesome. She's our ward mission leader's wife. When she found out that I played the piano - that was about 3 or 4 weeks ago - she asked if I could come in during the third hour because she has no piano player. I sheepishly agreed because we all know that my piano skills are not quite incredible, but I couldn't turn down helping Sister Shortridge. We love her and her family too much. So the last few weeks, my piano skills have been getting more honed by the primary songbook. It is amazing to watch the kids. I always thought that people just said that to hide how hard their job was. It always felt to me that people just said those things to help them cope with how hard and crazy it is to keep primary under control and keep going. But truly, I have learned better.
We had an experience in Primary yesterday that I will absolutely never forget. Sister Shortridge picked out a new song for the primary to sing at their next presentation. It had 3 flats in it, so you can guarantee that I was panicking about whether or not I was going to be able to play it. Sister Shortridge said that she could play and I could conduct, so I chickened out and agreed to it. So singing time started and Sister Shortridge pulled a fast one on me!!! She told the primary that I was going to play for it. I decided I'd just hunker down and try it out. So we began the song, and I was basically sight reading. We ran through the song piece by piece to help the kids get their notes down just like theater. That only required the top hand, so things were going fine. But then she told the primary that we were going to run through the whole song! Yeesh. I didn't want to let them down, so I prayed hard that I'd be able to play well enough to get through. We started and I was doing my best. I wasn't hitting a lot of sour notes, but I was leaving a bunch out because my fingers couldn't get to them fast enough, haha. I did my very best to try and get through and then a miracle happened. At the end of the song, I looked up over the piano, and little Evan Jensen was crying in his little chair. Sister Shortridge ran over and knelt down next to him and put her arm around his little shoulders. Evan was feeling the Spirit testify to him.
The song is called Gethsemane and is all about how the Savior suffered for each one of us, and loves us.
Evan received a witness about how the Lord loves him. I was getting choked up behind the piano watching this little boy receive one of his first witnesses from the Spirit.
To everyone that is reading this, I want you to know that I watched a small boy receive a witness from Deity. Jesus Christ reached out to a small boy in a primary class. I saw Him do it.
I testify that He will do the same thing for you. He has done it for me.
I love you all!
“Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Lord Of The Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein
Thursday, May 19, 2016
|The apartment mates|
|Exchanges with Elder Fisher|
It's really sad to hear that Uncle Bradley passed away. I looked up to him a lot and really loved him. I always saw myself as just a city slicker, but Uncle Brad always called me Cowboy and that made me feel really good. I'll miss him for sure. A good honest and caring man. Paradise just gained one of it's greatest missionaries. Love you Uncle Bradley!
So this week we had the opportunity to go to the Cardston temple with the south half of the mission. Good grief, it already seems like so long ago. But it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. Elder Owens and I spent the day before the actual event already in the temple working for our family names. William Robertson is now baptized, confirmed, and has received his Initiatory and Endowment. I'll be passing the reservation of the Sealing back to Grandma so that she and whoever else would like to may take care of his sealing. That's the last one he needs, so try not to delay him! He was there with us in the temple and wanted his work done.
On top of all this President has made another announcement. He got up at the zone conference after we got out of the temple session and told everyone that ANOTHER Apostle will be coming to the mission! HOLY COW! He didn't tell us which one it was because apparently he isn't allowed to say yet, but the whole mission is buzzing. How could we possibly be so lucky?!
We have a hunch as to who it is. We got to stay with Elder Williams in Cardston while we were there, and he said that there was word going around the President Nelson was going to be in Lethbridge at the exact same time that President announced we'd be receiving the visit. If we get to meet President Nelson, I'm going to be one happy camper ;)
Anyway, not really a ton to report on this week, but I love you so much! I'm glad I have such an amazing family and that there are so many miracles happening in our family! Love you!
Thursday, May 12, 2016
This is Nate's email for this week...5/9/16
|Face Timing on Mother's Day|
|The Cowboys and Cowgirls|
|Branding the calves|
It was so good to speak with you guys yesterday. Happy birthday and Happy Mother's Day to you, the greatest Mother there is. Thanks for all of the sacrifice and hardship you went through, but thank you also for all the laughs you've shared, all the smiles you've given, and for being the greatest example of the Lord in the lives of me and my sisters. I love you, Mom.
So today's email is going to be a description of all the amazing miracles that have happened this week. We have all been fasting and praying so diligently to be able to see some work come to our area, and the Lord has really come through.
As of right now in our area, we are teaching 13 investigators, 6 of which are on date for baptism. When I got here we had 2 investigators. Elder Owens and I have been working our hardest to try and stimulate some success, but the Lord had other plans, and a lesson to teach us at the same time. Elder Owens and I were working in Kimberley one day this week, and as we were driving back from an appointment with a member, we decided to walk through the Platzl, which is like "downtown" Kimberley. Lots of ski shops and other things there. We honestly just went to kind of explore, but the Lord came through for us. As we came to a corner house at the end of the Platzl, there were four people sitting outside the house having drinks together. They were friendly and came up and talked to us, and we hit it off. We talked with them about the gospel. They all gave us their numbers and agreed to be taught. It was an absolute miracle. The Lord hand-delivered them to us.
Then it gets better. As we were cleaning out some of the junk in our truck the next day, I pulled out a folded up piece of paper that looked to be hanging out of the stack I was holding. I un-folded it and all of a sudden felt like I just HAD to read the whole page. It was an address given by Elder Holland in 1990. I read it, and I'll share a piece of it here:
"How does the 4th section of the Doctrine and Covenants end? I hear some of you muttering it: 'Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.' Do you know how many times that promise is reiterated in scripture? 'Ask and it shall be given; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you' is reiterated 120 times in the scriptures, more than any other scriptural phrase from Genesis to the Pearl of Great Price and more than any other combination of promises in all the scriptures put together. Is it conceivable, my beloved brothers and sisters, is it conceivable that God really means that? After a little while, my brothers and sisters, we need to stop quoting it, and start living it. Now the minute we really believe D&C 4, then I will be the one to sit at your foot and hear you quote it and I'll write every word down and put it in my little treasures of truth and say: 'I heard this from a missionary today who really believed it.' But I am so tired of hearing lip-service. The very thing that the God of heaven and earth decried in the grove that day to the boy-prophet: 'They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They teach for commandments the doctrine of man, having a form of Godliness, but they deny the power thereof.' I believe we have missionaries all over this church yapping D&C 4, who give lip service to that and no heart and who go through a form of delivery and believe nothing of its power."
BOOM. Talk about the rebuke of a lifetime. But I was hit with the spirit so hard. I immediately ran to the other side of the truck and read it to Elder Owens. To top it all off, we shared that same excerpt from Elder Holland's address with our Ward Mission Leader later that night. When he heard it, his eyes filled with tears. He told us that that same section of the talk was the very same one he had shared at the final zone conference of his mission. He had held it dear all his life. He immediately requested a prayer, and standing there in the entry way of his home, we spoke to the Lord and told Him how grateful we were for His gifts. It was incredible. Elder Owens and I were blown away because we were learning a very powerful lesson:
If we are trying our hardest and doing our very best to do the work, it is not possible for us to work harder therefor gaining more investigators. If we could always work harder, we wouldn't really need the Atonement, would we? When we are doing everything that we know how to do, and praying for the gifts that we KNOW the Lord can give, a miracle happens.
We Receive. Just as He promised.
I promise every soul who reads the words I have written: Jesus Christ, our Savior, means the words that He said. If you ask, You WILL receive. If you knock, it WILL be opened unto you. If you seek, You WILL find. All you have to do is do what you can and believe that the Lord will provide.
Jesus Christ has provided miracle after miracle for my companion and me this week after a night of struggle. We have experienced His gifts and blessings first hand. I have a testimony that the day of miracles has not ceased. The Lord is closer to us than He ever has been.
Lastly, I want to share something that the ward mission leader told us as we were walking out of his home that same night. He said this about member missionary work:
"I do massage therapy. I am not a massage therapist. Massage therapy is the thing that I have chosen to do in this life to keep my family alive, but that is definitely not what I plan on doing in the next life. I will not be giving massages in heaven. So if I don't do missionary work now - the only real and worthwhile work there is in this life - then I will not be ready for heaven because all I ended up being was a massage therapist. I will have forgotten that I was a child of God. When we are too caught up in a job or a hobby or a thing, we forget what is actually real. We forget our real identity, and we forget our only real and true work: To help others receive the gospel."
I hope we can all remember our real identity this week. Let's let go of the understanding that work and hobbies and tv and internet are the most important things in life. Let's all remember who we really are:
Sons and Daughters of the Living God who have the truth, surrounded by Sons and Daughters of the Living God who don't.
I love You all! Have an incredible week!
Monday, May 9, 2016
This is last week's email from Nate (5/2/16). It didn't get delivered so he resent it today.
|The Branding Team|
We went branding! It was the spring brand on Saturday for Brother Dilt's ranch in Jaffray! I haven't been branding since Grandpa took me to Uncle Bradley's and I got thrown off that horse! I was like, 9 years old back then. And these cowboys did it old-style. They don't have a fancy machine like uncle Brad that grabs the calves so that you can just put the iron on them. You have to have a cowboy go in the pasture, rope them, drag them into the next pasture, and have two cowboys hold the little guy down. It was seriously the most fun service I have ever done on my mission. Just awesome. I have a few stories that go along with it!
So first off, it was pretty awesome to work with all of the different cowboys. I swear, there was only one guy there aside from the missionaries that didn't chew tobacco, and that was Brother Dilt, haha. EVERYONE chewed. But the cowboys were stinking hilarious. There was one named Sandy that was a younger chap. He was the one who taught me how to wrestle the calves. It was pretty cool to learn from him because he's just a soft spoken type of guy, so you have to listen real close. Then there was another guy named Clint. He was like.... out of this world. It was literally like he walked out of the movie "Silverado". The guy is a classic cowboy. Spurs, chaps, stetson; you name it, he had it. He was cracking jokes the entire time and it was awesome. He asked Elder Bryner - who is brand new in the mission - if he had brought his beer or not, and when Elder Bryner said he didn't have any, old Clint started shouting "No Beer?! How are we supposed to brand when we ain't got no beer?!" He was only joking, but it was super funny.
Then we started the actual brand. The Elders were all over it. It was SO FUN. I'm telling you. If Uncle Brad needs any help next year, I am SO THERE. Anyway, we were all getting down and dirty, and then the sisters wanted to give it a whirl. So we slowly started integrating the sisters in by having them share a calf with either a cowboy or one of the Elders. One of the sisters, who had never branded before or even really knew anything about it, grabbed ahold of the back legs of one of the bull calves and tried her best to get ready. Then Brother Dilt's son came up with the razor! LOL. I have never seen a girl's face so panicked! She watch this kid hack off the poor calf's "equipment" and then got all of the smoke from the hot iron in her face! It was hilarious to watch, but this sister is a good sport and kept on going.
The worst part was when Frankie decided to have a bite to eat. Frankie is a 350-400 pound cowboy that heats the irons and brands the calves while we've got them pinned. At one point, he was sitting on his bucket next to the furnace after he had gathered several of the "prairie oysters" and just started to have a snack. LOL. I still don't think any of the sister missionaries realized what was happening - thank heaven - but plenty of the Elders saw and had a blast watching him. The most dangerous thing about it all was that one of the cowboys who was roping - Jason was his name, I think, - was training a colt how to do it all, and the dang horse kept giving him trouble the whole dang time. I almost got a calf dragged over the top of me while I was holding down a different calf because the colt was running all over the place. That was actually pretty scary at times because you never knew what the little bugger was going to do. But it was all so fun!
It made me miss all the good times at the ranch! I'm just a city slicker, but Uncle Brad always told me I was a cowboy and I think I made him proud on Saturday ;) And Grandpa Jackson too. He's always been the cowboy in my life!
Other than that, nothing super spectacular happened. We had Stake Conference this weekend in Cranbrook so that was cool.
Anyway, I don't have a ton else to say, but I love you! I'll be wishing Mom a happy birthday on Mother's Day this Sunday! See you then! Love you all!