That's sweet that you got a letter from President Miles! I didn't even know that they did that. Yes, it really truly is getting very real now. I only have 25 days left and it's crazy to think about!
Now I'll update you on all of the incredible things that have happened in this past week!
1. The Director of Proselyting for the Church came to our Mission Leadership Council on Thursday. His name is Mike Hemingway. He and another chap named Brother Beesom(?) came. Interestingly enough, Brother Beesom lived in Springville for quite a while and was great friends with Ethan Edwards. But wait! The plot thickens! Brother Beesom came to see Ethan in Joseph during my junior year! He saw our performance and raved about it! Just an awesome fun fact.
Brother Hemingway taught us a lot about developing more faith to find people to teach. He told us some statistics. In our mission, we have to find 10 investigators in order to baptize 1 of them. The world average is finding 20 and baptizing 1, so we're actually doing incredibly well. But we could always step it up, which is what we're going to do! Brother Hemingway also spoke quite a bit on relying on the Lord more in EVERY activity, not just in teaching. I can't even tell you how true that principle has been to my mission experience. The second that you will just get out of the way and let the Lord do His work and use you is the moment that you gain a lot of power to do exactly what He would have you do. And that has been happening over and over and over again. It was an incredible meeting and at the end I had the opportunity of bearing my testimony to the group as it would be my last MLC. It was a hard one, not going to lie. I felt the spirit so strong and knew that the Lord was the with us. Good times!
2. So here is a crazy miracle that happened. Elder Shah and I have been teaching these two guys named Jodi and Earl. Earl is Jodi's father, and they live in a trailer park north of our stake center. Jodi has had a real problem with alcohol and is a kick-boxer, and Earl is a nice older man who is a retired rancher that has had both a stroke and a heart attack. We found them through miraculous means that I won't describe in this story, but the real miracle is what has happened in the past week.
So last week, we went to go teach them with a member, and we ended up teaching them out on their front lawn around a little fire pit they had. We taught them about a bunch of things, and then we left. Well they called us a day or so later and told us about how a bunch of guys drove up after we left and started hanging out with them. Jodi got into a disagreement with one of the guys there, but they were able to just agree to disagree. Until they left. Jodi went to shake hands with the guy, and while they were shaking hands, the guy punched Jodi in the jaw and took him to the ground. Then he just kept beating the crap out of him on the ground. After that, he and all of his buddies left. Jodi's jaw was broken in 3 different places. The cops showed up and took him to the hospital where they re-constructed his jaw and wired it shut. They also had to put iron plates in his mouth. When Earl was telling us all this, he asked Elder Shah and I to specifically pray for Jodi that night, that he would get better. So we did. A day or two passed, and we called them to check in with them and see how they were doing. Earl answered the phone and he was elated.
Jodi's jaw was healed. The night that he got home, he still had all of the plates and wires in his mouth. That night, the wires fell off during the night and so they went back to the surgeon. When the surgeon was checking things out, he couldn't find a single breakage or irregularity in his jaw, and his bite line was perfect. It was a miracle. They even understood that it was a miracle and that it had been done by the Lord because of our prayers.
3. The third and last miracle is awesome. We have also been teaching a middle-aged couple named Jeff and Meyna Freele. They live on the west side of Chestermere Lake and they have been having Elders over for years to help them with service. They have a 10 year old son named Caleb. Jeff works as a caterer for the diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, and Meyna stays home with Caleb. He works 2 weeks on 2 weeks off. We had a lesson with them last night in our Bishop's home. They came over, and we started teaching them the Plan of Salvation. As we taught them, Bishop Sullivan and his wife did fabulous in testifying of the principles that we were talking about. Toward the end, we taught them about the Celestial Kingdom. As we talked about it, suddenly Jeff began asking questions:
"So in the Celestial Kingdom, that is where God and Jesus are. Is that where our families are as well?"
We explained to him that yes, that is where our families are together forever.
"Wait... then what about till death do us part?"
Elder Shah and I turned it over to Bishop Sullivan. Bishop then beautifully described how he and Sister Sullivan had been sealed in the Seattle temple, and because that sealing was done with the authority of God they would be sealed for Time and All Eternity, NOT until death do they part. They were looking reflective. Then I started talking about Uncle Dave. I told them about how my Grandmother and Grandfather had lost their son in a battle with cancer. I told them that Uncle Dave had never smoked a day in his life and that he was a righteous man, but for a reason unknown to us, God's plan was for him to go. But I told them that Grandma and Grandpa only feel a sadness every once in awhile because they MISS him, NOT because they have LOST him. Jeff and Meyna were wide-eyed and their very next questions were what the requirements were to enter the temple.
I am seriously blown away by experiences like that. Seriously, that is what being on a mission is all about. Seeing someone's eyes light up when you tell them that their family can be together for eternity, bound by priesthood power, never to be separated by death or any other barrier known or unknown.
That's why I'm on a mission, and I know that what I teach people is true. I also know that God will make these things known to anyone that will ask Him with real intent.
I love you all! Watch for the miracles! They're happening up here in Canada, and I know they're happening for all of you!