July 7, 2014
Dear Friends and Family,
The news has arrived. I’m leaving Washington. Well, actually, I’m leaving leaving. The Visitors’ Center, that is. Yes. I’m going “outbound.”
I’m headed to Kanab, UT.
The phrase, “leave it better than you found it,” seems to pop up everywhere, at least recently. Especially in missionary work. I feel grateful to be able to say that I can at least marginally proclaim that I am leaving behind this part of my mission better than I found it. Even if it’s just in little ways. I know there is always more that could be done, but for now I am proud of what has been done and look forward to what lies ahead in Kanab.
A few things I’ve heard about Kanab:
It’s cooler (temperature wise) than St. George. HALLELUJAH!
- There a “Little Hollywood” that is supposed to quite fun.
- John Wayne apparently spent some quality time there.
- I’m going to wear out my camera taking snap shots of how incredibly beautiful it is.
- Everyone who has ever served there has LOVED it. I’m excited to get on that band wagon.
- It’s in the middle of nowhere, and there’s nothing out there. Good and bad, I suppose?
I already know my companion, Sister Donaldson. I served with her at the VC for the first month of my mission. It will be good to see her again!
This last week has been so great. We have worked so hard and seen many miracles in the Washington area. In a lesson we had the other night, we were discussing faith and humility. Out of the blue (like the Spirit often works), I remembered a story from my childhood that is a perfect example of consistently fueling and tending our faith… like unto tending a seed or plant (See Alma 32).
Patrick, the oxalis ->
When we lived in Illinois, back when I was just a wee thing, we had a neighbor named Mr. Callahan. I’m not exactly sure if my memory is entirely accurate, but I remember him as being Irish. Even if he isn’t, it makes the story more charming, so just go with it. We received a plant from Mr. Callahan, a shamrock plant [oxalis], I want to say.
And that plant has been in our family ever since. His name is Patrick. Patrick the plant. Patrick has ventured with us from Bloomington to Macomb in Illinois, to Pennsylvania, and to Idaho and he lives with us still (at least to my knowledge). Good old Patrick. He’s always been there. He’s a stalwart, reliable thing. But every once in a while, we would walk by Patrick’s perch where he sat soaking up the sun, but silently pleading with us to remember him and to water him; for it had been just a little bit too long and he was on his last legs. Hurriedly, we would quench his righteous thirst with water from the tap, apologize to him in our heart and mind, and then carry on with our day. And there Patrick would continue to sit, happily, a picture of patience and loyalty. I love Patrick. When I get home, I’m going to tell him so. I’m sorry for taking him for granted for so many years.
But as I told this story of Patrick in our lesson the other night, I realized that all my life, Patrick has been an example of taking care and tending our faith. If we leave it un-watered and neglected for too long, it begins to wither. If we tend it diligently, it thrives. How do we water it? Daily prayer (open communication with our Heavenly Father), scripture study (pouring over the words of life!), and the weekly soul-nourishment that we receive at church (where we renew a covenant/promise to follow Christ and we have a clean slate once again for the week through the ordinance of the Sacrament). Our personal Patricks will remain green and beautiful if we continue to water them!
On another level, what I love about Patrick is that, even though we had weeks where he sat neglected, he never withered beyond retrieval. Our faith will never wither beyond retrieval or revival, either. It is a part of us. Sometimes it may lay dormant, but it is always at our core. We are children of a Heavenly Father. That is who and what we are. It lies within our spiritual DNA to have the faith, even if it is the size of a mustard seed, that we need to succeed in any and all things
I love Patrick.
I love the Lord.
I love my mission.
I love you.
Please, take time today to water your faith. Water your relationship with God. Speak to Him, read His word, know that He knows you, cares about you, and wishes to bless you. Don’t leave your faith or your relationship to wither.
I really do love you. I hope you know that. Press forward with a brightness of hope. You all deserve the best.
Much love and rice and beans,
CHANGE OF ADDRESS NOTICE:
Effective July 18th, there is a change of address for our mission! We have been asked to ask everyone to please not send mail from the 13th to the 17th of July, so that there is not any missed in the cross over. And a reminder, mail that is not sent by USPS (United States Postal Service) cannot be forwarded, so it won’t reach me for a very long time. Please send by USPS. Thank you!!
Utah St. George Mission
881 South River Road
St. George, UT 84790