Wow, I am just so happy right now. I love being a missionary. Conference was awesome!
"This week was a pretty crazy week. We've been frantically trying to get the car repaired, the carpet shampooed, the apartment ready for transfers, cover English and Spanish investigators, and watching General Conference. It's been really good though.
Thank you so much for sending me to Wilson. This transfer has helped me out a lot. It hasn't been an easy transfer, but it's helped me to realign some of my priorities and expand my vision. Elder Brady has helped me out a lot, and hopefully I've helped him out some too. Elder Taylor has helped me out a lot also. Wilson is a great ward, and they will do well.
This general conference was just awesome. I learned so much from it. I can't wait until the conference issue comes out next month. I plan to diligently study and seek to understand it. I've set some goals for the last 2 transfers of my mission that I'm seeking to accomplish. One thing that I've learned here in Wilson is that when it comes to goals, there are 2 important parts: setting inspired, attainable, worthy goals, and being diligent and having perseverance in obtaining those goals. Don't give up on a goal until you've given it its due amount of work and time. Give it some time, and if things don't get better, then adjust your goals.
We taught a lady named C. Her mother was a convert to the Church, and she said she would be a member if she had grown up in it. She said she's not interested in converting, but she wants her great-granddaughter to become a member. So we'll see what happens with that.
We taught Bro. B also. We had a very good, Spirit-filled lesson. He told us that even if he finds out that the Book of Mormon is true, he won't leave his church. It was disappointing, but he was being honest. We were in contact with the M family, but they didn't come to General Conference. The B girls showed up for two talks of general conference, then left. We think they might be looking into the church for the wrong reasons."
So, this is going to shock you all. It really shocked me! To answer your question, we do live with the Spanish elders. Elder Taylor was training a new missionary that came to Wilson at the same time I did. On Wednesday morning, Elder Brady said, "Get a picture with Elder -, he's going home." I didn't believe him, but sadly he was. I'm going to miss him. About 1 minute later President Cotterell showed up at the apartment, and I was just like, "Wow, this is really happening." President pulled Elder Brady and I into our home, and sat us down. He basically said, Elders, you've done a good job here in Wilson this transfer, but the decision has been made to pull the English elders out of Wilson and allow the Spanish elders to cover it. I was shocked, I had no idea that this was in the works. President told me that I will be whitewashing (2 new elders into an area instead of just 1) into an area that is being covered by sister missionaries at the moment. He didn't say I would have a new missionary, but that I would be the senior companion. He also told me that I would be going to a zone that I haven't served in before. So unless something has changed between then and now, that's what I'm expecting tomorrow at transfer meeting. I think I'll end up somewhere in the Triangle Region (Raleigh, Durham, Apex), and I have a couple guesses as to where I might go, but I don't know anything for sure. I guess I'll be able to tell you next Monday! This has been very unexpected. I love Wilson and I'm going to miss it. I'm sure I'm going to enjoy my next area too, though. I'm pretty excited to find out where I go.
So, I wrote this out. It started as a response to the question about feeling the Holy Ghost, but it turned into more of just missionary advice. Please forward this to Michael and David Gledhill.
Keep your priorities straight. Study Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel over and over again, especially the section "A Successful Missionary". Be diligent and a hard worker, but don't be in a rush to get everywhere (that will interfere with the Spirit). Remember that every blessing we receive in this life comes through obedience. Be exactly obedient, don't rationalize any rule-breaking. Limited obedience will bring limited blessings. You will serve around missionaries who choose to be disobedient on certain things, and you might even have a companion who doesn't strive for exact obedience. Love them enough to refuse to accept their disobedience into your missionary work, and show them what an exactly obedient missionary is. The Missionary Handbook and your mission president will tell you all you need to know about obedience to missionary rules. And by the way, Elder Smith saying that the former assistant said that President said that sleeping until 6:40 is ok does not constitute a directive from the mission president. Don't listen to hearsay, ask your mission president if "rumored rules" really are rules. Resist the temptation to follow other missionaries instead of following the Lord and your mission president. Everyone (missionaries, members, mission president, etc.) will trust you if you are exactly obedient and radiate love for the Lord as your motivation for obedience. A successful missionary enjoys the companionship of the Holy Ghost. By living the doctrine of Christ as found in Chapter 1 of PMG, you will feel his companionship more fully. Helaman 12:1-3 teaches that when people prosper, they harden their hearts and turn to wickedness. Someone with a hard heart does not feel the guidance and comfort of the Holy Ghost. It takes a soft heart to have his companionship. So, if it feels like it's been a while since you felt the Holy Ghost, take it as a wake-up call and a signal that you need to change something in your life! Never weary of doing good (Alma 37:34). And remember that conversion (both your conversion and your investigators' conversion) comes through the heart, not the mind. It is extremely important to have a firm knowledge of the doctrines and principles of the gospel, but your investigators must be converted by the Spirit and not convinced by knowledge (or they will eventually fall away). There are a lot of other things that I would like to say, but that's all I can think of right now.
Mom, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am so glad that I decided to serve a mission. I feel like my mission has been filled with all sorts of frustration and struggles, but I've grown tremendously. I feel like I know what's important now. I know that I could not have learned the lessons that I have learned at my young age without serving a mission. "Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn to keep the commandments of God" (Alma 37:35). Much better to have the knowledge I've gained at my young age than to learn it incrementally over the next 30 years or so.
I'm sad to hear that Bro. Edmonds was transferred. Do you know when he's going? Hopefully I can meet with him and talk about NC before he takes off.
One funny thing really quick. Before General Conference started, I was doing some pondering about the lessons I would be learning. I figured that many of them would be applicable for my last 3 months as a missionary, and the others would be more applicable for my first 3 months after returning home. Then 3 or 4 different speakers go and tell all the returned missionaries to quit dinkin' around after their missions and find a wife. Ha ha ha, that just made me laugh.
Well, I should have lots of good things for you in my next e-mail! Take care, I love you all so much.