This week has been awesome! Elder Carroll (my new comp) is great and we get along so well. He played soccer for a community college before he came out. He has been out for 9 months and has been called to be DL! It is his first time serving as DL as well as his first time training. For some reason Pres. Howes seems to think that I am a good guinea pig for him to test trainers on. But, he's done good this time. I must not need a whole lot of training or something ;) [Parental insert... my son is so humble]
The unimportant stuff comes now. I have had an awesome week. We are all doing really well in our zone. We had one companionship, Elder Foist and Elder Allen (I love Elder Foist!) who cover the spanish in our areas, had an amazing week! They had 24 TO's (Teach Opportunities) which is only 1 less than our entire district had last week. They're rediculous. But, they also cover a much larger area and the spanish seem to be more receptive to the gospel. Elder Carroll and I have made huge improvements in our area, compared to last transfer. He listens to my opinion about things and we're doing a lot more missionary work missionary! It's wonderful. This is what missionary life is supposed to be like.
Now for the spiritual stuff...
These past two Sundays have both been fast Sundays for us Elders. The first Sunday because our mission was doing a mission fast for growth in Obedience, Faith and a few other things. This past Sunday because it was actually Fast Sunday. The Lord has blessed us tremendously. Not only, I believe, because of our fasts but also because of this area's new found diligence in missionary work. Joseph B. Wirthlin gave a talk a while ago titled "Band of Brothers." It is a great talk that everyone should read because we are all involved in some sort of group where we work together. He talks about a group of paratroopers and how they had to form that brotherhood that is so necessary in the military. This was at the start of WWII and the idea of jumping out of a plane was foreign. It was a brand new tactic that they were trying out. There were hundreds who had signed up to be a part of this new group of soldiers. Two out of every three men dropped out because of the intensity of the training they had to endure. Their mission was to take out a weapon that was tearing them apart. These men were to jump out, disarm it and get back. They were going to be landing in enemy territory and going from there. 140 men were sent out on this mission, 48 of them died and only 12 of them, initially, landed where they needed to. They alone accomplished the task. He goes on to say that "when we work together in a bond of brotherhood, when we love each other and are loyal and faithful to the great cause to which we have been called, the impossible becomes possible." I have come to realize the truth of that statement very quickly. I have noticed the Lord's hand in my missionary efforts since the start of this new companionship. We get along well, we trust each other, we help each other where needed. If we "fail to establish a bond of brotherhood our work will be tedious, toilsome and unproductive." I've experienced this and can testify that it's true. But, things have greatly changed. We are united in our purpose. "We love the Lord and we love our neighbor."
Who are we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Why does the Church ask so much of its members? Why do we do temple work? Why do we do missionary work? Welfare work? Why do we do the things we do? Because we love the Lord and we love our neighbor. That is who we are as a people. That is why we do what we do. If we continue to show everyone that "we love the Lord and we love our neighbor," then we will become leaders among those we work with. We will be able to speak with a new tongue, speak with the power of the Holy Spirit and penetrate to the very core of their hearts. An average leader motivates with a "carrot and a stick and inspires to punch a time clock." A great leader "communicates a vision that captures imagination and fires hearts and minds." A great leader "inspires industry and passion." Be a great leader in the band of brothers you choose to form that bond of brotherhood with. Never forget the value of a great cause. Understand your priorities. Settle into your work and give it all you've got. Do not fear that challenges you face. Press on in faith.
The Lord knows each and every one of us. He knows our circumstances and puts us in a position to grow. "He knows who I am... I will follow Him in faith. I believe in the Savior Jesus Christ. I'll honor His name. I'll do what is right. I'll follow His light. His truth I will proclaim." We have not only been given the opportunity to grow in the attributes of Christ but we have taken upon ourselves a covenant with God that we will do so. When we enter into the waters of baptism we promise to "Mourn with those that mourn. Comfort those that stand in need of comfort and represent Jesus Christ" in all that we do. Please do not take those sacred covenants lightly.
Elder Eyring talked about an experience that we all remember. How he was in Japan in his hotel room and he had just laid down to retire for the night and President Hinckley called. He said that "[We] cannot be a perfect servant every hour, but I can try to give more effort than I thought I could." I know that as we strive to give all we can, as we love the Lord and our neighbor, and as we "settle in the harness" we will be given the strength to perform miracles. I know that Jesus is the Christ, my Lord and Savior, the Redeemer of all mankind and He knows and loves each one of us beyond our comprehension. I know that this church is the only true and living church of God. I love each and every one of you and pray for you daily. In the name of the Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, amen.
~Elder Daniel Peterson