May 19, 2009

To Dad,

Despite not having the Suns in the playoffs, this conference finals looks as legit as can be. A bunch of gangsters all going at it. Kobe, Odom, Lebron, Iverson, Carmelo, Howard. So ghetto. I'm so all about it. We'll need to be watching ALL of these games, please. I'm reminding my companion that this is all next week and probably all in HD and he's burying his head in his hands. Haha oh boy. OK, Anyways...

On Sunday I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. Having considered the counsel you gave me regarding how to give a talk, I used the story you sent me about the conversion of Parley P. Pratt. I translated the story into Portuguese and used it to illustrate the power of the Book of Mormon in converting ourselves and in converting others, and thereby making us great missionaries. I felt like it was a wonderful example, simple as it was, how he had been converted by the Book of Mormon, then turned around and bore that testimony to the world. He was one of the greatest missionaries of this dispensation. Just the example of a great missionary in the early days of the Church is enough to welcome the Spirit, but I hope that at least someone at church was able to grasp on to what I was hoping to tie it to--which is member-missionary work. Something I have tried to dedicate myself to very much in the last few transfers. It is the best way to do the work.

The last speaker at Sacrament meeting was a man named Christian Klein, second counselor in the stake presidency. He talked about missionary work, amongst other things. As he spoke, he thanked me for my talk and then mentioned that the man Parley P. Pratt had special meaning to him because one of his descendants was the missionary who taught and interviewed his grandfather to be baptized years ago in Sao Paulo. The name of that missionary was Wilford Cardon. My thoughts turned to how the early days of the Church in Brazil must have been. How great they must have been. I felt a great love for missionary work. I hope that I can be that special missionary for someone generations from now.

So from that I discovered first hand that storytelling really is the best way to give a talk. Thank you for that suggestion, Dad.

I want to thank you and everyone for so many things that have helped me to learn and become something better on my mission. I want to thank you for being an example of a good man and so many other things. It's a hard thing to put into words how you want to thank your Father for things that have such eternal and infinite significance. One of the things President Cardon taught me in the CTM is that it's difficult to describe the infinite in finite terms. Such is the case with me trying to describe the way I feel about my family, or say thanks for things that have been so important. I guess all I really can do is just say thanks. So, thank you.

I make it sound like something is ending and it's all sad, but really it's more the opposite. I mean yeah, the mission is ending, but all the greater then is my resolve to do what is right and live worthy of an eternal family one day.

Everyone's getting a personal e-mail today so I have to cut it a little short here because I still have to write everyone else. You were the first though. Just one more thing I wanted to say--I'm honestly amazed by the grace of the Lord in my life. This is something I can't help but make mention of. It's hard to think about without becoming emotional. That too is something hard to describe--what forgiveness and learning and testimony and love for the Savior feel like. But those are some of the things that have been mine during this season of my life and I am endlessly grateful to Heavenly Father for having given me these things. My testimony before the mission might not have been something that would have lasted me my whole life. Now it is fixed.

We have a lot to talk about and plan when I get home. Really, A LOT. So I hope you're up for it! I can't wait to see you again, Dad. I love you.


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