Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Missionary Letters

So my little brother is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I set up a blog specifically for posting his emails, letters, address, etc. but I decided that sometimes I'll share them here too.

Today is his first day in the mission field after being in the MTC for two and a half weeks.
He's serving in Rochester, New York which encompasses a huge part of the important sites in church history. He's only been there for 48 hours and has already had some incredible experiences being in places that got the church going (the Smith farm, the Sacred Grove, etc.). Reading this email made me so incredibly jealous! These are places that are high on my list of places to go in life.

Anyway, here's the link to the post on that blog, Check it out and follow along for the next two years!

Here are some of the highlights though:

"We went to the Whitmer farm and a few other random places, eventually ending at the Smith farm. After walking around and listening to the history behind everything, we went up to the second floor bedroom of the Smith house, the same room where the Angel Moroni visited Joseph! It's funny, because in the paintings of this scene, Joseph always seems to be in solitude, but yet all of his brothers actually slept in that same tiny room with him. Just before we left, we had a testimony meeting with the six new elders, two new sisters, and President Christianson and his wife and grandson. How many people get to start their missions with a testimony meeting where Joseph Smith first heard of the Book of Mormon?"

"The next stop was the Sacred Grove. We walked in and learned about a lot of the area. It's cool, because there is a section of the grove that went through multiple families after the Smith's sold it, but none of them ever felt comfortable altering it for farming. There are actually some trees that are 240 years old, which President Christianson calls "Witness Trees." Eventually, President Christianson had all of us split up and go to our own parts of the grove where we had 20 minutes on our own to do whatever we felt we should. What an incredible experience! Each year, we'll also have a zone conference in the grove. Who can claim that one??"

"200 years ago, a fourteen year old boy was confused about which church to join. Even his parents had different beliefs as far as which church was the truth. One day, while reading the Bible, he found in James a call to pray about any concern we may have. He followed up on this invitation and went into a solitary place. As he prayed, our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him, in person, and instructed him to not join any of the churches, that they were all confused, and that Joseph needed to help Jesus Christ bring back the gospel He established when He was on Earth. This gospel is based on faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. All of this was only possible because of Christ's Atonement. Finally, the ability for us to take full advantage of the Atonement through all the principles and ordinances of His gospel were again on Earth! Finally, we could live with our Father in Heaven, again! I can hardly imagine the joy our Savior must have felt to know that the same suffering He, himself, was nervous about undertaking (Luke 22:42) was going to be used again. His Father's "work and His glory" would again be possible. I'm so happy to play my part in letting my Father's "mission statement" (Moses 1:39) be possible."

You guys. All this from a 19-year-old kid. Who'd have thought!?

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