So in this introduction to the blog and to my mission in general let me see if I can explain and explore a few ideas.
First, the title "Elder". To get to this webpage and if you looked at my mailing address you no doubt noticed that I now carry the title of Elder Brighton. This title is one given to all missionaries serving throughout the world. It is a term that distinguishes those serving and sets them apart as they devote all of their time and efforts to their missionary work. So when I meet with people for the next two years I will be known simply as Elder Brighton. It is an honor to carry this title.
And how about the title of this blog, "With all the Energy of Heart". There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that has impressed me each time I have read it. It is found towards the end, in Moroni chapter 7 verses 47-48. It says,
"47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
As I thought about what I wanted to title this blog, this scripture came to mind. It helps to explain what it is that I will really be doing for the next two years. As I labor with "all the energy of heart", leaving behind many common comforts and communications, I know I will be able to give my very best effort and accomplish all that I need to. While I will be putting on hold much of my own personal life, I will be happy serving others and focusing on their own needs. I cannot yet know all the details of what to expect, but I am ready and prepared to do what is necessary to be an instrument to bring happiness to others. It is a privilege to be asked to serve in this way.
And so as I leave, I will be setting aside many things. I will be focusing all of my energy, thoughts, and time on the work that is to be done. I do look forward to hearing how everyone back home is doing and I will do my very best to stay in touch. As I write home to my family each week I will ask my mother to post portions of my letter to this blog so I can keep up with everyone. But if you like, please do write me a letter. Let me know how you are doing and also ask me any questions you have about what I'm doing. I'm sure I will have plenty of stories to tell. I look forward to your letters.
There is a great webpage that has been put together to explain why missionaries go out at all. The short video does a good job explaining very real reasons for sending young men and women out across the world to teach others and invite them to learn of and come to Jesus Christ.
(If the link above doesn't work, the webpage is http://mormon.org/missionary-work/#why-mormons-send-missionaries-around-the-world)
While there is so much more to say, and surely so many more questions to answer, I will await your letters and my own increased understanding and experience to address them.
Thank you all so much for your love and support over these many years. We are all, in part, a product of our associations over the years, and I am happy to think back on my many friendships that have developed. I cherish my old and new friends and hope to keep these links strong. I truly do feel that I stand on a strong and sturdy foundation of support and friendship as I embark. It is a blessing not everyone enjoys as they leave. To my friends from the Church, I cannot fully express my appreciation for all that you have taught me and the love you have shown both me and my family. It has been a great strength to us in times of trouble. And to my friends from work, school, and everywhere else, I am especially grateful for you. I feel strengthened having received all of your well-wishes and prayers as I leave to serve. I thank you for support as I do this work in another place. You are all the best. And so tomorrow, I will be able to leave happily, and with a smile.
With love and appreciation,