Dear Family and Friends,
Firstly, a quick note to say that this last week I received mail! So many of the letters that you have sent me over the last weeks (and months) arrived. I spent a good amount of time today responding to them. If it takes a while to get to you, know that I want to take my time to give good and hardy replies to everyone. Thank you so much for your support through your letters. It is a great uplifting experience to get your letters.
This last week has passed rapidly and I suspect the following will as well. We have been working hard and for me, I am really learning what it means to have faith and patience. This work is one of humility and love. We go out and try to talk to anyone that will just listen. Invite them to learn, to put in practice the things that Jesus taught, that is love, obedience, faith, repentance, things that will in reality change lives for the better. But, in the end, the choice is out of our hands. And so we take comfort in that we are not alone in this work; this work of salvation.
This past weekend was General Conference. I had meant to mention it last week so that I could invite you all to view it live. But it is okay. It is all still available online to watch now. General Conference is the opportunity we have every six months to listen to the Prophet and the Apostles. They are men, like we read about in the Bible, called of God to lead and direct the church in these days. They receive revelation about situations, trends, and things we should be aware of. In recent years they have focused especially on the importance of family and doing all we can to strengthen our homes and children from the many sources that are doing all they can to degrade families. This last weekend was a wonderful opportunity to hear men truly inspired of God and know what it is God would have us do in these days to be happy.
I would invite all to go to lds.org and take a few minutes to watch some of conference. If they do the same as they did last year, there will be a short video with clips from several of the different talks. Though all were wonderful, a couple that stick out in my mind right now is a talk by Russell M. Nelson. He talks about missionaries and what it is they do. It was given in the Saturday morning session. The other that sticks out is one by David A. Bednar from the Sunday afternoon session. I hope you can find a few minutes to listen to these inspired messages. Let me know what you thought!
One of the exciting announcements from the Conference is that the required age for missionary service has been lowered. As of now, a young man who has graduated from high school and is 18 years old can leave to begin his mission. Likewise, a young woman can now leave at the age of 19. This is very exciting and truly inspired. As the Prophet noted in his announcement, with things as they are in our times, youth are forced to grow up a little faster. The maturity required to live worthily at the age of 18 ensures that that young man will be prepared to leave and serve a mission. It will be exciting to see over the next months as younger missionaries arrive in the field. I am particularly interested in what it must be like to go from thinking you have a year or two to wait until you are eligible to suddenly being able to leave. How exciting!
I hope you are doing great my friend. I think of you and pray for you frequently. Keep on praying for me, I need it. This time I have to serve is short. Before we know it we will all be together again. Keep striving to make the most of everyday.
With much love,