Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dearest family and friends,

This last week marked the end of the time Elder U and I had together. After a very special 3 months with a lot of hard work, we received new companions yesterday. Because of the amount of people we have been able to work with here in this area, the Mission President decided to send two more missionaries. And so we took the large area we have been working in and split it in two. Yesterday arrived two brand new missionaries, so I will be training again! Though it can be a little heavy sometimes, I feel blessed to be in the position to teach and help these new Elders adjust and learn how to work and love the people here. 

My new companion is Elder R. from Veracruz, Mexico. We are similar in many ways. He also was studying engineering (electrical) before coming and plans to return to it afterwards. He is a great person and is going to be an incredible missionary. Not sure why I keep getting blessed with such strong and kind and dedicated companions. I know I will also learn a lot from him.

I think I will start a new habit here where I breifly mention when I receive letters or packages from people, for no reason other than to let them know that I received it. I hope that does not make anyone feel uncomfortable. If so, let me know and we can try to find another way.

I am not going to try to mention all that I have recieved previously, I will only mention that I did receive (and am extremely grateful for) Christmas/birthday packages from:

Grandma and Grandpa Brissette
Reidel Family 
Package of letters from the ward

Also this week I received letters from

Thank you all so much for your support in this manner. It is hard to describe how it feels to know that someone remembers me and is thinking and praying for me. I love you all and will be looking to find the time to write you all back soon. 

To share a brief experience. I very much doubt that there will be a time of my life that will have so many roller coaster days and experiences as  we have now on the mission. I would like to give an example of each that I have had recently. 

Low first. Can you imagine what it would be like to actually see and feel the following? Meeting a young man who lives with his father and 2 younger brothers. Someone who has struggled in his life with many challenges, addictions, and burdens placed on him because of others decisions. Someone who wants what is best for his brothers and family and makes sacrifices to help them be happy and have the basic needs. Get to know him and help him grow closer to God. Help him stop smoking, and alleviate himself of other addictions as well. Watch him as he begins to be happy, to smile, to be confident. Watching as the Gospel of Jesus Christ takes affect in his life and things truly begin to change. 
And then one day to come and find that he has given himself over again to his old addictions and more, That he has allowed old friends to enter and persuade him that he does not need God. To hear him now repeat to you that there is no God and that the devil does not exist. That there is no sin and no consequence.  And all this after having personally experienced the sweet and simple blessings of humbly obeying the commandments of our Creator. It is heartbreaking. And yet there remains the speck of hope that the day will come when he will remember what he learned, remember what he felt, what he knew, and will humble return to his Father in Heaven in prayer. The hope remains, but it is surely surrounded by a pool of sadness and confusion. 

But surely these moments of sadness cannot compare with the joy that comes of witnessing change and repentance. Something so personal and sacred between God and man. To be brief. Words cannot describe what it was like to share a moment with a mother and her sons. She works hard to provide for them and so is rarely home when we visit. But as we have begun to pass and help her teach her children to love themselves, their family, and Christ, we have grown much with them. In this night, the mother arrived home earlier and was present when we concluded the short lesson with a prayer. Her youngest son of 7 years wanted to say the prayer. As he fervently prayed that God would give them food to eat and water to drink, that he would help the sick and the homeless, that he would bless the good people and the bad people too, that he would care for them, their family, his brother, we were able to watch as the mother looked at her son, with emotion, unbelieving of the purity of his heart. What an example are the pure and sweet children for their parents. Truly we ourselves must humble ourselves and become as those little children.

With the highs and lows, we press on. I know this is the work of the Lord and not my own. Otherwise it would have failed many months ago. I love you all and wish you the very best. Keep praying for me and my companion. We need it badly in many aspects. 

Humbly and truly yours,
Elder Brighton

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