Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dearest family and friends,

I had a great week, highlighted with the brief video call home. It was nice to see everyone again. Crazy to see how much Stacey, Alex, and Scott have all grown. Stacey especially since she is right in that age of a lot of growth. Hardly could believe how tall she is now. And was impressed by her great flexibility and gymnastics. It makes me really happy to see that she is doing something that she enjoys and is really good at. Sure do miss everyone! But I am doing well, aside from my receding hair line as noticed and immediately mentioned by everyone present in the phone calls... thanks guys. (I really do not think it is that bad and have faith that when the stress of the mission is over everything will thicken out again...)

For my part, I am doing quite well and enjoying being with Elder Umaña again. We have both changed a lot in the last year. But it was fun to pass the Christmas season together and think back on the similarities and differences of last year.

Take advantage of the time to go and visit as many people as we could. Singing a hymn or two and reading the Christmas story from Luke 2.

Having great experiences as we entered the houses of people who otherwise did not have visitors or family in the holiday season. Expressing our love and feeling it reciprocated.

Last year we had a bowl of cereal and milk for Christmas dinner. This year we were invited to eat with a family the evening of the 25th and enjoyed a tasty and warm meal.

Last year the phone call was pretty hectic with lots of people around and hard to hear. This year it was calm and went smoothly.

Last year I looked forward to another to be passed in the mission. This year I look forward to being with my own family for the next one.

A final thought from this week. After having offended a person it requires more than a simple “I´m sorry for what I said or did” for a change or improvement in the relationship to occur. Part of the repentance process, following the apology includes restoring the damage. That is almost always going to involve a conversation a little bit longer in order to express love, appreciation, and sincerity. Just like a small and simple slip of the tongue can ruin relationships and friendships, a small and simple (but sincere) expression of love can turn a negative experience into a positive one.

What does that mean? It means that if we apologize sincerely, mistakes that we make can actually be turned into opportunities to strengthen relationships. I have learned that that is true and can have real power.

Hope everyone has a great week, a good new year, and is able to take time to reflect on the goals and personal progress of the waning year and make positive and definite goals for the coming.

With love,
Elder Brighton

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