Dear Parents, and Thanny and everyone else that purposely or accidentally stumbles upon my weekly email (Hey that`s pretty clever Elder Garner. Thanks, Elder Garner. Hey Elder Garner stop writing the email to yourself. Oh yea, oops.)
Hey do you remember what I told you guys last week, that this was going to be an action packed week? Well it was! At the end of last night, Elder G and I had come to agree that we had never been more tired after a week in the mission before. But wow was it worth it. It turned out that we had to wake up early every day, so today we "slept in" till 6:30 and that felt pretty good. Last monday night, the assistants called to inform us that we were to give a presentation in the leadership counsil on how to use our time wisely and work efficently, so we had to prepare that for friday, and had to take some time to do that. On Wednesday, we headed over to the Temple, and that was a lovely experience as always. The missionaries in Nicolas Bravo told me that O was still a faithful young teacher in the church, but was having many problems in his family in part of his parents, so I wrote him a rather long letter to send with the zone leaders on friday at the leadership conference. The presentation went well in the leadership counsil, and we left very spiritually strenghtened with all that had happened there. This general conference was truly magnificent, and I was very pleased because many of the investigators could go and enjoy the words and counsil of our modern Prophet and Apostles. We had a young boy, E, that went to all of the sessions! even the priesthood all the way in the stake center! He loves being there and is a very sober young chap, who is preparing to be baptized. We had two other families that we have been teaching come to sessions (the I family and the Q family) and there was a woman who came with her member neighbor, who invited us over this evening to visit with her. It was a very successful general conference for the work of salvation.
Apart from that, I think that the Lord had quenched one of my long lasting doubts, or worries, that I`ve had since I became a missionary, and I`ll explain it because I would imagine that many missionaries, future, current of returned missionaries have had or have or will have this fear. Since I have be growing spiritually in the mission field, I have had a small fear of "When I return to my home, to the real world to say, will I still be this converted, will I continue to grow spiritually? Will I continue strong in the straight and narrow path?" Reasonablely, I will not have nearly as many spiritual experiences when I return, nor will I have the opportunity to constantly be preaching the gospel. but there is always a fear of falling back into mediocracy, laziness, arrogance, lack of interest, etc. So I was watching the conference, kind of impatiently after the saturday afternoon session, and then a bit anxious in the sunday sessions, until the final talk! that`s where I felt that this small internal fear could be released. I felt that Elder Holland`s words were for me, and not just because of the gift he has to speak, which I do dearly appreciate, but because the Holy Ghost spoke to me during his talk. I thought to myself: "Would the Lord give me such a wonderful opportunity to serve him for 2 years and to grow spiritually so I could return to fall back into averageness? Of course not! When Joseph interpreted the dream of the Pharoah, they knew that they would be nourished and prospered greatly for seven years, and then for seven there would be trials, but they could have supplied for that time, and they would be prepared. So that is what it is like, but not so much famine. I won`t be a missionary with a plaque and tie forever, but I will be a disciple of Christ forever, and that the things I learn here will benefit me forever, even if I can`t fully comprehend right now. And even more than that, Will not my Father in Heaven provide even more opportunities to learn and progress after? I am certainly not going into a famine, but a time to thrive and have great joy, and to grow and to learn, and especially to help others do the same." So that is what, more or less, came to my mind, and I`m very greatful for the general conference, and the still small voice. I know that we can recieve great blessings for following the words of the Prophet and the Apostles, as well as the other General authorities. I have great confidence that our joy will continue to increase, even if the world seems to get darker and darker. For the lack of time I can`t include the scriptural references that come to my mind that I would like to share, but I think what I have writte will suffice.
I love you all very much, Let us all press on with firmness in the Lord this week,