And now, my beloved brethren,
I have decided that I'm going to improve my letters to you, so that we can mutually benefit from these emails. While, "hey, everything's fine" is a good limbeck album, it's not a very good email from your missionary. So I'm going to step it up by following a pattern. In my future letters I hope to 1) respond and make comments on the letters I received from you. 2) share spiritual experiences and things that I have learned during the week, with the hope that they might teach and inspire you as well. 3) Inform you of goals I have for personal improvement, or applications of what I have learned, and invite you to apply the same principles in your lives. In this way, my letters will focus less on what I am doing and more on who I am becoming, and hopefully you'll be able to enjoy them even more. As with everything, this will take practice, so here's a trial run.
The decision you made to get married is not only responsible for my very physical existence, to which I am eternally grateful, but has blessed the lives of, at a rough estimate, 3 bajillion, people, and that's just the beginning. In all seriousness, well done.
Mom's fun little getaway sounds remarkably like something from a television show that I would have absolutely no interest in watching. Nevertheless, I think she enjoyed herself, so that's great.
Painting trees in the Arizona summer sun is probably one of my favorite things I did, and would be a great thing for Ethan to do as a starter job. He could really even do it during the school year, since he can work whatever hours he wants. But that's of course up to him.
Speaking of pictures, I have a specific request for you. There is a picture I took in Greece, on the island of Rhodes, that demonstrates clearly the concept of an arch with a keystone (Book of Mormon principle). If you can find it, either on the computer or on facebook, I'd like it sent to me, preferably printed, since it would be difficult for me to get a print of it in color without it being super expensive. Also, I have two pictures to send you. One is Alejandra who was baptized and confirmed this weekend by her husband Martin. The other is a drawbridge in downtown on the Miami River that reminded me of the movie inception.
This week in preparation for Zone Council, I've been studying a lot about unity. Unity with your companion, with your leaders, and with the Lord. Christ was his father's Junior companion. They worked in perfect unity one with another, and when he had a problem with something, he wasn't afraid to point it out. Nevertheless, he followed his Father's leadership. He also was a perfect leader to his disciples, and taught them to love one another, to "be one" as his father and he are one. He later told the prophet Joseph Smith that if the saints "are not one, [they] are not mine." As a missionary, without unity, we lose our ability as well as our right to teach the gospel. "if a man say that he love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar." "If ye receive not the spirit, ye shall not teach." We are commanded as missionaries to teach "two and two" and as members of the church to move as a family unit, hearkening to the counsel of the appointed leader.
With this in mind, my goal is to listen and teach in appropriate proportions. I'll let you choose this week how to apply this principle. That took a long time. Hopefully I'll get better at it.
The Church is True!