Greetings from Temecula in Riverside County California!
I am here with my new companion Elder Lake, and living in the same apartment as my good friend and former companion: ELDER HEGLAND! I got your package in the mail, thank you so much! The pepperoni sticks are great! Well they are gone, but they were delicious! How is everyone at home doing? I was just thinking about everyone as I have been talking to people here and them talking about their kids and how old they are and I found myself wondering how Kennedy and Harrison got so old so fast, and when did Jackson graduate middle school!? I am excited to hear about every one's adventures while I am on this adventure of my own.
This week reached a tame 113 degrees here in Temecula and most of the time has been spent on our bikes, or mopping sweat off of our faces before we enter people's houses. I think that this is a wonderful place to be though, and I really am loving getting to meet new people. Elder Lake was just serving in Laguna Niguel and so neither of us know anything about anyone here, because the previous companionship didn't leave much at all. However, I think that is a blessing, because now Elder Lake and I get to figure it out and in the process of doing so we become more familiar with the area through getting lost and then finding our way back! We inadvertently left the mission the other day, because we missed a turn and kept going into the Riverside Mission. Whoops!
I just got an email from Elder Hegland and my first companion, Elder Omori, he got to the MTC the same day as us and was temporarily reassigned to Phoenix, AZ about 6 1/2 weeks ago. He told me that he has now been permanently reassigned to Oakland/Sacramento. That was really hard to hear and I am sad that we won't see him in Mongolia. I am still very hopeful that the other 4 of us will be there soon. No news, but same as always: patiently waiting and serving the Lord while I am on His errand, no matter where it is.
At church on Sunday Elder Lake and I were invited to give talks and teach the Elder's quorum lesson. We were asked about 10 minutes before sacrament started and we said "Of course". It was one of the better talks I have given in any setting, in my opinion! I usually need to have my talk outlined and written out and all of my jokes planned, but this time I thought about what direction to take my thoughts and who to direct the message to. I am grateful for the time that I have had so far on my mission to put a few things together in my head. Meaning: throughout the course of my studies, both personal and third-party instructive, I have seen things, doctrines, in a more "big picture" mentality. With all of these deeper connections that the Spirit has helped me make, I found that it was easier to focus my remarks and express more clearly what I wanted to. Of course I included some humor and people remembered that, but I think my testimony, also, is very different and people were able to feel that.
I spoke before Elder Lake, so I took that opportunity, as the designated domestic junior companion to introduce us as "The new couple in the ward" and explained that we just moved in on Tuesday, we had no children, so we can both keep up on our full time jobs. I also elaborated that we had met in the pre-existence and then once again one memorable afternoon in Vista, California and the rest is history. I am glad that "Mormon Culture" is pretty much the same throughout the United States!
A quick message for the week, and coincidentally the topic of my talk, is what I would like to conclude with. As I have been pondering about this and learning more about my Savior I really think that I want to do everything that I possibly can to be as closely like Him that I can. President Eyring offered great counsel to "Think of Him". As we go through our days and try to accomplish all of the to-do list items for the day, it is common, for me, at least. to become frustrated, tired or even overwhelmed and feel defeated. How do we feel when we finish a particularly prickly project? I find this occasion to be joyful and take a breather, perhaps put my feet up and relax. Everyday in missionary work there are these times. I reflect on the superhuman feat that my Savior did on my behalf. Even in the darkest and most trying time of His work He never thought of Himself. He was focused on completing His Father's glorious work. I know that He was thinking of me, and of you and each of His brothers and sisters that He was dying for. When I "think of Him" at this time and in this sense I feel strengthened and even emboldened to physically press on and work as hard as I can because He never took a break and He never deviated from His Divine purpose. I love my Redeemer and am striving to do the things that he would do if He was on the earth at this time. I am honored and humbled to have the sacred privilege of representing Him at this time. I hope that we may all have a great week as we turn our thoughts to our Savior and remember to press forward with faith.