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Monday, April 18, 2016

Brotherly Love

This week, Elder W was sick. But luckily, we were able to do a
fair amount of proselyting. We saw a lot of miracles out there. I am
always so amazed at the power of God. If we remain faithful in our
actions and obey the commandments given to us, we can always expect
accordant blessings. What usually surprises me about the miracles is
that I never expect the amount of spiritual impact that they can have
on you.
This Saturday we received a referral for a less active member whose
fiancé was interested in the church. They came to church last week,
and honest to goodness, no one noticed. Even still, they really
enjoyed it and came back again this week! We sat next to them, and
this time, it felt like almost every member talked to them. The less
active member is loving being back at church. She sang all the hymns
and intently to the lessons. Her boyfriend, who is covered head to toe
in tattoos, was greeted warmly and like a new member. It is wonderful
to see just how prepared this Ward is to do missionary work. The
momentum is shifting. From when I first entered the area about 4
months ago,the Ward still felt new and a little overwhelmed by the
sheer amount of members who were moving in and joining the
congregation. Now that the flux of new members is stopping, it feels
like the members are looking to get their friends and neighbors coming
to church as well.
Our recent convert family, the C, our doing fantastic. We were
able to watch "Prophet of the Restoration" with them. The movie ends
with the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, a spiritual and powerful scene to
watch with someone whose testimony of Joseph Smith is so young. At the
end, Christina looked over at us with a bit of shell shock, and said,
"That movie was so depressing." Yes, yes it was. But my goodness, it
shows the marvelous life of Joseph Smith so well. They loved it, and
also came to a realization of just how much opposition the church ran
into during the early years. It's wonderful to see people's
testimonies grow.
This week, my thoughts go back to my siblings. Last week my mom, as
well as one or two siblings notified me that it was Siblings day. This
made me think of a few things.
1. We are all sons and daughters of a living God. He created every
single one of us, and we are eternally indebted to him. Because he is
the father of our spirits, we are brothers and sisters in the spirit.
Once we come to realize this universal connection that we have with
everyone, we have an obligation to love and serve them. I love knowing
that we are all given life from the same God, and we find the
remainder, the essence of our heavenly parents within other people. We
can also find the essence of the adversary in those who forgot the
identity of who they are, where they came from, and how to act
2. I have not seen my siblings all in the same place for a while. My
brother Keith notified me that it has been almost two years since we
have been in the same place. It was the summer of 2014 at Yuba City,
California. It will be another 14-15 months or so, until we are all in
the same place again. Perhaps longer. I do miss my siblings
3. I have had the experience of living in a house with multiple
siblings, and being in the house as an only child. There is a
difference. The last sibling other than me left the house when I was
entering high school. At that moment, I felt like our house was much
emptier. I noticed my parents started coming to more of my activities,
and asking more about things that were going on in my life. They were
using a 5-child strategy on a 1-child household. It creates an
interesting effect. Luckily, sibling rivalry came with the
grandchildren. I was jealous, but the competition was healthy. It's
strange. Pride is competitive, but competition is healthy. Think about
4. Our association with our brothers and sisters differs from our
association with people out of bloodline. We all act more naturally
with those we grew up with than with those we meet o the street.
Sometimes wards give themselves an additional title. "The Ward
family," to help unify the congregation as one, and to show the trust
they have in one another. What would happen if we treated all of our
spirit brothers and sisters the same comfortable, accepting way we do
with our physical brothers and sisters?
5. I love my brothers and sisters. Absolutely. 100%. Sure, Todd's a
bum to me sometimes, and Callie made listened to some lame music in
high school, but in the end, it matters not. Or, as I used to put it-
it doesn't care. My family means a lot to me. I get letters from them
every week, and I try to send one out to a different sinking every
week. Sometimes I don't. I apologize. But know I love you. Hopefully
God knows I love him too. And every day I look to improve the love I
have for my brothers and sisters all around us.

Elder Richard Hall

1. A giant lizard we found while doing service. Those are Elder
Whiteley's hands. Elder Castorena was there with Elder Savas for the
day. I know Elder Whiteley and I haven't sent a picture of us yet. It
will come.
2. The family
3. Good ol' Texas Sky

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