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Monday, June 26, 2017

Hard to Find the Right Words

I'm going to preface this with letting you know that there will most
likely be no email next week, as departing missionaries' last P-day is
cut short, and I am going to be spending much of it
packing-cleaning-cajoling with some mission buddies who are
serendipitously nearby. If there is an email, it will mainly consist
of photos of the baptism and some brief comments. This is, well, it.

Happy Fathers' Day. It's easy for me to say now, and still funny to
say it, but I love my Dad. As I ought to. He's taught me a lot, and
more good than bad. Currently two of my brothers are Dads, and by
looking at their children they seem to be doing good for themselves.
Here's to my family, which is a little too perfect to be real.
Luckily, they are a little too real to be perfect.
One of my BYU roommates (Cole, for Callie's sake, since she knew him),
once turned to me while we were studying, and said "I now realize what
my mission president meant when he told me that I'd want to be a
father after the mission." My mission president has not said that, but
if he did I'd believe him. I'll believe anything my mission president
My brother once wrote to me saying that if you are obedient and pay
attention that your mission president can be a "second father" figure.
What a tender thought to allow someone to be a piece of your family.
As much as we joke around with others and call each other at church,
it is a sacred honor to be called "brother", "father", "mom",
"sister." I have found wisdom, love, and joy from my mission
presidents. I do not mind calling them a "second father".

Saturday will include the last baptismal service of my mission. It
will be for Trevor, a 16-year old that we found only 6 weeks ago.
Since we knocked on his door, which we knew nothing about other than
the name of his less-active mother, both he and his mother have come
to church every week, and he wants to baptize his 13-year old brother
in the coming weeks. It is a great start to a new life for Trevor, and
a lovely finale to a two year trek for me.

Friday we had a special zone conference with Elder Cornish of the 70
present. It was magnificent. The message he carried was blissful and
sweet. I was also able to see old mission friends including my trainee
from long ago. It touched my heart to see how many people reached out
to me, as this would be the last time I'd see them for a while.

As excited as I am about all the events and plans and hopes that come
with returning home (if I can call it home), it's a disheartening
thought. For one thing, what is home? The place that I've lived the
longest in the past 3 and a half years is Round Rock, Texas. I have
been offered by three different families in this area, one that I've
spent less than 3 months in, to live with them if I ever wanted to
return to Buda. For the past 4 years my main goal has been to prepare
to serve a mission. Now that it is over, the daunting thought of
"what's next?" Has appeared. I have a three month, 1-year, and 5-year
plan, but we can never be certain.

Of all the conference talks I've read and heard on my mission, my
favorite has been "Knowing That We Know", by Douglas L. Callister.
When I think of my own testimony, it has melded into his words. They
may be his, but they are mine as well.
"The moment of testimony realization--when you know that you know--is
sweet and sublime. That testimony, if nurtured, will rest upon you as
a mantle. When we see light, we are engulfed by it. Lights of
understanding turn on within...
If you want to know that you know that you know, a price must be paid.
And you alone must pay that price. There are proxies for ordinances,
but none for the acquisition of a testimony...
We should be on our knees every morning and night pleading with the
Lord that we never lose our faith, our testimony, or our virtue. There
only has to be one witness, but it must be yourself.
I have a testimony. It urges to be expressed. I bear witness that the
power of the living God is in this Church. I know what I know, and my
witness is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen"

Elder Richard Hall

1. A photo of me and other missionaries on our first day in Texas
2. Elder Herriot and I on exchanges
3. My trainee and I looking like punks
4. Remnants of one of the best districts ever
5. Somewhere in Heaven

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