For those of you who have studied the Book of Mormon, I am totally guilty of following the "pride cycle." When things aren't going well and I need to be comforted, I rely on the Lord and read my scriptures and pray and put all my trust in Him. Then when things get better and are going my way, I am more casual about my prayer and scripture study. And then I need to be humbled and realize that I should constantly be thanking Him and relying on Him. This is a lesson it seems I've learned a hundred times, but I keep forgetting. Yesterday I just was feeling blah, like nothing could really make me happy. Then I remembered that I needed to pray and I did and I felt SO much better! I need to remember.
One thing I do when I come visit my parents is pull out all my mission stuff- journals, scrapbook, letters, etc. My mom has a little box in which she keeps all the letters missionaries have written her. There are letters from me of course, as well as some kids from our stake and my BFFs Sarah Turek and Jess Ogle Felt. And Jess's brother Josh cause he is our cousin too ;). There were also a couple of letters from Carson.
For those of you who don't know, Carson is my brother. He served in the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission for about 8 months, then came home because he could only sleep a couple of hours a night and had such bad depression that he tried to take his life both on the mission and after he got home. He hasn't been to church since and considers himself no longer a member. I was still on my mission when he came home and all of that went down. It was really, really hard for me for about a year after and I still get sad sometimes. But he's doing much better. I read the letters that he sent my family and his testimony and his excitement to be doing the Lord's work. It hurt but it also gave me some hope that eventually he'll realize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to find true joy.
In a semi-related note, as missionaries we are discouraged from discussing politics. We are representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Church does not endorse specific politicians or political parties. I was in Paris during the 2008 election. The French people and the Africans that we taught were especially interested in Obama. We were constantly asked questions about him and if we were voting for him, etc. My mission president, President Staheli, gave us a good response to give when confronted with these questions: "La vie politique est tres compliquee, mais notre message est simple...." In English, "politics are complicated, but our message is simple..." These words come to my mind right now with the caucuses going on and everything. I know that I need not fear what the future holds for our country, because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a rock on which I can place my trust and my confidence.
Love my family!! Hayden, me, Kenz, Dad, Mom, Carson,
Ethan, and Kellen <3