NO!!!! I knew that people were going to make some signs about having my "strength faithened" but I didn't think it would be that fast! Darn... Haha that's alright, I got a great idea for something else I want to do when i get home!
First and foremost, I am happy and well, (since this letter is all about me, I figure that is most important!) I don't really know how to say this, but I think I have amnesia. Or short term memory loss... For the life of me, I cannot remember what happened this week...!! It was a mixture of busy nights with lots of work and dead nights with nothing to do but make calls to set up appointments for the rest of the week. I can tell that I'm growing out here though because I feel like I learn something new or find a cool insight every day that I can use in my teaching or to improve myself, or both! Some cool things that I picked up on were...
I have a book called Prophecies of Joseph Smith. It is a book all about the Prophet and the revelations about him and that he made and how they were fulfilled or how they will be fulfilled. It was talking in one of the chapters about the 3 witnesses and the 8 witnesses. There was a little table list thing that told about each of the witnesses. It just told thing about where they were born, when they were baptized, if they were excommunicated, when they came back, when they died and such. Well, there was a column that had just 1 or 2 sentences about each of them. With Hyrum Smith, it said something to the point of "He was a man with the same body build as his brother, Joseph. He was a man that even the most slanderous of men could not find any fault." What a statement!! Even the most slanderous of men could not find any fault. My question that I've been thinking about for a long time is how does someone even get to that point and when they do get there, how do they stay there?! Even with our Prophets and Apostles on the earth today, it seems like someone can find fault (or thinks they can) with each of them. Whether it is the way they talk, the way they walk, or their personality. We all have faults. The only perfect person that has ever lived on this earth is Jesus Christ. And I'm not saying that Hyrum didn't have any faults cause he had to have some. But the fact that he was able to please pretty much everyone around him and never change his character or ideals, that is amazing. This shows me that we can live our testimonies and still be able to get along with everyone. That doesn't mean we have to be best friends and hang out with everyone, but we can have that Christ-like love and receive that same love back from everyone as we live our testimonies. When we don't do so, it isn't possible.
On Sunday, Elder Gilson and I were asked to give a little 5 or so minute message on why gratitude is so important and some examples we've seen of gratitude and the role it has played on us and the people we meet. I was just fine with doing so. It wasn't until we were at church did I realize that it wasn't for the priesthood and it wasn't for sacrament meeting, it was for the young women's class... I can say with both excitement and nervousness that I have become awkward in front of a room full of just girls. I had mixed feelings about that before and at the beginning of my mission. At first, I didn't want to change myself to the point where I was awkward and my personality was completely different. I liked, for the most part, who I was and the way I could make all the girls go "ooooo" and "ahhhhh" like what we used to do when we'd drive around and look at the Christmas lights as a family. "Oooooooo", "Ahhhh". ;) But about 6 months into my mission, I realized that if I was holding back anything from the Lord, I couldn't say I gave it my all. I couldn't say the scripture that says, "He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" applied to me. I wold fall under the first part "He that findeth his life shall lose it". I couldn't serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength if I held back things from the Lord. He will turn my weak things into strong things and will use my talents to help those I teach and meet to come closer to Him. That talent of making people go "oooo" and "ahhh" isn't a bad trait, it just wasn't being used for the right purpose. I have since then given that to the Lord and allowed Him to help me use it for missionary work, and it works! The point I'm getting at is I was SOOOO nervous! I would rather have spoken at the Priesthood Session of General Conference than spoke to that room full of young women. I don't even know why I was so scared! I love talking and I love being in front of crowds, but when it's just girls, something changes inside and it's hard to focus. Just talking about it is screwing up my typing! This one paragraph has taken me like 10 minutes to write, ridiculous!
Anyway, It went great I guess, at least that's what the leaders told us. We started off with a little question, "Let's say that A=1, B=2, C=3, etc. And you are trying to reach 100 on the dot. Just like on the 'Price is Right', too high means your over and it doesn't count. You can be under 100 and be fine but there is a special bonus if you get 100 right on the mark. So now we take attributes or traits that are good and add the letters (you convert them into the numbers they equal) and see what number you get. So what attribute or trait is the best?" When we were talking about it, I was thinking things like Knowledge, Charity and Wisdom. Those are great traits that will help us in life and to get to Heaven. Well, Charity is like 84, Wisdom is about 85, and Knowledge is I think 96 or 97. Close, but not 100. The only word I've found so far that makes 100 is..... Attitude. An Attitude of Gratitude Brings Blessings! So those special bonus's for getting 100 on the game show are the blessings that come from having a great attitude! That was what we were trying to get at. But one girl in the back decided to throw out the word "Attitude" as the very....first....word.... It completely ruined the whole thing! That's about how I felt the whole lesson went. It was... fun.... I guess. haha! I talked about how Elder Hickenlooper always said "Attitude Determines Altitude." In a talk I recently heard by Brother John Bytheway, he was talking about how he used to fly planes. His instructor turned off the plane and told him to land the plane safely. So brother Bytheway started doing so. When you land a plane, you are supposed to start your decent at 1000 ft about the ground. As he started landing at this time, he was only 800 ft. He didn't see any big deal with it cause he could see the runway and had landed many times before. "I know what I'm doing. Just a little bit off isn't a big deal." Well, as he was making his last turn to go towards the runway, keep in mind the engine is off at this point, he saw some trees right at the beginning of the runway. Planes are great when you fly them over trees. Planes are not so great when you try to fly them through the trees. I guess the owner of the plane doesn't like people trying to fly through trees or something like that, weird.... Well these tree's had never been a problem until now. As he was looking out his windshield, he couldn't see most of the runway because the trees were in the way... He was way too low... He didn't know what to do but luckily his instructor was in the plane and said "My Plane" which means that John Lets go of everything and the instructor takes over in his passenger seat (there are the same controls in the passenger seat so he could fly the plane from there). He turned the plane back on flew up and over the trees. We can't go through life with a good attitude every once in a while. If we don't have a good attitude, it is like having a low altitude. And that can be dangerous.... The scriptures tell us to be grateful and thankful in all things. ALL THINGS. Elder Jorg Klebingat in conference gave us 6 ways to improve our spiritual confidence. Number 6 was "Accept trials, set-backs, and surprises with gratitude." The Lord doesn't except us to be grateful only when things are going good, He expects us to be grateful all the time. What a hard thing to ask. Is it possible? Yes. It is hard? Yes. It is worth it? Is the pope catholic? Are right handed people better than left handed people? The answer to all of these is yes! ;) I haven't found out how to be grateful all the time and have a good attitude about everything but one of the young women leaders suggested that we say a prayer every day of just gratitude. Don't ask for blessings, just say thanks. That is a start and will help us on our way to reaching that good attitude always!
I've realized that I have a problem admitting when i'm wrong and putting my opinion out there when I feel that someone else is wrong. But from conference we learn "Should we disagree, we should not be disagreeable (Elder Dallin H. Oaks)." This has stuck with me since I heard it. And so I've been trying to do better at it. Elder Gilson and I get into dumb little debates and arguments and sometimes they get kinda heated. The other day for example we were getting the seeds out of some pomegranates. We learned a cool way where you take a mixing bowl and fill it up with water and then you take a strainer and stick inside the bowl of water. This is where you will put all the seeds when you get them out cause the seeds will sink to the bottom and the bad white stuff floats to the top so you can get it clean easier. We also learned that if you cut the pomegranate in half, you can hold the seeds facing your palm and then you hit the skin part on the back with a wooden spoon. This makes all of the seeds fall out and gets very little white stuff! It's very convenient. We got like 6 or 7 done in the time it took Elder Gilson and I both to hand pick each of the seeds out of 1 pomegranate. Anyway, we were doing that at our apartment one night and I finished my pomegranate. I put my wooden spoon down and walked over to go grab another pomegranate. In that time, Elder Gilson took my big wooden spoon and handed the dinky one he was using. I wasn't going to let him get away with that! So I grabbed the spoon from him and we kinda wrestled over it for a bit. Then he dumped my water out of my mixing bowl into the sink. He missed most of the sink though and it got all over the counter and ground. So I filled up my hands with water from the sink and got him a little wet. It got to the point where he took his water bottle and dumped it on me! So I ran over and jumped onto his bed and started drying off with his sheets. He started doing the same thing and basically all we did was make a mess. Looking back now, (This was before I heard the quote from Elder Oaks so it's okay, I asked for forgiveness) I should have just let him take that dumb spoon. It was a waste of time and a pretty big mess we had to clean up. Since conference, I've tried so hard not to get mad or argue. Instead of fighting or bickering, I just stop and say "You're right Elder Gilson. Let's do it your way." It cuts it off instantly. No more arguing, no more contention. It has been awesome cause it makes me less irritable, helps me see Elder Gilson's point, and completely changes the mood and helps us invite the Spirit back in. I don't know what it is like back home with the family, but I know there is almost always some sort of contention here or there. Try this method and see what changes. I promise that it will cause less fighting and bring the Spirit into the home more fully.
Speaking of the Spirit, I gave a training the other day on companionship unity. We talked about what comp unity is, why is important and how to get more unity with our comp. We talked about examples of comp unity to give us an idea of what comp unity should look and be like. Some examples we used were:
1) Alma and Amulek - Alma 8:30; 12:1
2) Book of Mormon and Bible - DB: Stick of Ephraim and Judah
3) God the Father and Jesus Christ - The Great Intercessory Prayer
4) Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith - D&C 135:3,6
Then we said there is one more very important companionship that we need to have and always be mindful of. That is each of us individually and the Holy Ghost. There is a difference though between our unity with others around us. With our spouses, our kids, and our friends, we can meet them halfway with whatever our argument or disagreement is. But with the Holy Ghost, it is all or nothing. It is His way of the high way. But by building our companionship unity with the Holy Ghost, ALL of our other relationships will be strengthened as well! So focus on getting to know the Spirit and having Him with us always, and everything else will fall into place.
The sisters were teaching this kid, John, and he moved into one of our wards like 2 weeks before his scheduled date for baptism. So he got baptized into one of our wards, which is sweet for us! Anyway, John is 18 and pretty popular. I didn't know how popular until his baptism... There were over 100 people there!!! We had to go into the chapel for the service to get everyone a seat! And most of the people there were under 20. He had a lot of support and that is a day he will not soon forget! Neither will I. :)
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Please remember to say your prayers, keep your covenants, and be grateful in ALL THINGS!!! I LOVE YOU!!!
~Elder Kyle Harris