Six weeks pass by quickly. Transfers occurred again and instead of continuing on training E. Garvin, the Lord saw fit to transfer him out to Nampa and I am staying here in Kuna. I learned a lot from him and I hope he does well in his future missionary work. Elder Barker is my new companion and he has been out for three months. He is from Alabama! As I'm typing this email, I have been with him for only about four hours, but it's been a good four hours!
It will be a week full of ruminating and reflection. Here's why:
It was four years ago that a wonderful friend in high school felt prompted to share the reason for the hope that was in her and in her family. It was a simple and kind gesture and one that any true friend would give to those they care about. Through that friendship, I recognized that hope and light that was in her and it influenced me a great deal. I made improvements in my life and desired and worked to become a better person. I gained back a faith in God and Jesus Christ that I had struggled with for a little while. I felt that hope and light move back into me. I recognized that through my family's love and care for me, I had had much of that hope and light already instilled in me and I was even more grateful for that. What I didn't realize was that I hungered for more light and truth and goodness. I went on with my life.
A few months later, I received a copy of the Book of Mormon my friend and I decided to read it for no apparent reason. As I began to read it, I recognized something in it and had questions that came forward. I kept reading it even during a long road trip through Idaho and Oregon that summer before I left for college. I asked those questions, got some answers and even more questions, and decided that I would continue seeking for those answers when I left for college. Not everyone I knew agreed with my decision to seek for those answers, but deep inside, I knew that I needed to. I kept reading the Book of Mormon, asking questions, pondering a lot, and praying to God that He would guide me the right way. Throughout this process, I recognized an increase of light and goodness coming into my life. It didn't take away from all that was good and true about those things I had grown up with, but simply added to them. My faith in Jesus Christ and love of God grew. Finally, I realized that the source from which all that goodness and light was coming from was true, all of it. I decided to act on that truth.
On Jan. 21, 2012, I got dressed in a shirt and tie, said goodbye to my roommate in the college dormitory I was in and was driven over to a church building for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There, Elder Morgan Ruesch baptized me a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was there also that I acted upon that light and truth that had made not only an impact on my current life, but would continue to impact me throughout all time and eternity. I acted on my faith in Jesus Christ. I received that gift of the Holy Ghost, which cleansed me and fulfilled the scripture that Christ spoke of in John 3:5 that being "born of water and of the Spirit" is absolutely essential.
Since that time, which is very sacred to me, but which I do not hesitate to share as it evidences those many great and good things that have occurred to me, so much has happened. All of it can be summed up to one great truth. God loves me and He loves you. I have not shared much of this story and the divine providence that is behind it. I know it is true.
I am grateful to each of you because you all play an important part, whether it is in my story or in that of another person. You matter and make a difference.
I love you!