Well, well, well, another week has come and gone. This week was one of those weeks where you work really hard but when you get to the end of the week there is really not much to show for it. That is alright when what you do have to show for it is a new baptism date with your investigator! Angelo prayed and decided to set a date for August 1st. He is really excited for his baptism. I think the best part about his story is that you can really see his commitment to the changes that he is making in his life. He doesn't have the greatest living situation at home. His mother and siblings support him in the changes that he is making in his life but he says they told him to not try and change them. The rest of his family is not ready to make the same changes that he is making. So in order to show his commitment to the gospel and his willingness to follow his Saviors example he has decided that he needs to find somewhere else to live for the summer until he returns to college in the fall. At only 19 years old and already being able to make life changing decisions such as that. I honor his commitment and dedication to what he knows is right. He is a good example to me of what it means to be diligent. Little does he know that as we meet and he is learning so much from us and the spirit. I am in turn, learning an unspoken lesson and have grown so much from his example. I am really excited for the continued lessons over the next month. We meet with him twice a week so he is extremely dedicated to his conversion process. I love it.
As for the rest of my email I am not sure what to write. That is really the only notable event of the week. So I will be spending the rest of my time writing whatever comes to mind as I am sitting here. I guess before I do that I can reply to what was said in your email. The process of getting a visa all taken care of sounds extremely painful. I think it is a good thing that I didn't have to do that to come out on a mission. Otherwise I may have not made it out. Hahaha, I am just kidding, I would have had to have Mom helping me and pushing me to be on top of it every step of the way. Thank you Mom for helping me get out on a mission. You rock! Paperwork just isn't my thing. Hopefully the road trip goes well and nobody gets sick. Albany is only a three hour drive away. That's just six hours in the car... I'm sorry, that does sound awful. Enjoy the drive everyone.
"You never realize how strong you are until being strong is all you have left." This is a line from the Mormon message titled "Courage". I was spending part of my studies the other day trying to find a good video we could share with the family we were having dinner with and I watched this one which honestly is 99.9% geared towards women. But I ended up getting that .01% out of it that I needed. When we get down to the rocks at the bottom and we are thinking there is no place we can go. When the footprints in the sand go to just one set. That is when we know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is there for us. That is when we know that He is carrying us through our hard times. That is when being strong is all we have left. Neil A. Maxwell puts it best when he says, "...let us use our energy to hold up the shield of faith to quench the incoming fiery darts--aided perhaps by a touch of spiritual Teflon." Pure poetry, I can not picture it better in my head than that. So that was my aha moment of the week. It doesn't make as much sense in words as it does in my head but hopefully everyone's intelligent brains can piece together all the jigsaw puzzle pieces. The picture is quite beautiful!
I have decided that one thing I am really excited about is to have the calm quiet peaceful moment when you go out onto the street at night in the winter time and there is a fresh coat of snow falling to the ground. A couple of inches already covering everything in that peaceful white. Every step making the slight squeak as it crunches the dry cold snow under foot. Looking up into the dark night sky and seeing the peaceful flakes of snow falling and hitting you in the face. All the noise of life and the world muffled out and all you see and hear is peace. You all know that moment I am describing. I am excited for that! I am excited to share that moment with all of you. Then we will proceed to run around and tear up all the snow and send shrill screams that pierce the cold night air as snow get shoved down someone's coat. Haha, and then after about five minutes of being outside I will be so cold that I will go back inside and hibernate next to the fire that we don't have until spring. The end. Sounds like a good time! I can't wait.
Well I don't really have anything else to say besides how much I love you all and how awesome you all are! Thank you Mom for everything you do for all of us! I don't know what we would do without you! Thank you Dad for all your hard work! You make all of this possible for us! Thank you Austin and Christian for getting married and getting out of the house... Just kidding, you Men are awesome. Thanks for helping me become an uncle! ;) Thank you Emma for your excellent example to not only me, but all of us. We are so proud of you for choosing to serve a mission. Thank you Allegra for being the most beautiful sister ever! You are so classy and always so determined and dedicated to what you do. You are truly a lady! Thank you Jono for being the stud of the family, someone had to take my place. Those were some big shoes to fill and you have done more than I could have ever imagined. You make a better Ben than I ever could. :) Thank you Nathan for being intelligent and bringing the rest of us crazy heads down to earth. You keep us all alive. And somehow you always seem to do it while on your own planet. That is good. I am guessing you have changed a lot from the panda I once knew. Ready to become a teacher this winter! And last of all Thank you myself.... Just kidding, thank you Ian for you ingenious comments that always seem to make us laugh. Your incredible talent for comedic relief can never be replaced. You are so cute and will always be the baby of the family. Sorry bro, even when you are 37 you will still be cute and we all get to pinch your old baby cheeks! Haha, I love you all! Have a great week!
Until Next Time,
Elder Ben Maxwell