I just want to thank you again for encouraging me to study Preach My Gospel. I am amazed at the power of that book! This morning, my study has been more of the heart than of the head, and I've been truly edified.
First, I read the words of Isaiah in 2 Ne. 7 of the Book of Mormon, and felt overwhelmed with love for the Savior that He stood with courage in the face of persecution and derision. I am such a cowardly person, but I am filled with the desire to suffer all things for His sake.
Next, I studied more about the Holy Ghost in Preach My Gospel. I read D&C 50:17-22. I love these scriptures about teaching with the Holy Ghost, and today I realized that sometimes I teach the truth, but I do it without the spirit of truth, or the Holy Ghost. I wanted to know what makes the difference, so I searched "spirit of truth" and read many scriptures that explained different characteristics of the Holy Ghost and as I came to the end, I realized that these characteristics all have one thing in common--love. When I love God, love His word, love His children, then I am filled with the Holy Ghost which will edify, uplift, and fill myself, my family, and all mankind with joy.
It seems like Love is the answer to everything. Love is not true love, however, if it is not based on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, and hope of life eternal.
Yesterday was a very nice day. We went to church and it was ward conference, so I got to teach the young men and young women about some of the ways to do family history, specifically how to print a fan chart, how to do indexing, and how to help others use the computer in order to do family history. I was the third person to speak, and it is interesting that I started my part by pointing out that family history is all about love--the love of the savior for us, the love of our ancestors for the savior and us, and our love for the savior and our ancestors. It seems that love is always the answer. How do I overcome pride? Increase my love. How do I overcome fear? Pure love. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ focuses our love and purifies us to be like Him. Then our joy is full!
Anyway, after church we took Grandma on a drive. She only told Dad to slow down about ten times. I am not being facetious, that's really good. She enjoyed the ride, but when we stopped at her house, she didn't recognize it. Sad. While we drove, I got to talk to my mom on the phone. It sounds like her trip to Oregon to see her mom went well. She said every time they wanted to take Grandma somewhere--she didn't want to go, but when they weren't planning to take her any where and had made other plans, she wanted to go. It's a good lesson to us to include Grandma in the planning! I also got to talk to my dad on Saturday. He's trying something new called "lasagna gardening." Luckily, the weather has been nice and cool there--89 ish instead of 105 ish. Glad I'm here, ha ha. BTW, I guess it's supposed to get up in the 80's this week. That's good for the kids' work!
After our drive, Dad fixed us an incredible chicken dinner and then the kids went to a bishop's youth discussion. While they were gone, my sister, Julie called. It's been awhile since we've talked on the phone and it was good to hear her voice. She said she got a bunny for a birthday present. I think the term "birthday curse" would be more accurate, but I guess she likes it. She wanted one in order to teach her children responsibility by having them take care of it. The problem is that they say it's her present, so she has to take care of it. Funny!
While I was talking to Julie, Don, Renee, Donny, Becky, and Bethany who is visiting from LA, came over and then the kids came home and then Paul came over. They all visited with us and with Grandma and it was nice. The girls and I practiced our "Footsteps of Christ (See below)" parts for them. That was our Family Home Evening.
What is "Footsteps of Christ?" Well, we leave for girl's camp tomorrow, and I am really looking forward to being there with my daughters. It is going to be a wonderful camp with the older girls teaching the classes, and having "little sisters" assigned for them to befriend and teach. So cool! Anyway, we have many informative activities, fun, silly, and crazy activities, and some very reverent activities, one of which is "Footsteps of Christ" where the girls will take a walk in the woods at night along a lit path. There will be places along the path where they will stop and listen to characters who lived at the time of Christ speak of their experiences with Him. I signed us up to talk about when Jesus visited the Nephites and blessed the little children. You will probably hate me, but I might include our script in this letter. Most of it is taken from the scriptures. I hope to have music playing in the background as we speak. Miriam said she didn't want to act and I told her to just speak as she does when we read family scriptures. The scriptures we read and the music we'll play, and the love we have will bring the Spirit without any need for tears or dramatics on our part.
We will be leaving Dad and Thomas home to take care of Grandma and hold down the fort. Matt, you have an amazing Dad. Few men would let their wives leave them for 4 days with a bed ridden mother to feed, change, and care for, but Dad would. In fact, he said, why are you asking me if you can go? Of course you can! He's been caring for Grandma with me all along, but this will certainly be more intense. He is so wonderful!
Wow, did I not yet tell you about the temple? I've been meaning to do that! I know this letter is getting VERY long, but I just have to say that Dad and I went to the temple on Friday, and it was wonderful! The temple is always so calm and peaceful, but I don't know if I've ever felt such peace and joy there as I did on Friday. What's the difference between this time and other times? I have no idea. Anyway, we did sealings, and as I knelt across the alter from Dad and listened to the eternal blessings promised to us because we are sealed together forever, I was filled with joy and gratitude! And as I listened to the blessings promised to children sealed to their parents for eternity, I was filled with love for you guys and also for my parents that they are faithful to their covenants and that I am sealed to them forever! BTW, did you know that there is no temple in your mission? That's what I hear, so cherish the spirit you feel there, now--it will have to last you 2 years!
Well, it's going to be a wild day with way too much to do. I love you, Matt. I hope this letter wasn't too long winded. Okay, I know that it was, but I hope you don't mind. After all, it will be my last letter to you for almost a week! I'll still be praying for you even while I'm at camp.