Our Front Garden
How are you? I hope you had a wonderful week! It was good to hear about your first week in your first area. Why don’t they let you contact people on the street? Every time I see two missionaries walking together in the hot sun, I think of you, and I have often thought that if we members would do our duty, missionaries wouldn't have to tract at all. You and your fellow missionaries could be preaching the gospel, not beating the bushes, so to speak. What kind of special events do you do? The two that come to my mind are English classes, and tours of the meetinghouse, assuming you have a meetinghouse, ha ha. Do you ever do these things? I imagine that your companion wouldn't mind helping you do and English class whether he can speak the language or not, because if He doesn't know it, the class will help him learn it. What other things do you do? How do you encourage the members to help you?
You asked me how I feel about sharing the gospel with our neighbors. I have many feelings including a deeper love for them, and added interest in their well-being, and relief that they still talk to me, ha ha. Most of all Matt, I am so glad that I could do what I know Heavenly Father wants me to do. Like you said, he has done so much to bless my family, and He has shown His love for us in so many ways, it would be very ungrateful of me to not share these blessings with His other children. I don’t think there is a better feeling in the world than to know that I have returned a minuscule portion of the love that Jesus Christ has so freely given to me and my family.
Thanks for what you said about the Brother of Jared preparing the stones to be touched by the finger of the Lord and how our small efforts, too, can be touched and magnified by the Lord. I never really thought about that, and as I consider it now, I think that just as the Brother of Jared saw the hand of the Lord as He touched the stones, and eventually got to be in His presence, so we can see the hand of the Lord in our faithful efforts and eventually, through continued faithfulness, become worthy to dwell in His presence. Thanks for helping me to understand these things better.
I also feel a deeper desire to be about the Lord’s work. You quoted a passage in “Preach my Gospel” that said we should pray for opportunities to serve others and share the gospel with them, so I have been doing that. I have been prompted in small ways to share the gospel as I interact with others. One thing I have been prompted to do is to be more active on the internet. This not only connects me more with others, it gives me the opportunity to share my beliefs. Heavenly Father enlightens my mind about things to say in order to do that. I also pray for more opportunities for me and the family to open our home and hearts to others and also to share the gospel.
Today is Wednesday. Monday we traveled home from our trip, and Thomas went to football practice. Later, we were able to eat dinner together as a family, all except Miriam who was at work, before Thomas went to football again. When Miriam got home, we visited with her while she ate and then we took her and Katrina out for dessert. Kind of a choppy family home evening. Also on Sunday we read and discussed a general conference talk with Thomas and Katrina, so we did family home evening the best we could this week. It is very hard to manage with football.
Tuesday was a busy, happy day. I had an interview for a preschool special ed job. I thought I did a pretty good job, wasn’t too nervous, and said some good things, although since then I’ve thought of better things I could have said, of course. It is just a little part time job, and is a good fit for me in every way except that it doesn’t earn much money, ha ha. We’ll see what happens with it. I also applied for about four other jobs, and they are all more hours. Most of them haven’t closed yet.
Jon and Thomas played disc golf with one of Jon’s coworkers in the morning, and it was nice to see Jon when they got back. with each other on our hand-held devices.It was kind of weird because Jon, Thomas, Miriam, Katrina, and I were all sitting in the living room playing scrabble with each other. Then Thomas went to football and I took Katrina to the dentist, and he re-repaired her chipped tooth because the filling fell out this weekend. He didn’t charge for that which was nice. Then Katrina went to a friend’s, and I went to the grocery store. After I picked Thomas back up from Football, he and I went in to Provo, got Dad, and bought base boards and door casings for our basement. The drywall is done and looks good, so its time for us to put up the trim and paint. I have no idea what color to paint it, though. I got Thomas home in time to go to football again, and when Dad got home, he and I ate dinner with Miriam.
Today I am helping serve Thomas’s football team fruit after their first practice. I also get to do finances, yippee, and I have some flowers to take to the neighbors and to the sister who lost her son.
I can’t believe that school starts next week! Dad and I are going to education week in the evenings. I really look forward to it!
Today is Thursday. Matt, yesterday was a very good day. I worked hard to make the best use of my time and did a lot of good things. I read scriptures and wrote to you, I brought fruit and helped serve the boys on Thomas’s football team because they had an extra long practice yesterday. I visited with the sister who lost her son and brought her a flower. I visited with neighbors, did errands with Katrina, cooked dinner with Katrina even though we couldn’t all eat together, ate dinner with Miriam and Katrina, did my chores, cleaned cupboards, washed the front door, cleaned up construction mess with Katrina, shared beliefs on one of my blogs, on Facebook, and online, joined the family for scriptures and prayer, and had a nice time conversing with Dad.
I have more to say to Dad and the kids these days, Matt, which is a good thing. My default seems to be silence, and I am trying to change that. I am learning that if no conversation is forthcoming, I can speak my thoughts out loud, and suddenly we are having a discussion about gospel subjects, learning experiences, etc. I also seem to be able to put myself in other people’s shoes better lately which makes it easier to forgive, and harder to get offended. I have been able to see things more as they really are instead of filtering everything through my own insecurities and weaknesses. My life feels fuller and happier because of these things.
Today is Sunday. A little bit about my visit to the sister who lost her son-- I brought a flower and a card and we visited for quite awhile. She shared some memories of her son with me, and some of the feelings she’s been having. They are faithfully enduring their sorrow. We also shared gluten-free ideas since her son and one of her kids have Celiac. She said she may want to work part-time this year, and I told her about all of the job openings with the school district.
Because of all the job openings at the district, I have had three interviews this last week. I don’t think I got any of the jobs, I know I didn’t get one, but it has given me good experience interviewing. At first, I didn’t repeat the things in my resume when they asked me about myself, I just said a sentence or two about myself and answered their questions. After my second interview, it dawned on me that I needed to share my strengths more, so I did better on my third interview which was for a job working with sever/profound special education kids. I don’t know if I’ll get the job, but I like to do my best on things.
Truthfully, if I had my way, I would begin substitute teaching for LDS seminary again. It is the most enjoyable and rewarding thing I have done for pay. The coordinator for our area seminaries called to see if I wanted to stay on the inactive list, or if I wanted to substitute this year. I told her how much I love teaching the gospel in seminary, but that I won’t have the time that it takes to prepare lessons till my kids were out of high school. She said that the program has changed and that I will find that I can prepare a wonderful lesson very quickly. This really excited me about subbing seminary, but Dad said I should keep applying for jobs, and if I was supposed to teach seminary instead, the jobs wouldn’t pan out and I’d be able to do that. We prayed about it, and I agreed that would be the best idea. After all that is when I went to my third interview. Anyway, we’ll see what happens.
This has been a nice weekend, I think. Friday Dad and I watched Thomas’s football game, and he got to play some. We enjoyed watching him out on the field. Also, yesterday (Saturday), after Thomas worked and Dad played Axis and Allies with a friend and then worked, and Miriam and Katrina and I shopped, we all got together and had a nice time at the bookstore, the mall, and the store. Then we went home, ate ice cream, and watched an old Bing Crosby movie. It was really fun.
During the movie, the neighbors stopped by and Jeff and Dad planned today’s sacrament meeting at the assisted living home. This morning, our two families went to the home and held sacrament meeting services. Dad and Alex blessed the bread and water, and Thomas passed it to the nursing home residents and their guests. Alex gave a good talk on the atonement, and we wanted Katrina to give a talk, but she said she’d have no time to prepare, so Dad gave a talk. It was about the grace of Jesus Christ, and it was very good. Miriam played the piano and I said the opening prayer. It was a nice service. We will be leaving to attend Sunday School and Priesthood Mtg./Relief Society in our own ward. Actually, I have volunteered to work in the nursery, so I will be teaching the gospel to the toddlers of the ward. I really look forward to it!
Now it is Monday, and I am getting ready to email this letter to you. Yesterday was a wonderful day, and I feel like my prayers have really been answered about it. After church, Thomas, Katrina, and I made Rice Crispie treats, and had so much fun laughing and talking while we made them. We also played Celestial Pursuit. Amazingly enough, it was Thomas's idea. I don't know if you have ever played that with us, Matt, but it is an old game from the eighties that asks church related questions. I usually have to beg and promise my life away to get anyone to play with me, ha ha. Anyway, it was lots of fun, and Thomas lost, poor guy. I hope he didn't mind too much! When Dad got home, we ate and visited together. Later we had family home evening which consisted of piling on our bed and watching the churches new training video about families and the priesthood. Dad shared his insights about the priesthood, and it was a wonderful experience. After that we watched the first movie Jimmy Stewart starred in, and it was dumb, and we, especially Thomas, were pretty disgusted, but it was fun to be together, ha ha.
School starts later this week, Matt. I can't believe its already back to school, and would give a lot to have another month home with the kids. I really don't want to have to go to work, and hope I don't get offered a job today, ha ha. There is so much to do and so little time as it is! I think there is only one job I could still get offered. I got an email from one saying I didn't get it, and I think they were going to choose someone for the other one on Friday. My desire to sub in seminary is getting stronger and stronger. Not only would I be doing what I love, I could have time at home when I need it. Whatever happens, I know it will be good and will all work out.
I can't wait for your email! Please tell us all about your new area. How is it different from Cabo? How is it the same? What are the people like? What is your companion like? What have you been doing? Have you had anyone to teach? How is the work coming. BTW, I have to give a talk in church this Sunday about your mission. Let me know if there is anything else you'd like me to say besides the things you sent earlier. I love you, Matt. I have been praying that you will have people to teach. Have a wonderful day!
PS I got to Skype with Cassandra and Lily twice this week, and Katrina got to Skype with them once. They are doing good. We are trying to figure out whether or not we will be able to get together for Christmas. I hope we can figure it out.