Saturday, March 7, 2015

Like A Lighthouse . . .

March 7, 2015

Dear Family,

It is great to hear how all of your things are going!!  It has been awesome to see how all of your progress is coming along in the different aspects of your lives!

Elder Merrell
Things here are going really well!  I am doing fine with training the new AP.  His name is Elder Merrell, and he is from Arizona.  He has one transfer less than me in the mission, so he will be going home in August.  He is doing really well, really picking up and getting the hang of things.  It is a good thing, because I will be going to my new area next Tuesday.  Elder Peña is doing really well.  He is really excited, because the President told him that he will getting back in the field next transfer, so he is looking forward to that.  He has been a really fun comp to have because we are good friends.  I have known where I am going for about two weeks, I just wasn't supposed to say anything about it!  I am going to the zone of Los Alcarrizos, and I will be in the 1st ward.  I will be the zone leader there, which we be a great opportunity!  My new companion's name is Elder Quiñonez, and he is from Guatemala. He has 15 months in the mission, so it should be fun.  We are good friends as well, so that will be great.  The other guys in my house are Elder Nielsen, a kid who just got finished being trained, and is great, and also Elder Aviña who is one group behind me.  He played baseball at a Junior College in California before the mission as a catcher, so that will be a lot of fun to get back in baseball shape with him.  I am in good shape physically, the best of my life, but to get my arm back in shape to pitch and stuff like that will be a process.  But, it should be fun, a great opportunity.  It is crazy to think that this will be my last area!  I will go back to writing on Mondays, so just be ready for that!

Elder Jensen -- Transfer from the Office
We have been really busy lately.  We have been doing lots to get transfers ready, as we want them to go as smoothly as ever!  We also have been planning the temple trips for the mission, which will be a great experience.  We also have the opportunity on Thursday of next week to have a special conference with Jeffrey R. Holland, which will be amazing!  He is coming to give a two hour conference to just our mission, and the whole mission will be there, so that will be great!
Even as I am released from the office, I realize that it is kind of like other callings in the church...  You know what they say, "Once a (INSERT NAME OF CHURCH CALLING HERE), Always a (INSERT SAME NAME OF CHURCH CALLING HERE)".  So I will still have a big role in transfers as I will be riding the bus out to the south to direct the driver and try to keep everything on time at the different chapels, so that we can make sure that everything goes according to schedule!  Should be a lot of fun, and it might be the last time that I make it out to the South here in the mission, so it will be great! 

Last P-day with the guys in the office -- TGI Fridays
(Breaded Octupus Tentacles, a Salad, &
Pineapple Lemonade :))
I have been thinking a lot lately about trials, and our little helper lady here in the office, Ramona, was also talking to me about it.  She has a very tough life, and it came down to the question of "Why does God let bad things happen to good people who are living the Gospel?"  We talked about it for awhile, and it was a little tricky to come up with the reason, but it came as I thought about the counsels of Alma.

In Alma, it talks a lot about the Plan of Salvation, and how this life is a state of Probation.  Usually we think of probation as a consequence of something we did, and then got put on probation to see if we would do it again.  That is FALSE!!  This earthly life was set up as a state of probation before we were even here!!  We were in a state of probation as babies, with out even having the capacity to sin and be chastised.  Probation in this earthly life was the chance to be proved, to be strengthened, and to grow.  God gave us this state because He knows our eternal potential, and sees us as we TRULY are.  He knows who we can become, and He is shaping us into those people right now.  God commanded us to be a light to the world, and to bring many souls unto Him.  That made me think of light houses.  How does a builder know that a light house will stand in a storm if it has never undergone a storm?  He puts the very best materials into it, builds it with care, and doesn't skimp on the details.  It costs more to build, it takes more time, and it is a lot more work, but he knows that it will stand.  The light house stands through the storm, not on its own merit, but on that of its creator, guiding others to safety and refuge from the storm. 

The same thing happens with us.  God shapes us.  He gives us the best opportunities and molds us with the very best tools.  He knows that we have the potential to stand through the storm, and He has given us the very best preparation for storms in life.  We do not stand alone on our merits, but on those of the Creator.

I know that this church is true, and that God does have a plan for us.  Each and every little thing that happens to us in this life was anticipated from the beginning, just as the strength of storms are anticipated beforehand.  God is the Creator, and has given us the opportunity to become more than we ever imagined, if only we submit our will to Him, and embrace the challenges like metal being tempered for a light house.  It burns for a second, and is tough to endure, but it is possible, and we come out stronger than ever.

I hope you all have a great week and I will talk to you next week!

Elder Garrett McEwan

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