Wow!!! That sounds like it was a super good experience for everybody that was able to go out on Trek this year. I was so happy and blessed to be able to go just a few years ago. I think that it really helped me to really gain confidence in myself that I am able to do hard things. It really has helped me on my mission when there are hard times and I catch myself thinking that it is "Too Hard" for me, and that it would be easier if I just went home. I just think about all of the hard things that I have done so far in my life. Such as when our family moved to Belgium and we had to go to a Flemish speaking school and church also. That was one of the hardest things that I personally have done. I know that without family at that time I would not have made it through that for sure. I think the most powerful thing that I remember from that trip to Belgium is the missionaries that came by the hotel that we were staying at for the first 2 weeks. The missionaries said that they had been praying that they would have a family come that would be at church every Sunday who they could count on. Then we came! :) Awesome experience.
The other experiences that help me may not seem super big in the eyes of others, but they were for me. One of them being my experience with football in high school. Countless times I would come home from a hard practice or a game that I thought went wrong, and I would tell you and dad that I just wanted to give up. But I remember a promise that I made to you guys at the very beginning of every season that if I were to start, I would make sure to stick with it until the end. That really helped me. I stuck with it for all 4 years of high school, and by doing that I was really able to learn discipline, and really how to just get down and work! I think it relates perfectly to the part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is "Enduring to the End." Although things like missions, football, moving, high school, and work may be super hard and frustrating at times, I know now that as we just push forward with a good attitude, everything will be totally worth it in the end.
I love this gospel and the opportunity that I have to be here as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I am really happy that I have had the chance to serve in the Maryvale, Ahwatukee 2nd, and now the Shalimar and Del Rio Wards. I have really come to love how in each area that I serve in, it is a new chance that I have to learn and grow from each of the people there. I know that each of the areas have played such a big role in my life already. In Maryvale it really tested me to grow my testimony to the point that I could really stand up for my beliefs. The members of the ward really helped to encourage me to keep on going, and always told me how nice it was to see me each Sunday. Brother Hansen in that ward would always come to me and say that I reminded him of his grandson, and just how he was always so happy when he saw that I was always SMILING!
In Ahwatukee so many of the members had such a big affect on me. I was there for 6 months and all of the members there really loved to serve the Lord. They really wanted to do missionary work. I really look up to each and every member of that ward! :) That ward will always have a special place with me because of how welcoming they were to me when I came into the area. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
I really am excited for these next few weeks being here in the Shalimar and Del Rio wards. I am hoping to be able to make this ward one of my favorite wards to be in just as the other 2 that I have been in so far have been!
This last week we were able to go over and teach this 12 year old girl that is going to be baptized on the 28th. I am super excited for her because she has been coming to church for the past few weeks and is really into all of the classes! Every time that we meet we always have to make a comment on her shirts because she always wears like all of these Dr. Seuss shirts. They are super funny! :) We are going to reach some crazy goals this next week which I am really excited for! When we meet these goals it will be the best transfer of the mission so far. Elder Bono and myself are doing all that we can to meet our goal of instead of covering 2 wards, getting each ward their own sets of missionaries! I am super excited!
We recently had a Zone Meeting and there were some really cool things that were discussed! One of the things was talks about service here in the mission field. The missionary program in Salt Lake is working with the Bishops and Stake Presidents on making a web site where the church is going to post any community service opportunities on it. Then they are going to post that they have a huge group of young men and women (missionaries) that could come and help out! It is going to be strictly no proselyting so we don't even get to wear our tags, but it is going to be super cool. We are able to just show by example that we are hard working and that we do actually practice what we teach. I am super excited! I don't have enough time to go into the other thing that is changing. But remind me and I will let you know in my letter next week!
Elder Brandon Wallentine