Monday, January 23, 2012

01.16.2012 "Mid January 2012--Last Week of My 8th Transfer in Michigan"

Dear Everyone,

Hopefully you're all having a good January. From what I've heard, it sounds like there's no snow in Idaho Falls. Up until this last week, there wasn't really any here either! In fact, we had a couple days that were up in the upper 40's. We didn't even wear coats those days as we walked around. But then the weather took a turn and dropped 20 degrees and about five inches of snow on us. So maybe you'll get some soon as well.

Things have been going pretty well here this last week. We were able to teach a lot of people and also meet a few less-active members that we can strengthen and help. It was a pretty busy week for missionary work. 

I don't have long, but I did have an interesting experience door knocking yesterday that I wanted to write about. As we were going through an apartment complex talking to people, we knocked on one door and were invited right in. Inside was a small Iraqi family. There were three children, and each of them were physically or mentally handicapped. The children spoke english understandably, but the parents spoke very little. They invited us right in and asked us to sit. It turned out that they had been eating when we knocked on the door, and they very generously offered us some food. We weren't hungry but didn't want to be rude, so we accepted. It was pretty good. We spoke with them for a minute, using the kids to translate. We told them who we were and got to know them a little better. Communication was difficult, but we got the gist of what each other was saying. It turned out that they were from Baghdad originally, and that there the father had been beaten and attacked somehow. They ended up here in America, and now the father is looking for work while the kids attend a special education program at the schools. 

We were only there for a few minutes, and these people weren't interested in learning more from us about the Gospel. But there was something good about seeing these people and how kind and hospitable they were towards us. Repeatedly as we talked, the father thanked God to be able to be here in America, and for the police, and for the FBI that keep us safe. We are pretty blessed to be here, more than we realize most of the time. We could feel how the Lord was still mindful of that family and loved them. We were very thankful for their kindness to us.

One other thought before I go.

It's definitely a great blessing to be here. Even though some times are turbulent and stressful, and I feel like I'm often being refined in the furnace of affliction, I know that the Lord is behind it all. I've pondered lately about this and realized more than ever before that this is part of the plan. This is part of the reason why we go through this life. No one escapes it. Nephi didn't, Moses didn't, Joseph Smith didn't, not even Jesus Christ did. Though these things the Lord tempers us and strengthens us. He prepares us for what lies ahead of us. I think of the talk "Preparation in the Priesthood" in last General Conference. We grow in wisdom and experience, and become a greater and more useful tool in the hand of the Lord to accomplish whatever he needs us to do. We not only learn from our experiences, but also our association with others who our devoted followers of Jesus Christ doing their best to fulfill their callings. I've learned much from the leaders that I've served under and also the Branch leaders that I've had the privilege to work with. I'm confident that my mission will be a great blessing to the rest of my life, and help prepare me for future callings I will have in the church, and as a husband and father.  As I've studied 1 Nephi over the last few weeks, I've seen how his experiences helped him to become the powerful prophet and leader that became the father of a great nation. The experiences that we go through in life are inseparably connected with the spiritual, eternal nature of things and with our divine destiny and potential.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Trevor Casper

PS. This Friday is transfer calls! I'll let everyone know next week what happens.

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