First email home
As you know, I’ve arrived safely in Salt Lake City. I finally met Karl (his roommate) at the airport, and he is just as pleasant in person as he is on the phone. To welcome me back to the Valley, he took me out to dinner at a restaurant on Temple Square. I feel like I’m at home again seeing Temple Square. I will be honest and say I feel like I’m dreaming. After dinner, we picked up supplies at Walmart and came home to eat belated birthday cake.
Karl was kind enough to drop me off at the office on my first day, he works a mile or two past Temple Square from where we live. It was so nice to finally meet Elder and Sister Broderick (over the Young Church Service Missionaries). They are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. I love feeling of their spirit and kindness. I got my missionary nametags and I’m really starting to feel like a missionary now. We have 2 devotionals a day, Monday through Thursday, and the spirit felt there is incredible.
The process of going through finding a member’s contact information is just as difficult as going through the 9-step process that the Church has in place before a unit can send their records to us. A lot of members really do know how to hide or else the Lord is still preparing them to come back. It seems that we only find one in ten members, but in the back of my mind I always say a little prayer that each of their hearts will be softened and know of Heavenly Father’s love.
Each month, our devotionals have a different theme. For the month of August our theme is enduring to the End. Sister Broderick gave the devotional Thursday morning. She shared an example of a mother and father whose child became sick and passed the illness on to each of the other children and one by one died. The father after almost all of his children passed away told his bishop that his trial helped him to realize that he could endure to the end. Elder Armacroft, a fellow Young Church-Service Missionary (YCSM), gave the afternoon devotional. He likened the sacrament to a green banana. Every Sunday when we go to Church and partake of the sacrament, we become a green banana, then as the week goes on and we make mistakes we become yellow and get black spots because we haven’t received enough of the light of Jesus Christ. It is through the sacrament that we can endure to the end and live with Jesus Christ again because of the Atonement and the repentance process. During both devotionals, somebody mentioned how President Grant, while lying on his death bed, prayed and asked that he could endure to the end. If a Prophet needs to pray for that strength, then where does that leave me?
I attended the Temple on Friday night. Being that it was the first time for me being in the Salt Lake City Temple, it was hard not to look around and see the all of the beautiful murals and woodwork there. Of course, I did feel the Spirit there and took comfort in the fact that the pioneers were so willing to sacrifice 40 years of their lives (building the SLC temple) so that we can perform the saving ordinances for both the living and the dead. I was going to mention this to you Tuesday or Wednesday, but never got the chance. I understand why you say that the Endowment ceremony is a bit like participating in a Catholic mass.
Please send my love to the extended family.
Note from Ellen – I’m a novice at FaceBook. Allen wrote a procedure for me to follow when posting his emails. Anything in red are my comments. I will also periodically edit out anything that is too personal to post online. I’m saving both versions for him off-line. Allen sent 2 photos this week. I don’t know why but one was upside down in the email he sent, and right-side up on my computer w/o any edits. When I tried to add it to FaceBook, it was upside down again and I don’t see any options to rotate it.