How are things? I guess I am gonna be an adult soon. That's kind of a scary thought. I remember meeting people who were 21 and thinking, "THOSE PEOPLE ARE OLD." Now I'M OLD. Goodness. I don't act like a 21 year old that's for sure.
One thing I've really noticed is how much we really DON'T know. I use to think that a 21 year olds were so smart and knew so much, but I look at it and realize that I still have so much to learn! Even teenagers think they know so much about life, but really they are only scratching the surface. That's why it burdens me to see so many of today's youth making decisions that will affect them the rest of their lives. I recently had the opportunity to teach a 17 year-old boy who's been arrested 4 or 5 times on various different charges, and it's hard for me to see these so called "men" making decisions that will surely affect them the rest of their lives. I looked at this boy and just wanted to shake him and yell at him saying, "Don't you know what your'e doing to yourself? You're doing to your kids? You aren't just doing things that affect you now, they may affect you for the rest of life, even for eternity!" But he would probably look at me like I just got off a one-way ticket from crazyville. One of the hard things, about being a missionary is seeing these people make poor choices in their lives when you know deep down inside how much happier they could be. Then when you feel that, you start to develop this Christ-like love for them. Then it makes it even HARDER when they still make those choices. But the beautiful thing about the Gospel, especially the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is that there is happiness ingrained in all of us. Everyone is destined to be happy, because that of why we are here. And everyone is destined to be great. One of the blessings of being a child of God is the ability to change someone's life. Jesus Christ is all about change. Changing from someone you use to be, to someone God wants you to be. And the best way I know how to do that, is by reading the Book of Mormon.
Like I said before, people don't know as much as we think we do. We are teaching this man who is named Kyle, and he's had a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon because growing up he had it hammered in his mind that, "the Mormons wrote their own book" and that the "Bible is the only thing that will ever be written." Now I don't believe these people were viciously trying to bring the Church down, but we had to explain to Kyle that more often than not, people struggle to believe in something that's new or foreign to them. That they automatically assume that what they have is enough, and there will never be anything more. But the amazing fact of the matter is that God DOES speak to us today, and he DOES love us the same as the time of the people in the Bible. He WILL give us all these things that are designed to help us, and the forefront of these things are the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Entailed in these sacred texts is the power to change lives. To unlock the potential we each have eternally written in our DNA. I am forever grateful for the impact these two things have have on my life, and it burdens my soul to see the increasing doubt this world has towards things pertaining to God. I reflect on the fact that I had literally no idea about any of this less than three years ago. But we can always get better. We can always start somewhere. We can always start now. God is good.
I guess it's just been on my mind lately about how amazing God is and how many people don't even have an idea of that, but I thank Heavenly Father for the opportunity to be out here on my mission to share the incredible power that God brings. I got a lot of birthday emails this week (which I am so thankful for!!) and all of them asked how my mission was going, so if this email doesn't clear things up, I hope this does. My mission means everything to me. It's taught me to step back, to realize that I DON'T know everything, and to get ready to let God teach me. I love you all! I pray for you!
Elder "Still a kid at heart" Gleave