Character Development

Elders Weaver and Pike on the terrace of the Oakland Temple.

Elders Weaver and Pike on the terrace of the Oakland Temple

It’s so amazing to me how this sweet son of mine continues to inspire me every time I hear from him.  He hasn’t been feeling well (again) and my initial reaction, as a mother, was to worry about him and wonder how I can fix things, and then I get an email like this.  He has a beautiful testimony and I love to see it shine through as he tells me the messages that speak to him as he reads the scriptures!

Hello everyone!

I’ve had a pretty quiet week here in Clayton Valley, but I’m learning very quickly about how much we can learn from life as a missionary.

Let me start with two things, both of which are slightly negative (but don’t worry, I will turn it around into a positive thing): 1) my health has been sub-par ever since I got here and 2) the work is very slow at the moment.

My mission has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start. I’ve been plagued with all kinds of illness (luckily none of it serious and more just an annoyance than anything) and we do not have a lot of people to teach and are not finding many. It’s easy to take things like this and be discouraged by them. It’s easy to sit and cry “Why me?”. It’s easy to let these things turn us against what we know is right and leave us frustrated. Now, I’m going to be honest and admit I have caved to these here and there. In fact, I’ve been in a pretty sour mood most of the day because 1) GOSH DANGET, I want to feel better already and 2) our days are slow.

In my personal study lately, I have been reading Job in the Old Testament. Now, the book of Job can be a bit hard to understand and it’s actually very poetic. Most of the book is comprised of a conversation between Job and three of his friends after he lost literally everything he had. When most people discuss the book of Job, they talk about how Job turns to God amidst his trials and never curses God for what went wrong in his life. While that is correct, however, that is missing an important portion of the book of Job. It is also important to note that Job grieved intensely. Like SUPER intensely. He said: “my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.” The reason I want to bring this up is this: I feel it is important to know that it is okay to get discouraged and grieve a little when things don’t go our way. Despite his grieving, “in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

When we find ourselves discouraged, we can’t let our negative feelings harm our relationship with God. We can’t let them harm our self worth. We can’t let them make us lose focus. It’s important that we understand what it means to grieve because we learn how to be truly happy when we learn what it means to be truly heartbroken. And when we do find ourselves heartbroken, how do we find relief? We turn to God. The Atonement didn’t only occur to save us from our sins. It occurred to save us from our sorrows too, and we can never forget that. When we remember that Jesus Christ descended beneath all of us in order to lift us up, it’s easier to bear our trials with hope. And when we do bear our trials with hope, we can give them up to Jesus Christ in order to feel free. Remember that “men are that they might have joy.” God wants us to be happy, and we can only find lasting happiness in Jesus Christ.

That being said, many of you are also probably wondering about the people we ARE teaching here in Clayton Valley. And maybe some actual detail about my companion and the area we are serving in. So, for the sake of a double-meaning subject line, let me tell you about the people!

Elder Weaver, my companion, is goofy. He’s every kind of person that could exist, which is odd. In high school, he was a wrestler and a football player, yet at the same time he was a gamer and a self-proclaimed mega-nerd. So that’s different. Nah, he’s actually way awesome. We get along well, his hair is naturally two different colors, and he has lights on the rims of his bike that make it look like he got his bike straight out of Tron.

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Elder Weaver with his bike.

We have a few investigators right now, two of which are progressing well. The first is Dave. Dave is a disabled veteran and he’s very humble and kind. He lives in our apartment complex actually, so we see him quite a bit! Our other progressing investigator is Jasmine. Jasmine is married to an inactive member, but she just showed up at church one day because her mother and father-in-law are serving a mission for the church. She comes to church every single week.

We’re also teaching a less-active woman, named Cheri, right now. Cheri served a mission and still has very strong faith in Christ, but she never comes to church because she has some major depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, and a bunch of other ailments. She’s one of the kindest people I have ever met though.

I love the people here. They’re very kind and good people and I look forward to continue serving here for the next 10 weeks or so I am training.

Thank you for all your support everyone! Love you lots!
~Elder Pike

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There’s these herds of wild turkeys EVERYWHERE here in Clayton Valley. Something to do with the drought and lack of predators…

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Our dinner appointment last night was interesting. Since I’m a new missionary, they overdid it with the green food coloring because I’m a “greenie” (heh). These are green mashed potatoes, but there were also green rolls (and green butter) and even green water (don’t worry, it was food coloring).

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Here’s me. Studying hard.

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