Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 5, 2015

Hi everyone! 

Well it was quite the week. I've told you of all the good times I've had, and I want you to see how things really are for me. So to be honest this week was really tough. So Elder Coombs was called as a Zone Leader in the DC Zone. And my new companion is Elder Redmond. He is actually a previous companion of Elder Coombs. He only has 2 transfers left. It's been hard adjusting to a new companion, adjusting to being in charge of the area, and being a little more in charge of myself. 

So Elder Redmond is a lot like one of your companions you talked about Dad. He doesn't get up for studies but once we are out for the day he will work. He says he doesn't get up because he doesn't have a gym pass to motivate him to get up. So I've had to make sure I'm getting up myself and getting to my studies. I was late by like 5-10 min a few times this week and I was really hard on myself. The principle of Perfect Obedience is the standard we strive for as missionaries. But like at any other time in our lives, perfection is the goal, not the actuality. So I've been trying to be better on not being so hard on myself while not justifying times where I fall short. 

So taking on an area as a brand new missionary is really hard and stressful. Basically Elder Redmond has to follow my lead for a little bit while he figures out the area. Friday was by far the worst day the past week, I woke up and it was really cold so it felt like a fall day back home. I was really homesick and just was kinda negative. I was standing in the shower just mad, asking why did President give me an area. Why did he take away my trainer that I got along with so good and was an amazing example. Then I had the thought come to me "It wasn't President, it was the Lord". And that hit me hard, so then I just prayed and said, if you gave me this situation what am I suppose to get out of this? So it's been amazing since that day to be getting answers to that question and many others through Conference and studies. My first answer came when we were singing our opening song for comp study as an apartment that day. We sang How Firm a Foundation and these lines hit me so hard, 

"Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand. 

And continually I've seen how I'm not alone in this, We were teaching a lesson at a members home that night, I was showing the video "He Lives" on my IPad so I was just listening to it. Then there came a small voice that said to me, "Austin, you aren't doing this by yourself". It was so powerful, I've seen time and time again the Lord gives us hard times so we can be humble. If we aren't humble and see that we need the Lords help in everything we cannot be effective missionaries because this truly is his work.

All theses answers continued through conference weekend.  I loved Conference! Like I was so pumped for it all week leading up to it. I have always enjoyed conference but not as much as I did this time! We went to the church to watch Saturday Morning session, The Beals for Saturday afternoon and then the church for Priesthood. Then for Sunday morning we drove up the the visitors center to watch Sunday Morning. Where I got to see Elder Coombs and sit by him for the session! Then the church for Sunday afternoon. It was tough being away from all the traditions back home. But it was fun to be a part of some out here, like Conference Crab at the Beals! Marylanders sure love their sea food! And of course being at the visitors center for a session was so great! I can't wait to go to the DC temple at the end of this transfer since it is finally opening again this month!

I could write forever about all the things I liked from conference.. I feel like anyone who is complaining about the new apostles didn't really watch conference. First the spirit all three of them spoke with is undeniable. Second I felt like all the speakers bore testimony of Pres Monson more than usual. Anyone who doesn't agree should go listen to the first talk of the conference by Pres Uchtforf. They are making their discipleship WAY too complex.

Saturday afternoon was a double whammy miss your parents with Holland talking about Moms and then right after Foster talking about Pablo and his Dad. I sure miss you Mom and Dad! I love you! Plus how about that marshmallow eater reference Dad!

I really felt like Eyrings talk in Priesthood answered a lot of the questions I've been having. I just have to do my small part and the Lord will do the rest. When we were up at the visitors center it was very apparent of Pres Monsons struggling. It was really scary actually. I thought it would be another moment where a general authority would come stand behind him. 

But yes conference was awesome!

And I'm doing better than I was at the middle of the week. Elder Redmond and I get along and we still will work hard. Change and adjustments are hard but like Elder Cook always says, "This life isn't easy, nor was it meant to be". I'm doing good, thanks for all your prayers!

I love you!!

Elder Coombs and I on our last night together.  We got matching Redskins shirts.  We also got comp ties. It is a tradition out here that you and your comp get matching ties and sign the back of each others. 

Today (p-day) I've played tennis, went shopping and now I am just
playing cards with Elder Summit.

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