"And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things for myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? 46. Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God... 48. I say unto you, that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name. 49. And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren."
"Come unto Christ and be perfected in him and deny yourselves of all ungodliness."
I made it through my trip to LA without spying on you or taking you and your companion out to dinner. It was tough. Mom tempted me on staying an extra couple of days and joining your tailgate party at the BYU / UCLA game. The last two BYU games I'm sure you know ended in miracles. Beating 10th ranked UCLA would be another miracle. I quickly got out of town before I thought through that temptation to stay. LA is different - I have never seen so many homeless people walking around in nice neighborhoods. Of course in Culver City where I stayed, multi-million dollar homes bordered rough neighborhoods.
I remember that talk by Elder Wirthlin "Come What May and Love it." - great wisdom. You don't have to look too far around you to see that some people make the best of their situation, despite the difficulties and then there are some that don't. It's tempting to take a break and self loathe. I just read a letter from Kyler about struggling with his companion, investigators, leaders and he is having physical issues again. When I think about my mission, I only remember the great times and have to really concentrate to remember there was also really tough times. Finding people to teach. People constantly turning you down or looking at you like you're a crazy religious fanatic... Then I really didn't expect to have issues with my companion, investigators and church leaders who you expect great things from. Thank goodness I rarely got sick, just depressed at times. I had some strange companions, which made missionary work interesting. It took me 6 months to learn 3 critical things and it came from a missionary companion who conducted himself much like the savior - my 4th companion Elder Wilde. He taught me three life saving things that I still use to this day when I'm struggling - 1) Am I doing the best I can to keep 100% of the mission rules (or for me today, the commandments)? 2) Am I studying the Book of Mormon every day? This was a big one, because it was unfortunately over 6 months out that I finally gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but fortunately a glorious experience for me to see that book come alive for me personally and then realizing that book is the reason I'm serving a mission, it's the cornerstone of our religion and what we ask the investigators to pray about. 3) Seek answers to your prayers by being extremely thoughtful to what I am praying about and what I need to be praying about. Elder Wilde and I were companions for 3 months and we got more accomplished in our first month together than I had gotten accomplished in the first 6 months of my mission. We were "one" as a companionship. We were humble, there was no contention between us, which unified us in the work. We experienced personal revelation and miracles together as companions. I learned going forward as a missionary, I can only control what I'm going to do. I can't control what my companion, investigators, church leaders... are going to do or how they are going to act. I can can only control my own decisions and that not only freed me up to choose for myself to be happy despite what strange things my companion, investigators or leaders were doing, but it also gave me a huge power of spiritual influence, worthiness to have the spirit and the ability to hopefully persuade others to do the right thing. The ability to avoid contention, to be patient, to find peace and be positive during difficult times, to love when it's justifiable to be angry... or as Elder Wirthlin stated "Come What May and Love it." Elder Wilde's love for the work, love for me and faith to do the right thing - influenced me to be like him or like the Savior. I still had my agency, but I chose to be humble, set aside my pride and love what my companion was trying to do despite the temptation to take a break and relax on some of those rules or the work. Moving forward it helped me be less self righteous and more patient with struggling companions. My goal with one strange companion was to inspire him to work harder with me than he did with any other companion and to feel the blessings of it. He still slept in, but at least he did some work with me and he we were blessed for it.
Remember faith is the power and you have been set apart to do this great work. I can only imagine the many people who will love you because of the decision you made to serve a mission and the compounding affects of that.