"It's been a good week! We had the open house on Saturday, and it went really well. We had rooms set up by the different companionship's, and for those that came it was a really good activity. We didn't have too many people, but it was good for a first time and next time we do it we'll hopefully be able to get even more people there. It was also a good week for lessons, we had six during the week again which we were happy about, and we have two scheduled for tonight, It's always great when you have a lesson on a Monday, it's a great start to the week, and it will be even better if both our appointments come through tonight!"
Replies to Mums Email
"That's great that you went out with the sisters, they will have been so grateful. It makes such a big difference to have members in the lessons, and members who are willing to help teach quickly become missionaries' favourite people in the world! About the man with lots of questions, don't feel like it's your job to answer them! Missionaries study for two hours every single day and then teach several times a week answering those questions! It's way more important for members to share their personal experiences with the things that the missionaries talk about, and to help the investigator see how he/she can apply the things they're being taught in their life in a practical way. For example, don't worry about talking about what the Book of Mormon is, but think more abut what it does in your life! And it's the same with every question :)"
"I got the postcard yeah, thanks for that! And don't worry too much about writing, I've been useless too, and in a couple of weeks I'll be home. About your questions, I'll write them down and think about them, and I'd prefer to explain the answers to you when I see you rather than writing them in an email, as I don't think I'd do them justice. And it's also a great way for me to organise my thoughts to start telling you all about my mission experiences, I'd been wondering how I'd possibly start to tell you about everything that has happened in the last two years!"
"The most olives I've ever seen in one place, there are 4 tonnes of them! And they're good too! They're being stored at the warehouse where we do service ready to be taken to refugee camps near the city."
"We had to tip the brine out of two of the barrels so that they could be transported. With the brine each barrel is 250kg, and without they're about 100kg lighter! The open barrel you see is without the brine"
"Elder Reed looking contemplative on the number 23 bus"
Email Between a Father and Son
Over two years Mum and dad have had different roles in our emails. Mum being far better at detail has kept Elder Teal up to date on family life. Dad had the role of scripture discussions. I have decided to include we exchanged this week as a window into our email lives. This weeks email to him was inspired my comments shared by our Stake President..
To Elder Teal..
"Geese and other migratory birds use a very distinctive V formation when flying.
Scientists believe there are two reason for this flight. Firstly the lead bird creates , at its own expense, better flying conditions for the birds that follow. When tired the lead drops back to the end of the V and another takes over. It is this selfless pattern that allows the skien to travel such immense distances. The second reason is the formation allows all birds to be watched by the others, creating safety for all.
By simply being obedient in all things , like nature often is, geese become successful.
What can we learn? Well there is a time and a season for all our service. You have been the lead in many ways in your missionary service. This last couple of weeks you have been obedient and dropped to the back of the V. As you prepare to come home you will again drop back as you leave the work to your companion.
As you wisely wrote this week , taking off the tag does not remove the Saviour's name from your heart. You just change your position in the V again.
There is no reason why you can't continue to have the same spirit you have now , when you come home. Nothing has to change. As Elder Holland remarks. 'I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square and said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.” That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well.' source
You have learnt that every decision you make determines your spirituality. That applies as much here as there. If a missionary comes back and resumes the lifestyle they had before, they return to the spirituality they had before. It's a choice thing. Put bluntly this refers to commuter games, films, waking and bed times . The distance you move away from the live you live now, is directly proportional to the change you will experience in your spirituality. As always life is full of agency!"
From Elder Teal
"Thanks for the thought about the V-formation, it describes well how I've been feeling! And I've really enjoyed dropping to the back of the V, it's a new perspective on the work which has been a refreshing change. It's also been really great to see this area be productive. I told Elder Reed how wherever he goes in his mission and however little is happening in an area when he arrives, if he just talks to lots of people about the Restoration, things will start to happen, as that's why we're here. I think too often missionaries overthink things, and it's so good to be able to just focus on helping as many people as possible to hear about the Restoration, which has happened, and then telling them about why it's important.
I remember telling Rachel the same thing in an email before Toby came home about how she shouldn't wait for him to get "back to normal", but rather help him to have his mission self become his new normal. I've seen myself change for the better in so many ways during my mission, and I have no intention of going backwards. I don't think I was a bad person before, but I'm a better person now! I have started to identify some things that we do in mission life that are not necessary for me to continue to maintain my current level of spirituality, and there are some things about "normal life" that I'm looking forward to, but the things that are beneficial to a part-time missionary I definitely intend to keep!"