February 23, 2015
You heard it here first folks. It's gettin' just a little bit greener here in Stockholm. Actually that is partially true. I saw grass for the first time in a couple months! (Sounds a little weird I know but when you don't get to see those things you miss 'em a little bit. Ha!) The snow was all over the place and then we got a little taste of green. Then it snowed again last night so that ship has sailed! BUT... that's not the only reason it's gettin' a little bit greener here in Stockholm. We also got a greenie straight from the Provo MTC. The first miracle of this week happened when we got to Stockholm Central Station five minutes before Elder Peterson's train left. That's kinda like showing up to the airport 20 minutes before you're gonna fly out. It doesn't happen! But... we got him on the train going to Göteborg. I tossed his last bag onto the train, the whistle blew, the doors closed, and he was off. Pretty crazy. These last 12 weeks have been some of my favorite. Gonna miss that kid! But after Elder Peterson left I headed up to Täby to pick up a new missionary. My new comp is Elder Burton. He's from Alberta, Canada and I'm excited for these next couple of weeks. I'm going to be training Elder Burton for 12 weeks in Västerhaninge and it's gonna be a blast! I've already seen that "greenie magic" rub off into the work and it's the best! I'm pumped to see what these next 12 have in store.
Yesterday I had a neat experience during church. I was sitting in Elders Quorum and the lesson was about a talk that Elder Ballard gave in this past General Conference called "Stay in the Boat and Hold on!" In it, he talks about when he went river rafting down Cataract Canyon and three simple rules that kept them safe. Elder Ballard said, "At the beginning of the trip, one of the experienced river guides reviewed important safety instructions, emphasizing three rules that would ensure the group’s safe travel through the rapids. “Rule number one: stay in the boat! Rule number two: always wear a life jacket! Rule number three: always hold on with both hands!” He then said again, with even more emphasis, “Above all, remember rule number one: stay in the boat!” We talked about the different things in the talk and what they could represent. I started thinking back to the hours that I spent out on the water. I thought specifically about a set of rapids on our trip down the Grand on the Colorado River. I remember being at the oars and going through "Emerald." This specific rapid is just a big wave train. If you run it right then it's a pretty easy going rapid. As we went through, every wave that hit us turned us a little more and a little more sideways. After we had hit a couple of waves, we were completely sideways and not in the position that we wanted to be in. We were going into the last wave completely sideways. Dad was able to put his shoulder into the raft as we hit the wave and that is what kept us from flipping. I thought about that experience yesterday but in a completely different way. When you're rowing a boat you always have to be in control and you're always doing something to put yourself in the position that you need to be in while going through a rapid. I thought about the waves and how those could be compared to adversity and temptation. As we row the boat or the gospel, we can do the daily things like pray and read the scriptures that keep us in line so that when we come up against these waves from the adversary that we can push through them. I also thought about the role that my Dad played in that as well. The Savior is the one that can help us get through trials and adversity, even when we are completely turned from his ways. It just made me think of the arm of mercy that is always extended out to us.
I know that as we always strive to keep the commandments and follow the Lord, that we can keep the boat straight and be able to overcome adversity with the help of the Savior. His arm is always extended. I know that if we do what he has asked then we will be able to stay in the boat.
I love you all and hope you're all doing well. Hope you have a great week!
Strength and Honor