Hello again from fantastic Idaho! It's good to be alive on this beautiful, sunny, and warm day. It seems like the cold is gone for good, but I may be speaking to soon.
Last weekend was transfers. I stayed put here in Middleton while Elder Jarvis left for Ontario(Oregon, not Canada or California). My new companion is Elder Patterson from St George, UT. He is the second closest companion to me; he's 20 miles shy of the record set by Elder Shumway in Gilbert, AZ. Elder Patterson was serving in Ontario right before here, so he and Elder Jarvis did a sort of swapping spaces dealio. We've never ran in the same missionary circles, so this is our first time serving close to each other even though we've both been out for ...a long time.
This week we were able to meet with Brooke Taylor again. I mentioned her briefly a while back. We've been teaching her for most of the time that I've been here. She's a single mom with two sons. It seems like she's got a double-fulltime job with as much as she works. Each week it seems like she has less questions which means she's getting answers! We're excited to keep helping her push to her baptismal goal in April.
We're gearing up for Stake Conference here in Middleton. Elder Kopischke is coming to preside over the "hastening of the work"-focused conference. All of the youth are invited to attend the adult session, so it seems like that's the thing to do this stake conference.(Something similar happened back home if memory serves me right.)
Thinking of back home, I had a chance to reflect about it yesterday. Our Gospel Essentials class was on "The Creation". Near the end of the lesson, Sister Butler(the teacher) mentioned how she grew up in Idaho and was an Idaho girl through and through. She loved the mountains and said she saw the ocean maybe once or twice. Then she went on her mission to New Zealand where her love for more of the beauties of the Earth grew. Sister Butler then gave each of us time to reflect on the beauties of the Earth that we've come to admire. I'm blessed to be who I am and to have been where I have been. I've stood on mountain tops. I've peered over cliffs' edges. I've gazed up out of caves. I've tasted the salty air sitting on the beach. Each has its own unique and inherent beauty in it because it was created by a miraculous God. This same God who can do all things claims us as His children and loves us above all of His other creations. His entire purpose-after having created the universe and everything else far grander than us-is to help us return to be with Him. If that's not as amazing as the beauties of nature I don't know what is.
What did any of that have to do with reflecting on home? Nothing much, but those weren't my initial thoughts. My initial thoughts were that nothing beats the beauty of home. Sure, the hills are a little bit brown and dead. Sure it's really hot in summer and the sun beats down 95% of the year. There's a feeling there though. A feeling of belonging and identity. It all flooded back when I came home from college and drove through the Cajon Pass, and I imagine it will be similar when my time as a missionary comes to a close. Home is a beautiful place too. Can you imagine how it will feel to finally return home to the presence of God? That's got to be way more intense than the drive through the Cajon Pass.