Hello everyone, and happy late 4th of July!

I hope you all had a good time for the 4th of July! Though obviously not a holiday here, we got together with the sisters and the Johnsons and had a nice 4th of July dinner together, complete with American-style hamburgers, potato salad, and smores. It was a lot of fun 🙂

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      The “title” of my email this week is the title of one of the best general conference talks ever – “Come What May, and Love It”, given by Elder Wirthlin in 2008. This has been a rollercoaster of a week, and I’ve been studying this talk a lot as a result.
     The week started out fantastic, and we were having some great success with finding people. For example, we were tracting in an apartment building, and at one of the doors a younger girl, maybe 22ish answered. After telling her who we were, we told her that we were sharing with people the story of a young boy named Joseph Smith. Her response? “Okay then. Tell me the story!” We ended up talking with her for maybe 20 or 30 minutes at the door and shared the entire Joseph Smith story. She loved it, and told us she’d be happy to read the Book of Mormon. It was a great success, and we had a number of similar experiences throughout the week.
     The rollercoaster though, began toward the end of the week and has to do with our investigator preparing for baptism. In missionary work there is a undeniable “law” if you will, and we saw it very clearly this week. It is this: the closer someone gets to the Lord and His church, the harder Satan tries to push them away.
     On Thursday we had a lesson with our investigator at the church. He came a few minutes early, and the very first thing he asked, is if we could show him how to pay tithing. We gladly showed him, and he filled out the slip then and there and payed his tithing. It was so cool to see someone excited about keeping a commandment like that! The lesson went great, and we reviewed the Restoration, as well as talked a little bit about the how the baptismal interview works.
     The next morning I called him to schedule the actual interview, and we got it sort of set for Wednesday. I called him a few hours later to confirm, but this time, it was a totally different man on the phone. He seemed flustered, and said he was frustrated, didn’t want to be baptized, and asked us not to call anymore. He then hung up. VERY confused, we texted him asking what had happened and if there was something we could talk about. He responded by saying he wouldn’t be coming to church anymore, and that he doesn’t want contact with us. We suspect all of this has to do with anti-Mormon literature or something similar, maybe given to him by a friend. Or maybe it’s something different – we’re not 100% sure.
     Needless to say, it was very disappointing, and we were really sad about it –  more for his sake than anything else. It’s just hard having someone SO close to truely accepting the gospel, but not actually make it to the finish line. We’re far from giving up on him, but there definitely won’t be a baptism this Saturday. In the midst of all of this, I’ve turned to the Lord in prayer (a ton) and also found a lot of comfort and counsel in the scriptures and words of the prophets. That brings me to my title this week – come what may and love it. The talk is about how we should respond to trials in our life, and if you haven’t read it, I would definitely recommend it. Actualy, I’d say read it even if you’ve already read it!
There are a few quotes I really like:

“In spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result.”

“How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment…But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.”

“Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering,and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understandingbuild our character, and increase our compassion for others.

“Sometimes the very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome.”

“The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him.”

     That last quote is my favorite , simply because it sums up everything in one simple sentence. Am I disappointed about what happened this week? Yes. Am I sad that this child of God is missing out on the blessings of the gospel? Yes. Is it hard to be this close to a baptism, only for it to fall through? Yes. But do I trust in the Lord enough to know that it will all work out in the end? Without a doubt 🙂
     It’s been a hard week – there’s no use in saying it wasn’t, but as Nephi said, “I know in whom I have trusted”, and I know that with the Lord, it will all work out in the end. I can testify that if we follow the advice of Elder Wirthlin and have a “come what may and love it” attitude, we’ll be blessed in every aspect of our lives. I got up this morning happy and energetic, and I’m not letting a trial or setback keep me from moving forward.
     I hope everyone has a great week, and I’ll hear from you soon!
Love, Jack
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