I have had the priviledge of working with one of the finest young men in the Church. For his privacy sake, I will refer to him as Elder M. He recently left on his mission, and I promised to write to him. and I thought that it might be fun to share my letters to hime with you. So, i am introducing a new segment. It will be called Letter to Elder M. I hope you enjoy.
How are you? I am very excited for you at this time. You are in a place that I would love to be in again. However, I am also in a place that I want to be in (i.e., a beautiful wife and wonderful children). My mission was a wonderful time, and I would love to do it all over again. One of my favorite and happiest and saddest dreams was one where I dreamt that I had to leave my wife and kids to serve a mission. I was obviously very sad that I had to leave them behind, but I was also incredibly excited to have the opportunity to serve a full-time mission again. Hopefully that dream will never be a reality, but it is a bitter-sweet dream that I will always remember.
I am writing to you today for three reasons. The first is that I promised you I would write at least once. This gets it out of the way. I have now written to you at least once. Promise kept. The second reason is that I attended A L’s Eagle Court of Honor. And as neat as it was to celebrate with A. I couldn’t help but think how neat it was for me to attend your Eagle Court of Honor. It was a great privilege to work with both you and Andrew and I am glad to see that both of you earned your Eagle. It is a great honor that reflects who both of you are.
The third reason that I am writing to you is because your father and the Bishop both mentioned that you are struggling with homesickness. I am sorry to hear that. However, when I am being honest with myself, I too was homesick on my mission. I remember my first month in Korea, I was riding a city bus through town, and everyone started to remind me of people at home, my bishop, my brother, a friend, my grandmother, etc. I was too proud at the time to admit it, but I was homesick, and I missed my family very much.
Your homesickness is perfectly natural and a tribute to your parents and family. I say tribute, because it means that they took good care of you and loved you dearly while you were here. Just remember that they are still taking good care of you and they most definitely love you now. Remember that, and reflect on it for short periods of time. But not too long. Because the longer you dwell on the feelings of loneliness and sadness, the less the spirit can help you.
In the card that I gave you in congratulations for your pending service as a missionary, I quoted President Ezra Taft Benson (I might have written President Kimball, but it is really President Benson). However, I only quoted three words from it. The three words were, “work, work, work.” I wanted to give the whole quote to you but I didn’t have the time to look it up. So, I have looked it up today. Here it is:
One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people; and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. That’s the secret—work, work, work. There is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work. (quoted by James E. Faust, May 1996 Ensign, p. 40).
If you haven’t heard that in the MTC yet, you will. But my challenge to you is to live by it. You might even want to memorize it. You will be blessed if you let this one principle guide you in times of trial.
For Father’s Day, I requested one present. It was a copy of the Preach My Gospel manual. So, I have been studying it personally. As I was studying today, I couldn’t but think that perhaps the scriptures found in the Scripture Study section on page 11, might be of benefit to you. Look them up and listen to the Spirit, I believe that they will be a boost to you moral and help provide you with the compass you need for the next few weeks.
God bless you in your service, I know that you will do well, and that your Father in Heaven will help you to succeed in fulfilling your purpose as a missionary.
With much love and respect,
Travis R Grant