Monday, January 24, 2011

California Sun...Never Gets Old

Monday, January 24, 2011
Well I think that these short few days have been more filled with meeting new people, that some would say "are of great importance" than any other week in my entire mission. It was great to meet all these people and really get to see how their lives don't differ from anyone else, in fact, the only difference would be that they have a little more attention. I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend. The weather out here is getting better and better since it is no longer winter over here or at least it doesn't seem that way.

Let's see there is not much to report for this week since we were on the computer last Wednesday...BUT there is some big news. We met the Schroder family on Friday. Now you probably don't know who they are but they are famous. Ricky, the Dad, has been in a bunch of TV shows like 24, Scrubs, and NYPD Blue. It's sick. I never thought that I would meet anybody famous on my mission but now I have. They are way legit. Not stuck up at all but are way down to earth. The best part is that they are members and are a big on family, which I would imagine is difficult being an actors. They are going through some struggles and haven't been going to church recently and the interesting thing was that their excuse wasn't time. Over my mission I have seen many who have been worn out, especially during these times because everyone is trying to frantically get things done and produce. President Uchtdorf said it this way, "Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives." I felt pretty helpless while they were laying it all out because I think we all get burnt out at times but that is were faith comes in. Faith that there is something more at the end of the tunnel. Faith that after this life we will have our reward. Would we study and learn if we did not believe we could obtain wisdom and knowledge? Would we work each day if we did not hope that by doing so we could accomplish something? Would a farmer plant if he did not expect to harvest? Each act we do is an act of faith and I think too many people fail to notice their works are great in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. As I have been reading the scriptures I've noticed how dramatic the events are and how rare they are in these days. Interestingly enough, I'm thankful. Thankful that our Heavenly Father doesn't show us direct forms of revelation as often as we ask, for that is how faith builds. Yes it is slow, difficult, dirty and so on but that is the only way we can become like Him. It's humbling but in the long run it's worth it. It gives us perspective to look toward the future where our knowledge will grow to the point where we can think on an eternal scale. I'm so excited to be able to serve them and hopefully we will find more opportunties to teach them even with their busy schedule. Another person that is of "great importance" is more Church orientated, President Uchtdorf came to the Westwood chapel where the UCLA Student Ward meets. He didn't come to our ward but he went to the ward right before us. Apparently he was on vacation or something of the sort, but it was awesome to hear him. It was funny, one of the members of our ward asked us a question as we were just getting to the chapel, he said "what did you do to get President Uchtdorf here?" I blew it off and chuckled but it wasn't until everyone was talking about him that I took it seriously. It was awesome. And for some more "famous people" we will have the blessed opportunity to hear from Elder Clayton, Of the Seventy. He will be here this week and he will talking to us as a mission this Saturday. I'm way excited to hear what he would have us do as individuals and as a mission. I know that he will have some good counsel for us that can help us on our quest to become more Christ-like and be able to serve others in a greater degree.

We ate with the Hall Family again this last Thursday and once again it was another comical experience. Sister Hall was sick, had been having some heart problems and so she couldn't go with us, but Ashley, her daughter, came with us. We had a good time and time flew by. It came time for dessert and she noticed that we had been there for awhile so she asked for hers to go and asked if we wanted some of our own. Of course we did, we are missionaries. We had the bright idea that sharing our desserts would be best and so we all ordered three different ones. Little did we know but the portions were huge! I got the Sizzling Apple Pie, Elder Hodell got the brownies with ice cream (it was in a goblet the size of a small ball), and Ashley got the Lemon bar. As they were bringing them out all of us were surprised like no other. The people next to us were laughing at us becuase we were sort of naive. It was fun. Never felt that full from dessert ever before. But boy was it good. Haha. Good thing I'm still young otherwise I would be in problems. Oh wait I already am. But along with that day and Sunday, we had the opportunity to give blessings to Sister Hall and this other member who called the Visitor Center who then gave us the info. Elder Hodell annointed and I blessed both times and the weirdest feelings came when I was performing that sacred act. It didn't feel like it was me but it was directly from the Lord who was blessing them. I hope that I never forget how I felt both of those times. They were sacred experiences that I'm thankful that I was worthy to receive and witness.

There isn't much more to say. I love you all. I hope that you all are doing well and that the Lord is blessing all of you. The tender mercies are upon all but only the meek and humble notice them. Till next week.

Elder Leavell

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