Monday, December 7, 2009

Josh's letter 12/7/09

Oh boy I might never be forgiven. I'm sorry I blew the wii. The kariokie sounds like alot of fun though. I was reading throught the rules and I am supposed to notify the mission offic if my home ward or stake changes. I assume the stake is the same eh?

I loved reading your emails and I recieved two fed-ex packages this week. One with the Able Evans history which I read through and really enjoyed. I am so greatful for those two missionaries who carried the spirit that converted Able Evans who was humble enough, even in a formal argument, to hear truth and then harder to act upon it. From his own work thousands joined the church and since him there have been many missionaries that have been born and raised and fullfilled misssions and proclaimed the gospel to the four quarters of the earth. I wonder how many have had the fire of testimony kindled from the line of Able evans. I am one, together we're eight, his father is nine and his own converts is 2009 and so on... I also recieved the Christmas decorations just this morning. I haven't had a chance to set them up yet, but on my return home I will. I'm particularly excited for the chritmas music. I imagined last night as I watched the Christmas devotional my whole family gathered together in awe of the beautiful music and message of Christmas. Though we are not all together Brian and David at BYU, I in Brainerd but I think we were all watching that devotional at the same time and even if not I dont care because in my mind’s eye we were and I felt peace on earth and good will towards man. I felt love. I know that those meek and humble servants of the lord are prophets of the most high God who are declaring his singular and hope saturated message of love. A message that two thousand years ago a baby king was born who was Christ the Lord. That through him the worlds were created but more miraclous than that "out of a worthless lump of clay, god has made a man today." That from this fleshy tabernacle may raise triumphant and pure: a man. I feel like a baby declaring this message too great for kings. But it is true. And truth will not be ashamed. It will remain in the great furnace of this life while the impurities are refined away. It is a message that "adults never understand and children get tired of explaining." It is simple and pure. I have thought several times of Dad and Rachel who are probably getting very excited. I'm sure Dad is busy with prepartions and Rachel I'm sure decorated the day after thanksgiving if not before. I thought of mom and I hope you all know that this year will be a small Christmas. I’m sure it will. I have thought of the straggly manger and the straw that was placed one by one through acts of kindness (mostly by Rachel) to give baby Jesus a comfortable bed. I thought of Finals and the catharsis that follows. I thought of Matt, and his smile that is irritatingly contagious come chritsmas morning. And Cubbies nut. Well I best not get too carried away Christmas is still a little ways away but I am sure excited. I feel it so early this year and I am glad. I want to be able to say as does Bob Cratchet at the end of my life, "I truly am a happy man."

David I loved your Christmas letter. Rachel, Matt, and letters still... I'm just saying. Mom I also loved your letter. I hope the retreat was nice and relaxing. My companion is a really good missionary. We clash sometimes because we are fairly similar in someways. But I will miss him and his confidence and boldness when one of us gets transferred (which might be the 23rd). I also enjoyed Grandmas letter. I have bragged about my grandparents many times. Actually the only movie we are allowed to watch on Pday is The Other Side of Heaven which has her pictures in it.

I still haven't got winter boots but I do have these kind of santa boots things I got for an exchange at the store that are working pretty good. They might not hold up come -40 degrees but I wait until that comes. I will probably get some boots yet. Plus I now have a ton of foot warmers.

And God bless us, everyone. And God bless us, everyone.
Elder Sabey
ps We have a baptism this saturday. Danielle Higgins is being baptized. I am baptizing which will be my first one. I guess it will be a white Christmas. Hurrah for Israel

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why attend church

Dear Brook,
Thanks for your text yesterday, and your input on the phone.  You are very wise and understanding.  After I talked with you, I talked with Mark.  We are so conflicted about what to do about church and Rachel.  I am writing you this to outline why I want Rachel to attend church (even if spirituality can’t be forced, and even if she hates church and feels “it’s just not for me”).  What I am asking of you is to read this and respond honestly.   I am going to present each point of why I want her to attend church, and then give a non church example to explain.  The basic premise of all the points below is that all of God’s directives are intended help people find the greatest amount of joy in this life.  From the moral codes (the 10 commandments and the standards in For the Strength of Youth) to the command to keep the Sabbath day holy (which includes attending church), God’s directives are for our protection and enrichment. 
1.        Attending church helps us feel closer to God.  Attending Church is an outward and social expression of commitment to God.  It says God is more important to me than the other things I could be doing with this time.   Time dedicated to God improves that relationship more than time not dedicated to God.

Example:    If a woman is one is never willing to be seen publicly with her husband and does not spend time with him, how good can that relationship be? 

2.       Attending Church reinforces good, moral standards of behavior.  We need reinforcement, because we are bombarded with many contrary messages.

Example:   Most teenagers question authority and seek individual identity.  They do not want restrictions on them at all.  They want to truly LIVE life to its fullest.  Although this is good and natural, God also wants to keep them safe and help them find true happiness.  Without believing and following a moral code, teenagers can really damage their future lives.  If you take away the belief that moral codes are from God, following them becomes less likely.   Rachel said two weeks ago, “When I leave home in 1 ½ years, I am going to try beer and have sex.”  By disregarding and denying the standards she has been taught, she is racing into dangerous territory.

3.       Church participation is intended increase our ability to be selfless.  Life‘s happiness comes not by finding oneself, but by giving of oneself.  In our church, every single person serves.  It’s a layman’s church—no one gets a salary but everyone contributes to the overall success of each ward.  From a social perspective, we go to church to give, not to receive, but by giving we do receive.  Most wards, along with many wonderful and self-sufficient people, have some social misfits, people with serious illnesses, hypocrites and people with other challenges.  Our responsibility is not to associate only with those who are like us, but to learn to love those who are different than us and are harder to love.  We grow as we love others.    
Example:  AA:  Once you are on the road to rehabilitation, you are to continue to help those struggling.  This turning to others is an integral part of maintaining commitment to stay dry.  In the same way, by continuing to go to church to help others, one is able to maintain a service-oriented, much safer and secure life.

4.       Truths are not relative.  Feelings are relative, but truths are not. 
The idea that I can be spiritual on my own is denying God’s desire for us to become as one—truly loving others.  There are not any individual vacuums in God’s plan.  Part of God’s plan is to eliminate self-centered pride.  John Donne said it this way, “No Man is an island alone unto himself.  Each man is part of the continent. . . .”  We are our brothers and sisters’ keepers.

Example:  Dance.  If a person says, “I want to be a really good dancer, but I don’t want to have to follow any rules or any instruction or be coupled with anyone else,” that person will never become a great dancer.  Humility, a willingness to listen and learn is an integral part of true progress. 

5.       We go to church because it is right, not because it is convenient or because we want to. 

Example:  Rachel would love to quit high school because she does not like it—and “no one likes me there.”  We will not let her because high school is a necessary launching point for opening up opportunities for her future.  Rachel wants to quit going to church, but I feel church has a much greater potential for helping (and protecting) her future than any high school or college because at church we learn of eternal truths and paths to happiness that will affect every relationship we ever have and will give us boundaries that will bring us peace.

6.        Some say that no one should be forced to go to church, because spirituality cannot be forced.  Although it is absolutely true that spirituality cannot be forced, we do not go to church to force spirituality.  We go to church to set a pattern in our life that is helpful and good.  If we follow this good pattern, there will come a time when we are prepared to feel and understand spiritual things.  If we have never set that pattern, we might not be prepared or in the right place to become the spiritual person we can be.

Example:  When I was in college, I had to take a poetry class that I hated.  We read all sorts of long and boring poems.  Each homework assignment I started with a sigh.  Because of the pattern of doing my homework (because I needed to get a good grade), however,  sometime in the second half of the semester I came upon a poem that ignited me.  I loved it!  Somehow that one poem changed my whole outlook on poetry.  I came to love poetry and I have passed that love on to some of my children.  If I had not been forced to read a lot of poetry, I never would have come upon the one poem that changed my whole view on poetry.

7.        Rachel says, “I don’t want to go to church because church makes me feel guilty.”  In doing so, Rachel is blaming her own self-condemnation on the church.  Our church’s purpose is to provide hope, light and encouragement, not the opposite.  God’s desire is for us to accept His love and believe in ourselves. 

Example:  Rachel says, “School makes me feel dumb,” it’s a pattern of thinking that is in error.  Two equally intelligent people could be in the same class and one could feeling stupid because s/he did not know what the teacher was teaching and the other could feel stimulated and challenged.  It’s a choice of how we think/talk to ourselves, not about the forum in which it ideas are presented.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Abel Evan's History

Abel Evans
Based on the book,
Indefatigable Veteran—History and Biography of Abel Evans,
A Welsh Mormon Elder,
written by Ronald D. Dennis,
Rhydybont Press, Provo, Utah 1994

Samuel and Anne Evans were newlywed and poor. They lived in a
laborer’s cottage and worked on a farm in Wales called Hedgehog Castle.
On June 17, 1812, Anne gave birth to their first child, a baby boy. Although
Samuel and Anne had been forced by the laws of England to be married in
the Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church), they were
allowed to choose the church in which their son would be named and
christened. Most parents took their infant children to the local vicar of the
Anglican Church, but Abel’s parents were members of a group called the
Independents. The Independents were “nonconformists” who were fiercely
opposed to many of the Anglican Church’s beliefs. They strongly
encouraged their members to study the Bible and think for themselves.
Farmhouse at Hedgehog Castle

Samuel and Anne took their newborn son to the Independent Chapel
for christening and named him Abel.
Abel grew up as a farm boy, but his family moved to Merthyr Tydfil,
a industrial mining town, by the time he was a teenager. As he grew and
became a man, he probably began working in the mines where cave-ins and
explosions were a constant danger. During winter months, the miners spent
six days a week in the mines and only saw daylight on Sundays. Abel
attended church on Sundays at the Independents’ Bethesda Chapel. He was
well-respected and was asked to serve as a deacon in the Sunday School.
Independent Chapel at Llanboidy
Bethesda Independents Chapel in Merthyr Tydfil

Abel’s 32nd year of life was one of change. His Mother died of
pulmonary tuberculosis and, within a few weeks, Abel first met the Mormon
Missionary work began in Wales in 1840, when Brigham Young and
Heber C. Kimball were serving missions in the British Isles. Because of the
positive reception they had received in Wales and their love for the people,
the Church leaders sent other missionaries. In 1843, Lorenzo Snow called
William Henshaw, an English convert who had married a Welsh woman, to
establish his family and preach the gospel in Merthyr Tydfil. By the end of
1843, he had baptized nearly eighty converts.
Many negative stories were circulated about the Mormons. A Baptist
reverend in the area wrote:
The foolish and madmen who call themselves
‘Latter-day Saints’ have arrived . . ..
I did not think there were men so stupid in Wales
to believe such a heap of nonsense and
I’m sorry to say that a number of the dregs of
society are now believers. They are baptized at
night, and those receiving baptism must undress
for them and go to the water stark naked.

The Independents took a different approach to the Mormons. They
challenged the Mormon missionaries to two debates, the first on the topic of
miracles and the second on baptism. The Independents believed that
miracles such as healings had ceased at the time of Christ and that the proper
method of baptism was by sprinkling. The Independents selected Abel
Evans, rather than their minister, to represent them in the debates. After the
first debate, it was reported that Abel Evans, “an intelligent and gifted young
man,” “a warrior from his youth,” had “appeared victorious in the eyes of
the public. His brethren were extremely proud to have such a young man of
hope in their midst.” During the second debate, Abel Evans, the hero of the
first debate, fell silent. Abel listened to the missionaries he was supposed to
be debating. He was persuaded and his heart was touched. He knew the
message was true, and he had the integrity and courage to follow his new
convictions. After the debate, Abel went with the missionaries to the river
and was baptized.
The Independents were shocked. It was reported that Abel’s father, Samuel
Evans, was greatly distressed: “His lament the next night at the meeting at
Bethesda [Chapel] was extraordinary, and all he could do was wonder and
ponder as to what had bewitched his son.” Samuel Evans soon found out.

Only four days after Abel’s baptism, Samuel Evans and another of his sons
were baptized, with other family members soon to follow.
For the next six years, Abel Evans served as a missionary in Wales,
preaching the gospel, administering to the sick, casting out devils, suffering
persecution, baptizing many new converts and strengthening the Church.
Although Church records from this period are incomplete, it was reported
that Abel baptized over two thousand souls during his first mission.
At one conference of the Church, individuals possessed of devils were
disrupting the proceedings. The presiding officer commanded evil spirits to
depart and the audience responded with such such powerful “Amens” that
the neighbors thought it had thundered. Although this sent most of the
devils packing, two women who were more stubbornly possessed continued
to be disruptive. The presiding officer closed the meeting, called the elders
together, including Abel Evans, to deal with them. The women, who had
been frequently possessed elsewhere and were living in sin, were biting,
kicking and swearing most awfully. When the women were
excommunicated, they laughed and derided, saying that was what they
wanted. Once the evil spirits were cast out, however, the women dressed

their upper garments which they had previously torn off themselves and
went home without further disruption, weeping bitterly when they learned
they had been excommunicated.
Although Abel had, before his baptism, argued that miracles had ceased, he
became known as one whose priesthood blessings had miraculous force.
Through Abel, the Lord healed many believers of various maladies,
including several cases of cancer and cholera. In one instance, Abel
administered to a sister suffering from a cancer that had terribly eaten away
her face and nose and bored holes in her jaws. The smell of the cancer was
so horrible that no one would stay in the house with her. Following a
priesthood anointing and blessing, the cancer was killed and her face began
to heal. Eventually, she grew new flesh and skin and a new nose.
In a small town on the Isle of Anglesey, the town crier—whose job it was to
make public announcements in a loud voice throughout the town—refused
to announce the sermon Abel Evans would be preaching that evening. Abel
learned that it was the local Methodist minister who was imposing this
restriction. In a letter describing the situation and his response, Abel said:

[The town crier] was free to announce dogs and
swine, fairs and games—in short, everything
except for a preacher of the Saints. Then I had to
take the honor to myself of announcing throughout
the town in his place; and together with
announcing the sermon I was obliged to announce
to the public why I was taking the job of the
restricted crier in question. And the people
testified that I filled his office much better than he.
I don’t intend ever to try to obtain his services
again, rather I shall announce myself. And
perhaps if the crier is not able to escape from the
Methodist clutches of his minister, everyone in
[town] will begin to announce himself also. After
the trouble I took and the threats I received, an
excellent meeting was held, and many testified that
they believed on the sayings that cause some to
begin in Christ.
In late 1849, Abel was notified that church leaders in Council Bluffs, Iowa
(where there was a large company of Welsh Saints), were requesting him to
cross the Atlantic with the next company. Abel began preparations
immediately, and about three months later he boarded the Josiah Bradlee, a
sailing vessel the Church had chartered to take 263 emigrating Saints from
Liverpool to New Orleans.
Abel kept a journal of the crossing.

The following are some of the excerpts from Abel's Journal:
Feb 19 Harsh wind and almost all the Saints sick. Wm Rees and
myself watching over them day and night.
Feb 20 Everyone very sick except for two, Jones and myself. We
were carrying the pots out and tending to them.
Feb 24 Today we saw a fish half the length of the ship. It was about
thirty yards long!! This sunday I married Lewis Davis
and Sarah Rodgers on board ship.
March 1 The wind very contrary. The elders agreed to pray for a
favorable wind.
March 2 Strong favorable wind driving us along quickly.
March 10 Strong rain. Pouring rather like floodwaters. John Carver
and Mary Ann Eames are married.
March 27 The daughter of Hannah Hughes from Llanelli dies at six in
the morning. She was cast into the sea before seven. She
went from our sight before sinking.
Other passengers kept journals or recorded memories of the voyage. The
leader of the Saints, Thomas Day, recorded what happened when one of the
brethren was involved in two activities at once:
To Day A Church meeting was held upon deck.
James Needham Cought a Fish weighing 10 lbs,
while we was Administering the Sacrament And
drew away many of the Saints which caused

Another passenger reported the following healing:
[A] little boy . . . fell through the hatchway of the
vessel, alighting upon his head on the ring an bolt
of the lower hatchway. When he was picked up it
was found that the force of the fall had driven the
iron upon which he struck into his head, and within
a minute afterwards the injured palce puffed up
like a distended bladder. Of course, he was
knocked insensible and apparently lifeless, but
Brother Evans and one or two other Elders
immediately administered to him, and while their
hands were upon his head the swelling entirely
disappeared and he was restored to consciousness
and to health.
Another passenger reported that when a severe epidemic of fever broke out,
threatening the destruction of many on board, Abel Evans felt that their only
hope was securing the favor of the Almighty, and determined to muster all
the faith he could in appealing to the Lord.
He called together four Elders of experience who
were on board, and asked them to retire with him
to the hold of the vessel and unite in prayer. They
did so again and again without any apparent good
result, and Brother Evans marveled at the cause. It
was such an unusual thing for him to fail to have
his prayers answered, that he was surprised that is
should be so that instance, and he could only
account for it by lack of union or worthiness on the
part of the Elders. He therefore called the four
Elders again to retire with him to the hold of the
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ship, and took with him a basin of clean water.
When they had reached a scheduled place where
they were not likely to be overheard or distrubed
by others, he talked to the Elders about the
necessity of being united in faith and clear of sin
before God if they desired to call upon Him and
receive a blessing. “ Now,” he said, “I want each
of you Elders, who feels that his conscience is
clear before God, who has committed no sin to
debar him from the enjoyment of the Holy Spirit,
who has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ sufficient to
call upon the Almighty in His name and claim the
desired blessing, to wash his hands in the basin!”
Three of the Elders stepped forward and did so; the
fourth could not—his conscience smote him. He
was therefore asked kindly to retire, and the four
others joined in earnest prayer before the Lord and
rebuked the disease by which the people were
afllicted. The result was that the epidemic ceased
its ravages and the sick recovered from that very
hour, much to the surprise of the ship’s officers
and others on board who knew nothing of the
power by which such a happy result was
Not only was Abel busy with his priesthood duties as an Elder and as 1st
Counselor to Thomas Day, he was also busy romancing a lovely 21-year-old
woman named Mary Jones. Mary was the only member of her family to
convert to Mormonism.
One evening, when Mary was about seventeen years old, Mary was tending
the children of a family that was investigating the Church. Mary was in the

loft with the children where she could not be seen, but she was listening
intently to the missionaries’ words. After one of the missionaries spoke in
tongues, the other interpreted, saying that there was someone listening to
them that night whom they could neither see nor hear. This person, he
continued, would join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and
continue faithful throughout her life. Mary believed the missionary was
talking about her, and four years later she was baptized. As she was
preparing to leave for Zion, Mary asked her mother for a lock of hair to
remember her by. But her mother replied, “No, if you have got to go to
destruction you’re not taking my hair with you.” Leaving her family, she
boarded the Josiah Bradlee, but would soon start a new family with Abel
Abel and Mary were probably married in St. Louis, after which they boarded
the steamer that took them to Council Bluffs. They remained in Council
Bluffs for two years with Abel serving as an assistant to the bishop of the
Welsh branch and as a high councilor. A little over nine months after their
marriage, Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter, but she lived only
ten months. In 1852, the Evans family crossed the plains with the Welsh
Company. Upon approaching the Salt Lake Valley, the Welsh members
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already living in the valley, sent a welcome wagon with a load of fruits such
as watermelons, mushmelons, potatoes, pickle cucumbers, grapes, and other
treats they had not tasted all summer.

Abel and Mary settled in Lehi, Utah where the family grew with the birth of
more children and the addition of plural wives, Martha Morgan and Jane
Davis. In all, Abel fathered 15 children. Over the years, Abel became an
American citizen and served as a counselor in the bishopric, a member of the
city council and city marshall.

In April of 1865, Abel attended general conference. His name was
announced as one who was called to serve a mission. He answered the call,
leaving his family behind, and returned to Wales to preach the gospel. In
January of 1866, President Brigham Young called Abel to serve as District

Abel served faithfully for as long as his health would permit. In April, Abel
contracted an illness from standing guard in all night long in poor weather
while Saints were boarding a ship in Liverpool. He continued to serve in his
demanding role, continued to travel and preach, suffering further exposures,
until he was too weak to stand. He would neither complain nor allow others
to speak of his illness while he was on the Lord’s errand.

Abel Evans died on November 30, 1866, in the service of God. His
tombstone in the cemetery at Merthyr Tydfil reads:
“Whoso loseth his life for my sake and the gospel shall find it again.”

Monday, November 30, 2009

Josh's letter Nov 30

 Happy anniversary! I for one am glad you two got married, even if it was a six day engagement... I owe my life to that happiest of all decisions. I'm sure you didn't know what you two were getting into fully, but it has been a beautiful journey and there is yet much more to come. Speeking of engagements, what'd you guys think of Dia? All I got was that Mom loves her--which is nice but not all that informative, at least not coming from mom.
> So there is a chance that I will get transfered the eve of christmas eve, but President said he will try and minimize transfers, so we'll see.
> The work here in Brainerd has kind of Plateaued and we're looking for ways to break the level again. There is only so much tracking we can do.  Other creative ideas never seem to yeild much fruit. And as a missionary we have alot of responsibility but zero ward-authority. By that I mean we can't decide anything for the ward. Any ideas we have for the ward become just another burden on the ward and their time. So for the most part we just teach, track, and stop by. Quality refferals are few but we are still teaching over 20 lessons a week. So it's still going well. We'll have a white Christmas--a baptism on Dec 12. We are hoping for another miracle baptism.
> Well if you think about it it's probably a good thing they changed the ward boundaries. The Blairs would have had to be in our shadow all the time and just imagine how hard that would be...jk. Well The blairs can always move again... I guess you'll still see them fairly often. I do have one comment on one of the reasons for changing boudaries being home teaching. The people here in Brainerd cover an area thirty minuets to an hour in each direction. More than an hour north. Some people drive an hour to church each week. And home teaching can be an hour in opposite directions between two families. So if they changed the boudaries to make home teaching easier in Littleton... I'm just saying. So who is in our ward? Are the youth programs about equal between wards now? So will we finaly have some good competition in the Church BBall tournament?
> By the way has anyone finnished the Table at Ben and Gabby's?
> This week I had one of the tenderest experiences on my mission. We have been going to the home of the Rosiers about once a week since we've been in Brainerd. Sis Rosier has been preparing for her rebaptism and we've been teaching her nephew Lemuel the discussions. He doesn't know who he is named after yet... We had Thanksgiving at their place. She was rebaptize on Saturday. We walked into the room and her Mother (90 years old) was crying and Sister Rosier was beaming. The ceremony was interesting but made perfect by Sis Rosiers sincerity. She was sobbing when she entered the font. When she came out she exclamed, "I'm so happy." It seemed almost childish and fittingly so. Seeing she was coming unto christ in her old age as a little child. she recieved the Holy Ghost and they were about to close the meeting but she wanted to bear her testimony. She spoke with the force and conviction of Elder Holland. It was a beautiful procession to see pass by and be a whitness on earth as there were witnesses in heaven of a prodigal returned into the father's home.  We are all prodigal and if we can just return each time we stray, humbly and contrite we will someday inherit the birthright.
> A masterful talk was given in church yesterday. I asked for a copy and want to send it home. It was given by Brother Oldem who grew up actually in Littleton but the far end of Littleton.
> I love you all. what we are asked to do is so small. It is only made large by our thinking so. If we can just bear our trials with patience they will become blessings. Hurrah for Israel.
> Love, Elder Sabey

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Josh's letter 11/26

Top of Form
I'm sure you would be glad to hear that I did keep the day holy by participating in the turkey bowl this morning. It was alot of fun. I haven't played football in along time. I think I will be sore tomorrow. But I'm glad to see the church is the same all around the world... Well I woke up at 6:30am but I didn't want to work out because we were going to play football so I wrote a thanksgiving poem.
Thursday Sacrament
The turkey’s an ugly bird
no form or comeliness
or beauty to desire for.
A kind of vulture, my teacher said
that eats both the living and the dead.
Two evenings have gone by
since we killed our bird together
shot it through the side
scourged and plucked its feathers.
Today we stuffed the bowels full
placed it in the crucible
until the pink turned white
it no longer seemed to be
the bird we shot from flight
The tables covered white linen first
my father carves the beast
so his family may eat:
broken bread, broken meat,
broken hands, broken feet
broken wings, broken tears
broken heart, broken fears
Thanks you ugly vulture
I dont know why
somehow your death
means I can fly
As we eat this first and last supper
our hearts are over filled
with flesh of the bird we killed
all that remains: napkin and table cloth
and hope that the human condition is not lost.
The end
I don’t know about the second to last stanza but it’s a work in progress only it probably won’t progress any time soon.
Well Brian was right about Bro Lund those were my feelings exactly. I have such a hard time talking about the Atonement for that exact reason. I feel there is no way to express it and the closest way is through some sort of fiction. Some epic or myth, some story. My poem is supposed to express this. That somehow through Christ the huge pool of human tormoil of human suffering--the great human cacophany and distance may strike a cord. We are all responsible to all and for all and I more than all the rest and so I am in a way guilty of the whole human condition. Everything will be made okay and just through Christ. Nothing now is just where as everything without it is unjust. David I appreciated your letter. Mom I forgive you for not writing me... You too Rachel and Matt and Cubby. Yes I got the fedEx package. Thank you for the socks and the hypothermia protection. We actually kind of had an Indian summer the last two weeks. It was the warmest it’s been since I got to Brainerd. Now it is cooling down again. I loved hearing about that case. It sounded really intence. They should probabably should make a movie out of it.
Well I might have sometime later to type but for now I am very greatful for my family. I am greatful for each of you. I'm excited for what is to come. I'm greatful for this chance to serve a mission. I’m greatful for all those who came before. I am now reaping what I did not sow and sowing what I will not reap. We had a lesson with a really neat family. The only reason they let us in was because they have seen so many missionaries and seen them treated rudely by others and by themselves and still they keep coming. He asked how do we do it. We answered best we could. I felt a great surge of hope. There are many many many who are like him who perhaps will invite missionaries in because I--and because my companions and other missionaries will keep knocking--keep trying. sowing seeds. Someday they will hear us and perhaps join us in the beautiful land of Zion. I'm greatful for those who came before in bringing this great country and the standard of freedom into the world. The many who died that we may live. It is up to us that their sacrifice will not have been in vain now, but in an eternal perspective and thanks to Christ it cannot and will never be in vain.
Hurrah for Israel.
With gratitude for my wounderful family,
Elder Sabey
ps did you ever get my message about sending me winter boots? I wasn't sure if it sent. If not I was just hoping that you could send me my winter boots. That should be the cheepest way to get warm boots.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Josh's letter Nov. 16 2009

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First off how was Dad's Birthday? I hope he got a tool for his present but if not I'm sure what ever it was is a good present too, just not as good...

We had a great week. This Sunday was the best of the mission so far. We had three side pews full of people we brought to church and we think it will be better next week. Most of them were re-activating families but one of them was the Higgins family. The Higgins are such a wonderful family. We tracted into them after being yelled at by the husband of a potential investigator we had set up a time to meet with. The husband of the potential inestigator assured us that she had not set up an appointment with us. I'm still persuaded she had. (ha ha) alas. But anyhow we tracted with the extra time we had and knocked on a two story white house. A man answered the door and we began our spill: "We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Crist of Latter Day Saints. Have you heard of that church before?" He told us that he was a member, But hadn't gone for a while (15 to 20 years). His wife came down and we asked if she was also a member. She wasn't. We asked if we could come by and teach them some time. They agreed. We taught the first lesson our first visit. The notion of baptism was already present. They were looking for some changes in their life. We them watched the movie The Restoration and talked about what they had read in the Book of Mormon. At the end of the second lesson we talked about some of the commandments that they should be aware of because we could see they smoked and drank coffee and probably acholhol. We were right. She asked about coffee and we gave a quick answer and said we'd explain more about it next time. When we returned she told us that she had given up coffee and would give up cigaretes and alchohol. We hadn't taught the lesson yet. She said she had prayed about it and knew it was right. We taught the lesson. The next lesson we finnished the commandments including titithing. Jason her housband testified that he knew titihing had blessed his family growing up. They lived penny to penny they said but they would pay their tithing because they knew god would bless them. I continue to be amazed by their faith. I wonder if I would be able to do what they are doing had I not grown up in the faith. I am so glad I have grown up in the faith. It was so beautiful to see them at church with their little family ( an 8 year old and a three year old.) They also have two 1 year olds but they left them with grandma. Sister Higgins BDay--or baptism day is going to be December 5th. I love watching sister Higgins when we teach her and she feels the spirit. She simply smiles.

Yesterday we also had another neat event. Brother Lund--whom I think I have mentioned before--is a socially enept and challenged man. He has obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. But I have never met a better man. Perhaps he doesn't have brains or bronze but he's not dumb and has something higher. He has the pure love of Christ that passeth all understanding. He serves always. He has no money but drives us anywhere. He would drive us anyday at anytime we asked him. If he heard we needed help he would call us and not take no for an answer. He is hard to bring joint teaching because he rambels and sort of stutters and apologizes for everything he says. But the ward threw him a party--It was his BDay yesterday. Several members gathered at the Howard's house and we asked brother Lund to go joint teaching with us. They were there waiting for him. He had a beaming smile on his face when we saw him--already surprised. (We showed up late). It was just really nice to see the ward be able to appreciate this great man. Everyone sat around and listened to him ramble and laugh and all rejoiced together.
Well Thanks giving is comming and the semester is nearly over for those of you in school. Christmas is soon. I'll bet Rachel is getting excited. No decorating until after thanksgiving. So is Dia comming to our home for thanksgiving? Is Brent and Christen engaged yet?
David mentioned the Theory of relativity. It raminded me of a quote I might have already sharred from Einstein: He said (paraphrased) you can look at the world as if there are no miracles or you can look at the world as if that is all there is. I take the latter.

Well my next P-Day is thanksgiving. I'll write then.

I'll miss the family this comming season but I know I'm in the right place. So be good boys and girls that’s what I want for my Christmas present... But seriously have a sacred and wonderful time together with gratiude for our family and particularly our parents who have done everything for us.
Love Elder Sabey

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Josh's letter 11/9

This week my companion and I have recieved quite a bit of praise that is not well deserved. Things in Brainerd have picked up but it is not because me and my companion are so great. In fact I argue with my present companion far more than any before. He is a good missionary though, a very stong leader.   The bishop told the mission presendent that he could not be happier with the missionaries and another women said that we cannot be transfered becuase she needs us in her home to help her and her husband and children. The weird thing is we hardly know the bishop--who is new, or the lady. I feel almost guilty. I'm not being self disparaging, we just really didn't deserve it but it was nice. It is really easy to feel terrible and like a failure as a missionary. I think this is because we have so little control. It is the Lord’s work not ours. I originally thought that I was going to come and convice people of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. Either through elequence of logic or the "power" of my testimony. But all these things have no influence unless the investigators opens their heart and if they do that then all of a sudden I matter even less because it is the Holy Ghost that teaches then. Logic is fickle and elequence is momentary and for the most part unappreciated anyhow. And even testimony is dependent on the chemistry of the conversation. It is impossible for my testiomy to be born with any sort of power unless the situation allows it. I am far less a teacher and far more a finder. Though missionaries are the teacher finders and the ward is the full time finders. The work moves so slow until we find someone. Finding the person is by far the hardest and biggest part of the job.

We had an amazing stake conference. Pres and Sis Howell gave talks and the whole meeting was focused on missionary work. It was held an hour and a half away from Brainerd in St Cloud in the university there. There was over a 1000 people. Sis Howell gave a fabulous talk about how god’s plan--or his responsibilities he gives us--are not a burden but a blessing. Then the pioneers of the area got up and bore testimonies. One half of the people present were first generation members and converts. The pioneers talked about going to Utah for the temple and then Chicago and then Minneapolis "our own backyard" (3 hours away). They talked about meeting in houses and stores then dependent suday schools and then branches and wards and now this newly organized stake. It was the first stake confrence of the new stake and there was a lot of zeal for the gospel and missionary work. It was a beautiful sight.

Does anyone sleep down stairs...I have a feeling my room may be no more...Sounds like it might be worth it though. But I do have an objection to having Cubbies friends come over to watch TV downstairs. It is much more fun to play a game or outside. I know that’s what mom has always said and it’s true. I do not remember a time spent on a game system that would have been better spent in a more social and active/interactive enviroment. Don’t get me wrong (Rachel) I still think there’s alot of fun and in moderation they can be a blast but the Sabey household is famous for its acivities. I like it that way. I'm just saying...

Dad, first off I really enjoyed your letter this week. I think I might incorporate your preface to a blessing. I missed St Crispen’s day and Tom’s Bday. I got Toms letter a day or so after. I forced my companion to listen to the speech anyhow. I dont think he appreciated it like he should. Actually he didn't appriciate it at all. I'm glad to hear you went to save Bro Jensen. Sounds like a wonderful ox in the myer situation. I think I would have been scared though. I'm glad he's okay. That’s a dangerous thing to be lost, wet at night in the mountains. I remember several mountain adventures with you: Hiking out the sande de cristo mnts. That was one of those heroic--in our own minds--moments. Same with climbing capitol. That was a memory never to be forgotten and yes mona lisa smiled and will always smile as I reflect on that trip and many of the other expirences that seem like moments caught on a film, a "panoramic drama", the emotion and strife and joy put into a single still frame of mountain grandure. I love the mountains. They are a legacy of you to me. The mountains of the lord. We all climb mountians and they are dangerous and hard and not really fun at all but I can imagine no more joy than standing on top of a mountain with my family looking down into the lakes and valleys below. All goes down. That to me symbolizes the temple and families continuing on forever. Running down the trail together. So give me this mountain--let us climb and see what’s on the other side of the mountain. Every time we have ascended a mountain and returned no where but home again it was not the same place we began. The mountains have changed me and so have you Dad. I recall a preisthood blessing where perhaps you and I were carried up unto an exceedingly high mountain on the wings of your faith. And you saw a beautiful picture there that you painted to me through loving words. Words that I saw clearly. I will always remember and that will keep me moving when I do not feel I can. Thanks for the pictures Dad. I love you. Happy BDay.

Love you all
PS. My adress:
901 12th Ave NE