This letter is really only going to be titled for you even though the message is going out to everyone, but I feel it would be a little bit more meaningful if this letter is a little bit more centered around you. Before that I need to respond back to some of the emails. First off, nice temple picture. Mom is looking good! Haven't aged a bit since I have left. Second, Dad, thanks for the rebuke on the sheep. You were totally right. That would have been pretty lame getting seriously hurt. Third, Ava's puppy has a funny looking nose. It's really pink! But so is part of my head that got bashed into the ground. It might scar!
Now Collin time. I got some advice for you! ARE YOU READY?!?!
#1 This is not going in order of importance. But the first thing is Be safe on your mission! Don’t chase sheep! Be careful on your bike, and be careful when you’re driving. Getting tickets is NO FUN! By the way, more information on my ticket: I got the infringement notice in the mail... and this is word for word what it said "Operated vehicle in a manner liable to cause annoyance... 600$" President Rudd will probably not have me fight it in court as ridiculous as that is, it doesn't look good for the Church showing up in court... In the States if you took that to a judge he would probably just laugh.
#2 Work your buns off! We just had the assistants come down from Ham town to visit us. They stayed two nights and worked with us all Sunday. I realized something cool. A lot of missionaries need to put on a good face and plan better for the day, work harder throughout the day, and be a little more obedient while the APs are watching. It felt really good not having to worry about putting on a face or changing anything that I would normally do. A good measure of your work can be seen on how hard you work when you think nobody is watching (that was kind of half stolen from PMG chapter 6 under the Christlike attribute Virtue). Also, by the way, one of the Assistants, Elder Hirschi, has one of those funny chest cavity thingies and he and I are pretty tight. We play pranks on each other all the time... Anyways the 1st morning before he got in the shower I got the other elders to pounce on him and hold him down while I grabbed milk and cereal and poured it in for a makeshift bowl. Totally got it on video too.
#3 The most important thing that should be focused on is WHO you become. Let me make this one very clear and something I hope you never forget. You’re not going on a mission for you. You’re going on a mission to save others who need saving, and your going because that's what the Lord wants. However, the reason I say focus on WHO you will become is because if you become someone who is filled with the Spirit, Testimony, Faith, Optimism, Hope, Charity, and Complete and Absolute desire to Obey all of God's Commandments, then your purpose to invite others to come unto Christ will be SOOOO Much easier. There are so many things that missionaries have to worry about: Working with Members, Talking with Strangers, Following the Spirit, Keeping the Rules, Reactivation, Baptizing, Teaching Skills, Leaving and following up on commitments, Personal and Companion Study, Leadership Responsibilities, and MUCH MUCH MORE. Elder Galt (the assistant) explained to me, “I don’t think there will ever be a missionary who is doing everything PERFECT all at once. There is just so much to do it's near impossible to master everything at once, but if there is anything that would be important to keep with us the rest of our lives would be just what I mentioned, WHO we become.
#4 Gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That book is so true. Read it every day of your mission. I think I have finished 6 times and going for a 7th before I leave the mission field. It will give you so much power to do your work. Some missionaries go out without reading it all the way through. I could safely assume you have read it once if not multiple times, but find a real love for that book on your mission.
#5 Don’t feel bad if things get hard. It’s meant to go that way.
#6 Follow the Spirit. Don’t be the missionary that needs to get prompted 3 times.
#7 Sometimes you’re going to have to care more about a missionary’s salvation than your friendship.
#8 Be careful of what you pack. That is your life for the next two years.
#9 Don’t be afraid to have fun (appropriate fun). The Cheerios and milk from the chest bowl may have been a little over the top. J
#10 Live in the moment. Don’t worry about Family, Friends, School. All of those things can sit and wait. Live in the moment. Make every day meaningful because one day you will be at the end like me and you will want to look back on what you accomplished with a big smile on your face.
P.S. There is heaps more advice I could give, but I guess you will just have to figure that all out. Be good Collin (Elder Ward #3). Save a seat for me at your setting apart. J