Thursday, June 18, 2009

Called to Serve

I have been called to serve in the Managua, Nicaragua mission for 18 months. I report to the Provo MTC on September 16. It is really difficult to put all my feelings into words. There isn't a word to describe the amount of excitement I feel. There isn't a way to describe how right this is. There isn't a way to express all of my hopes and desires for my life in the next two years. But I will say that I know the Lord opened up a way for me to serve a mission and that the perfect time to go was now. I can't wait to get to Nicaragua! I can't find enough information or pictures about the country and the Managua mission to satisfy me and I just want to be there, but I know I have a lot to do before September 16th. I can't wait to learn and grow in ways I never thought of before and to wear myself out finding ways to bless the lives of the Nicaraguan people. I can't comprehend all the ways in which this experience will challenge me and push me to my limits. I know it will be hard. However I also know in whom I put my faith, the One who leads this work. These words express my feelings better than I can, they sink in deep and resonate with me:

"You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. His work is to bless His Father's spirit children with the opportunity to choose eternal life. So, your calling is to bless lives. .

"Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were. . .You see, there are no small callings to represent the Lord."

Okay. Here are some photos of Nicaragua!

This is the flag of Nicaragua

The Managua mission covers all of Nicaragua

This is my mission president and his wife, President and Sister Fraatz

Some darling girls after a daily downpour (rainy season) in the city of San Carlos

Beautiful Nicaraguan children

Colonial buildings in the city of Granada

The road from Juigalpa to Managua

A beautiful beach on the west coast of Nicaragua (which I will most likely never see)

Taking a nap - how cute is that?

The Old Cathedral in Managua

My future in Nicaragua?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It's here.

The anticipation is killing me.

See you at six!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Everytime I visit Zion National Park I feel more alive than I have in months. It's so easy to see the big picture down there, to remember that God lives and loves me and that of all his creations (and they are vast and beautiful) man is his greatest accomplishment. His work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life and somehow I can feel that so much more deeply when I'm standing on the edge of a majestic cliff looking down at the beautiful Zion valley.

I went to Zion with a group of friends, some I knew well and others I had just met. We drove and hiked and cooked and camped together, laughing and playing and sharing bits of ourselves with each other. Two of the boys had recieved their mission calls and awaiting their MTC dates, One was getting close to turning his papers in, two had served full time missions and of course I am still awaiting my call. Talk often turned to missions and we were constantly on the lookout for missionary moments. I was so impressed with these young guys as they went out of their way to talk and be friendly to everyone around, on the shuttle and on the hikes. We even made a friend at our secluded camp site, a guy who worked in the park and was just sleeping out in his truck that night. He joined our campfire, ate smores with us and played some mafia. As is tradition, we sang High on a Mountain Top on top of Angel's Landing along with a few other hymns. We even had a few girls join in.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip that reminded me of the things I hold most dear, of my purpose in this life and of the many things the Lord blesses me with everyday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I slide down deeper into the water until my head slips just under the surface. The washing machine downstairs sounds oddly more clear while the music coming from the speakers resting on the back of the toilet sounds muffled and distant. But everything is so quiet. I open my eyes slowly, feeling the weight of the water on my eyeballs. I can feel my chest start to constrict but looking upward through the water is like seeing a different world. Shapes and colors lose their distinctness and everything seems to move, soft and immaterially blending together. My eyes start to burn along with my lungs. Suddenly I let the air gush out and push my body out of the water, sending a splendid splash over the edges of the tub. My momentary escape is over.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's coming!

My mission call! It's on it's way!! Sources say that it will be soon!!! (Note my excitement in the over-usage of punctuation...) So now is the time to submit your guesses. You may guess one state-side mission and one foreign mission. Prizes will be awarded for correct (or close) guesses at the call-opening BBQ (date pending, but hopefully this Wednesday - June 17) to which you are all invited. If you read my blog but haven't ventured to leave a comment, now is the time. Here is a list of all the current missions for your guessing convenience.

Try, try again

Failure. It's the word I can't get out of my head. It seems to keep crawling back up my arm and onto my shoulder, whispering in my ear that I'm not good enough. Plenty of people have told me I'm too hard on myself, that I hold myself to too high a standard and some have even said that I hold everyone to too high a standard. I don't know, maybe it's true. But I just can't settle.

Everyone has a certain part of themselves that they loath. The part that makes mistakes, looses its cool, sleeps in, wastes time, is inconsiderate and forgetful, treats others poorly. There are a multiplicity of sins I could add to this list of things I see and hate in myself. We all have imperfections and we all deal with that fact differently. Some like to ignore it, pretending that their faults don't exist. Maybe for them accepting the fact that they are imperfect means accepting defeat. Some like to emphasize their weaknesses and tell everyone about each mistake. Some get angry and defensive when faced with their faults and some curl up into the fetal position and give up, thinking that the challenge of overcoming them is too much.

I exhibit each method of dealing with my flaws to some extent. But for the most part, when one of my less-than-desirable traits is brought to my attention either by someone else or an illuminating circumstance, I tend to dwell on it get really down on myself. I start bringing up other things that I’m not good at and things start to spiral downward. However, I usually don’t let this go on for too long and soon I am much more motivated to be better – to handle the situation better next time, to be less effected by my emotions, to hold my tongue instead of brazenly speaking my mind.

Pearl S. Buck, author of The Good Earth, said, “Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.” I think that is true. We have the choice, many times even in the very act of making a mistake, to choose a better way, to right the wrong. I hope that through my many failures I learn to recognize that split second when I am capable of altering my gut reaction and that experience by experience my character will be refined. Of course any progress I make in this life is wholly due the One who makes hope into reality. I read this when my human imperfections press on me most heavily and all at once I know where to turn for strength.