On Sunday I was sitting on the temple grounds by the MTC (our district's Sunday getaway), and I thought about families.
Isn't it incredible how everyone is brought into this world into this automatic social unit? I mean, the mother and father don't even know the kid, but they love them unconditionally right off the bat. God provided us families so we can learn and grow together, in an environment of reverent, sacred love. Wouldn't it be sad if our families couldn't continue after this life?
God bestowed upon Elijah the priesthood keys, or authority, to seal families together for eternity. "...[H]e shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers" (see Malachi 4:5-6). That priesthood power is present in our day. Inside our holy Temples, we have the opportunity to have this blessing.
Even more amazing is that those that never received this ordinance in this life can still have this blessing. In the Temple, we can stand in proxy for those that have passed on, and do the saving ordinances for them, so they can choose to accept this work done for them.
Everyone will have a fair chance to hear and accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
I'm excited to start my own eternal family. I strive every day to live up to the covenants and promises I have made with God so I can be worthy to be married in the Temple. Heaven would not be heaven to me if I didn't get to keep these sacred relationships. To know that my father will always be my father, my mother will always be my mother, I will always have my siblings and wife and children... It gives my life so much purpose. It makes me want to make sure that I treat my family with love and respect, that I don't do things I would regret later. When you have this eternal perspective, the meaning of life completely changes. Every action you make is influenced by this knowledge. I am so grateful for my testimony that my family truly can remain together forever.
This week was hard. We got a new investigator, but he was really tough and we were stressed, and he kind of rushed us out the door and told us he didn't want to meet with us anymore. Our teacher said to the class that this was a result of lacking motivation to become good missionaries, and said directly to me and my companion that we "did not have enough faith." This was a soul crusher. I have never been more afraid of failure in my life. The idea that we are, as our teacher said, "losing souls" is terrifying. I started having very powerful doubts that I was not up to the task, that I couldn't do this work. Or rather, that I did have the potential, but that I would never reach it. When I would have hard days like this, I would usually talk with my mom, but I couldn't since I'm here, so I just stayed up late writing a letter to them.
It's clear the Lord is looking out for me. I got a letter from my dad two days later. It was remarkable because it said exactly what I needed to hear, even though by that time they had not received my letter yet. He said: "Whenever we talk about the Martin Willy Handcart Company we usually share the couple of harrowing days at the end, when really the real story is the day-on-day drudgery of pulling a 300 lbs. handcart for many months." (Not exact quote, don't have the letter with me.) I quickly realized that one failure is not what defines my entire mission, and how successful I will be. It's how hard I work every single day and how I grow from that which determines if it was a success.
I later listened to a talk by the church Apostle, Elder Bednar, who said that "success is a gift from God. We may be working as hard as we possibly can and doing everything right, but we must remember that we do not earn gifts from God. We do not deserve anything from him. He will give us gifts according to his time-table, according to his wisdom. We just need to be worthy to receive them when the time comes that he is ready to give us those gifts."
I appreciate all the kind words from everyone the past few weeks; it's really helped me pull through. I can't believe I was so vain to worry about how much mail I was getting at the beginning of my time here. I've gotten the nickname "The Mailman" because I now get at least one letter every day. Lesson learned: when I forget about myself and love those whom I serve, that's when the Lord will bless you. I have such amazing friends and family, I love you all so much!
I hope you enjoy the new slew of pictures! Let me know if there's anything specific that you want me to document before I leave the MTC on September 18th.
And a quick shout out to John: CONGRATULATIONS on your mission call!!! Have fun in Memphis, beware of the Elvis impersonators! I'm so pumped for you!
And one joke from Elder Deal: "James walks into a bar and sees John sitting there. James says to John, 'Ni de tongban zai nali?' ('Hey, where's your companion?')"
Ah, dumb multilingual missionary church humor.
Love you all,
What a great brother—he remembered Britta’s birthday. She felt very special!
Elder Raley and Elder Fronks—dorm mates with Elder Jorgensen and Elder Christiansen.
Elder Christiansen—Elder Jorgensen’s awesome companion. We think he resembles our good friend Mark Davis (or how we imagine Mark to look when he’s grown up.)
Do you see the “Y”? Elder Jorgensen and his dad hiked to the “Y” when he was about five years old.
Language notes sampling.
Krispy Kreme treats for all!
I see gratitude in those eyes. :)
Beautiful Provo temple.
On the temple grounds where the Chinese speakers hang.
We love you Elder Jorgensen.
Sister Newman and Sister Chord (on the left). They will be serving in the Taichung mission as well.
Elder Jorgensen’s MTC district.
MTC District—including the Sisters.
Elder Christiansen. Don’t you agree? He looks like a grown up version of Mark with brown hair. :)