Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26, 2011

Hello there Family!
Letters from:
Bishop Prince- Thanks so much for the card. I sure miss you and hoped you had a great Christmas!
Package from Crystal and Family- I cannot believe how thoughtful you are!!  Thank you so much! The candy was very much appreciated by me and other Elders!! The CD is beautiful as well and is going to be awesome!  The sweet notes and pictures – just can’t thank you enough! Thank you so much for your example and I hope that everyone is feeling well in your family. I love you! Happy New Year!
Emails from:
Ethan Lopez: Thank you so much for your email!! It was so great to hear from you!! I keep thinking we will have to do our Christmas Jigsaw puzzle in a couple years. My family says they have one up and haven’t gotten very far on it! I love you man and I hope that life is going really well for you. Have a great Christmas break!  We have good times together!! Your’e the man.
Grandpa and Grandma Crouch: Thank you so very much! I haven’t been able to read everything yet but I very much look forward to doing so! I can tell it’s going to be a good one!! Sounds like you had  a great Christmas. I sure love you both and am so grateful for you! Papa, I hope that you are able to get your temple goal in by the end of the year. I am cranking out a goal as well for me too. Finishing the Book of Mormon in Spanish by the end of the year! 20 pages a day!  Happy New Year! I love you!!
Grandma and Grandpa Clegg- It sounds like you had a great time in California. I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas. I love you both very much and I hope that you have a great New Year. Thank you for your testimonies and examples.
Uncle Richard- I am so excited to read your letter!! Thank you so very much. I hope that the family is doing well!! I bet that Dani is very excited. What a busy time for your family!! Please send my love to everyone. Thank you so much Uncle Richard for your example. Thank you so much for writing.  I love you.
And the steady and firm emails form Dad, Mom, Mikesell, Brennen, Alex, Harrison, and McCall!
Thank you so very much!!
Well, yesterdays phone call home was all I could have ever asked for!! It really felt like I haven´t been gone for long. That is the great thing about family is that you can pick up so easily where you left off. I hope that you had a great day with Papa and Grandma with Christmas dinner and that you were all able to travel back home safely. What a fun time up at Muldoon!! I was very glad that I was able to call back and pray with all of you. It was a little rushed but better than the first time the when the call dropped! It sounds like everyone is doing so well and it just made me so happy. I am still on cloud nine. It is great motivation for me to go for it and leave it all out here. I was also thinking that this is my only full year as a missionary in 2012 so I have to make it the best!!
(A little background) When Austin called he told us he had 2 – 50 minute calling cards. We did a “highlight” on him like we do in FHE each week where we each say something nice about a person each week. Then we all talked for about 40 minutes as a group. He called back after the first card was done and then we all talked to him individually. Well, time just flew!! The only request Austin had right from the get-go was that we have family prayer together. Well after everyone had talked we gathered individually we gathered around for prayer and then he said “I am getting a beep sound … I think I am going to cut out…then… I love”   AHHHH!!! NOOOO!! Well we had family prayer without him …and I was just sick to my stomach!! I tried and tried to wrap my arms around the whole thought that we just had two hours with him….yet the only request he had was to pray together and we didn't get to have it! I kept saying out loud, “You always pray first, and that is just what we should have done with the phone call as well! PRAY FIRST!” Jeff kept telling me “Be grateful for what we had” but I couldn’t find peace in it. I got busy with the details of Christmas dinner and was pretty much unsettled to say the least….even though he sounded about as good as I EVER could have imagined. I just wanted that prayer!!  About 15 minutes later the phone rang and it was Austin!!! He had found a calling card and had 9 minutes on it. Jeff asked Austin to say the prayer and it was exactly what this Mom needed... It was the sweetest, most loving prayer I have heard in quite awhile. He went through each of the family and prayed for each of us… our loved ones, and the day to day lives we lead. I will carry that feeling with me for a very long time. There just are no words. We got to say “goodbye” without getting cut off and needless to say it was a perfect day!!! I couldn’t not have asked for a better Christmas gift!!! He sounded so happy and so genuinly concerned for each and every one of us. His voice sounded like he was next door and there was no delay in speech at all!! He said that our next phone call on Mothers Day which is on my Birthday!! YAHOOO!!  -Audra
Today has been a really nice and chill day. We got here on the bus safe and our pday with the Elders here is going great. (He talked to us how he travels each week on the bus for district meetings. He is there now til Wednesday.) I have been able to read a lot and it has been really hot and pretty.
I am trying to think of anything else that happened during the week! We had a great couple of lessons with some less actives and I really am feeling a lot closer to those who come in the Branch. We fasted for a Sisters family one day this week and that was a great experience. The members here generally have a great love for the Elders because they remember the Elders who changed their lives.
Thank you all so much for all the fun things in the packages. It was so special. I loved each of your testimonies and the thoughtful words from each of you. It was very touching and I am very grateful.
Dad- It was so great to talk to you. You sounded so good. I hope that you have a great week filled with all of the things you love most about this time of the year! Thank you so much for the email. I appreciate your example more than you will ever know. Enjoy the bowl games this week!!  Have an awesome week and a happy New Year. I share your love for the time to start fresh and I loved the ideas about breaking up your goals. (Jerome goals and Redfish goals)  Happy New Year!
Mom- What an awesome day yesterday was!! I loved talking to you so much!! I agree - it did fly by but it was perfect! I hope that you have an excellent week and that you are able to rest and reap the rewards of all the things that you were able to accomplish in the past couple of weeks. Thank you so much Mom. You are so amazing! I hope that the week is a productive one for you! I keep thinking about that story with Alex and how that says about who you are. I love you. Have a great week.
Mikesell- Wow - so so awesome to talk to you. I forgot that I was going to tell you a funny story but I will tell you in a email or letter soon. I am running low on time here today. Enjoy your break!!  You will do so great in all the decisions ahead of you! I am so very excited for you. Thank you for being my best friend and your example. "I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you" have you heard that song? Love ya babe! Have a great week.
Brennen- Dude, you are a man! I couldn’t believe your voice!!  That was awesome. It sounds like you are growing both physically and spiritually and I am so proud of who you are. You are increasing in your confidence and ability to lead and starting to see the potential you have. Stay humble and close the Heavenly Father through prayer and scripture study. Keep it up man. Have you thought much about when you want to get your Patriarchal Blessing? I love you buddy.
Alex- Hey buddy, man oh man you sounded so good. I so appreciate your energy and realness. It was so great! I am glad to hear that you are doing well and dominating life. Keep doing the important little things and you will take on the world. Keep going strong in Bball and spiritually.  I love you bud.
Harrison- Hey my little man. You are so awesome. I loved talking to you yesterday! You will have to tell me about all of your basketball games. You will learn a lot with Dad as your coach! Sounds like you have wanted that for a long time. Ask him to have you do ladders, monkey jumps, and walls sits. Those are the best:) Have a great week I love you man! I hope you can go bowling over break!
McCall- Hey miss “YEP”!! I sure loved talking to you. Thank you for your highlight. You are very sweet and you sounded so big and smart on the phone. I love you so much. Keep being the great flower you are. I sure love and miss you. Give the cardbaord “me” a kiss for me ok? I love you. Have a great week. Keep thinking of games we can play in a year in a half.
Well family I love you all to death. Dad- I so appreciated your testimony. I find that much of my testimony also is rooted on the Gospel Network and the wonderful people that I am associated with.
This week I was reminded of not ¨sitting with your time¨ We have to stand up and get somewhere. There should never be a time in our lives when we don’t have a cement goal that we are working towards. That is how we grow eternally and are able to become something bigger than what we are. I want you all to know that Christ lives. The evidence is in you, and in everyday, the scriptures, a prophet, and prayer. It is undeniable the evidence of a Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Never forget that!! 
Go attack life my dear ones. :)
Elder Austin

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