Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Laura’s letter dated July 23, 2012 and received August 13, 2012

Mom, Dad & Family,

 Sis. E’s family is from ____, Washington.  I believe they have an apple orchard.  She is very patient with me as I learn.   As I learn more of the language – and can talk more we grow closer. 

Dad will have to take a picture or two for me and mail them.  I’m sure the people would be flabbergasted to see a 10 ft. snow plow.  (Her Dad works for the State Dept. of Transportation in road maintenance).  Could you (and the others) send me some photos?  Not a lot, but some of the family or whatever.  Even if Brian wanted to send a photo from work or snow machining, people would love it.  It would be really cool to see some of the photos that Susanna took the night I left, esp. of the kiddies.  I can buy a small album here, but would love some pics.

I’m sure the missionary dinner/Paula’s birthday will be great.  Here we are fed lunch by ward members.  I think it’s a Brazil thing, because often times families eat dinner really late.  But often times when we visit people they want to feed us a snack or what not.  It’s always fun eating with the families.  Our ward has 4 sisters, so they feed all four of us when they feed missionaries.  Most of the time the table isn’t big enough for 4 missionaries and family.  So they seat us and take such good care of us.  I have had rice and beans with every meal, but I’m not tired of it yet.  Salad and spaghetti dish are common too.  The CTM gives every missionary a filtered water bottle to use and a scary talk on health and eating in the field, but no problems so far. 

 The other day I shared the message at the member’s house after the lunch.  I shared Alma 56:45-48 about the Army of Helaman and the power and gift that families have.  It is something I was thinking about at the moment and something I’ve seen a lot in the families that we teach.  I know that I have learned a lot from my family. . .  Extended family too is something I’ve thought a lot about too, wondering if Grandma and Grandpa Bullen are some of the angels that are watching over me.  That is a blessing promised in
D&C 84:88.   Living in Alaska and Grandpa died when  I was 3 and Grandma when I was 10 or 11.  But when I gave a talk in the CTM on “Enduring to the End I” thought a lot about Grandma Bullen in ways that I hadn’t before.  I know Grandma blessed lives through her callings in the Church.  She was always so happy and loving are my memories of her.

 I also want Dad to know how much I’ve appreciated his example through my life and the blessings he’s brought to the family through holding the Priesthood.  I still remember practicing with Dad before my baptism.  He’d step on my toes and dip me down, like he was dunking me. 

 But, I promise, I don’t sit around all day thinking about the family.  As much as I love you all, this is such a great work and I love the people here.  I want everyone we teach to recognize the blessings the Gospel brings.  But they have to do their part.  You won’t receive an answer if you aren’t looking and how do you look?  Prayer.  I have had my testimony strengthened on prayer.  First how important it is to pray with your companions/family and on your knees.  Second, on the blessings and answer you can receive when you are specific.  Reading the scriptures.  I think the scriptures are one of the main reasons my testimony has stayed so strong through my youth.  They are the words of God and should be read every day.  People died and blood was shed over these sacred books.

I/We pray for our investigators, but we can’t lead them the whole way, if they don’t search for an answer themselves.  One thing we learned in the CTM that I love was a quote by Jeffrey R. Holland.  It said roughly, “Everything you want for your investigators the Lord wants for you.  You want your investigators to pray more sincerely?  Well he wants you to pray more sincerely.  You want your investigators to read the Book of Mormon more sincerely?  Well the Lord wants you to read the Book of Mormon more sincerely.”  I love that and it applies to life so well.

You’ll have to give Belle and Blondie (& Riley, too) a hug for me; and a good belly scratch.  (Belle and Blondie are our family yellow lab mix dogs and Riley is Paula and Jay’s German Shepherd).  It’s weird to see dogs everywhere and not want to touch them.  Some are strays and even the ones that have a home have fleas or ticks.

My companion, Sis. E. received a package this last week:  her Mom sent Pop Rocks.  Oh my goodness, it has been so fun watching kids eat them.  It’s like watching someone see magic for the first time.  It has been hilarious!

I love you all!!
Love,  Laura – Sister Bullen

P.S.  It’s odd, but it’s weird writing my first name.

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