The Beginning of the End

Transfer calls came in last night and the verdict stands. My district has almost been completely dispersed, I remain almost a sole survivor of transfers. Only I and Sister Perkins remain, the Elders in the branch were transferred and two new elders will take their place tomorrow. Elder Andrade is being transferred to Palmaires in the Casa Grande Stake. Later today the t-shirts we made as a district will arrive and we will take photos. I’ll send them along next time.

This was a rather hurried week for me. Thursday we had our mission conference, our last meeting with President Dalton. I took a photo with him, and I dug up my old photo when I arrived here.  The comparison follows:

Okay, now you are probably be thinking about the subject line. Well, this was the name of the video that the mission made for President and Sister Dalton and presented at the conference. It was a slideshow of photos from his birth to his mission to his family to now set to music. At the end of the presentation, President Dalton stood up at the back of the chapel and announced that he felt as if he had watched his own funeral. It was a sad occasion, bidding farewell to President Dalton, even though he will remain in the mission until the end of the month.

I reflected on how it is a sunset time in my life. A chapter is ending. Now, of course, all endings are the start of a beginning as I look forward to working under the direction of President Cordner in a few weeks. I reflect on all that I have learned with President Dalton and how crucial it was that he was my Mission President for this time of my life. It wasn’t even in big things really that made all the difference. It was the small things that just made everything seem to click. It was that small “I love you buddy” that always ended our interviews that I needed to keep me going even when times were rough. Those small details that made him like a father to me in this time, those small details that made me feel like I was his favorite elder, even though I logically know that such a thought is probably less than truthful.

As I write this I remember a feeling I once had in the temple, I cannot seem to remember if I had shared this with you already. I sat in the chapel waiting for the start of the session and I just sat, listening to the hymns being softly played on the organ and I pondered looking at a portrait of the Saviour. I reflected on how He is My Older Brother, that at some time in the Premortal Life I sat and talked with Him. How my loyalty to him in the War in Heaven wasn’t a passive loyalty or a loyalty motivated by fear of the alternative, but it was a loyalty driven by love for My Older Brother who managed to make me feel like I was His Favourite Brother, despite the countless other brothers He has, He made me feel like His favourite.

And as My Older Brother, He must have taught me some things that I needed to know before coming here. We all came here to Earth pure and straight from Our Heavenly Home. We remembered all that we had been taught. With the course of events in Our Mortal Life we forget some things we had been taught, so then we must re-learn them. In such a thought I remember a quote of Jean Jacques Rousseau: “Man is born free, everywhere else he is in chains”. Maybe to an extent that is true. When we are born we are pure, but as we draw closer to the world and hence farther from things more heavenly we add chains to ourselves; we forget who we are and what we have learned. That is why a temple is a place of learning because it returns us back to where we were before we were born, making us freer, reminding us of what we may have forgotten.

I am very grateful that My Older Brother had taught me and each day is reminding me what I had learned before. The mission is where we can learn how to be close to Him and practice what we learn. I am grateful He gave me a way to be free and that He loves me and keeps pushing me along despite difficulties and trials.

I hope you all had a good week. Congratulations Tim on your graduation! Good luck getting a job and starting your studies. In a few months, I’ll be back to help you out. Audrey, good luck in all the summer camps get some great stories and share them with me afterward. Mom, Dad, congratulations two down, one to go! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

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