Monday, November 30, 2015

Someday, I'm Going To Miss This

I've had a new mantra this last week: Someday, I'm going to miss this.  

I've realized that although I'm really grateful for all of the ways I can see myself changing and all of the ways that my service is going to bless my future life, sometimes I spend a bit too much time dwelling on the future and not enough living in the present.  So any time I catch myself spending too much time thinking about the future, I just remind myself that someday I'm going to look back on what's happening right now, and miss it a lot!  It's helped me to focus on what's really important, and I think it'll be a good thing to keep going for the rest of my life! So many people spend time wishing that they could just get past this point in life and then they'd be happy, and then get to the end of their life and realize just how much they missed out on waiting for the next big thing instead of enjoying the simple pleasures of everyday life.

We've discovered this last week that we're developing a slight cockroach problem.  People say that they're hard to kill, but we've found that a combination of a rubber mallet and bleach in a spray bottle will dispel even the most troubling of pests!

Thanksgiving this year was tons of fun!  Admittedly the morning started off with a lot of homesickness, because it was a little slow, but as we were able to meet with some people, the day became much better! There were a few good parts to it.  In the morning we stopped by a recent converts house who's been going through some rough times, and we shared a thanksgiving message about being thankful in adversity as well as in the good times.  He told us that, "You guys just put the first smile of the day on my face." Then we visited a few different members and shared that same message.  As far as thanksgiving dinner, there was plenty!  We had 2 separate thanksgiving dinners within an hour of each other! One at a members house, and one at an investigators house who wanted us to come by and meet the family, and insisted we not leave until we had more food! Needless to say biking home after that was a little rough!  I had a few different thoughts during thanksgiving.  One was that I think that thanksgiving might actually be a more homesick day than Christmas for me.  All of my siblings are married now, so the Christmas that I grew up with hasn't been the same the last few years anyways.  Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa Hyde's is still pretty much the same though, so that was a little hard to miss!  The other thought that I had was how blessed I've been this last week to be in the company of people who recognize how hard it is to be away from family at this time of year, and are more than willing to welcome us into their family with open arms. It means so much to a missionary!

My last thing I'd like to share this week is a short poem that was shared by Boyd K Packer many years ago in general conference that I read this last week and really liked called, "The Touch of the Master's Hand"

’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three—” But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine,
A game—and he travels on.
He’s “going” once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

Thanks for all of your love and support, and happy holidays!
Elder Excell

Q&A – 11/30/2015
1.) What is up with the duct tape?? Haha! We spent enough on your bike that we were hoping it might last longer than this and definitely not need to be held together with duct tape already! ;)  -- Ha, the duct tape is commonly referred to as ghetto tape here in the mission!  You wrap your bike in Saran wrap, then duct tape it to cover up the brands and make it less likely to get stolen, then when you're done, you can just pull it right off again!

2.) What did you learn about yourself this week?
3.) Are you still healthy and happy? Honestly?  --  I’ll answer these together… I still have my moments of homesickness, and I imagine that I will for the rest of my mission, but the large majority of the time, I'm very happy, :).  I can see the ways that my mission is changing me and will bless me for the rest of my life, but sometimes I get a little caught up in thinking about the blessings of the future instead of the present, which is something I've been working on. I'm learning to live in the moment! I'll talk more about that in my letter!

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