Monday, September 21, 2009

The One Where He Stayed Back to Feed Lamoni’s Horses

I am going to do something today that I generally avoid. I’m posting the letter we received from our missionary son today. I only share his letters with family, for a variety of reasons. Let’s face it… we Mormons are pretty strange. We have our own church vocabulary. I mean, what is an investigator? A person you hire to solve a case, right? Nooooo. In Mormon lingo, it is someone who is learning about our church. We send our sons away for two years when they are 19 years old, where we don’t see them at all, and only talk to them twice a year by phone. Hmm. The more I think about it, the less crazy that sounds:). But Casey (Elder McDaniel) only has about two and a half months left of his mission. He has become fluent in Spanish and is becoming quite proficient at ASL (American Sign Language). He was unique and fun when he left, and over the last two years, he has become just downright amazing. By the way, in the photo, he is the tall, skinny one wearing all white. I learned a lot from his letter today, and I thought you might find it inspiring as well. So here goes...

Dear Mom,

Yesterday we had a special visitor. The whole mission was invited to go to a meeting in Arlington. We had a pretty good idea of who would be there, and we were right: President Uchtdorf! All the missionaries in the Dallas and Ft. Worth missions went to see, and shake hands with a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of God. Well... all except for one missionary. When we found out about the meeting we were very surprised, because it was the same time as our church services. We would have to leave before church, and get home after. I had very mixed feelings. We have two baptismal candidates scheduled for this weekend. We needed them to go to church, and we also we had an awesome new deaf investigator coming. The mission president said I would be crazy not to go. Also the other missionaries were talking about it all week. I asked them what I should do, which they all answered with ease... of course I should go see President Uchtdorf. But it didn't feel right. So I was praying, and it was clear as day, and obvious. I have less then three months left. I spend too much of my mission trying to experience and learn. I knew it was time to give selfless service. I think the other elders got the idea I didn't want to go, or that I was trying to vindicate myself somehow. But that wasn’t the case… I wanted to go so bad! Anyway, I set up plans to have my companion go, and I would stay back and “watch the sheep.” He took a tape recorder so as to not leave me out. And for the next couple hours I was the only missionary in the entire Texas Dallas Mission. I didn’t know what would happen in church, but it was way worth it. Each of the members that heard that I stayed back said I was crazy. But I could see the bishop could tell I stayed back to support him and his ward. Our deaf investigator came, and she got lost. But I felt prompted to walk the halls during the meeting, and there she was. Also as I was walking by the stake president’s office, one of his councilors called me in, and thanked me for all the translations I’ve done. And I was able to take care of our Baptismal candidates. When I told one of them I stayed back to make sure all the investigators were taken care of, she started to cry. But I didn't feel bad at all for missing it, even when the other elders returned, talking it up. Later I was reading in Alma 18. When Lamoni asks where Ammon was, the servants reply, “You commanded us to feed, and prepare your horses.” (Apparently watching Ammon chop off arms, made them forget that detail!) And Lamoni was overwhelmed to hear that Ammon was caring for his animals. You may remember the talk Elder Oakes gave... “Good, Better, and Best.” It would be good to listen to an Apostle of God and shake his hand; It would be better to selflessly serve my brothers and sisters; but it was best that I could be where I needed to be to have special oppurtunities to serve, and listen to the Apostle's talk afterward, and apply those words to my life. According to the mission president and other missionaries I am crazy. But that is okay, because I am so happy to be a missionary, and to serve my brothers and sisters, and bring them unto their ultimate Savior.

This is getting long, but it was a crazy week. We took Sis. Leyva to visit the temple (the photo is of her baptism). We had helped her set a goal and she acheived it: She finished the Book of Mormon before we went to the temple Thursday. She hasn’t even been a member of the church a whole month, but now knows more than the majority of members in the world.

I also went on an exchange with My son, Elder Kelly {meaning that Elder McDaniel trained him as a greenie missionary many months ago}. He is the New AP (assistant to the mission president). I was nervous, but I was glad to see there were still plenty of things I could teach him, and new things he could teach me. Did I mention my bike was stolen? It was sad… my 200 dollar bike almost lasted all two years. I got a full 9 months in bike areas with it. Anyway don’t worry… having your greenie be the AP has certain benefits. Anyway I hope y’all have a great week. Love Elder McD.

8 comments:

Cherie said...

Victoria that made me cry.
I know how hard it is to send a boy off on a mission but how amazing the transformation is when they become a man and not just any man but one who is dedicated to serving the Lord by serving his fellow man.
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful letter and Congratulations on raising such a wonderful son who is serving so honorably!

Natalie said...

I think that is really admirable that he stayed behind and listened to the spirit. Sometimes, everyone, even other members of the church might scoff or make fun of them, but what ultimately matters is that we listen when we are prompted and obey that still small voice. I am glad he stayed. That was an awesome letter and one you can be very proud of. :) You guys have taught him well and it shows. Love it.

Tyler said...

I loved it. And also, I met Elder Kelley.

Catherine said...

What an awesome kid. You can tell he's got his priorities straight, and he's committed to the work! Thanks for sharing his letter.

Cindy said...

You need to print that one and tuck it inside your temple bag, scriptures, or any other special place. Beautiful.

Fawn said...

An Elder with a heart, a head on his shoulders, and the power that comes from acting with the Spirit. Unbeatable!

Somewhere in Colorado said...

Oh my gosh... I LOVE LOVE LOVE Casey... he has always been a hero of mine.

The Amoah-Boadi Family said...

gave me chills! so wonderful! Definitely a Testimony builder to listen to that still small voice! Good job Casey! and thanks for sharing!