May 23, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,
Wow that was a loaded letter. I'm sad that I'm missing the house demolition, I've wanted to take a sledgehammer to that wallpaper for YEARS. Well, not only that wallpaper, any sort of wallpaper. Ok, I'll fess up more, I've just wanted to have the opportunity to take a sledgehammer to anything, that's something I was deprived of as a city boy. Anyway, I laughed out loud when I saw the video of Caroline, I've already watched it a couple of times, and it doesn't get old. That's awesome about Spencer, I hope he sees that as an awesome opportunity to also work on preparing for a mission. I'm excited to see all the changes at 1592 Oakcrest Drive when I get back. It's not home, but it kindof counts :). Also, I apologize, I don't think I would be able to help too much on the house demo. I seem to be shrinking by the day. I'm going to be the smallest I've been since 9th grade when I come back. There's just something about having to wear a suit in 80 degree weather that seems to shrink me like a raisan.
Well, moving on, this week had some ups and downs, like any week. There were the days where I was on the ground at night laughing and had trouble going to sleep because Elder Hallstrom was soooo drowsy and was 1000x funnier because of it, as well as the night where we met the funniest drunk in the world who wanted us to go to the club with him. His ringtone was a metallica song, and he showed it to us and started playing the air guitar realllllllly enthusiastically. Our farewell with him consisted of him yelling at the top of his lungs from about 15 meters away "METALLICA FOREVER!" Other than those really funny moments, it just seemed to be one of those weeks where you feel like you are doing what you're supposed to, but you just don't really seem to have anything going your way, and then you just start slowing down a little bit. It's been really cool to see how on my mission, there are days where I've started slowing down, and I go into a bit of a panic, because work has come to be a big aspect of who I am now. That's in big contrast to the always too relaxed Christopher Belnap of a year ago. Wow, I'm almost at my year mark (a month and one day?!) that's insane. Anyway, I had one of those days this week, and it just leaves you with a gross taste in your mouth. Got up the next day and started working hard again, and immediately felt better. It's interesting how that works. Anyway, it's nice because I've started getting to the point that I'm relaxed in working hard. That it's what I'm here to do, and so I might as well be relaxed and be at peace while I'm doing it. It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad it's almost there, where instead of being stressed out because we're always "GO GO GO," there's still the sense of urgency, but peace while doing so. I hope that's something that I'll be able to take with me into life after the mission, because that seems like it's worth its weight in gold.
Anyway, given that I had a harder day this week, accountability and diligence have been topics of study this week. I really like talking about both of those topics at the same time, because there seems to be an important link between them. When we know to whom and why we're accountable in any given situation, there's a lot more of an incentive to be diligent. Instead of having some outside force pushing you to do something, and you dragging your feet to do it, you know why it's important to you and you sort of become a self-sustaining perpetual motion machine. The knowledge feeding in of why it's important to you pushes you to be more diligent, as long as you keep that knowledge fresh and up to date of why it's important to you, then you are getting the energy you need to get work done.
In any event, just in the process of writing that paragraph, I've been thinking more about why is it important to me. There are lots of reasons for why being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is important to me. I'll admit, some reasons are more selfish than others, and a lot of the reasons I currently have for being on a mission are different than the ones for why I became a missionary in the first place. But right now, the most important reasons are: 1) I've seen the drastic change for good in such a short amount of time as I've actually applied the principles of the Church in my life and I want to see that change in others and 2) That I know that there is a God, and that Jesus Christ are real. That they love us, and they know what's best for us, even when that might seem different from what we see all around us in the world. That I've been trusted with a special and sacred opportunity to forget about ME for 2 years and do something that will bring joy to the lives of others.
I'll just wrap it up by challenging everyone who gets this email to evaluate what you do in life, in all aspects of your life, and think about why it's important to you. There might be some things that you'll find aren't too important right now and that you'll end up tossing, some things that should be important to you and yet for some reason just aren't right now, and some things that you might find you have pretty selfish reasons for why it's important to you. I promise that as you do that sort of evaluation, that a lot of the clutter that seems to take up our time will go away for a bit, and that you'll find greater purpose behind doing the things you are doing. The best reasons for doing anything is for service to others, which includes (but is not limited to) service to God, service to family, service to future family, service to those who are less fortunate than us, and many other things.
I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week!