Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16, 2017*

Well, all the details have finally come together, and I can finally fill you in on everything that President Childs was hinting at me last week.  So, really looooooooong story short, last week President Childs gave me a call to start discussing his coming trip to Kaliningrad.  He was planning on rearranging the branch presidency and told me to keep it quiet, but that he was planning on pulling me out of Kaliningrad.  When I translated for an interview on Tuesday with the now previous branch president, he confirmed that I was being pulled out of Kaliningrad, but I still didn't know where to!  

Well, I found out a couple of days ago, finally.  The biggest shock to date on my mission, President asked me to be one of his assistants.  I was literally silent for a couple of seconds and then said "what."  He and Sister Childs thought it was really funny and said it was there favorite reaction thus far on their mission, I was just so shocked by it.  So that means traveling, working on transfers, translating, and LOTS of trainings.  I'm really excited and really humbled by the new opportunity to serve the mission and work with President Childs.  Right after we got transfer calls President Childs and Sister Childs came to Kaliningrad for the branch presidency change. Which means that this last weekend I got to translate for about 7 hours on Saturday and for a little bit on Sunday (send help please, I could barely keep my eyes open Saturday while translating the last meeting), but it was incredible.  Just getting to be around President Childs has been such an honor, and I'm humbled by the opportunity to learn from him more as we work to plan trainings and make the correct transfers. 

I will miss this little ward so much!  I've grown a lot, I've seen them grow, I've cried with them and for them, and I just want them to learn how to forgive.  There like a family that's been in a minivan for 11 hours and no one has a row to themselves, they've known each other for 20+ years and there have been several problems that have cropped up over the years.  I've learned many many wonderful things from the people here, one of which is the power of fasting and prayer, I've never met stronger people in that respect.  But, I've also seen how holding grudges and witholding forgiveness does more damage to those witholding the forgiveness than it does to those whom we think we are justified in spiting.  One of my favorite talks about this was the last talk that President James E. Faust gave in his life time here on Earth.  Here it is:

Forgiveness heals us and frees us of the burden of being angry and bitter towards other people. When we're able to rest assured that God will compensate us 1000 times over for any wrong done to us in this life, as long as we try our absolute best to do what he asks of us.  And he asks us to forgive ALL men.  I have a good friend serving a mission and I get his emails, and this last week he talked about the difference in the two statements "keep the commandments" and "follow His example."  As we try to follow the example of Christ, and not just do things that we're supposed to do for the checkmark, we can find true peace and joy in this life, knowing that everything will be taken care of in a time that is pleasing to God.  Forgiveness allows healing to take place, it takes some swallowing of pride, and it might be a little painful too, but it allows true healing to take place.  Grudges just dig deeper and deeper until we are more unhappy than those who did us wrong in the first place.  

I love the opportunity to serve on a mission and I'm so grateful for all your support.  I apologize to all the friends and family members who get these disjointed thoughts of mine that make perfect sense to me, but probably look way different without all the thoughts in my mind as a template for reading them.  I love you all and I'm excited for what these last 6 months have in store.  I'll talk to you soon!


Elder Belnap

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