Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preparation Day

Hey Mom and Dad,
As you can see, I have my own e-mail account now!! So you
can give this to anyone who wants it, and they can send
me e-mails directly to this account.However, I have to
send their replies to you first and then you can forward
them to the appropriate person. I learned this from Aaron,
who has an e-mail account as well.I'm sure you got my
most recent letter,but I figured I would e-mail you today,
considering it's P-DAY!!!!I can't believe I've already been
here for a week.I come back to the dorm at the end of
every day completely exhausted!I love it!!!! My teachers are
so awesome!Their names are Brother Weaver, who served
in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission,and our other
teacher is Brother R.That's what we call him because his
last name is REALLY hard to pronounce. It's Laotian,
which is what he teaches here in addition to our class.
He went to the California San Jose Mission.Oh, and we
just got a THIRD teacher,Brother Bradshaw,who's been back
only 7 months. He went to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission,
and he knew an elder there who went to AF High and
is friends with me!
Ah yes, I just remembered something cool!
My companion, Elder Ewald's dad served in the Arizona
Tempe Mission from '81 to '83,so Dad just missed him!
Well,the days just seem to be flying by, but I want
this one to last because we're going to the temple,
and I'm VERY excited!New missionaries are coming in
today, and it just makes it hard to believe that I
was one of them a week ago! I've learned a ton and
there is more to come, hopefully.
Our devotional speaker last night was Elder
Steven E.Snow and he gave a great talk on recognizing
the Spirit.That was especially nice for me,because
I had told Brother our interview that I wanted
to get better at recognizing the promptings of the
Spirit more often, so Elder Snow's talk was an answer
to prayer for me. Well, say hi to everyone for me and
tell Branson thanks for those Snickerdoodles from
Quiznos. I wonder how he got those.....
So long for now,I've gotta finish my laundry!
Don't worry Mom, I have JUST whites running
in the wash, in case you were curious.


Elder Isaac Livingston

"God will always help those who help themselves...."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This just in...

A little video from the big day...

(listen for his mother's anxious sigh about :35 seconds in...)

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Best Letter Yet...

What constitutes the best letter from your missionary? Here are a few clues: 1. You haven't had any contact for a minimum of 24 hours, but more likely days and days. 2. Hearing that he or she is still alive and well (as is verified by having received a letter in the first place) 3. Getting all of the details of his new life, such as mission companions, daily schedules and the like
4. Hearing that he is happy doing the Lord's work and knows he is where he is supposed to be 5. Having him express how much he loves and misses you. This last one had a surprising affect. I thought I would love to hear that he misses us, but it turns out now that he has said it, I hope not to hear it too often in the future
. What constitutes the perfect reply? 1. Any letter, from any loved one will do just fine, but preferably a letter filled with encouragement. 2. A letter from his younger brother which begins, "Dear Isaac at the Umpty Sea." That aught to bring a smile or two. See how easy it is to send the perfect letter? If you have a moment give it a try.......

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And it begins...

Looks kind of happy, huh? Just moments after putting on his missionary name tag, we introduce Elder Isaac Livingston, a very happy and excited servant of the Lord. It was a wonderful day for our whole family.

When we first arrived at the MTC, we dropped him off so he could take his luggage to a staging area for new missionaries. When we next saw him near the front entrance, his first words were "this place is AWESOME! and I haven't even been inside yet!" We were then greeted by volunteers who got his information and said we had a few minutes to take pictures.

We then went to a chapel and waited for the MTC president and his wife, President and Sister Boone, to arrive. They shared some brief comments, told us that they would take care of each missionary the very best way they knew how, and then departed. We then watched a segment of the Church video "Called to Serve" (time to update it, I think. There are missionaries in that video that I taught in the MTC!) and were then told after the closing prayer it would be time to say goodbye.

As the prayer concluded, Isaac first hugged his little sister, Ellie. Tears began to flow. He hugged me and told me "I love you, dad." I struggled to respond likewise. He then hugged McKenzie, who also began to cry. Caleb was next. He has a very tender heart and it showed on his face. Finally, mom and son embraced, both crying openly. As Isaac let go and began to walk towards that door, he then gripped Ginger's hand with his and wouldn't let go. Neither of them could look at one another.

Then, as if in slow motion, he walked resolutely towards the exit, gave us an Isaac fist-pump, and was gone.

As odd as it sounds, the words of a Tom Petty song then popped into my head:

"Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I started out for God knows where
But I guess Ill know when I get there

I'm learning to fly around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

I'm learning to fly..."

So tough to let the bird leave the nest. But oh, what beautiful wings...