I love that thought he gives, and it might just be my favorite part of the New Testament. Peter is a man I admire so much, not so much because of where he ended up, but because of where he started out. He was impulsive, quick to anger, and he made plenty of mistakes. He denied the Christ, and he fell asleep in the Garden. But the difference between Peter and Judas is that one had his heart set on the silver and gold of the world, and the other never took his eyes off of heaven.
Peter was never perfect, but Jesus saw something in him that would change the world.
After the death of Christ, you have to feel bad for the apostles. I believe in that talk, Elder Holland talks about the loss they must have felt and the lack of purpose they must have experienced. Their Savior was gone, and they had no master.
However, after the Savior returns and gives his famous "Feed my Sheep" speech to Peter, the apostles go on to preach to the world. Peter becomes such a standard for truth and righteousness that when he walks the streets of Jerusalem, people lay on the road hoping that his shadow will cross over their body, for they know that it will heal them.
I think living and growing up in the Church (especially in Utah) made me take for granted the connection I had with it. It's pretty easy to go to church when all your friends do. Even Judas Iscariot could do that. However, as I've come here and seen so many missionaries coming from around the world, I can't help but feel admiration for them. For them, the Church probably feels a bit far away. Salt Lake City is an exotic land, and for them the nearest church is miles away.
But for Peter, it was that distance that forged him into God's tool. When Christ was with him, he struggled and sometimes he fell. He got right back up, and for that I admire him, but he was by no means perfect. But then, after Christ left them, Peter truly becomes the mouthpiece of God. He realizes that even though Christ is not in front of him leading the way to the next village or city, he is still going before his face and is on his right hand and on his left.
Sorry, if that's a bit lengthy of a comment on the talk, but I just wanted to communicate how much I love Peter.
Anyway, I'm doing great up here at the MTC, and I'm looking forward to this Wednesday. We're getting 30 new missionaries in our zone, and Elder Stowell and I get to do the orientation. It's crazy looking back to when I first got dropped off and had the orientation. It feels like it was a year ago, but really it's not been very long.
Hadley, I just wanted to say thank you for the picture you sent. It's pinned up in my room, and I love it so much. The sister missionaries in our zone saw it, and are now in love with you, and they haven't even met you yet. I do have a quick question though. What's that thing you drew in my hand? We took a vote and decided it was a football. Not sure though :) I'm glad you're having a great time at first grade. Pretty soon you'll be smarter than me. Also, I know the reason Emi has been getting out. She keeps coming to visit me here at the MTC and then she runs home really fast before you guys get home.
Ellie, I thought we agreed that you wouldn't get any older until I got home. Now I have to miss out on banana cream pie. I'm really mad right now ;) I technically do sleep in a bunk-bed, but me and Elder Stowell were lucky enough to get a 4 person room to ourselves, so we both get to sleep on a bottom bunk and then we use the top bunk as storage. Tell mom that I'm super clean, and I always make sure that I can at least see the floor through all my junk. It's an improvement, right?
My companion's name is Gideon Stowell, but he really likes it when I call him Giddianhi or Gidgiddoni. He likes BYU, so we get along well. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting good at Chinese, but then I hear a native speak, and I wonder if it's the same language.
Hayden, just so you know, I got my Eagle when I was 6 years old, so you've already lost. I was one of those "super advanced", "incredibly intelligent", and "ridiculously handsome" scouts that gets their Eagle when they're younger. So... sorry. I win. I am super excited to go to Toronto! At this point I've developed a hatred for English speaking missionaries, just because they get to go out so soon :) Tell CJ I said that.
Ashleigh, I'm very disappointed to see that Lehi is no longer undefeated. For an instant there was a glimmer of hope that we might win more than one game in a row, but alas, my hopes have been dashed. Also, great job getting your medallion! I thought you would never be able to do it, but you've beaten my incredibly low expectations ;) Have a great time with lacrosse, and scratch Emi behind the ears for me.
Mom, what can I say :) I miss you loads, and I'm loving the packages you've sent me (although you gotta stop with those donuts :) they're 400 calories each, and super tempting. So stop helping Satan make me fat!). Thanks for the conference talks, and for sending a picture of Emi. Elder Stowell and I can finally settle whose dog is cuter. Sorry my letters formatting is a bit messy today, but to relate it back to that huge thought at the top about Peter, I just wanted to say thanks for all the spiritual thoughts you (and dad) send me. It means a lot, and I love reading them.
Dad, I hope you're having a great time in South Dakota :) I loved that thought about always making sure we ourselves are converted. That has special meaning here at the MTC because we hear so much about how "we can only convert people to the things that we are converted to." A successful missionary isn't judged by how many baptisms they get or how good they are at the language. They are judged by how dedicated they are to the cause. I was thinking a lot about Abinadi these last few days (he's always been one of my favorites) and how dedicated he was to his mission. He probably didn't really feel like he made a difference. He didn't go anywhere exotic, he (as far as he knew) didn't have any converts, and in the end he gave his life for his cause. But would you say he was an unsuccessful missionary? Of course you wouldn't. Any man that can have the glory of God shine in his countenance is obviously dedicated, and anyone who says otherwise is named King Noah.
Anyway, I love you all, and I hope you all are having a great time with school and life. Love you!
PS Ashleigh, random note. One of the Elders in my district wants a picture of a koala bear holding a panda bear by the fur about to punch him in the face, and a red panda standing behind them about to hit them with a chair. It's a really long story, but basically its supposed to be a fight for who is the cutest animal, and he wants a picture. I told him I'd ask you. Make this happen. I believe in you!