May 21, 2012

Dear Family-

We’ve been able to do a lot of service in this area. I really like it.
We’re in a large zone (24 missionaries), and whenever any of the areas
have service, they usually invite us since we have a truck, so we get
to help out a lot. It’s strange because as much as I love teaching and
visiting people, I still really enjoy the break that doing service
provides.

One of the things we did this week was help set up for a fair. One of
the elementary schools in the area was having a fair, so we helped set
up tents, tables, chairs, etc.

We also were able to go up to Lancaster for a baptism of somebody
Elder Lasky taught. She asked him to baptize her, so we were able to
go. I saw about six people that I knew from previous areas, which was
fun.

This week, I had one of those experiences where you understand a
doctrine much more clearly and deeply. I was reading about the Holy
Ghost and His power in conversion. This is one of those things that is
pretty basic at a glance, but I started really thinking about what it
means to convert, and I started thinking about Cross Country. When I
started running as a Freshman, I was pretty typical in some ways. I
loved junk food. I loved just sitting on a couch and being lazy. I
enjoyed running to an extent, but it was also very uncomfortable and
difficult. I wanted to become a runner though, so I kept running and
eating a little bit better. I made these changes because I looked
forward to an end result: being in shape.

The more I ran throughout the season and over the years though, the
more my desires changed. I quickly enjoyed running more and more.
Soon, I actually looked forward to the run, not simply because of the
end result, but because of the run itself. Junk food didn’t sound good
anymore. Greasy food smelled terrible. I transitioned from watching
what I ate because I felt I should, to eating healthy because that’s
what I truly wanted. In a nutshell, I started doing good things out of
a mixture of duty and looking forward to blessings. I ended up doing
good things because I wanted to and the alternative was no longer
appealing.

The parallels between my physical “conversion” and a true spiritual
conversion made the doctrine of the Holy Ghost make much more sense.
We might start keeping God’s commandments for a variety of reasons. We
want blessings. We feel obligated, or duty-bound. We fear the
consequences of disobedience. The more we live the Gospel though, the
more the Holy Ghost changes us. We don’t just change in the sense that
we start doing different things. We change who we truly are. Our
desires are sincerely changed through the Holy Ghost.

Now I never became completely “physically converted”. I still wanted
unhealthy food once in a while and I still complained about running
sometimes. But I certainly became better. The same is true on a
spiritual level. We may never completely overcome all desire for sin
in this life, but we certainly become better.

I’m glad that we continually have opportunities to change and learn.
Keep studying and make sure that pondering is a major part of your
study. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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