So many might think that when you become a missionary life becomes rainbows and butterflies:) That nothing can cause you too loose that spring in your step and cause you to feel tired. Even myself, I looked at missionaries as superheroes and invincible men that did God's work. I guess to a measure this is very true and to another it's only what many see on the surface. Mission takes and makes you into the things God wants you to be and transforms you into the person you are meant to be.
I guess this is best described from a members talk in church a Sunday a few weeks ago. She works with clothing and making clothes. She talked about the cloth being folded, cut, stitched, ironed, and having it happen more than one time. That all of these steps were needed to make a very nice piece of clothing. She then related it to all of us. We are constantly being "folded, cut, stitched, ironed, and repeating of these steps" in our own lives so that we will one day become that beautiful article of clothing. Then she said something that, for as simple as it was, hit home for me. That we need to remember that Heavenly Father is the one turning us and making us. That it is by his hand we are crafted from raw material to a master piece.
This week was a challenge for me. I faced many nights overwhelmed by the feeling of all my responsibilities in my life. I wished I could simply crawl under a rock and hide away. It wasn't until later did I see this was Satan at his best to get me to crumble. I then took my problems to my knees. It's funny many of our trials take us down to our knees to call on that God that gave us life. I guess the sooner we get to our knees the sooner we invite the mercy to overcome the pain. For as soon as I found myself on my knees in prayer I noticed my problems and aching of my heart stop, the love of the Lord was with me. I invite all who read this letter today, if you are facing trials or not, to invite the lord's love to fill the cracks of your life to stand up again.
Not all was lost this week, if this letter sounds like the end of the world cause it isn't. The Ackermanns, the less active family we've been working close with, went to the temple grounds as a family and had an amazing experience. It was able to give sister Ackermann the power to keep going to get over smoking and have the family know this was their goal now. It was really great to visit them yesterday an see many church pictures hung up in nice frames all over the house, the greatest was a "NO SMOKING" sign outside the front door. Then also on Sunday brother Ackermann got the Aaronic priesthood! What a mile stone it was! The entire family has come back in full strength and you can feel the change in them and the home. That was my greatest blessing to be apart of!
So in conclusion, I want to go back to my families cowboy roots to give this final message. It doesn't matter how many times you get thrown from the horse, it MATTERS how many times you dust yourself off and get back on! Never give up and kick the trails in the butt! We are stronger than we let ourselves think.
I'm excited to see you this Sunday over Skype and I hope you all are too.
Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton
ALWAYS FORWARD SOUTH AFRICA!