Monday, February 3, 2014

Of Opposition and Encouragement -- Plus Photos!

Elder McMurray, on a dirt road.  In Iowa.

3 February 2014

Hey, Mom:

...I'm glad to hear that everyone's doing well despite some opposition. ...I was wondering if I could get a new order of contact lenses (the prescription hasn't changed) because I'm pretty much out.  It's not an emergency, I can get by with just my glasses at least for awhile.  That's crazy about the weather in the Deep South; it snowed a couple of days ago here and it's been cold, so that's been nice.  Iowa's doing okay; the lack of good referrals has been frustrating and a good less active family whom we invited to attend Church yesterday never showed, but we're pressing forward; we saw a ton of less actives less week and we're going to see some more this week.  Is Noah happy about the Seahawks winning?  

I've got some pictures for you in this email and a scripture I came across a while ago that I think y'all, especially Grandma C., would love:

"While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness."

-Alma 28:12

By the way, another Elder in the Zone says hi: his name's Elder Stufflebeam.


My first district:
Back Row (L to R): Sister Cragun (my accompanist for the Christmas Zone Conference) of the Council Bluffs Area, her comp Sister Pettyjohn, Sister Mahlstede of the Bellevue Area and the Trail Center, her comp Sister Tarpenning, Sister Palmer of the Glenwood Area, and her trainee Sister Stutler (she came out with me)

Middle Row (L to R): Elder Quayle of the Glenwood Area, Elder Taylor of Bellevue, and Elder McMurray

Front Row: Elder Demke of the Bellevue Area (my first District Leader; Elder Quayle's my District Leader now; Elder Demke became a Zone Leader in Omaha; Elder Taylor became a District Leader, but he's still in the Council Bluffs Zone)

3 February 2014

Hey, Dad:

It's great to hear from you...In some ways, the mission is not what I expected but in others, it's exactly what I expected.  Overall, it's been a good and necessary experience, but I do have some advice for Naomi and Noah: if either of you have even an inkling of desire to go on a mission and have even an inkling of feeling that you're ready, do it ASAP; Noah, don't wait till you're almost at the cutoff age like I did.  New situations and surroundings can fill you with anxiety and horror, but be strong, remember why you're there, and you'll be okay.

...I'm sorry about Noah's [being sick], I hope he gets better, and it's good to hear that Naomi's been doing good despite the struggles.  I'm glad that Josh is back in Buffalo.... (that's Uncle Josh, who recently took a position with a law firm in Western New York after working for several years in Japan) That's interesting to hear about Joseph Fielding Smith (Joseph Fielding Smith served a mission to England, where he battled homesickness and had not one single convert baptism); I heard that David O. McKay struggled on his mission to Scotland.  But like you said, they struggled, learned, they grew, and they became mighty oaks in the forest of the Gospel.  We're not too down about our investigator, though (their most promising investigator moved to Omaha shortly after setting a baptismal date); we're still fellowshipping him because he occasionally attends Sunday meetings in the ward and he's still set for baptism on the 15th.  

Thanks for the words of encouragement; it hasn't always been easy, but I remember why I'm here: to serve the Lord.  Thank you for your prayers and unconditional love.  I am forever grateful and indebted to you for that, as well as my Heavenly Father.  


Elder McMurray      


The corridor to the study room on the right and the bedroom in front looking from the entryway

Elder Quayle's wildlife collage

Elder Quayle's wooden logo montage & Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin puzzle

TiWi, the Driving Monitor; the Sisters call it the Holy Ghost, the Elders call it Satan

Elder Quayle

Iowa dirt road

My couch and other things looking from the entryway of our apartment

Elder Quayle's Temple collage; photos courtesy of a Temple Calendar from last year; his favorite Temple is Oquirrh Mountain

Our map of the Glenwood Ward
Our Kitchen

Our Dining Area

More of our apartment

More of the kitchen

My study area; I love me my Sonic!

The study room looking from the entryway

Our Artwork

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing all the things Sam is sharing! I admire him and think he's one in a trillion!