9 Mar 1998 -- JL Gets Baptized

Dear Family,

Things here in Canada are good. Happy. Actually, things were beginning to warm up for a while here, but the past two days have gotten colder. Last night when Elder A and I were street contacting, it was just cold enough to freeze the inside of my nose when I breathed in.

We were blessed. JL was finally baptized on March 7th. It was a good baptism. She asked me to baptizer her. Actually, the First Presidency has come out with a new policy -- all converts are confirmed in church the following Sunday. So it was with J. She was confirmed and then bore her testimony in sacrament meeting. I was so happy. She got up and said she knew the Book of Mormon was true, and if all her friends and family told her it wasn't, and persecuted her, she still could not deny it's truthfulness. She told how she gained her testimony: fasting and prayer, and reading the BofM. After the fast, we read Alma 5 with her, and I asked her to be baptized. She said yes. It was very sweet to see and hear her bear her testimony.

Wish you all well. Have a good one. Stand up tall, be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Let Christ shine through your countenance.

Love,

Elder Bettilyon


[This set of experiences is one if the highlights of my mission. "JL" and I still talk (not from my efforts, but b/c she has actually kept contact with me). I remember starting the fast with her very clearly. We started on Sunday and I went around the Riverbend YSA ward and rallied about 10 or 15 Stake Missionaries to come to a meeting with J right after the block schedule. "We're going to start a fast for her, please come join." The room was full of people. I taught a lesson about Alma the Younger and how fasting brought about his conversion. I said J wants to be converted but we need a little help with her Mom and her own commitment. J also fasted with us.

I didn't realize at the time, but she was scheduled to play an indoor soccer game on Monday afternoon or evening, but we had all committed to fast for 24 hours together. So, she went without water at her soccer game!! I can't believe it still.

I think her own sacrifice during that fast is what led to her solid commitment when she committed to be baptized a few days later. How great it is to still be friends with her and to know she is doing well!]

23 Feb 1998 -- Quite a Lecture

Dear Family,

Thank-you all so much for your support. Your letter, your prayers, and such. I know that Christ has blessed me much and in this time of trial and adversity, I have been very blessed. To put it in context, imagine the poem footprints, and think of that man as me. I look back, and con only see one set of footprints a Christ has carried me through the face of adversity; and is still carrying me.

The work is going okay. Both of our baptisms didn't go through. One of them is only 17, but will turn 18 on 25 Feb 1998, the other had a bunch of tests come up in her physics class and she had to take time out to see a tutor. But all should be okay.

[Actually, the one who was only 17 was quite the experience. We went to visit her mother out in Spruce Grove -- a little bedroom community about 15 miles out of Edmonton or so. I think she's Catholic. She wanted to meet us before JL was baptized. She was expecting the "Elders" and got the ...young Elders. Two pimply-faced guys who looked young enough to be dating her daughter, not teaching her. She raked us over the coals for inviting her to be baptized on only the second visit. I can't remember what else she got mad at us for, but it was pretty clear when we left that she wasn't interested in investigating the gospel with her daughter. :). She is the one who stalled the baptism b/c we couldn't get parental permission. I still remember sitting in her living room, her mad at me and Elder C (district leader) and both of us just kind of sat there, wondering what to say to make it better. How does the Proverb go, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" or something? Well, we understood pretty well that day. Now I look back on it and kind of chuckle.

As for the girl with the physics tests. I can't even remember who she is any more. I guess it didn't go okay after all. There's nothing like baptismal commitments falling through to bring you down.]

For the past week or so I've been getting letters where people say "I don't know what to write," and I want to tell you, sometimes I don't know what to write either. Tell me about school, tell me about church, tell me about which non-member friends you're trying to share the gospel with, tell me about the chapter you're studying in seminary, tell me about your job, tell me about Hogi Yogi gossip, tell me what you had for lunch yesterday, tell me about the power of prayer, your love for mom, your favorite vegetable, your favorite time to sleep, your favorite web site, your e-mail friend who lives across the world, your dad, your family, the ward, missionary moments, problems you're having finding answers to problems through the Holy Ghost, or through the scriptures, your new pari of shoes, the crash you almost got in, your new haircut, who spoke in sacrament meeting, other missionaries from other wards, your new favorite band, the school dance, the guy who cut you of while driving, your friends, the hold in your sock, ANYTHING -- Also, I've found a good solution to writing when you don't know what to write about. Put your pencil to the paper and follow Pres. Kimballs' advice "Just do it" If you're low in spirit or energy, pray, and the Comforter will comfort you and help you write.

Also, I've found what lifts my spirits a lot is to write and tell mom how much I love her. If you're still feeling upset at her, it's time to give that load to the Savior, D&C 64:10 puts it quite clearly. Give it a read.

The Savior sacrificed everything or us. We need to let Him take our pain from our sin and our sorrow.

The key to letting go of sin is the atonement.

Likewise

The key to letting go of pain brought about through adversity is the atonement.

Christ lives. I love you all.

Elder Matt Bettilyon

(over)

P.S. I included a litter to JH. The address I had was wrong -- please see that he gets it. C, M or R would get it to him if you asked/prodded them enough.

Thanks

love ya' lots

[I still remember writing this letter. I think I would get letters from home that would be like a paragraph long and not really tell me anything about what was going on at home. Everyone at home was coping with this divorce issue with each other and attending counseling sessions together and I was alone in the field, and to make matters worse, no one was talking about it. I guess frustration got the better of me. I hindsight, I probably should have called the mission president and said "I need to talk with my family to stay connected on this issue. I'm calling them when I think I need to connect with them on this." I never did. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess. Sorry I was feeling so mean, family. I think I can understand just where you were. Feeling like "I should write Matt." Sit down...."well Matt, life at home sucks. how is the mission Love you, Bye" just doesn't cut it even though it was honest. We were all trying as hard as we could.]

16 Feb 1998

Dear Family,

I hope things are good at home -- they're good out here. I've ben receiving mail from you all regularly. (I suppose that means from mon and Utah). Anyhow, I've also enjoyed Dad's Faxes -- please keep me posted on how things are preogreessing w/ counseling/divorce and such. I am a part of the family also -- I'll be okay.

The work is also going okay -- acutally, quite well. We're teaching four people. Two of which are scheduled for baptism this Saturday (21st). JL and ST. It should be very exciting to see how they go through. The other Elders in the ward are doing quite successfully, also. Tow of their investigators are getting baptized this month.

I am so thankful to be on a mission. The Lord chastends us and keeps us on track, but we are constantly striving for self-improvement. We are working on our tracting and street-contacting -- trying to do more of it. It's fun.

Anyhow. Have a good week and we will write to you again.

Love,

Elder Bettilyon

P.S. Christmas Packages are still accepted - even if they have been halfway around the continent!

[The comment about packages going halfway around the continent is still referring to the mail strike. I must've missed a few packages at Christmastime? I can't remember any more]

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