Dear Vint Hill Ward,
First things first: I love you all! And miss you! And am giving all of you hugs in my mind -- handshakes for the men:) To jog your memory, I'm currently serving a full-time mission in the Santiago Dominican Republic Mission. For those who don't know, the DR is a country on the second largest island in the Caribbean. Yes, I am living in a tropical paradise and loving it! I didn't know the world had so many delicious fruits to offer! But more awesome than the fruit is being a missionary. Sometimes in the morning when I put my tag on, I pause for a moment and think, "Wow! I'm a missionary!"
One of the best things about being a missionary (and there are lots of great things!) is witnessing the gospel change people's lives. You teach them one day, ask them to read from the Book of Mormon before you return, and when they do, there is a perceptible difference. They're beginning to experience the "mighty change of heart" spoken of in the Book of Mormon and it is such a privilege to witness.
Something I've been learning as a missionary is the importance of families keeping their covenants. Most of them pertain to families that have been sealed in the temple -- and how blessed you are! Please don't forget how significant that is! And please remember your covenants and cherish them. For those of you who have not been sealed to your families in the temple, I want you to know that it IS possible and that in the meantime Heavenly Father still wants to pour out blessings if you'll let him.
Primary kids, you have such a huge influence on your friends when you act as an example of Jesus. Never be afraid to choose the right. And don't forget to remind Mom and Dad about family prayer and scripture study!
Youth, let your faith show? Try to listen to the voice of the Spirit -- that may mean you have to unplug for a moment but I promise it's worth it. As you prepare to serve missions my advice would be to stay awake in seminary, LISTEN, and read your scriptures like your teachers ask. Be a facilitator of the Spirit at home.
Brothers and Sisters of the Vint Hill Ward, support the Elders! They have been called and ordained with authority to do the work of the LORD here in your ward and they need your help to do it! Offer your time and talents to them and offer your love and fellowship to those they are teaching.
The Lord loves you and is watching out for you always. Remember your covenants with Him. Put your families first. Participate in missionary work. I promise you will receive heaps of blessings as you do these things.
The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fullness on the earth by the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and He lives!
In His holy name, Amen.
Con todo mi amor,