This letter was written to the Venturing Crew Ethan was a part of before his mission. His adviser asked him and a few of the other crew members, which are also on a missions to write a letter to the crew for the Kodiak course they went on.
Dear Crew Members,
I hope you are all having a blast on your Kodiak Course. If you haven't yet, make fun of B. Lowe about his Halo and then tell him he's a champion because he can probably do more with a broken neck than any of us could. I look forward to joining you next year. You are not wasting your time. I have thought a lot about what I would like to say to you but as it comes down to writing I am relying on the spirit and hope that what I write may be of benefit to each of you as you prepare to serve the Lord in the Mission Field in the coming months and ultimately for the rest of your lives as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Miracles have not ceased here in the mission nor there at home. Miracles happen every day. One of the things that our new Mission President has said that has impressed me is that if we look for miracles they will happen. Reflection is a powerful practice with which each of you is familiar. On my mission I have not always followed the pattern of "Thorns, Roses and Buds" but the practice of reflection happens daily. At the end of each lesson, and at the end of each day, week, and month we reflect. What went well? What could have gone better? And then we see miracles. When we reflect we are made aware of the Lords hand in everything we do.
Maybe in your activities this week or surely during an activity in the past you have been forced to step outside of your comfort zone. And at other times you have had to help others step outside of theirs. This is one of the most valuable principles that come to my mind as I reflect upon my experiences in Venturing. By explanation of the saying, stepping outside of our comfort zone entails being "un-comfortable." This is okay. I have in the past said that venturing helped me "get comfortable outside my comfort zone," but as I have thought further I have come to the conclusion that "I learned what to do and how to cope until my comfort zone expanded." Don't worry about being "comfortable." Just learn what to do and how to cope while you are "uncomfortable." As you serve in the Mission Field and in various church callings, the Lord will stretch you and he will put you in situations that will force you to step outside your comfort zone all for the purpose of helping you become like Jesus Christ and return back to his presence. For most of my mission, I have been uncomfortable, I have at times wanted to serve some where where they speak my language, and know my culture. In these times I just put my self at the top of a cliff knowing that if I just follow the rope, I'll reach the bottom. In turn I have been able to help investigators take the first step towards salvation and watch them learn that if they will just follow the rope, they will make it to the bottom. If we will follow the Gospel, we will make it back to the Presence of Heavenly Father. Now, I don't think that Jesus was comfortable in the Garden of Gethsemane or on the way to Golgotha but he knew what to do, and what was required to finish the job. As we strive to follow his example, we become instruments in his hands in meeting the needs of our Father in Heaven's Children.
I don't remember everything I ever did or learned in Venturing but I do remember that it played a role in preparing me for the mission. Or in other words preparing me to be prepared for life. Or even further, preparing me for preparing others for Salvation. I don't remember everything ever said around a campfire but I do remember the spirit I felt and how it strengthened my testimony. Every skill I acquired in venturing has become a weakness before it became strength. I have seen the evidence of Ether 12:27. I know that if we will press forward and be humble, the Lord truly does make weak things become strong. He is doing so with me, and he will do the same with you.
Keep cheering each other on. When life seems hard stop thinking about yourself and turn out towards others. Remember that the most effective team is the Family. Build your Vision on the values of the Gospel. There is more to Communication than language, trust me. The most important language to learn is the Language of the Spirit. You make Decisions every day. Remember: Think, Listen to the Spirit, and then think again. You may never like planning but... keep practicing, I promise you will get better at it.
In closing, Begin with the End in mind. Set goals and make plans to become what your Heavenly Father wants you to be. Before everything you do, think of what you want to become because of that thing. Each day, week, and month I set goals and make plans for what I want to accomplish and how I am going to become what my heavenly Father would have me become by the end of my mission. From the wisdom of B. Lowe "Perfection isn't so much an accomplishment as it is a process." My friends, find joy in the journey. (Ha, He thought I never listened to anything he said..) I love you all and leave you my testimony that this Church is true. It was restored through a true Prophet, Joseph Smith and that the Gospel changes lives. It will Change yours. Nagbilin ko niining tanan sa ngalan ni JesuCristo. Amen. (I leave this all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.)
Love your brother,
Elder Ethan Lowe