Monday, February 4, 2013

Letter to Friends

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Hungary!  It was great to hear from all of you and now to have the opportunity to write to you a second time.  I hope you are all doing well and continuing to enjoy serving in your respective areas.  (For those of you learning a foreign language, I hope that is continuing to go well).  Here in Magyarország I've had a lot of really memorable, fun, and strengthening experiences and am sure each of you have had many adventures of your own.  I'm glad we have this newsletter and that I'll get to hear about some of them.  It's been a long time since we've seen each other.  For some of you it's almost been 3 years!  It's crazy to think that we're all on the downhill and some will be finishing their missions soon.

At the start of last year, President Monson shared his "ABC's of Abundant Life" with the world.  Missionary work really is our life during these consecrated years, and President Monson's three themes can very literally determine how abundant our efforts and lives become.  Attitude, Belief, and Courage are all necessary and key factors of how effective we are while serving.  During my mission my attitude has been greatly effected as I have had not only the opportunities to serve in declining areas, rising areas, and on one occasion, opening a new area, but as I have seen success and blessings in each.  Missionaries and investigators alike are blessed in this work. I have seen it.

I have found that one of the things I enjoy most about my mission is the joy of bringing people not only to Christ, but to blessings.  Many great and eternal promises were made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Adam, Moses, David, and Joseph.  Nearly all of them can apply to each of us dependent upon our righteousness and obedience.  We bring those blessings to others.  We help them see the difference between "a few short years of earthly pleasure" and "a long eternity of light, truth, blessings, and knowledge which the Lord will bestow upon every man who keeps his law."  At the same time, I've also learned that all of this blesses me.  While none of us are serving a mission for ourselves, I have greatly appreciated the blessings this time has brought me.  As I have helped share the gospel and bless the lives of others, I have begun to more fully appreciate those blessings which I have received.  Though our main purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, I have been filled with gratitude at the continuous blessings and personal growth I have received.  I'm getting to know the scriptures better, learning to better love living the gospel, and getting to know my heavenly parents better.

Many of the people in this country are "groping in the darkness" and the captivity of sin.  Yet we know obedience leads to true freedom and that the light of Christ pierces all darkness.  As we bring the gospel light to others and help them walk in obedience to its commandments, they become liberated and lifted into fields of light and life.  That is the work of all missionaries.  That is the work and glory of God.  As we assist in this work we become liberators to the sons of men, bringing them to Christ who with an infinite and endless atonement truly maketh all men free.  I have a testimony that this is the work of the Lord, and that this is our sacred duty.  We were meant to be chosen as missionaries and to serve missions.  "The Lord knew whom he wanted to call."  We are among them.  We are meant to be here.  I am thankful for being able to be a part of this sacred work and to see the blessings it brings into my life and the lives of others.  I hope each of you are equally as glad, and look forward to the wonderful day when we, like the sons of Mosiah, will see each other again having all served faithfully.  Until then, let us fight the good fight and enjoy these two years.  Good luck across the world!


Elder Shipp

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