Here are Elder Austin's last two letters:
December 5, 2007
I love you guys. O yes, Dad, the box that never came????? Well, it came. Yaaaaa. Thank you so much for that. I have already used the protein and backpack. Mom, I got a note on my door that a box has come, but I have not gone and got it yet. I am going to get it today. Mom, I haven’t been saving your letters. I am sooooooooooooooo sorry. My heart droped when I heard that all the letters you have sent me have been erased. Dang!!!! Is there any way to get them back???? Please try.
But on with the week. This week has been so slow. It has been really hard. We have not been teaching that much at all. It is really hard when that happens. But we are still being diligent and working hard to qualify ourselves for the blessings that God has in store for us.
But, we want to be able to baptize Unick and her remaining 4 kids, Simone and her daughter, and the McDonald girl, this week. We are really praying hard for this miracle. If this happens, we will make our goal for baptisms in the District and as a Zone. We need it so bad. Could everyone pray for these individuals? They all have been coming to church and things, but we need so bad for them to get baptized. They are ready. They need this in their life and all they need to do is commit to do it. They have felt the spirit and know that it is true, but it is the act of doing that is holding there progression. Please pray for them and us that we may help them.
So last the last few days we have not had too much going, but in me, there has been a definite change on some of my perspectives. I really don’t quite know what it is yet, but I know that there has been a change. I just hope and pray that the Holy Ghost continues to teach me and understand more of what my Father in Heaven wants me to understand. That is a great comfort to know that whatever God teaches me, the Holy Ghost will call it to remembrance in the very hour that I need it. That is so awesome especially with my horrible memory. I have learned more that we need to rely on the spirit when we have a weakness. The gifts that God has for us can only be obtained if he wants us to have them and they are only given through the Holy Ghost. It is so important that we remain worthy of that constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
I love the scriptures. They are so full of detail that if you don’t have the spirit, you wouldn’t catch. I have a greater respect for the New Testament. It is so full of doctrine. The epistles are great. It shows the organizations of the church, the apostasy, and everything. So full of little things that make such a big difference. You all should study them as a family and see if you can catch any of the little things that people in this world don’t. It would be a great learning experience for the whole family and a great thing for you to do Garrett that will help you to prepare for your mission. Just take them one book at a time. You really need to read them all because then you get the full picture and that is what you want. It is so amazing. How is everyone doing with there scripture study anyways? Garrett, I want to study with you when I get home and feed off of your wonderful spirit, so prepare for that would you. It would be really good for you and me when I get home. We will just start and the beginning of the New Testament and read all the way through the Book of Mormon. It would be so fun. And Kayla and Bo and mom and dad can do it with us and we will all learn so much because Dad knows so much. Doesn’t it sound so fun? Man I just get so excited. Estee and Lee can do it with us just not with us. I am so excited. We are so going to do it. Make preparations and prepare yourselves for that. Man that’s a good idea!!
This week is the end of the transfer, so there is a possibility that I might leave. I will let you know as soon as I can.
HAVE YOU ALL GOT THE NEW TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH!!!!!!!! Man it is so cool. We got it on Sunday and it is just full of stuff. I am surprised at some of the stuff that they put into it. The Lord is trusting the saints with more, and you know what that means. That is so exciting. We are truly living in such a wonderful time. I am so excited about the future and what God has in store for us. Just make sure that you are always ready!!!!! I love you all so much. This time of the year is really hard because all that is coming into my mind is thoughts of you guys and all the wonderful things we have done at Christmas and all the wonderful things we have done in life. We are such an awesome family and are so blessed to have each other.
I love you all so much. Know that and never forget it. Mom, you are so amazing with all that you take on. I don’t know how I am going to find a wife that can top you. This is going to be one of the hardest things to do because I have met a lot of girls in my life, but no one, not one could ever keep up with you. You are so amazing and I love you so much. Can you look and find someone like you that I could marry? That would be great!! I love you all again so much. Garrett, write me a letter now!!!!! You too Estee!!!
December 12, 2007
How is everything going? I hope awesome!! Thank you for your letters. I got the box. Thank you so much for that. I loved the tree and everything. The T-shirts are so funny. Thank you so much Dad for the CDs and system. I love the music. You have such a wonderful taste in music. I love the piano and the violin. I love the tie also, it is a beautiful one and I don’t have too many of those. Garrett, you finished your Eagle project – that is so awesome. Good job. Bo, it sounds like you really are doing good in scouts too. Keep it up. Let's see if you can beat me. I got my Eagle when I was 15, just before my 16th birthday. Let’s see if you can beat me. I know you can, you’re a better worker than I am. Dad, could you find out Elder Packard’s e-mail address for me. I would love to write him.
Well, on to the week. Ok, I have a lot to say and a lot that I want to share so I will try to remember all of it. So the rest of last week went just like the last few weeks. It was really slow and all of our apointments were bombing us. We had well over 10 new investigater appointments set up last week and every one of them bombed. Ten is a lot up here. So, it was just really hard. But you know that life can’t stay down forever so I just kept on working, knowing that there was a rainbow at the end of this trial. None of our investigators at the moment are really progressing, so we are dropping a lot of them and making room for new ones. I feel that if a person is ready, he will keep his commitments and have a desire to learn. Those are the people I want to be teaching. It is all a matter of finding them. I have a new determination to sift through them at a quicker pace and not hold onto those that are not prepared at that moment. They will still remain in the book so missionaries in the future may teach them when they are ready. So Friday we had a lot of new investigator appointments set, and all of them bombed but one. His name is Steve. He is a bit weird, but loved the message that we had to share with him. He was so interested and recognizes that the rest of the world has fallen away from the truth. So when we taught him about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith, he was very excited to read and pray. We challenged him to pray and ask if the Book of Mormon is the word of God and he said he world. We also challenged him to get baptized on the 23rd of this month and he said he would if he got an answer. So awesome.
So the past few weeks, I haven’t been feeling the spirit as much is I would want. This is really what had made it so hard. I was alone on the streets and in my appointments and there really wasn’t anyone that was prepared being put into our path. I felt just the smallest amount of "why hast thou forsaken me". I am not comparing myself to the Savior in any way. But I did feel very alone. I had to do a lot of soul searching and praying to find out why. I went over every mistake that I had made in the past and thought about if I had truly repented. I asked myself over and over if I was doing what the Lord would want me to do. I would cry out in my heart to God to tell me what I needed to do. The heavens remained silent and I was still faced with this awful feeling of being forsaken. BUT GOD LIVES AND I DO GLORY IN MY INFIRMITIES. I have learned a great deal about just how much the spirit does for us. I have learned so much. I really can’t tell you in words the feelings I have. But I was being taught a great deal. He has come 10,000 fold and reinforced me. I have even a greater love for the fruits of the spirit. I love the way how my Father in Heaven continues to teach me the way he wants me to go and how he molds me, some times with great force, into what he wants me to be. So on Saturday, I felt the wonderful feeling of peace. I really hadn’t felt it this way before. I am usually very excited. Not to say that I was not excited about the work, but I just felt so calm that everything was going to be ok. It was really something to experience. The next day, Sunday, I fasted. I poured out my heart again for help that morning. I told God that I knew that he had greater things in mind for me, but asked if he would help me to understand and be comforted. There were many other things that I said, but I don’t really remember. Again all through they day I felt the wonderful fruits of the spirit. I just felt so good. I was again on the top of the world. Nothing really changed, but my perspective again was changed and it was all the wonderful gift from a loving Heavenly Father. He will come to all those who diligently seek him. I know this is true. I really do rejoice in my infirmities. I know that in God’s time, he will come and save me as long as I remain true and faithful. I know that I have so much more to learn, but I know that it will all come in the time that God feels that I am ready. This is all because of our Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ.
So Monday was a really awesome day too. Again, nothing changed, but I was feeling the spirit and that is what really maters. We went and helped the Salvation Army with there annual feast for the homeless. It was a really enjoyable experience. We had some wonderful lessons with some members, Recent converts and investigators, and we picked up a new women named Glen. We then went in early, because of transfer calls. I am staying, but Elder Canyon is leaving. My new companion is going to be Elder Haylin. He was the missionary that was my first Zone Leader, the one that I sang with at all the baptisms in Midland and he has been an assistant to the president for the last few months. He is one of the most influential, to me, missionaries that I have met. He is dieing (going home in 6 weeks) and his dieing wish was to serve with me in Windsor. I am so excited and very humbled. I am still going to be District Leader and I am going to be senior companion. It is going to be a very humbling experience. He is so awesome though and I am so excited. He has got permission to bring a guitar down so we can sing. That is even more awesome. We make some wonderful music together.
But to top it all off I had one of the most amazing experiences of my mission yesterday. I am not going to be able to really explain it well; it was something you had to experience. Steve is a 32-year-old man with a wife and step kids. He is really quite bright – very smart and knows a lot. He is/was Catholic but up until a little while ago really didn’t know that God was there. It all started when he got laid off of work. He had a lot of time to himself to think. He thought a lot about life. Then one day as he was watching TV, about two weeks ago, he listened to Mitt Romney and his speech about how his religion is what he is and he is not going to change just because he is running for president. Steve felt something as he was watching that he had never felt before. He usually turns it off when politicians start to talk, but he felt this most amazing feeling as brother Romney bore his testimony. Steve said that he felt as though he was having a heart attack, but it felt way too good for that. He said that it felt like someone had placed their hand on his heart and said to him to come home, come home. He felt his heart start to race and this wonderful warm feeling enter his heart. Even after the speech, he continued to feel this wonderful feeling and it told him he had to know what the Mormons believed, because God told him it was the way home. He also expressed how now he knew that God was there, he knew that Jesus Christ was his Savior. He knew that he was on the right track to get home, but he still didn’t know where that was. All he knew was that this feeling could not be described and he could not explain were it came from but that he now knew all these wonderful things. He knew them!!!! So he started to search. He found the Church website and talked to someone for 2 hours. He then asked if the missionaries could be sent. The missionary on the phone got his information, but the computer didn’t work. He tryed again and it again didn’t work. Steve knew that there was something that didn’t what him to meet with the missionaries, but he knew that he had to and that it was the way. It finally worked and we got the referral. We met with Steve yesterday and listened to his story and taught him the first lesson. Just a few weeks earlier, he really didn’t know God was there. But now, just because of one experience, he knows that he is there. He knows that he must read the Book of Mormon and pray. He knows what the spirit feels like and he wants nothing more than to feel this feeling for the rest of his life. This is what he related to us as we sat with him yesterday. As he was explaining this, I could not help but cry. The spirit was so strong. GOD PREPARES PEOPLE AND I AM SO HUMBLED THAT GOD WOULD SEND THIS MAN TO ME. Steve descried more perfectly than I have ever heard before what the spirit feels like and what affect it has on people. I knew this even before we had the chance to meet with him. God prepares people.
I love you all so much and hope that you could feel the spirit of that experiance. I wish you could have been there to listen to this man that I have never met pour out his heart to us.
Thank you for all you do. Remember, God sends his prepared people to his prepared servants. Prepare yourself.
Love Elder Graham