Although Steven is seemingly struggling, this is the letter every parent/child/family loves to receive. His heartfelt expressions are priceless treasures for us. I included a few of his sentiments for you to enjoy. Keep Steven in your prayers, along with every other missionary striving to do the work of the Lord. How grateful I am for his faith, for my faith and hope in the Lord’s Plan of Happiness. If you’re wondering what that is, just ask me, or any missionary–we’d be happy to share 🙂 Smiles, Marsi
The time goes by so slow yet too fast here, it seems. We operate on so many different standards of time with so many different expectations to measure up to that the easiest way to get everything done is to lose yourself in the work. It’s really an easy thing to do when the work is going well, but when you have a week like the one we just had, the days grow a little longer, a little more tiring, and ever more strenuous. I do all I can to evoke any negative or self destructive thinking that enters my thoughts, knowing that they do not come from my Father in Heaven. Days like these will come. Hay que tener fe y seguir adelante, no más.
We are supposed to keep our letters home happy and uplifting. Nothing we say should disappoint the family or anyone, so don’t feel bad for me. The Lord is my shepherd and he is guiding me along the paths I need to walk to grow and develop the way he needs me to. In regards to the rash, I’ll have you know that it is nothing to worry about. I talked with the doctor in Buenos Aires and sent him the photos – turns out I had a lovely mix of uncomfortable things. I can now proudly say I have been the gracious host to two parasites already in the mission! The first was a lovely little parásito called Scabies. I guess it’s an STD of sorts hahaha so no idea how that attacked me, my only guess is the mattress was terrible. It truly is, though, as the second parasite was a lovely swarm of bedbugs that attacks me nightly. We changed out the old mattress with another old mattress, but we’re still waiting on a fumigation crew to come finish the job. Something huge lives in the ceiling of our bedroom. We can’t quite decide if it’s an iguana or coatimundi. Something strange. Perhaps a titan rat.
The people here are progressing slowly. As it stands right now, we don’t really have any solid, progressing investigators. This is where the majority of our effort is being focussed – finding more people to teach. We have some good people, but we can only talk with them on Saturdays or Sundays during specific hours so needless to say, they’re really hard to help along. The Lord will provide soon though, he always does.
Here are the personal sentiments:
Marissa – HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I thought about you all day Wednesday and it blows my mind that when I get home you’ll almost be thirteen. You’re growing up in the greatest family in the world. I absolutely love you. Stay strong in your faith and I guarantee you’ll continue growing stronger and stronger into the amazingly wonderful and beautiful woman that you’re destined to be…
Dad – Daily, and I mean within every hour of every day I realize more and more how much I love and respect you. You truly are my hero and best friend, my example and guide, and I want so much to be exactly like you. There’s a reason I always sign my letters with my full name. I’m exceptionally proud to carry yours. You have been such an incredible father. I sincerely wish I had your diligence and work ethic, I’m working on it, I just need to develop my faith a bit more. Having a gringo companion really masks the difficulty of the mission. The language, while relatively easy to understand, kills me to speak it. I can’t handle myself when I can’t succeed quickly in a challenging field. It truly taxes me greatly, and the day I get a Latino companion, I pray I’m ready for it.
Mom – Thank you so much for everything. Your love in unmatched by anything. I sincerely miss the temple more than anything, and knowing that you go every week strengthens me more than you know. It is such a beautiful place. It literally is heaven on earth. Stay strong with this goal of yours. Not having a temple for two years really makes one long for it. There is so much work to be done, and every time you go, you participate in the same work I am currently involved in. The souls on the other side are rejoicing at your faithfulness. I love you…
Luke – Stay strong, my brother, mentor, friend. You’re awesome and have such a strong testimony it’s truly inspiring. The families here in Argentina really lack one thing more than anything. Unity. The family is a key unit missing in the lives of these people. From the time these kids hit ten years old, they’re out smoking, drinking, drugging themselves, and things with their bodies they shouldn’t even know about. Keep being an example to your friends and your siblings. They don’t recognize how much they need you. Love you, bro.
McKay – You’re a champ. Thanks for fasting for me the other week, I’m sure it wasn’t easy. Hopefully you saw the blessings that come from acts of faith like that though. Where you are in life right now is a confusing time. Remember who you are, that your Father in Heaven loves you, and that everything you learn in the church is 100% true. Keep love in the home. Do everything you can to love Luke and Marissa. I know how hard it is to be a brother. You need their help and they need yours. Just try to look for ways to help them and I guarantee you’ll all be happier and love each other more…
My family – I love you all so very dearly. I’m eternally grateful for the blessing we have to be sealed together for all time. I have no idea how I would live without such a knowledge. You all mean more to me than you know. Keep me in your prayers. I love you…
I threw in a few photos of some giant empanadas we made, my church building here in Jardín, and the lovely doors in my pensión. Oh…and a nice, full to burst, bed bug. Can’t exactly show you the scabies, they’re buried in my skin. They’re also dead now.
If there’s anything I can do for any of you, let me know. My resources are limited, but my heart is full of love.
Elder Steven Reid Walker