Monday, February 24, 2014

In Miri with a new companion

Dear Family,

Let me begin with a story:
In our quest for an example, we need not necessarily look to years gone by or to lives lived long ago. Let me illustrate. Today Craig Sudbury presides over a ward here in Salt Lake City, but let me turn back the clock just a few years to the day he and his mother came to my office prior to Craig’s departure for the Australia Melbourne Mission. Fred, Craig’s father, was noticeably absent. Twenty-five years earlier, Craig’s mother had married Fred, who did not share her love for the Church and indeed did not belong to the Church.

Craig confided to me his deep and abiding love for his parents. He shared his innermost hope that somehow, in some way, his father would be touched by the Spirit and open his heart to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He pleaded earnestly with me for a suggestion. I prayed for inspiration concerning how such a desire might be rewarded. Such inspiration came, and I said to Craig, “Serve the Lord with all your heart. Be obedient to your sacred calling. Each week write a letter to your parents and, on occasion, write to Dad personally and let him know that you love him, and tell him why you’re grateful to be his son.”

He thanked me and, with his mother, departed the office. I was not to see Craig’s mother for some 18 months. She came to the office and, in sentences punctuated by tears, said to me, “It has been almost two years since Craig departed for his mission. His faithful service has qualified him for positions of responsibility in the mission field, and he has never failed in writing a letter to us each week. Recently my husband Fred stood for the first time in a testimony meeting and said, ‘All of you know that I am not a member of the Church, but something has happened to me since Craig left for his mission. His letters have touched my soul. May I share one with you?

“‘Dear Dad, Today we taught a choice family about the plan of salvation and the blessings of exaltation in the celestial kingdom. I thought of our family. More than anything in the world, I want to be with you and with Mother in that kingdom. For me it just wouldn’t be a celestial kingdom if you were not there. I’m grateful to be your son, Dad, and want you to know that I love you. Your missionary son, Craig.’

“Fred then announced, ‘My wife doesn’t know what I plan to say. I love her and I love our son, Craig. After 26 years of marriage I have made my decision to become a member of the Church, for I know the gospel message is the word of God. I suppose I have known this truth for a long time, but my son’s mission has moved me to action. I have made arrangements for my wife and me to meet Craig when he completes his mission. I will be his final baptism as a full-time missionary of the Lord.’”

A young missionary with unwavering faith had participated with God in a modern-day miracle. His challenge to communicate with one whom he loved had been made more difficult by the barrier of the thousands of miles which lay between him and his father. But the spirit of love spanned the vast expanse of the blue Pacific, and heart spoke to heart in divine dialogue.

No hero stood so tall as did Craig, when in far-off Australia he stood with his father in water waist deep and, raising his right arm to the square, repeated those sacred words: “Fred Sudbury, having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”

This is amazing and really stands out to me! The example you give to others is so important! Live your life every day as if the Savior was beside you.

This week has been full of good byes. Every companionship in our zone was affected by this transfer. My new comps name is Elder Wadsworth. He is also the new District Leader. I am still in Miri, East Malaysia. I will hit 6 months in Miri this transfer and that is 1/4 of my mission in one area. Crazy! Elder Wadsworth is from America, I think, he is about 7 weeks older than me and super funny. We are going to have a great time. We knew each other in the MTC. I am so excited.

My favorite investigator is back and he has cut back a lot on drinking and smoking and wants us to come over a lot because he feels so happy when we do. Also Bruce Lee has been less stubborn. Frank the Guy that we always get ice cream from and 100 pluses from now has a Plan of salvation Pamphlet and is willing to hear more. It has over all been a really good week.

Regarding the newspaper article picture: It is about our free English class! it talks about how we are helping people learn English so they can help further their lives. Yes that is a flyswatter that my companion is holding…yep there was a bug on the board. Just kidding, the flyswatter is used as part of a game with English that me and Elder Schuetz made up.

My whole bike tire blew up this week, the tire has a big hole in it... I am not sure how, I just bought that tire 2 weeks ago.

Well I got to go love you!!!

Elder Fletcher

Derek is on the right next to the white board
Bike tire blowout in less than 2 weeks