Whatever I had to say just feels like it wouldnt be enough to respond to the news that I have recieved today. I will be honest, today was already quite a difficult day for me. Yesterday was already heartbreaking. We were supposed to have a baptism. It was one of the most sure ones i have ever had. He had passed his interview, he was keeping all of his commitments, and his testimony was already very strong. But yesterday at church he was feeling very sick. He was feeling sick because his conscience was weighing down on him. He then took us outside and broke down and told us that he couldnt be baptized. Not everything was as good as we thought it was. It was heartbreaking, we had to call off the baptism at the last second. So I will be honest, this wasnt already the best of mondays for me. We will continue to teach him, and we will help him until he is ready for baptism.
But hearing that news from ya'll this morning was hard. In fact it brought tears to my eyes, even now as i must try to type this. This has been a trying week for me, but in no way does it compare to what their families must be experiencing.
The following is what i sent to the bishopric, but this version has a few more things added. Please make sure that they see this, in both wards. And also, if appropriate, let their families see this. This is the best thing i can do for them now.
I am heartbroken.
Those 2 men played some of the most important roles of any people in my life.
More than just good examples to me, they were both friends and mentors.
I can not express how sad I am... truly.
I dont have the words to express myself.
My young mens leaders made some of the biggest impacts on my life, things that they could never have known about.
They changed me and helped me become the person I am today.
Without doubt I can cite them as reasons for my missionary service, for more of my love of the outdoors, and my love of this gospel.
Let me add my testimony of these good men. They both forever changed the course of my life. When I did not want to go to church, or to scouts, or to anything like it, these 2 men were often the reasons that I went. And more importantly, they were often the reasons that I stayed. I can remember many fun activities, many campouts, and many good times. I can vividly remember trying my hardest to throw Bro. Bryge out of the raft at high adventure. I can remember climbing up White rocks with him, and him following me up this crazy crack in the wall just because he couldnt let me do it along. I remember the best capture the flag games with Bro. Coons and him 'recruiting' me for his turkey bowl team. Yet at this time what i remember the most of them were the talks I had with them as we drove to and from these various activities. That is what i remember about these men, because that is what made a difference in my life. When they talked to me, when they inspired me, when they helped me get my head on straight, those are the times that have changed my life. And they were both involved.
To their families, I would just want them to know, that because things like this happen in the world, that is why I am serving a mission. The single most important thing to me that as a missionary i ever talk to people about is the family. My family is the most important thing in the world to me.
Because of that, I am here, sharing a message that will bring other families together forever. Because I can not imagine living without my family, I am here to share that same goodness with others. I do not know why all the bad things happen in the world, I have wrestled over that question for a while. I do not know how things like this fit into the great overall plan. But what i do know, what i do testify of, is that God does not leave us in these times. In fact He is closer to us during these times than ever before. There is nothing I can say that you all as members do not already know. But just know this, that I serve my mission, so that people can have 1 source of comfort in these types of times. People hurt, and God hurts with us. Families weep, and God weeps with them. Their dedication to me as a young man is one of the reasons that I made it to missionary service. Because they spent a little time away from their families to help me, I now spend a little time away from mine, to try and help others.
The good that has, and will, come from these 2 mens lives will never be known. The lives they have affected are many, and with strength I can say that the universe is a different place because of their 2 examples. At the least, I will forever be different because of them. I will never forget them. Neither will any of you. The impact that leaders have on the youth is great. The impact that good leaders have on youth is life changing. The impact that these leaders had on me falls into the latter. And no doubt they had the same type of impact on others as well.
God is so real. His plan is so loving. I will never claim to understand it all, but what I can understand for now is that everything will be made whole again, even families. These men were important to me, but surely even more so to the families that they have left. If it is any peace I can bring, it is this. That because they believed in eternal families they were members of this church. Because they were members of this church, they impacted my life. And because they impacted my life, i now serve a mission, so that others may also believe in eternal families. Their impact will be felt throughout time and eternity, and it starts with us. Let us all be better people for knowing them, for I am, and i know that everyone else who knew them is as well. My heart breaks because of this, but it is ok, everything will be ok. I know it.
If you can make sure that both wards atleast get this email I would appreciate that.
I really dont have anything i could say after that. Nothing else really seems all that important. Maybe if i remember i will tell ya'll next week.
I love you family, truly i do. I love every one of you. And that isnt just something we should say or feel at times like these. Rather, it should be made known by the way we talk and live everyday. My family is the most important thing to me, more important than anything else. You are what matters to me. You, family, are the reason.