Sunday, August 28, 2016

Email sent by President Marston, Calum's Mission President, 23 August 2016

Dear Missionaries,

The Prophet Joseph Smith stated “Men and angels are to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work.”

Psalms 91: 11
For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Doctrine and Covenants 109:22
“And we ask thee, Holy Father, that they servants may go forth from this house armed with my power, and that thy name may be upon them,
And thy glory round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;

Doctrine and Covenant 84:88
“And whosoever receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit
Shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

Over these past several days I have been blessed to know of the truth and reality of these scriptures as they relate to our missionaries and angels and prayers that protect us.
I would like to share with you these thoughts and experiences and impressions (as described by the missionaries involved and paraphrasing after my telephone conversations with them)
Angels lifted and gently and softly cared for a missionary

“We were biking down a very steep hill, heading to our next appointment. My companion was ahead of me and we were going close to 20 miles per hour. From a side road came a car that was going equally fast. However, the driver did not see me as she started her very swift turn. I tried to swerve and brake to slow down but alas, I didn't turn enough. My bike hit her car in the back corner. I did a disfigured swan dive over her fender and hit the ground, My bike had snapped in to 3 pieces. It was broken in such a way that it looked as if someone had actually sawed through the front fork. Which  caused my bike to move in such a way that protected me from major damage. Because of this amazing break in the bike I only got 2 small scrapes on my knee and palm. I got up immediately and felt no pain or pressure. One of the witnesses was a sports therapist. He said that when he saw me flip over the fender at the speed I was going, he thought I was dead or at least in a coma. Angels are ministering to those who are in the Lord's work. They protected me in a very real way.”

Angels surrounded and protected and kept safe a companionship

As I drove through an intersection, a truck hit our passenger side fender, causing the vehicle to spin 180 degrees, after which our passenger rear
quarter panel hit the truck. The truck tore through our engine block, completely mangling the front end of the vehicle. After spinning out,
the rear passenger quarter panel smashed into the truck, causing it to cave in.   The front and side air bags all deployed. 

The impact of the accident caused the     frame to crack on the other truck.  Both vehicles were undriveable following the accident.
My companion and I were able to open the doors, get out of our car, walk away without any physical injury.  We had follow-up medical evaluation that gave us each a clean bill of health.
Everyone who saw the accident exclaimed that it was a miracle there were NO injuries to anyone.  We were wearing our seat belts but know that angels were surrounding us and shielding us from injury.

Angels from on high attended and rejoiced with the creation of a new family unit in the Kingdom of God

          Wednesday was our daughters sealing in the Salt Lake Temple.  I had been up very early that morning taking a missionary to the Sacramento airport.  This missionary  is a loving and wonderful missionary who has been given the opportunity to continue on in his missionary service in the Alabama Birmingham Mission. After dropping him off at the airport  I had some time to just enjoy the early morning  so I drove to the Sacramento Temple grounds and found a private bench and watched as the sun rose.  I wanted to take a few moments to ponder about the covenant that would take place in just a couple of hours with Kristine and Joey.  I had made arrangements to attend an endowment session of the temple that would coincide with the sealing time so that we would all be in the Temples at the same time but far apart.  As I attended the Temple that morning additional insights were given to me regarding our relationship with a loving Father in Heaven and the need for a Savior and the joy of God’s plan for each of us.  There were only a few people on this session so as I stood in the Celestial Room it was as if I were there by myself.  I looked around at the beauty that surrounded me and the way the morning sunlight was coming through the stained and etched glass windows.  The sun was sending beams of light throughout the room as it reflected and bounced off the immense crystal chandelier in the center of the room.  It seemed I truly understood heaven a bit more and felt what heaven must be like.

The Temple President, President Papa, came into the room and saw me standing there.  We have grown close together in our callings and have great love for each other.  He asked me if I was there with missionaries.  I told him, no, that I was there by myself as my daughter was getting married and sealed in the Salt Lake Temple at that exact moment.  He remembered our daughter from a few weeks prior as she and Joey and his family had come to Sacramento so that I could be with Kristine and Joey as they received their Temple ordinances for the first time.  President Papa asked if I would like to sit in a sealing room while I thought about my daughter.  He offered to let me read the exact words of the temple sealing and marriage covenant while in that sacred room inserting the names of Kristine and Joey at the appropriate times.  He showed me where I would be sitting as witness to the sealing if I were in the sealing room with Kristine in Salt Lake City.  President Papa told me of the promptings he had had to come to the Celestial Room exactly at that time.  If he had come in a few minutes before or a few minutes after I would have not been in the Celestial Room and this special experience would have not happened.   While I was reading and re-reading the powerful words and promises of the sealing covenant my eyes were brimming and overflowing with the love that I felt from my Father in Heaven and my Savior.  I thought for an instant that I was alone in that sealing room, but the longer I sat there the fuller the room became until it was filled with all those I love the most in this world both here on the earth and those gone on to the heavens above.  My spiritual self then saw the ceremony as it was happening in Salt Lake City:  Kristine and her mother side by side and rows of my posterity gathered together.  And friends and other family sitting close to each other, peaceful and happy as they witnessed another family unit created under the power of the Priesthood of God. I “witnessed” Kristine and Joey kneel at the alter and make and keep sacred covenants.  I was with them and they were with me.  As mirrors on the walls reflected a visual representation of eternity they also reflected and brought to the Sacramento Temple those in the Salt Lake Temple.  My joy was complete.  I was with my daughter that morning.  Angels from beyond the veil attended the ceremony.  Promptings from the Spirit were received by President Papa and myself so that I could witness the marriage of my daughter.  Heavenly Father loves me and supplies for my every need and want.  I want to live my life such that I can always feel of God’s love for me.  Miracles happened that day, indeed. 
I testify of a loving Father in Heaven and a merciful Savior.  I testify of the power of the Holy Ghost and of the existence of angels who assist us in our work.

Best regards,
President Michael F. Marston

21 August 2016

Antelope is a little bit boring so far. Not that we're not doing anything. The other missionaries rock though! That's always one of the best parts of an area.  Driving is much different than riding a bike, haha. I never thought I'd say this but sometimes I miss riding a bike. It's not as fun going around your area in a car. You don't get to see as much, you're not outside, you can't ride a little bit in front of your companion to have some alone time. Not that I want to get away from Stoddard.  But it's kind of fun to just feel like you're biking down the road by yourself! I've also found that in the car I haven't gained any weight (and I don't plan on it) but my weight is more consistent. On bike it would be all over the place. That doesn't happen as much in a car. 

As far as my seniority position I am kind of junior companion right now. My first time being a zone leader and I don't know the area. So he's showing me how to do the paper work and the forms and what not for a little bit. 

From my letter to Calum:  I had my opening faculty meetings on Friday.  I think they went well overall, but my opening went flat.  Haha!  My theme this year is centered around having a Growth Mindset rather than a Fixed Mindset.  It's based on a book called Mindset by Carol Dweck.  Basically a person with a fixed mindset says "I can't do that"  But a person with a growth mindset says "I can't do that, YET".  It's the YET that's the important part.  The fixed mindset person believes he is born with specific talents and you can't change who you are.  So a person might be an amazing violinist or tennis player because they were born with that talent.  The trouble with people with a fixed mindset is, they don't want to try new things because they might fail.  And if I fail, then I guess I wasn't a born tennis player after all.  But with a growth mindset, people believe that they can do anything if they work hard enough.  They are not afraid to try, because if they fail, that doesn't mean they are no longer a talented person.  They just hit a bump in the road and they will try again.  We want to help develop a growth mindset in our students.  So rather than telling a student 'you are a genius' implying they were born that way, we use words like 'you must have tried really hard to accomplish that.'  Anyway, that was a long explanation.  Because with a growth mindset, we should all be happy, because there's no such thing as failure, I bought all kinds of smiley face things for the teachers.  Like a smiley face emoji.  The library looked really cute all decorated with yellow smileys.  So to start the meeting I played Pharrell's Happy video, thinking everyone would start to dance in their chairs and clap their hands - like we all do every time it comes on.  Well, no one moved.  In fact, they didn't even stop talking to each other.  I was pretty disappointed in their reaction.  But the rest of the meetings went well.  Haha.

That sounds like a very cool theme! I agree with the whole "yet" thing. That would be a cool way to think. Always expecting and looking for growth. I'll give that a shot. That's too bad that the teachers didn't react haha! Maybe they just thought it was supposed to be background music while they waited for you? I dunno. I bet you'll enjoy this year especially with Riley there. 

That makes me sad to hear about granddaddy. I'm scared for him and Nana. Feeding through a tube never sounds appealing and I'm sure granddad isn't looking forward to it.

From my letter to Calum:  I love and miss you.  You have proven yourself as an amazing missionary and servant of our Heavenly Father.  Because of your dedication and hard work, you have been made senior companion, district leader, and now zone leader.  And you haven't even been out a year.  It brings a tear to my eye when I think of a comment you made right after high school.  You said, "I used to be a soccer player, but now I'm nothing".  My darling son, you are far from nothing.  You are a talented, loving man, who is sacrificing two years of your life to serve our Heavenly Father.  He is proud of you.  Your mission president is proud of you and trusts you with these advanced responsibilities.  You have shown that you are much more than a soccer player.  You will never be 'nothing'.

Thank you for the uplifting words mum. I do feel like I have more of a purpose while I'm out here. I'm proud that I can be trusted. I don't want to be prideful, I dread being prideful haha, but I also want to be confident. I love and miss you mom. I think about you and your work everyday! I hope you feel excited for this school year. I have kind of a signature quote that I'm known for out here, one of them is "Come on!!" (You know, like Andy Murray - Come On, Andy!) but the other one is "Have a good time all the time." But I always have to explain that when I say that I don't mean just mess around and do whatever you want. I mean have a good time no matter what you're doing, feeling the spirit is a good time to me, teaching a lesson is a good time to me! Weekly planning isn't... But that's why I say that quote. Try to make planning a good time.  When I feel like I've had a successful planning session, I have a good time. Haha.  So I hope you're having a good time all the time mum! Haha! I love you mum and I miss you so much. Send the girls my love too.

14 August 2016

My new area is the Citrus Heights 4th and the Antelope YSA. Citrus Heights have their own stake so I'm not sure why they are in the Antelope stake. I just have to specify when someone asks what Ward we are in. So the YSA is the entire stake. So really we cover the whole Antelope zone. I haven't seen a lot of people just yet. It seems like as a Zone Leader we just help other missionaries all the time.  Like we give them rides places, we get them supplies,
just things like that. Which is awesome and I love it, but it's not the normal missionary work I am used to. Like visiting people all day. We didn't visit a lot of people and we definitely could have. I'd like to try to make that happen more. I know numbers don't matter but if we're the ZLs I would at least expect to keep my numbers up with the
other guys. I did get here just in time for a baptism! I'm not "counting it" since I didn't help find or teach him anything.  But it was kind of just cool to see. Yes, my companion and I are both zone leaders. But we have a third companion for a few more days. When I got the call for where I was going I was told I was going to be in a trio.
With Elder Lamatina.  Elder Lamatina is a 2 transfer missionary. He is doing a trial mission. To kind of test the waters. So he finished his transfers and he felt good, so they got him a new mission call.  (I forgot to mention he
is from Sacramento so he couldn't serve in this mission all 2 years).  He is going to Alabama.  He flies to the MTC on Wednesday morning. So I was only with him from Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning.

We went to President  Marston's yesterday to get Elder Lamatina set apart for his new mission. Then President
asked if we wanted lunch. I said yes please. So we all made nachos at his house, haha! It was quite fun! President Marston is a really cool guy. Our new apartment is a bit sketchy so probably don't send stuff here. But the mission office is in our area, so just send stuff to the mission office for now.  We can pick it up just like it was at our place. Zone Leaders switch off driving. So he drives one day and I drive the next. Lamatina doesn't get to drive.

I'm sad the granddaddy is so sick. It must be pretty discouraging. That seems miserable. I'm glad to hear is is out of the care center. We go to care centers all the time as missionaries to give blessings and what not, and I
haven't been to a single one where the patient has said they love the service, and the nurses do things orderly and on time. It's always complaints about the nurses taking their time and stuff like that. So I prayed that he would be taken care of there.

I've been pretty homesick this week, just getting to the new area, and the mission office always makes me depressed for some reason. Are you looking forward to school now? I'm sure it will be a good year. This is the last school year until I come home though! Then just a little bit of next year. But only like 2 months. I'm looking forward to that day right now. I miss and love you guys.

8 August 2016

This week was good. I said goodbye to a few close families and packed. I knew I was leaving so I got an early start. We find out where we go on Sunday night. But Sunday afternoon President Marston was up in Chico doing some interviews.  So when we saw him he said give me a minute and I will tell you where you are going. So a minute later he took me into a room and said, "Elder Yule, we're going to call you to be a district leader, in the Anderson zone with Elder Behr", but President Marston told me before that I was going down south when I leave Chico.  (Anderson is in between Chico and Redding, so Anderson is north of Chico) He seemed kind of confused... So I wasn't really sure where I was going even when he told me haha! So I waited until the transfer calls. I'm actually going down to Antelope! Which is all the way down south. I'm going to be a zone leader down there
with my new companion Elder Stoddard.  I got some really good advice from my favorite missionary who actually goes home tomorrow, Elder Kelly. He's from Layton. He and I have gotten very close. I can't put his advice into words to best portray when he said, but the sum it up he said, this was a deciding moment in his mission and he sees that mine has gone in a pretty similar fashion to his. He told me this is where I solidify what kind of missionary I'm going to be. If I'm going to focus on others or myself. If I'm going to work hard or be lazy. That decision is 100% up to me with this new companion. I'm excited, but of course a little bit nervous.

My father was hospitalized again so I flew up to Seattle to be with him again.  I wrote to Calum that I worried about being gone from school when it's so close to the beginning of the year.  I had so much to do and wasn't sure how I would get it all done if I went up.  Calum's reply was...

I'm sad to hear about grandpa. I feel like Heavenly Father wants you to be up there, which means you will be able to get all of your work done.

31 July 2016

I'm glad you and Heather are taking Riley to church. Like you said Riley needs to go. I think about how you used to drag me to church every Sunday. And I'm pretty positive that if you gave up and said "fine you don't have to go" I
probably wouldn't be on my mission.

Transfers are August 9. Next Tuesday. I'm definitely leaving. I've been in Chico for 6 months!! I can't even believe that. And my next area will be my third which is hard to believe too! I haven't collected too much stuff.  never thought a lot about pioneers until just a few weeks ago. It's hard to even imagine people doing that. It just feels so far fetched to relate to. I wish I didn't have a soccer tournament or something the week of trek.  It would have been a good experience.

This week was good. Yes, I'm excited to leave Chico, but I've reallymgotten close to a few families that I'm really going to miss. But I'm excited for what's next. This week was Elder Green's 11th week of training.  We call that the trial by fire week. He does just about everything! In the training plan it says, "the new missionary takes the lead in all finding, teaching, and planning events." So I get to follow his orders. He did ok. He has an incredible heart and is happy to be serving, and I think he will be more happy when he gets the hang of things. 

I love and miss you mum. I'm so proud that you work so hard as principal. You always have worked very hard at everything. I hope I grow into that trait, haha. Tell the girls and Riley I love them.

20 July 2016

Mum, today we had interviews with president Marston.  In my interview he asked about my family and I told him about grandpa and he told me to email you as soon as we finish the interview. He wants me to Skype again. He said he felt a prompting to tell me that. So the next time you will be with grandpa we will Skype.

So on July 21st Elder Yule was able to Skype with my dad, his grandfather.  My dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last November.  He has been through chemotherapy, radiation, and a difficult surgical procedure to remove the cancer.  He came through all of those things really well, with few side effects.  But since the surgery, he has developed other complications and has been in and out of hospital and care centers since June.  What a wonderful blessing it was for President Marston to suggest that Calum Skype with his grandfather. It was a tender call. Both shared their testimonies of the gospel and their love and gratitude for each other and our family. I know it boosted the spirits of both of them. And touched me deeply.

18 July 2016

Hi mum,

I've missed you guys a lot recently. Just you guys being in Seattle is so weird because I'm not there! It looks so fun! I miss my granddad too. It makes me sad to see those pictures. He is so small. But I'm glad all of you guys are there with him.  Those pictures are awesome! Riley is so big! And you guys look awesome. 
This week for me was pretty good. We seemed to teach more lessons than we usually do this week, so it felt good.  It  felt like we worked pretty hard. Friday and Saturday were both pretty cool. Friday we went to this big yard sale, just to check it out and there was this really sweet pocket knife.  So I asked the guy what he was selling it for and
he said, "Ah you can have it. I've had it for 20 years.  In another 20 years you can give it to someone else!" So I asked if he was sure and he said "yeah please!"  That was really cool of him.  I shook his hand and asked if he was going to need some help cleaning stuff up when the sale was over.  He said he wouldn't be there, but his wife would.  Saturday night we helped this women pack stuff up. Her husband had told her about us and she was telling us what he's like. He is a security guard for San Quentin prison... Which is one of the hardest prisons in the U.S. Charles Manson was in San Quentin. One of the only prisons in the U.S. that still has death row apparently. And a few years ago this guy was one of the guards on death row!  So we have all these crazy theories that he confiscated the knife from a prisoner and now he gave it to me. Which is pretty cool if you ask me. Also on Saturday Elder Green lost his name tag.  So we go all over the place to find it.  We were riding past this street and Green says we should go down here, but he couldn't have lost it on that road because we hadn't gone down it that day.   I said no let's keep going, but then I said, actually yeah let's do it.  We ran into this women we've been trying to get in contact with for weeks!  Her mother had just passed away, and we were hopefully able to comfort her a
little. So we set a time to go back and talk about the Plan of Salvation. She really needs it. Anyway so that was all the cool stuff that happened this week. I love you guys. Love and miss you.