Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sad goodbyes, happy anticipation

Hey everyone!! Man the weeks have just flown right by! I can hardly believe that my next p-day I will be emailing you all from Cambodia!!! IT'S HERE!!!! Nine weeks have really gone by so fast and now the time that I never thought would come is right at my front door! So this week has been filled with so much emotion I don't really even know how to describe all my feelings to you all, but I will do my best! When I very first got here I became friends with a lot of cool people, but throughout my life I have become friends with all kinds of wonderful people for short periods of time. But usually when it's time to say goodbye, I am ok to move on with my life! This was not at all the case this last week saying goodbye to the Cantonese elders. Never in my entire life did I think that I could become so close to a group of young men in such a short period of time. This week before they left I was doing as best as I possibly could to not think about them leaving and just enjoy the time that we had together! We really did have a blast this last week before they left, and I laughed harder this last week than the entire time that I have been here! We kind of started a little game where we would see how many small and insignificant, but funny, pranks we could pull on each other! From throwing a bucket of cold water on them where we were showering to leaving all the boxes of packages we have been given stacked outside their door. It really was a week full of laughing!

When Sunday finally rolled around, we all came to the realization that this was going to be our last day with each other for at least a couple of years. It was hard to hide the emotions as they stood in Sacrament Meeting and sang, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. It was very hard to say goodbye to all of my loved ones at home, but the feeling that I felt was different than that. It was so much sorrow because I have come to love all of these Elders, but at the same time my heart was filled with happiness and knowledge of the fact that these amazing young men get to go and spread the work of the Lord to the people in Hong Kong. I knew that as bad as it was going to hurt to see them all go, that the people in Hong Kong needed them more than I needed them. That night we took a million pictures together and we did this with the hope that if we kept on smiling for pictures we would not have the time to cry. ha That night we gave them a key to our room and told them to come and wake us up when they were leaving (because they were leaving at 2:30 a.m.) and give us a hug before they left. They came in that morning and gave us all big hugs, and just like that, they shut the door behind them and were gone. I remember that when I was a kid, I would watch my dad go to work. I would get up out of bed and see him drive off out the window, and I would get a small lump in my throat because I already missed him so much. It was the first time that I have felt that feeling in quite a few years. As they closed the door, I had a huge lump in my throat and I wanted to jump up out of bed and run after them and tell them not to go because I would miss them too much if they left! I hate that feeling that you get when no matter what you say, no matter how many times you hug them, you never get the goodbye that you were looking for! I felt like I should have said more or done more to show them my love! I really do miss them so much still, but the knowledge that I have of them going and doing the Lord's work really does make it so much easier to see them gone! As I said earlier, this week really has been filled with so much emotion, happy and sad, that it has truly been a draining week!

As far as good news goes, both of the investigators that Elder Q and I are teaching here have committed to baptism and will be getting baptized on the 20th! So we are super excited for both of them! :) Other than that, I really don't have any exciting or fun news for you all, but I can pretty much guarantee that I will have some very exciting/scary/"is this real life!?" news for you next week! :)

Before I go I just want to let you all know that I know that this church is true!! We had the honor of hearing from Elder Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles this last Tuesday, and it truly was a spiritual experience!! We sang the song, "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go", and the Spirit was so overpowering I could hardly get the words out of my mouth! I am so happy to be at the point in my life where I can say to my Heavenly Father that "I will go where you want me to go". I love my Heavenly Father so much and I love my brother Jesus Christ! I am so grateful for his atoning sacrifice! I read a scripture this last week in 2 Nephi 9:7-10. It explains what our life would be life if the Savior did not come down to Earth and atone for all of our sins. When I read it, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I had a small moment where I realized how significant that sacrifice really was! I am so grateful for Christ and I love him so very much!! I have had to say goodbye to so many amazing people the last couple years of my life, and I can promise you that I would not have put myself through all of that heartache if I didn't know of a surety that this is God's true church, again restored on the Earth today! I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet! I admire his courage every single day and am still in amazement at the bravery he had starting at such a young age! I love you all so much! You are all in my prayers and I love hearing from all of you! The support you give me through your letters and prayers is what helps me stay strong all day long! I can't wait to let you know how next week goes!! Wish me luck!!!

Until next time (in Cambodia!!!!)
Elder Steadman

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