Dearest Family and Friends,
These are days truly never to be forgotten! In the service of the Lord I have truly found myself. I cannot say enough about how much enjoy my assignment as Assistant to the President. Initially I had a hard time adjusting to the demand and change of it all, but I can truly say I feel that I have been being prepared for this moment my entire life. The atmosphere here in the mission is beginning to change as we anticipate the arrival of President Vallinga. Although President Sorensen will continue his pace until the finish line it seems as though almost every conversation we have starts with the words "Now, Elder Prince, you are going to want to make sure that when President Vallinga comes.....". It is a lot of fun but I am not sure if it has fully registered to me yet that President is leaving, this man has been a rock to me, it will be a c challenge to see him leave; he is the heart and soul of this Mission's culture. Changes are on their way but come what may, the Lord we will trust.
This week was one of the best of my mission. Elder Metcalf had our first real chance to let the mission see us in action together. We hosted a leadership training meeting for two days. The first day we assembled all of the District Leaders and Zone leaders of the mission to Kirtland for a morning meeting. The meeting was held at Joseph Smith's old home in Kirtland. The church has just recently bought this home in the recent month from the Community of Christ. It was the first time that the priesthood had gathered in that home for a meeting since around the time that Joseph had to left that home in the dead of night after being warned in a dream to flee Kirtland. It was an honor to be there in that formal setting for the first time since the early saints had met there some 180 years ago. It is the same house that many important revelations were given relative to church organization and disciplinary action. We had the morning segment of the the meeting at Joseph's home and from there we headed to the Chagrin River in Mayfield, Ohio and stood on the banks of the river as President instructed us. He told of an account in which Sidney Rigdon taught hundreds of people where we stood, and as the story goes they were compelled by the spirit to come forward and be baptized numbering 30 souls. The words He expounded to us will always be a part of me. He spoke on how the power of Godliness is manifest in the ordinances of the Priesthood and how through witnesses these ordinances we would feel the Love of God. Following President's words at the river we headed back up the back into a shaded grove where we had set up chairs for all 38 of us; it was now my turn to give workshop on "The Doctrine of the Fathers Love". I had anticipated sharing my feelings on this subject all week and had prayed earnestly for the spirit to guide my words. I have never felt so empowered in teaching as I did at this time expounding this doctrine. I expounded on 10 Doctrinal evidences of the Father's love (which I will include at the bottom if anyone is interested). The whole meeting was so rich in the spirit, I will never forget that afternoon in the grove of trees. The next day we had Mission Council and the night before all of the Zone Leaders and the Assistants got to sleep at the Mission home. In the morning President took us on a bike ride through one of the most beautiful metro parks here in Cleveland, with the tallest bright green oak trees you've ever seen. It was such a stress reliever riding through this park early in the morning with all of the missionaries. Before we left President asked each companionship to wonder off into the forest and have a kneeling prayer and testimony together. Elder Metcalf rode off a little ways and found a quite spot on a river bank. The river moved so slowly you could hardly notice it going downstream. We just sat there on some rocks at waters edge and began to supplicate in prayer unto the Lord. We both thanked Him that we had this marvelous opportunity to serve together; following which we bore testimony to each other and as it was our 1 year mark exactly w committed to "being utterly lost in the work by this same day next year". We also promised that we would return and report at that spot together in ones years time. This was yet another moment never to be lost on me.
Saturday night was the baptism of David and Danielle Torres! It was such an incredible service. I did everything I could to make the building immaculate and even was newly deemed with the title of "perfectionist" by our ward Mission Leader. I saw to it that every thing from the AC to the windexed doors, to the hymns being placed uprightly in the hymnal holders; this placed looked nice. All of these things in my mind are the "unwritten order of the Priesthood", if you eliminate clutter and distractions; the Spirit has a greater chance to testify. I now understand why my Mom went to such great lengths just to make the house look neat for our guests (I was paying attention in childhood, wasn't I? Yaaaaaa...). David and Danielle were both tearful and full of appreciation. They truly glowed with the light and their closing testimonies sunk into all of our hearts. I am perhaps more honored to have taught this couple than anyone else on my mission; they will do amazing things in this church! Speaking of baptisms; I received an e-mail from an Elder currently serving in Ashtabula and he told me that 5 of the recent converts that Elder Crosland baptized went to the temple this weekend, and the two boys received the Priesthood this week! I nearly bawled my eyes out when I read that! The Lord is so good! The confirmation of David and Danielle was equally as powerful and the Spirit of the Lord was again manifest. The beauty of them both being baptized this weekend is that on the exact day that they will be eligible to go through the temple to be sealed is the exact day I will be released from the mission, that is going to be an amazing day!
Today has also been a great day. My companion and I completely changed the way report numbers in the mission and built new excel spreadsheets from the ground up, they are much more efficient than the previous method and saved us about 3 hours of sleep last night. One day this week I worked on excel from 10 AM to 10 PM, it was so brutal but President kept me fueled with fruit smoothies and wheat grass shots all day long it was great! So for once on Monday morning we weren;'t exhausted so we got up early and played basketball at the church with our recent convert David; it was a lot of fun. Also, Dad, I'll have you know that I took your advice to get all the advice I could from President Sorensen on every thing from marriage to career and education choices; we went to lunch today and he gave Elder Metcalf so much great advice that really put a lot of great ideas into my heart about the future and truly how great it can be if we have a plan and trust in the Lord. Man, life is great. Being in the service of the Lord is uncomparable to anything else. I love this work. I know it is true. I know every word is true. I love you all and I hope that you may have a great day today, keep Christ at the forefront. Love you all,
Love, Elder Prince
1. Made in His Image, look at your body you are designed to do the work of God. Every organ, every joint and limb has a purpose.
2. Agency/Mortal life, if you figure the why behind the plan it all points to the progression of His children, making themselves the authors of their destinies.
3. Plan of Salvation- From Eternity to Eternity, forethought is shown in its blueprints, it is flawless evidence of His love, including the sacrifice on His Only Begotten Son.
4. He Provides for our Needs, He feeds even the sparrows and provides every needful thing or those who call upon Him and even those who don't.
5. Personal Prayer, as you know He listens. He guides the future as He has the past and delights in His personal relationships with His children.
6. He reveals truth, here a little and there a little He will always liberally gives to His children who seek. He delights in shedding forth His wisdom to them and has designed every law of truth for essentially one reason; they bring happiness!
7. He sends the Comforter, though we are skewed by the veil He comforts us by His spirit, which is His revelator; that will be our guides and bring 'all things to our rememberance'; even our pre-mortal identity and relationship with Him. He wants us to know who we are!
8.He ordained the Family; we did not chose these; He chose these and adapted them to us according to the knowledge we needed to gain from the individual members as well the love we needed to feel from them.
9. He Ordains Prophets; every prophet was sent with a message of love to mankind; especially if that message was repentance. He foreordained these servants with the foreknowledge that they would not be accepted even in their own countries and would die for their testimonies.
10. He Restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which at it's core is based on the doctrine of the Atonement; which is the greatest act of love in behalf of Heavenly Father to His children. It is even harder to sacrifice One's Son than to sacrifice oneself. The Atonement made possible all that we can can hope for including the greatest gifts of our Heavenly Father; eternal life.