Hiya Mum, Dad, and Family,
Surprise!!! President Pilkington asked us to write to our families about the things we learned at Zone Conference yesterday. To be quite honest my thoughts are all jumbled and I don't even know if any of it will make sense but I hope you get my drift!
Every single time it seems I learn something great from Zone Conference. I again have to say, I loved it. Everything which was said seemed to be directly for me. I was able to understand how to improve specifically as a missionary, as a district leader, and as a person. I learned the importance of the heart and where it should be. I know that there are multiple points and principles that were talked about that I will never forget.
One of those principles was what was spoken about by Sister Pilkington. My whole life I have tried to control my tongue, and, huh well that is something I struggle with quite a bit. Recently I have seen a bit of progression as far as not speaking about others wrongly or behind their backs. But this time I think what I got out of it was to think about what you are going to say before you actually say it. I loved the quote that Sister Pilkington stated about Thumper; "If you can't say nothin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." That statement is true. It is something that Mum has said to me all the time. It has been drilled into me and yet I have still had a hard time controlling what I say. Well recently I found another quote, it is an old Chinese proverb which states "Let your speech be better than silence, or be silent" That too is a very hard thing. I have made some goals as far as my language, in how I address people and how I respond to people. The number one goal that I made was first to think before I say. It is going to be tough but I know that I will be able to do it, with the Lords help of course.
I have been praying loads for guidance on how I can become a better missionary. I haven't been able to figure it out until yesterday. I realized that during companionship studies we were spending a lot of time going over what we studied and what we are going to do in the day, but we didn't spend much time practice teaching for lessons or for approaches. The past couple of weeks we have been practice teaching and we have seen loads of miracles. Because we have been preparing, the Lord has been preparing others for the message that we have to share. I learned that we must first seek diligently, and then the Lord's mysteries will be unfolded. We will be able to have the spirit with us and we will be given in the very hour the things which we need to say. Practice doesn't make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect. I need to start practicing more. Just because I have been on the mission for sometime now, doesn't mean I am the greatest or will continue to be the greatest, but if I practice, practice, practice, and practice some more, then I can come close to becoming a great missionary. That is what I have been lacking. I made some goals to go back to the essentials of Preach My Gospel. Study the lessons, and then practice them over and over again. That is how I will grow. That is how my Testimony will grow and that is how I will be able to help others testimonies grow.
The most fundamental and major thing which I learned though would probably be where the heart is. I thought I had my heart in the right place, which I think part of it was, but I also think that part of it wasn't. I have been so focused on how I can grow I have been blinded and couldn't see how I could help others grow. That is what this gospel is all about, helping others come unto Christ, whether it be non-members, less actives, members, or even your companion. I need to be more charitable, look at how I can help everyone around me. I need to lose myself in the work. I think I am still figuring out how I can put my heart in the right place and I haven't quite set some goals but I know that I need my heart in the right place and only then will miracles happen, will I see the hand of God in the wonderful work that we are doing. I know that the mission is hard and that it will continue to be hard but that is what all of life is about, enduring through the troubles and not complaining about it. there was so much that was meant for me at Zone Conference and from it I have learned so much and understand that I only have a few short months left and that they will fly by in no time. The question that has been on my mind, well a few questions, is what am I doing now to help others come unto Christ? Where is my heart? How can I become more of the missionary that God has placed me here to be? How can I use the short time I have to be effective? I guess those are some questions that I will be focusing and I will see where the path takes me from here.
I know that none of this made sense, but yeah! I hope you know that I am doing well. I love you all and hope you are all doing well. Please know that you are all in my prayers! Continue to stand tall and never deviate. This gospel is true and it will only bless our lives. Hard times will come but as long as we are faithful and righteous we are promised that we will never be alone. Hold tight to the rod and do not let go, it will lead us individually and as a family to the wonderful fruits of eternal life! Dad I am so grateful for your example, you have always taught me how to be a good young man, you have instilled in me principles which I will never forget. Mum I am thankful for how loving you have always been, you have shown me what true Christ-like love is, you never care about yourself, you are always serving others. Grandma, you too have shown love to everyone but yourself, you have shown me how to work hard and the rewards which come from it. Katelin, I am so thankful for your kindness and service, for your smile. Always trying to help out and make everyone happy. Nick, you treat my sister like a Queen, you know what it means to be compassionate, even with the things that you are going through. Kynsie, you have no idea what you have done for me, your testimony strengthens mine and your example of obedience is phenomenal. Kendra, you always like to have fun, you also care for every ones well being. That is a quality that I wish I had. Tanner, you are my best friend, but more importantly you are my brother. You have always stood next to me and been there for me as brothers do. You have been a great example to me. Keep going, keep trying, you know what is right. Kylee your beautiful smile and desire to make others happy is something that not many people have, but you make peoples day brighter when you walk in the room. Kinley and Mila, you are the most beautiful nieces I know. Energetic and loving. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family. I hope that I can gain the talents which you all posses and one day be able to be like you all. I love you. Thank you for being an example to me. You all have influenced my life and have shaped my life. I love you all.
Love, Elder Tyler Rife
PS. Happy Birthday Mila, you are growing up too fast.
Tyler didn't send a picture with this "surprise email" and I had been going through Katelin's blog looking for some pictures for something I was doing. I ran across the post Katelin had written right after Tyler had gone through the temple for the first time before his mission. I LOVED her post and all the pictures that we had taken to help us remember that special night.
I decided to share this picture with this "surprise email" post!
As I have lately looked back on some of his pictures from earlier in his mission I have noticed how much he has changed. He looks older and more mature. (At least sometimes more mature! :) )
He is really growing...not only physically but spiritually as well.
We all have surely been blessed by his missionary experience and I'm so thankful to be apart of it!