Hiya Mum, Dad, and Family,
Well surprise another email. It was Zone Conference this past week and so as always President Pilkington has asked us to write home about what we learned and let me tell ya I learned many many many things. This is what I wrote to President, it is what I learned. I hope it makes sense. Also the reason I resent the email (Monday's email) is because apparently myldsmail was down last week and didn't send some emails so President also told us to resend the emails that we sent.
Much of what was said made me think about what I am doing and who I am as an individual. I thought a lot about if I was a true follower and servant of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. For the past few months I have felt like I am going in a circle, I plateaued. I didn't feel like I was progressing much or learning much. I couldn't figure out why this was the case. I tried everything that I knew how to do. I went back to the 12 weeks and to studying more intently the scriptures, to making my prayers more meaningful. I still wasn't going anywhere. Sister Pilkington talked about how we need to have a sound structure. It reminded me about the bible story of sowing seeds. How some will hit rocky ground and not become rooted. I then thought about what had been happening in life. I would say that I am rooted in the Gospel. I know that the church is true and that this gospel is true. So I got a bit more confused than I already was. But then I was reminded of when Alma speaks about growing a seed of faith. I learned that a seed is grown from consistently feeding it and watering it. I came to the conclusion that I had rooted my seed but because it was flourishing so much I got complacent and decided to stop feeding it or only feed it occasionally. My plant started to wither. I thought... but I am studying and working hard how could it be withering. I remembered back to what Sister Pilkington said about not cutting corners. We have been talking loads about obedience. I do my very best to be obedient or so I thought. I came to realize that I wasn't being exactly obedient with small things. Such as not working out vigorously or getting out of the flat on time, because I had to get my stuff ready. It didn't happen all the time but I would justify these things and say its okay I am working hard. This is what has been wrong. I had an epiphany at Zone Conference. "Being almost obedient will almost bring blessings." I told myself that now was the best time to start being completely obedient. I am happy to say that the first day to my regrowth has begun and so far been very successful.
You then mentioned many times how the mission will determine the person I will be later. If I am obedient to commandments now then I will be obedient to commandments later in life. I know that this gospel has blessed my life. I don't know everything but I know that it has blessed my life immensely. I know that I would be nothing without it, especially the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am not perfect, I will not be perfect until I return to my Father in Heaven but I hope that when that day comes I will be able to stand tall and say I did my best and that He will turn to me and say well done my son, you have been faithful in a few things. Now is the time for me to make 180 degree turn and "sell all I have and follow my Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ". I know that it may be hard at times but I want to do this. I want to be on His side, this is all because I have truly felt Heavenly Father's love and I want to make Him happy. Now is the time for me to change. There may be moments when I want to "go back to Egypt" but I know if I hold onto the feelings I have already had I will be able to continue in righteousness.
I have mentioned this before but one of my favourite sayings in "Hakuna Matata". It means leave the past behind you. The Israelites kept looking back and wanting to go back because things were hard. They forgot what God had done for them. But if we don't look back even when things are hard we will always go forward no matter how long it takes. My Dad sent me a quote at the beginning of the mission. I can't remember it all but it was talking about a bow and arrow. The quote explained that "in order for an arrow to go far it has to be stressed, it has to be pulled back. But when that arrow is released it flies and lands in the place that it needs to be". God is the Archer. He knows exactly how much opposition we need to help us become what He wants us to be. It will be stressful to the point where we feel like we might break but if we hold on and don't look behind us, if we trust God then we will without a doubt fly further than we expected. This doesn't mean that it will be smooth sailing after He releases us, we will still have the wind in our faces and the hard impact when we hit the spot we need to be but we will experience great joy and see the distance we have gone. I love my Heavenly Father and I hope that I will be able to continue to be strained so I can go forward. I also hope and pray that one day I will be where My Father wants me to be. Now is the time and today is the day for me to change. I will not go back to Egypt.
It is incredible how much I learned. I feel a little overwhelmed and I can't put into words many of the things I learned and many of the feelings I had. I hope you all know that I love you. I want you to continue to hold to the rod. Trust in Heavenly Father, He knows the way.
God be with you till we meet again. On our way. #10sof1000s. He Lives.
Love, Elder Tyler Rife
Along with Tyler's insightful email from what he learned at his zone conference, I'm also going to add
an email to Tyler from his Dad. I wanted to share Steve's response to Tyler so we would have it on Tyler's blog. I feel like it is really insightful as well and I want to always have it to refer to.
(My goal is to have Tyler's blog printed into a book for him when he returns home.)
Whoever is following Tyler's blog...you are pretty lucky! You are reading this email from his Dad even before Tyler gets to read it! Hope Tyler doesn't mind!!! :) I'm sure he won't!