I figured that nothing I could write formally would do this any kind of justice. So I decided to write one final poem that hopefully lets you all know how I feel about all this. Here it is:
I left to serve a mission, because Christ asked me to,
I said I'd give up all I had, if He would see me through,
I put away my music, and all the friends I had,
The zombie games and movies, and that car that barely ran,
Christ said, "leave it all behind, for only THAT will do,
I'll strip away your weaknesses, and show you what is true,"
I left and thought I'd given all, until the first time came,
Christ showed me I was holding on, to things of lower grade,
Pretty soon came halfway through, I thought of how I'd done,
Of all the things I'd given up, to be a righteous son,
Less and less came letters, but more and more came prayers,
I'd grown so tired of drunks and liars, and funny "gringo-stares,"
I cried at night, and thought at day, to Christ and what He'd done,
I wanted Him to be my friend, I prayed for Him to come,
A year had come and then had gone, and come and gone again,
I found myself now face-to-face, with a quickly-coming end,
I thought of all the things I'd learned, in only two short years,
Traits I had developed, and all my conquered fears,
Christ made of me what I could not, and showed me how to be,
What I myself could not have been, if all were up to me,
I rejoice in all His mercy, I live through all His grace,
My Master and the Savior, of all the human race,
For He is full of glory, and He is full of love,
He's held me true for two years through, with guidance from above,
It all has been as if a dream, since I first heard my call,
To walk with Him a season, and give to Him my all,
The dearest time of all my life, must shortly have it's end,
I leave with many promises, and one Eternal Friend,
Who paid the price to save my life, because He loved me so,
Who saw me through the hardest times, and showed me where to go,
What more could I say, when all has been said,
Yet not a worthy thing,
Was ever heard in all my words,
Nor all that I could sing,
He lives; and I love Him,
And I will thank Him forever,
For loving, and living, and dying for me,
And for calling me on a mission.
So there it is. The last letter home. All I have to say is that I could never say enough, but that if I had to pick one thing from among the many things that I could say, it would be that I love Him. Jesus Christ is Savior of all the world. I know He lives. I hope everybody who reads this can desire to know Him better. The more we know and understand His character, the happier we become. I testify of this with all my heart. He never gives up on us. There is always room for growth. There is a road back from any detour that we might have taken in this life. I beg everyone to please have the courage to take that same road back. Because it's the only road that can make us happy. Don't doubt your value. God wants EVERY ONE OF US no matter who we are or what we have done, to be with Him forever. All He wants is to have His family back. Let us give Him that. We are all of such great worth. Let us not waste ourselves on the empty things of this world. We have the rights to something better. If you don't like the way your life is, CHANGE IT! It's that easy. One decision. change our hearts to "want to obey" position. Nobody can do it for us. The Atonement is real and it works. Don't doubt in it. Do not lose your hope in better things to come...
1. Which area of the Trujillo Mission will you miss most?
Santiago de Chuco, or Casa Grande
2. What are Pres Marlers words of advise for you coming home?
2 and 3. They haven't talked to me yet.
3. What are Sister Marlers words of advise for you coming home?
2 and 3. They haven't talked to me yet.
4. What is your favorite thing you have learned on your mission?
5. What advise will you give your companion you are training about his mission?
Throw yourself into this work. The Lord will never let you fail. (remind me to tell you that story when I get home)
6. Do you have a last meeting with all the missionaries where you and all the outgoing missionaries speak?
yes. It's a sob fest
7. Will you stay in the mission home the night before you fly out?
8. Do you know Elder Dority well? I see you will be traveling home with him. He must be from SLC?
Yes. and He knows Joylynn. he says she was his teacher
9. Are there any traditions in your mission?
............. can I answer all this when I get back? Every one of these questions requires years and many pages to answer........ ha ha ha ha ha ha.
........ I'll take that as a "yes."
one hour of internet to tell about a whole week is like trying to drink a thick wendy's freezer through a coffee straw.... it just doesn't get the job done.
I will see you next week.
*** Chance comes home on March 24 and wont be able to email next week. I will post pics of the airport reunion.
ALL MY PACKAGES ARRIVED THIS WEEK! THANK YOU VERY MUCH! And Handleys...... quit joking about that mini van. I pray every night that I don't ever have to see it...........
I am continually sunburned and yes, my hair is ridiculously blonde now. Alto Moche is an oven.
So I have a running list of funny things I am going to do when I get home...... I think you'll enjoy them........ you will want me leave for another 2 years by the end of the first week........ I think you have become unaccustomed to my humorous idiocy. You know that I am only going to speak spanish during the REAL soccer games. Oh yeah.......
I only have one more "write home session" after this one, you know?
I have to go now. I love you. Tell dad and Courtney I said hi.
1. Are you in pain from your toes?
Naw. They've been this way for so long now that I don't even notice them anymore. They have at least a solid 15 months like this. Ha ha ha. I think they'll go back to normal when I don't have to walk for 10 hours a day in the sand........ that probably has something to do with it......
2. Can I make you a foot dr appt for the following week?
Sure. But only if you promise that they will not do what the doctor here did, and remove my entire toenail. It was super painful. Ha ha ha
3. What are we going to do for general conference? It will be our first one together in 2 years.
I really would like to watch it from home......................
I feel bad because I really don't have much to say at this point...... just that I love all of you, and that I am excited to see you all again. Please go easy on me when I get back. Can we eat Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner that first night? with whole milk? I am so tired of food. Ha ha ha ha ha.
How is uncle Ted doing?
How is the temperature? Do I have to come back to snow?
Do you guys feel the same utter and complete peace that I do at this time? or during this time, I should say. There is a certain peace about this all. It's like the end of a huge war when the dust is clearing, and the sounds of bombs have stopped, and there is just utter silence before the people shout for victory........ know what I mean?
I gotta go. Love you bye!
Thanks to Sister Marler I get pictures once in a while. This is what she posted on her blog last week:
Elder Leavitt and Elder Tway with their "short" companion Elder Boekweg.
Not sure why Elder Boekweg does something funny in every picture,
or makes a funny face....
...but Becky Boekweg, this one is for you, it wasn't easy, but I got this terrific smile!!!
Questions: 1. How is the "invasion"
It's good. Oh man I must be terrible at these letters.....
2. Are you still with Elder Rivera? Will you be till the end?
3. Can you look at BYU.edu to see what classes you can take?
I don't know......... I will check
4. What time do you come home on the 28th?
I don't know
5. Have you ever had a baptism in a regular font?
Of course I have.................... I REALLY must be bad at letters.......
6. Do you have any families right now that you are close to?
Yes. The family of the bishop. Our other family had to move away because they were tired of getting robbed all the time..... ha ha ha
7. Are you still writing to your friends?
No....... I don't. I figure they are like me, and don't have much time to respond anyway. But I plan on writing those still in the mission field when I get home.
8. Do you do splits in your area with members?
A recent rule passed says that we can't do splits anymore. Something bad must have happened in the mission with that.
9. How much help do you get from members?
It's decent here. The church is new in this part of Perú, so the members struggle a lot. Most of the members of ward counsel are in actives themselves. Thats how it's been my whole mission. It's a frustrating work, but these people need help that way. EVERYONE in Perú is inactive, has recently been inactive, or soon will be inactive. Ha ha ha ha. Very few members actually get a hold on the true nature of the Gospel here. That it is something we can never leave behind. This call to be a member is forever. But in a world where there are many churches on every block, it's hard to see the church as something "different." Trujillo has an activity ratio of 2/10. Meaning, that 2 out of every 10 registered members is active. It all has to do with what happened in the 80's and 90's when people thought it was a good idea so hike out to the farthest camp and baptized a hundred small children who have no support, and expect that they would stay active after there were no missionaries in those far-out reaches. That's what President Uceda explained to us. Missionaries came in for a long time thinking that they needed to go home with a huge list of converts. What they were missing was that a CONVERT should be focused on becoming CONVERTED instead of BAPTIZED. It's just that the vision was different then. We understood the work differently. It has evolved and become even better than it used to be. It is the same great work, just phase 2. "the rescue."
10. What kind of a church building are you meeting in there?
A standard Peruvian chapel.
11. What is the name of the city you are in?
12. Did you get your bday package? It was in an envelope so I didn't think it would have to go thru customs.
YES! Thank you so much! Dad's beard is ridiculous. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. And Grandma Boekweg, thank you for your letter! You will have to let me know when we can go. Grandpa Thorpe, thank you very much as well. I look forward to interviewing you for a family history project. For that matter, you will all get your turn.
I almost cut my finger off this week. I was being dumb trying to use a Gillette razor to cut off part of my pen that doesn't let me put it in my pocket, when it slipped and left a centimeter deep slice wounds across the tip of my left pointer finger. I am lucky the skin didn't detach completely, or it may have been a problem with guitar in the future. Ha ha ha ha. Idiot............ It bled a ton.
I am going to the Trujillo Temple dedication? Sweet!!! Thank you so much for this.........I am so grateful for this opportunity. I am looking forward to it so much.
I should probably tell you that I am EXTENDING MY MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I asked President for a whopping 3 days more. I will come home on the 28th now in the morning. Just in time for the homecoming talk the very next morning! That'll be sweet. I'll be fresh. I am extending because Elder Leavitt was going to be the only missionary that went home that day (thanks to an extension that president asked from him to train the next office guy.) I don't know what I'll be doing for those three days, but it really isn't that much of a difference. I might go back to the office and help Elder Leavitt train the new health guy, because I used to do it too. So put three more days on your countdown!
My package has not arrived yet. It must be stuck in customs or something. Maybe it will come this week?
I really don't have much to say this week.......
Mom...... I love you.
Got to go again. But I love you very much. I'll see you soon. Tell me what you want from Perù. Thank you for making miracles posibles.
Last night, my companion shined my shoes for me while I took a shower, and as I picked them up and stared at them, I realized how worn they were. I realized that I have walked a VERY VERY VERY long distance in them. I cried. I don't want this to end. I have never been so happy and so sure that I had a purpose. My soul has never felt such a profound thing..... it's sadness, but happiness that I will get to see everyone again.
It sounds like Brayden is already a general authority. I could write his biography on LDS.org right now if I wanted. Ha ha ha. Everyone seems happy. So Brayden and Sadie are engaged, eh? Right on. CONGRATS, GUYS! I have waited for this day for many years...... ha ha ha ha.
I only have 5 more letters home........ and then I AM home................ And I have absolutely no idea what comes after that. I sure hope I can figure it out quick. I don't want to waste any time.
I have thought a lot about the temple this week. There is no greater blessing than those that are had in the temple. We can in no other place find a promise so eternal. We can be with the people we love forever. Without ever having to worry about losing them. We all need to focus more on those blessings. Go to the temple more. Remember more clearly that it is for that very reason that we are here in mortality........ and that's my thought for the week.
Happy Birthdays, cousins! ¡Feliz Cumpleaños, primas! Me parece que debo escribir eso en ambos idiomas para que todos me puedan entender. MJ- Vamos a hablar mucho cuando estè en casa yo. Me tienes que ayudar a recordar lo que he aprendido aquì para siempre. ¡Te contarè historias de la tierra de tu papà! Seguro que èl tambien tendrà aùn màs historias que yo, y yo las quiero escuchar en ¡PURO CASTELLANO! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Grandma Boekweg - "Cancha" or Popcorn, is a highly popular snack food here. They eat it at all times during the day. Morning, afternoon, night, etc. So yes, we do get to eat popcorn every once in a while. There is an abundance of corn here in Peru
I have to go now...... but I love you. Until next week, and until next month when I can talk forever if you want, I guess I'm signing off. Isn't that the most frustrating thing? Ha ha ha. I have consistently hated that in the mission. I wish I could type faster. But it won't be a problem for too much longer.