2006: My Personal Year in Review

January 2, 2007

CactusWell, it’s the end of the first day of 2007.  I want to go back and look at all the things that have happened to me during the past year or so.  I think this has been one for my personal record books.

In January I was living with Elder Liu, a native missionary, in Wanhua.  Wanhua is one of the oldest parts of Taipei and pretty run-down and slummy.  It hadn’t baptized in about a year.  When I arrived there I was plagued with the question of “What do I do with the 12 weeks remaining to me?”

The things accomplished in the last 2 months I spent in taiwan seemed to fill a whole year of life for me.  The move into Wanhua marked the final change into the missionary I always wanted to be but didn’t know how to be.  I learned how to enjoy life all the time no matter what we were doing.  I learned how to have vision.  I made goals based on my work and faith in the lord and saw them come to pass in astounding detail.  My prayers became more powerful than ever – It was rare to not receive an immediate answer to prayer.  My heart felt so full every day that I finally understood what Alma meant when he wished to be an angel – not focusing on what he wished he could be, but focusing on how badly he wished he could do more!  I embraced and rejoiced in the sappy missionary mentality – praising god and acting happy all the time.  It was amazing.  I learned what it is that makes heaven so wonderful and desirable.  I learned how to love more deeply than I ever believed possible.  I received answers to questions very distinctly.  I received blessings I didn’t think I deserved.

3 stories of blessings:

1.  Got a letter with bad news in it.  I offered up a silent but heartfelt prayer as how to act – should I spend the remaining time that day writing back?  Should I fight?  Should I give up?  The answer came immediately and clearly:  Ignore it.

All worked out better than I could have hoped.

2.  It looked like our only chance for baptism in the Wanhua area was going to fall through.  Once again, standing in a crowd looking to me for an answer I prayed silently and quickly for aid with these words:  “What would you have me do?”  The answer came instantly and unmistakably.  A miracle occurred and our friend was baptized my last day on the island of Taiwan.   (Note:  Also my last day on taiwan I read a report of all the baptisms from that weekend and found that one of my very first investigators from my very first areas finally got baptized.)

3.  Elder Holland, an ordained apostle, visited several missions while passing through asia.  The weeks before he arrived in our mission I decided to pray for an answer to a question or problem to come through his preaching to us or through inspiration to me while he spoke.  But I didn’t know what to ask for.  Finally I went to the Lord, somewhat ashamed at being so selfish but unable to think of anything else and asked “Please let him speak about what to do to prepare to go home or what a missionary ought to do once he’s home.”  When Elder Holland spoke to our mission he went on for 20 minutes right at the beginning about going home from the mission.  My mission president later revealed to me that Elder Holland hadn’t talked on that subject at all at any of the other missions he visited.   The subjects and revelations of that talk have been with me and influenced me the whole year since.

The last 2 months of my mission were so overwhelmingly good that I can’t think back on that time without excitement and wonder.  I wonder what happened with the area and the investigators.  I am amazed and overwhelmed with memories of the experiences and feelings and people.

Enough.  I gush.

I returned home at the beginning of March.  I met my new brother-in-law and immediately felt comfortable with him.  I spent some time at home but after just a week or so felt pretty ansy and ready to be active in doing something.  I applied to SUU and BYU, determined to move as soon as I got an answer.

I was soon rejected from BYU and by my ex girlfriend.  I returned to Cedar City to work and to attend school.  A great confidence boost came as I returned to my old workplace, Applebees, and found that they remembered me and that the general manager was willing to hire me “in an instant.”  I had been feeling a little less than confident.

Some old relationships were re-forged.  Some were cut off entirely.  I found myself mostly alone most of the time, but okay with it.

I soon managed to convince my old girlfriend that she needed to date me.  It wasn’t long after that that I convinced her she needed to marry me.  The decision was made to stay in town so that I could graduate from college (hopefully to come), thus putting her graduate school on hold.

In July we got married in the St. George temple.  It was life altering but in a surreal kind of way.  We fell into the habits and lifestyle of marriage so easily that we wondered if we might be doing something wrong.  The marriage feels as if it’s been going on for a long time and yet it’s hard to believe it’s been 6 months already.

Neither of us were inclined to wait for children, but we were both pretty surprised at how fast Kayeleen got pregnant.  In a strange twist of math, the baby’s due date is 2 days before our 9 month anniversary.  Watching the baby (and my wife) grow has been an exciting and, again, surreal experience.

In the mean time I was back in school with a new major – communication.  The summer semester went great, then the fall semester seemed like a horrible dragging weight by comparison.  I still managed to get A’s and B’s out of all of my classes, gradually pulling up my GPA.

I also found and sold an expensive microphone, giving us some financial padding and tempting me to try the ol’ “buy and sell on ebay” trick – but I found I was the recipient of a one-time blessing and have since been the target of scams and lowball offers on anything else I try to sell.

I think it should be noted that the most influential event so far has been the mission.  It has impacted every aspect of my life since – decision to marry, choices in friends, work ethic, school decisions, career decisions, and daily habits.   My sincere recommendation to anybody who hasn’t gone is to go and go now.

I’m sure there’s more to tell about the year, but what it is I can’t remember at the moment.

-Greg

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One Response to “2006: My Personal Year in Review”

  1. kella bella Says:

    RYN: You don’t ever need to worry that I’ll be mad about you (or anyone else) having a child. I totally understand. I’m a woman, and I have irrational moments, but (hopefully) those are the minority. Still, with access to my (somewhat) private diary, I can understand why you’d be worried. Diaries tend to present a skewed version of myself… and a side dominated by irrationality.

    I’m sorry I probably didn’t congratulate you on you & Kayleen’s pregnancy earlier; I guess congrats are definitely in order now. Congrats!

    Oh, and every time I see the guy on scrubs, he reminds me of you. (I’ve actually never seen scrubs, but someone told me that’s the show he’s in.)

    That is all.


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