As many of you know, Josh had surgery last week in Slidell and was cleared today to go to his new area. So many people took great care of Josh as he recovered; the people in Louisiana and Mississippi are incredible and we, as a family, are very grateful. Here are a couple of notes from Josh.
Well, cabin fever doesn't even begin to cover it. I am just reading and writing non-stop every day. By the end of today, I will have finished the entire gospel of Matthew in two days, which doesn't begin to cover all of the other reading (Jesus the Christ and Increase in Learning by Elder Bednar) I've been doing.
So surgery. What an experience that was. Surprisingly, it was actually spiritual. As I sat all alone in pre-op waiting for the nurse to come put my IV in, I just sat and listened to all of the conversations going on around me - nurses, loved ones, doctors - and I kept getting this overwhelming feeling of love for everyone there. Strange, but true. Normal people trying to do their best in life who are very willing to talk to you because you aren't wearing a white shirt and tie. I genuinely felt like the gospel could bless each of their lives so much if they would only open up and provide an opportunity for the gospel to be shared with them.
When I woke up, I was experiencing a whole new level of pain. Crazy. But the cool thing was this - whenever I would start to shake from the pain, I would say a prayer asking for it to stop, and the second I would say amen, everything, pain included, was gone. It was mind-blowing. Our God is a God of miracles who answers prayers, that is for sure.
Yes, I had a couple of missionary experiences with my nurse after the surgery. As I was in all of that pain, I felt really strongly that the Savior loved her, and so I told her "Jesus Christ loves you and appreciates what you do to help people." She stopped and looked at me and replied, "thank you for saying that," but I can only imagine what was going through her head as a drugged up and groggy 19 year old kid tells her that Jesus loves her. Looking back on it I couldn't help but laugh at the way I must have looked. It was funny because about 6 minutes later I said "I'm a missionary for my church" (as part of our conversation) and she said, "I could tell." Haha it was good. But then I asked her if she would say a prayer with me and grabbed a hold of my arm and I prayed and mentioned her in the prayer and she was so appreciative.
As of now, the pain is fine, but I'm still not 100% back. Hopefully I'll be there soon. I'm just excited to get up to Coushatta and get to work.
Here's a thought from "Increase in Learning" before I close:
"Spiritual knowledge cannot be given by or borrowed from another person. Shortcuts to the desired destination do no exist. Cramming for the ultimate final examination on the day of judgement is not an option. In this eternally important endeavor, the Lord's pattern is 'line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more' (2 Nephi 28:30) . . . With multitudes of secular influences trying to counteract the truth about and from God, no one can thrive by attempting to borrow light from the spiritual lamps of other people." (p. 16,70)
"Praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving, and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost. The commandments from God we obey and the inspired counsel from Church leaders we follow principally focus upon obtaining the companionship of the Spirit. Fundamentally, all gospel teachings and activities are centered on coming unto Christ by receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives" (From "Receive the Holy Ghost" Oct. 2010)