New Year’s Reflections

Mom, Dad, and sisters, (1/4/90)

Things are good, now that I’m over the flu. It’s been a productive week or so. Not so much in terms of missionary work as in personal soul-searching and goal setting. President had us use the morning of New Year’s Day (while everyone else sobered up) to establish values and set goals for our mission and our life. That sure was nice. I was prepared and organized and made a lot of self-discoveries. A big one, oddly enough, is how close I’ve become to the scriptures. Most of the descriptions of what I want to do and be are clearest in the scriptures, so in a very real sense, the Word of God determined my life time – and mission time – goals. Which makes me feel good of course. Some examples: D&C 24:12, Acts 4:31 / Matt 5:6, 3 Ne 12:6, Psalms 143:5,6 / Jacob 5:71, 2 Ne 9:51, Prov 14:23 / Prov 27:2, 12:1, Ether 12:27… they say it better than I could.

About the Christmas money. Next year, let’s find a different way. Banks here would charge me about $7.50 to cash each check (I have 3). In this area, I have connections on base that’ll make it a lot cheaper [to cash the checks]. In the future though, some other way needs to be found. The banking system here definitely leaves something to be desired.

That was a good example of a regrettable attitude found amongst newer missionaries: anything "different" than the USA-way of doing things is "worse." Sigh. I got better…

After all that soul-searching and goal setting, you’d think I have a better idea what I want to do with my life. On the contrary, it’s made it worse. I’m considering everything now from Design Engineering to High School English to Ancient Scripture. Sad. Unfortunately, there is a painfully practical tug on the Engineering side – that’s where the scholarships are – and a painfully emotional tug on the writing and literary side.

At the time I was a little frustrated by the fact that my mission served to broaden my horizons in terms of what I could do for a career. Ultimately, I came home and took a class in everything and settled on Psychology with an eye to clinical psych. That morphed into an interest in educational psych, and then my love of technology began with the birth of the Internet, and so I married the two and went into educational technology. That got me my job at Microsoft, where my career has since taken all sorts of interesting turns 🙂 The real lesson of course is that the Lord has reasons for the gyrations he puts us through.

Mom, one thing about the "drag a horse to water" dilemma – I haven’t seen him approaching the water yet. Somebody has to start dragging or he’ll stay in the brush. Every time I’ve read my patriarchal blessing I feel more and more urged to do something. What? I don’t know. I think I may start writing him separately.

"him" is Dad of course. I’m not sure that I want to discuss in detail the meaning of my reference to my patriarchal blessing in public, as it’s pretty sacred to me. Suffice it to say that I felt some responsibility to be a good influence on my dad so that he might consider returning to being active in the church.

S is doing good, though I doubt she’s "progressing." I think she has Elderitis (a condition in which she wants to see us, not representative of the church – we’re so lovable), but I know she’s had true answers to prayers, too. Well, she’s coming to Church again, so… we’re still loving her and visiting her and sharing things (filmstrips, etc) and talking, etc, etc. True, a seed is planted and I console myself with the knowledge that if she joins the church, it will be ours His, I’m sure.

Heard some very interesting rumors yesterday. Bishop told the Ward Council that this area will shortly be receiving more Elders. He’s already looking for accommodations. That would mean the Iron Rod Squad is headed for Banbury. The Iron Rod Squad is a group of Elders (6 or so) that go in and "blitz" an area for 3-4 months. Boy, do we need it. So, life could get real different come Jan 31. Just rumor so far, though.

I can’t remember if they actually showed up. I guess we’ll see in future letters. I certainly don’t remember much coming of it if they did. I’m sure they had quite an impact in some areas they went, or President wouldn’t have kept it going.

Sounds like the girls are outdoing big brother. I often wonder how we’re all going to turn out – similar or different? Seems we all have talents in different areas. But then again, I’m not sure where my talents lie anymore. I know they’re there somewhere, I just can’t put my finger on them.

Boy, did we ever turn out different 🙂 In fact, it’s the big differences between me and my siblings that remind me to parent each of my children as unique individuals to the extent that I can.

Well, exist in never ending peace and tranquility while the multifaceted wheel of life rotates about your inner axis.

Später taters,  [an endearing farewell in German literally meaning "later, potatoes"]

Love, Elder Chris


  1. The Iron Rod Squad?  That sounds like the prestigous group to be a part of.  Never even heard of something that cool.  Just the traveling AP\’s and they spent 1/2 of their time visiting their "friend" missionaries.  

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