[Handwritten letter dated 10-24-2013, received 11-9-2013. He's mostly replying to a question I asked him in an earlier email, asking how mothers could better prepare their children to serve as missionaries.]
Dear Family and close peoples,
"What could have been done to better prepare for a mission?" rather, me trying to remember what question you asked in the recent email:
Honestly, to be a contributor to things like Sunday School and the seemingly very boring classes would have helped me prepare. That's hard in Utah, though, because nobody seems to contribute. It would've helped, and will help others, because the lessons that are taught in church often feel like the same lesson throughout our lives--and that's a problem. That means we aren't progressing our knowledge; we aren't becoming greater, better, or smarter. That is why we get bored. When the lessons are active and everyone is contributing, the knowledge of everyone is built. The lesson reaches a higher caliber, on that, uh oh, our teachers didn't even prepare for. But that's alright. Because we know so many of the basic principles, we must ask ourselves: "WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH IT?"
Often times, the answer is nothing. We're sleeping in class. We. Are. Bored. If I remember correctly, the questions was asking what mothers can help with. The answer: raise contributors, discussion-makers, thought-provokers. There is a reason why we always hear about someone's kid in Family Home Evening saying something remarkable that caused the parents to ponder. That reason is because the kid is trying to satisfy that human emotion of boredom, of dissatisfaction, and the only way the poor kid has to do that is to think deeper into the Family Home Evening lesson. Too often do we stop our learning and become convinced that we've learned enough and just need to put in to practice those things. That is false. There is always more. I'm not saying that everyone should reach the weird questions of "What is the temperature of Aug 28th on Kolob if there is a slight breeze?" Really. There are stupid questions. Those ones can entertain us, make us not bored for a little while, but the questions that matter come as you envision your life with a certain principle, as you ponder on what seems to be a primary answer. These questions do more than just satisfy our boredom. They change who we are. The simple principles come to life before our eyes. All of the sudden, we'll be making those thought provoking remarks that were before reserved for children..
So my advice sums up to this: never be bored of the gospel. Don't teach lessons, discuss them.
[I have some follow-up questions and comments for him, such as "so then, how do you raise 'contributors'?" This can be even more tricky with introvert vs. extrovert personality differences. I think that the new Sunday School curriculum is trying to address this with more discussion based lessons. I should also point out that I was his Sunday School teacher for a year and a half--he better not be calling me boring. ;-) We'll save that for another day]
Dang I'm good. Let's just stop with the whole letter thing for a moment and think about how so totally rad that sounded.
So, I forgot to mention in the other letter dated for the 23rd: ONE MONTH UNTIL THE WEDDING!
I'm so happy when I think about it, and I try not to be too sad when I think about missing it. There's an investigator getting married this coming Sunday... and it makes me think about how it must be for you guys back home. It's such an exciting thing!
I received my first handwritten letter yesterday along with some DearElders, and it was great! I love reading Ryatt's handwriting, and you'll find a letter to him in this envelope as well. Mom, I even like seeing your handwriting on the envelope--I can just imagine you guys all doing that with Ryatt!
Dad, thank you for being such an amazing example for me. Looking back on it, I love the memories I have of us working together on projects. From building bunkers for the Ogden field to setting up Halloween, I wish I had done more.
Kona and Hawi: Bark bark! *shines a laser on the ground*
I love you all. I know there is a lot more in store for me here, and I know it's not going to be easy. Even right now isn't easy. The finish line will be the greatest achievement of my life so far, easily.
God be with you.
Elder Makani Rain Price
P.S. Elder Khasiahi from Kenya wants Emily Smithson's email address.