I guess they do come once in a while. :-)
Dear Mamãe (Mom),
This is a little note more than a letter. Today is P-Day and I am reviewing my conference notes for personal study. This year all those “Family Talks” made me really think about how blessed I am to have been born in our family. Sister Julie Beck gave a talk about mothers that made me think. She used the classic mother's day scripture – “Our mother’s knew it” and I saw it in a whole new light. I remember when I was younger, you would tell me to do things; like the time in the 6th grade, you told me to go and make friends with Steven Gilliland (and you had me say something completely ridiculous). It was awkward and hard, but I did it, and then I had a good friend that year when school was hard. Same thing with all those girls you had me ask out. For some reason, I always just did it (usually with a lot of your coaxing and prodding), and ALWAYS things turned out good. SOMEHOW, “MY mother knew it!”
Another thought I had was this: As a missionary, I am living a different kind of life here – all the focus is on study and serving others. This last general conference for me was AMAZING and I learned more than ever before. And so I thought: So this is what Mom always loved – this is why she took pages of notes while I drew pictures. This kind of life is new and great for me, but I can see that you were living this way my whole life. Clearly, “my mother [already] knew it!” Really, you have prepared me to be a missionary! During Elder Bednar’s talk, I remembered how you used to make the scriptures “exciting” by reading in different voices. It built an interest and love for the scriptures in me.
Anyway, thanks and I love you. The key was, I think, that THEY knew their mothers knew it. Thanks for the great example!
Dear Papaí (Dad),
Again, this is a note, not a letter. I am just studying the things I learned during general conference. I guess one thing a mission does is help develop an appreciation for family! I can see from “here,” all the things you guys did for me, better. During the talk by Elder Oaks I thought of you. He talked about “one-on-one” time with parents. I guess I thought of my favorite memories with you: Every father and son campout, those weeks of hooliganism when Mom and Alyce were at Girl’s Camp, Golfing/Goofing at the golf course together, remembering when we would run together at night, and more! I remember when I was really little, and after school it was just you and me in the gym at school; shooting hoops and goofing. And then, on the way home you ALWAYS bought me candy and we would buy a pack of basketball cards. I also remember those few months when we had monthly “dates” together. I liked the ice cream we would get, but even more, I liked talking with you. You’d ask about school and girls and stuff, and I felt SO happy to just tell you about me! Pretty cheesy, but I really loved the time we spent together “one-on-one”. It was just talking together that I felt your love most. Like Elder Oaks said, we give a portion of our lives to our choices. Thanks for choosing me!
I often think about you guys as the people who really “made me who I am.” I think how fortunate I was to be raised in a family that is faithful in the church. I think about your parents, Grandpa and Grandma Helland, who, even though they aren’t members of the church, support me in being a missionary. In a way, by their building of me and my family, they build the kingdom of God. So many family members do the same in so many different ways!
So, thanks, Pops, for being a great example to me. Maybe we weren’t always the best home teachers, but I do a pretty good job now so I must have learned something. :-)