Dear Family,That was probably the strangest title I have ever had for an email. I am full with so many complicated emotions that I am left feeling confused about how I really feel about this. One year ago tomorrow, I left and walked away from everything I had ever known. All my interests. An education. My friends and family. I really left not having any idea what was about to happen to me and I look back a year later not exactly sure what did happen.This year has been the hardest year of my life. I have never felt so tried, pushed, stretched, or worked. I have often wondered if I really wanted to be here and if all of this was really worth it. I mean, it would be a lot easier to go home and watch TV, right? A lot easier not to even try to help people, who for the most part don't want it. Well, a couple weeks I came to a realization. I was talking to my companion about one of his friends who went home from a mission because it wasn't his thing. Well, I thought a lot about it and realized that almost all the stories from the scriptures were examples of people who did things that probably weren't their "thing". I'm sure Nephi, didn't exactly enjoy killing Laban. I would bet that the early saints didn't really want to keep moving after everthing they had built in each spot. And I'm sure that Abinadi didn't like it that no one believed him. And neither did Joseph Smith when he told everything about the things he had seen. But from all of these examples I learned one thing. That sometimes, we have to do difficult things because it is required of the Lord. Sometimes we have to "gird up our loins" and keep fighting.Thats not to say that I have only gone through trials in the past year. Because that would not be true one bit. I have had successes, baptisms, and lots of wonderful times. I have met many amazing people, and made some really good friends. But as much as I have tried to help people here, I think that I have been the person to benefit the most from my missionary service.I am completely different that when I entered the MTC 364 days ago. Not that my personality has changed, which it really hasn't. And I look pretty much the same. But I have seen tremoundous aamount of growth in my maturity and my spirituality. I think the amount of new challenges that I face every day have taught me so many things that I think would have taken me years to learn in a different setting. I have learned how to make goals, plan, communicate myself. I have figured out how to love better and how to have more patience. I have a completely different perspective on life and the blessings that we really have. And of course my testimony has grown incredibly. And I know that I would not have learned these lessons anywhere else. Yes, I missed a year of school. Yes, I missed watching the Nuggets have their best year ever. Yes, I have missed everything that I used to love to do for a year. Yes, I missed spending time with my friends and family for the last year. But in the end, I have gained much more than I ever lost, and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. The best part is, I have 1 year left.
Love you guys a ton. Have a great week.love,Elder Gleave
i am so impressed by all of the thousands of missionaries out there. gosh, that whole serving-others-while-serving-the-lord thing is just the coolest.