Monday, January 4, 2016

Piece By Piece

Hey everybody! Happy New Year's!
     This week I spent my first week in a new area! Being honest, by far one of the hardest weeks I've had in my mission. One thing about life is that there's always change. And as I've changed areas, people, and everything, it's been a hard change. No less, with the New Year coming, everyone is talking about "goals" and "resolutions" and "change" and I'm stuck on what I'm trying to be. I'm wondering what more I can do to be a better missionary in 2016. But more than looking ahead, I decided to look back on 2015. In 2015, there were so many things I learned about life that has prepared me to this point. So today I want to talk about the greatest tender mercy I received in 2015, months before I entered the MTC, and how one person changed my life, gave me hope, and has given me the hope to keep pushing forward even when the times are hard.
      I just barely walked into the hotel room and laid my stuff down. I was completely exhausted. I had played baseball all day long, and couldn't wait to just relax. Not having been in the room for thirty seconds, a knock came on the hotel room door. I opened it to find my little buddy, Broc Jacobsen, standing at our door, soaking wet. With sincere love, and a smile I'll never forget, he asked, "Tyson, do you want to come swimming with me?" At first I was surprised. I really wanted to say, "I can't, I'm super tired, I have to pitch tomorrow, and I need to relax." However, with the love I had for this little boy, all I could simply say with pure love in my heart was, "Yeah I'd love to. I'll be right there!"
      Me and Broc spent the whole night swimming together. It was a night that I will never forget. The joy that filled my heart as I spent the time with a kid that meant the world to me. After, we went back to his hotel room, where he was so excited to show me the legos that he had bought that day. For hours, we spent the time building legos, and talking with his dad, Landon. Broc would always turn to me and ask after he had put a few pieces on, "How does this look?" I would look at the instructions, and we would build it together. Sometimes we put pieces in the wrong places, took them off, rebuilt, and kept going, until we had this perfectly built lego figure. The joy and satisfaction that came from finishing it with little Broc can't be described. A night that I will never forget. When I walked out of the room that night, I didn't know it would be one of the last times I saw little Broc. However, he taught me a lesson of a lifetime that night as we built those legos. And although he's not here now, on days when I can't go any farther, I remember Broc and the lesson he taught me that night.
      Every single one of us is like legos. We're all given instructions from a loving Heavenly Father to follow. The instructions are so clear and obvious, yet sometimes we make mistakes. Often, we have to take the pieces off and do it again and again until we get it right. We keep following the instructions, building piece by piece until we have this perfect figure in our hands. There's only one difference though. In this life, we're the legos being built by the hands of our Father in Heaven. He's starting from scratch, building us piece by piece, taking pieces off, and rebuilding, until He gets us absolutely perfect. We're truly being built in the loving hands of our Father in Heaven.
      Little Broc taught me that I'm a work in progress. Despite how hard a mission is, I have to remember that sometimes I have to take pieces off in order to rebuild. He taught me that I can be happy no matter what I'm doing. He taught me to be grateful. How I've thought of him and this lesson he taught. As this new year approaches, I see me and little Broc building legos, knowing I'm still in the building process for the new year that's here. How grateful I am to be a missionary and to be changing each and every day.
      I love this gospel with all my heart. I know Christ guides every step I take. Even though I don't know where I'm stepping, I know He's there. I love my Savior, I love this gospel, and I'm grateful to be a missionary. This year, may we all be as legos. May we all realize the perfecting process of becoming like Christ as He builds us up, no matter what we face.
      I love you all . I miss you all and I'm so grateful for everything. From the bottom of my heart I say thanks. Love you guys can't wait for next week!
Elder Roper

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