July 25 hand-written letter, received Aug 12

July 25, 2016

Dear Family,

Missions are incredible. I am a totally different person from just two-and-a-half months of centering my life on the gospel. I have learned so much about the gospel, life, myself, and human nature, along with a million other things I could write books about. One big thing I have come to know about is the nature of the gospel. In terms of topics of knowledge, it is the most wide and deep of them all. It can be incredibly complicated. At the same time, it is supremely simple. God gave us something that fits perfectly with everyone’s life regardless of upbringing or circumstance. It combats human nature in a perfect way to turn us into glorified children of a heavenly being.

With an eternal perspective that comes by living gospel principles, life becomes much simpler. I now understand why people say that life is easy with the right mindset. It is not easy in the sense that it takes little work, but in the sense that it seems within your capabilities to handle. God is always there, and we need only to reach out in prayer. He increases our capacities as we arouse our faculties. We can handle anything life throws at us if we have faith. But we must remember that our God is a fourth watch God oftentimes. He comes when we are desperate because sometimes that is what we need to grow. Isn’t that the whole purpose of our life here on earth: to grow? God knows our troubles, trials, and sorrows. His Son, through whom He touches our lives, went through all of the crap we have to deal with. We have Heavenly Parents and an Elder Brother watching over us. That is the most comforting truth in existence, aside from the reality of the Atonement. Well, technically that truth is part of the broad topic of the Atonement.

I know that with my Watchers’ help, accessed through the Atonement, I can overcome my weaknesses that become so blatantly obvious in the mission field. You find a weakness, then another, then another, and then you find the mother weakness that gave birth to those three, and then the grandmother of them all! It’s exciting and disappointing at the same time. Some missions might not be terribly hard physically (mine is) or maybe not emotionally (mine is) or maybe not spiritually (mine is), but I believe they will all be hard mentally. No one is perfect, and in no situation on earth is that more personally clear than on a mission. As long as you are teaching and trying to live eternal truths, you will be tried. The rewards for the work are more tremendous and immediate than any other time. The hymn, “Count Your Blessings” becomes ridiculous because it is impossible to name all of your blessings one by one. Of course, it is always important to give thanks for as much as possible though!

I still have not yet received any mailed letters I was told are coming my way. Let me know when you get this one. I love you guys and I love this work!

Elder Ethan Cade Brimhall