Dear Mom and Dad,

I hope you saw some pictures from the dance festival. It was awesome! It was like a youth conference. All of the mission sang. It was a great missionary opportunity.

The facebook page for the festival is: https://www.facebook.com/ldspdxyouthdancefestival

The web page for the festival is: http://www.pdx-youthdancefestival.com/

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Dance Festival

     Okay, now then! I’m glad to hear that you had a great vacation and didn’t get washed out to sea by the hurricane! Being mentioned in the Advance News is big time…Good for you! LOL I’m glad you had some good barbecue! I had some as well. This family made some pulled pork for us. It was great!  One of the crazies things about my area is that we eat with different people every night, a different ward every week. We cover the top half of the Beaverton stake, so just imagine it like one week we eat with the Athens Ward, the next week is Cleveland, next week Hixson, and so on. We meet so many amazing people every night at dinner. It’s amazing up here!

     Ok so 4th of July. We had a joint Spanish party at a park with our group, the Spanish Ward I served in, and a Spanish branch in Tigard. We played Lotería! It’s a Mexican version of Bingo. Thanks for my 4th package! They had those sparkling hats at the party too, and I probably still have some glitter on me. I was America pumping everyone all day.

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     President Ballard (our new mission president) is awesome!. He’s really neat. He’s the son of an Apostle! I have sort of a 2 minute interview with him next week, that’ll be fun.  (I’m in the front row of the pics…can you find me?)

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     So I’ve got one year and a week left in the mission. It’s crazy. I’m definitely not ready to come home yet, but this next year should be great! I’m at the point where I know what to do, who to stop by, and how to listen to the Spirit to be more effective. I’m far from perfect, but the Lord knows I’m improving, even if slowly but surely. I miss the South like crazy. I miss rednecks, Walmart, Nascar, and Rocky Top.   

    I like this story from Brigham Young:

“Brigham Young was not baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the first year of his learning about the restored gospel. But of his conversion he said: “If all the talent, tact, wisdom, and refinement of the world had been sent to me with the Book of Mormon, and had declared, in the most exalted of earthly eloquence, the truth of it, undertaking to prove it by learning and worldly wisdom, they would have been to me like smoke which arises only to vanish away. But when I saw a man without eloquence or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and a light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true” (11: How Do I Help People Make and Keep Commitments?)”

    I try to be better every day in all that I do and I have learned the value of hard work. There have been times where I’ve been tired, hot, and missing home, but the remedy I’ve found is to buckle down and go to work. I’m so thankful for this Gospel and the love that Christ has for us knowing that we are not perfect and that He will always give us another shot. I love you all so much!

Elder Laing

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