I believe that we are blessed by the Lord just as fast as we prepare ourselves to receive blessings. I’ve seen this many times in my life. Most recently, I was offered an unexpected summer job here at home! I will be cleaning the local churches and maintaining church grounds! (That is the reason I glued grass on this week’s letter.) I know it doesn’t sound at all glamorous, but for some reason I love the idea of working in a quiet and familiar church. The older man that will be my manager laughed and said he loved the idea of Miss Emery County riding around on a riding lawn mower. Ever since he said that I picture myself mowing lawns with my banner and crown on, and for some reason I like the contradiction there.
I hope that you like your new job. That should really keep you busy. Yes, I too have mowed some lawns in my time, but it really isn’t as bad as I said, I just wanted sympathy.
I want you to know that I appreciate people now. I have seen so much good in people. There is light in everything you see if you are looking for it. The light in you is amazing.
P.S. Remember when I first saw you at the church. I called you “Amos”. Remember when I used to keep the basketball away from you and you’d always get it.
I’m sitting on my front porch swing on a beautiful rainy Sunday and I had to write you a letter! Sorry about the raindrops, but you know when it’s raining I HAVE to be out in it!
Thanks so much for the pictures! Your Mom and I were saying you look like you glow. Those people in California are the object of all of my envy because they get to see it in person. But they need you right now, and you are reaching so many of them. You really are amazing. I’m so happy to know you and write to you on your mission. Your letters and just the thought of you alone help me want to better myself.
P.S. Remember when I made you take off your shoes and wade in the gutter with me in the rain?
Thank you for the letter. It really brightened my day. It was very helpful. I truly did need to hear exactly what you said.
I’ve been thinking about the way I was in high school. I wish I could do it over again and really make a difference. I’m going to do all I can for people. Maybe I still can make a difference.
I have seen many conversions while I have been here in California, but perhaps the greatest conversion is my own. I want the whole world to know what happiness and peace the Gospel brings to all homes, and especially my own.
P.S. Remember when we were voted “cutest couple” in the yearbook?
P.S.S. I am calling home for Mother’s Day on May 12th at 8:15. I am allowed to talk to you for a few minutes.
I think of you a lot now that I spend so much time in the local church buildings. I have lots of memories of you there. I’m really glad you made some of the decisions you made back then. You were a lot smarter than I was. I’m glad you dated a lot, because I wouldn’t ever want to rob you of good learning experiences. You learned that I’m the best, right? ;) Anyway, it’s mostly thanks to what you did that we’ve come this far.
Last night your brother, Daymon, and his wife, Suzanne, did a fireside here in Ferron. I went and I couldn’t believe how much it made me think of you. Daymon is such an amazing person! He reminds me of you so much! They sang the song that you sang at your farewell. It was almost as if they wanted to torture me. ;)
Your Mom invited me over to visit when it was over and a lot of your family was there! My mouth always hurts when I leave your house because I can’t stop smiling and laughing the whole time I’m there.
Nathan remembered my name, piece of cake and his favorite Uncle is still “Uncle Rynie”. (I had to check that.) I hope all of this doesn’t make you homesick, but I wanted you to know how much I love your family. You are lucky to have them and they are lucky to have you.
P.S. Remember whenever I was at your house late, your Dad would invite me to have family prayer with you guys? That really touched me.
I’m listening to your tape right now for about the sixth time… in three days. Your family has listened to it as well. I love hearing your voice especially when you’re talking about your beliefs… or me… I kinda like it when you talk about me too. ;) I have GOT to record a tape for you! You wouldn’t believe how different it is from letters! It makes me feel like I know you a lot better, like you are right here talking to me.
When I first listened to your tape I was surprised to hear you say, “I hope you’re keeping a list of all the things I want to do when I get home.” I turned around, reached into my desk drawer and pulled out the piece of paper which is titled, “Things to do with Ryan when he gets home…” Amazingly, going to Zion’s and Bryce Canyons are two of the first things on the list. Yeah, I’m way ahead of ya. I’m just starting to realize how much you and I think alike and I love it!
It was so good to hear your voice on Sunday. You sounded great. I really don’t have a mind frame for anything except missionary work, so when I was talking to all of you I couldn’t think of anything to say. Yeah, I know it’s weird, but I couldn’t. I don’t mind it though. I want to be really out of it when I get home if that’s a sign of someone who was absorbed in missionary work.
It was great to hear your voice for the few minutes we talked on the phone. I had fun talking to the rest of your family while I was there too. Your nieces and nephews are the cutest kids in the whole world! I love them so much! Remember when you always said your kids will be cuter than my kids and they’ll beat my kids in basketball? Anyway, Trav told me to come and visit next time I’m in Price. I really do love your family like they’re my own.
I love the stories you tell me about the people you are teaching in California. Someday I want to meet the families. I feel close to them, even though I don’t know them. Maybe that’s because we share the same feelings for you.
P.S. There was a man working on the floor of the cultural hall last week and I was shocked and excited to find out he was from Yuba City! He told me he would find you when he goes back home and tell you hello for me.
(Author's note: Other missionaries added this lovely commentary to my envelope. I was amused to find that missionaries took the opportunity to embelish my evelopes with fake messages quite often.)
Yesterday Elder Hunt and I were out on our bikes and we were having a deep conversation about pride. He wasn’t looking where he was going. You know those “Road Work Ahead” signs? Well, Elder Hunt rammed the sign. I laughed a little bit. Okay, you got me, I laughed a lot.
P.S. I was standing in Priesthood meeting on Sunday greeting people coming in and some guy comes up to me and says, “Hello Elder Leonhardt, I just got through talking to your counterpart, Amie.” I put my hand on his shoulder and asked for a repeat. He told me about how he had been doing the gym floor in Ferron and talked to a beautiful girl named Amie. It was really fun to talk to him.
I’m really sorry I missed a week and I’m sorry this letter is rushed.
I have been so busy with my responsibilities as Miss Emery County! I am so nervous for the Miss Utah pageant, and feel so ill prepared as I hear that other contestants spend years getting themselves ready for the competition. I think my interest in pageants ends on the County level and I will be glad when this is over with! This week I had to not only work, but “reign” over the county fair and be in the parade. I still have to write an article for the newspaper and make a video for the local TV station.
P.S. Remember when we would write notes and you would only write one word all of the time. “Tell.” Or “Yep.” My late letters are only payback! ;)
I was thinking about you today and all of your thoughts and all of your hopes and dreams, and you know what? They are the same as mine.
The work is going well. I feel a desperation in my testifying. I want the people to be what they can be so badly. I have committed to memory first Corinthians chapter 13. I have been able to memorize as much in an hour as I used to in ten hours.
P.S. Remember when I was talking to you from your window and that kitten kept attacking my leg?
I can’t believe that you so casually mentioned in your letter that you changed your hairstyle! Your hair is iconic! Therefore, I am anxiously awaiting pictures, and this letter is dedicated to the possibilities of what your new hairstyle might look like. Are any of these correct? :)
P.S. I laughed SO hard when I remembered that cat that kept attacking you outside of my window! You would be mid-sentence and the silly thing would jump right up and lay its claws into your jeans! You’d kick it off, resume talking, and it would do it all over again, playing a game with you! I’m laughing so hard right now that I can’t write! It was SO funny! I love our memories.
Oh Gosh. The other day, I had a date come to the house and you should’ve heard what my little brother, Jordan, said to him! He looked right at him and said, “Amie’s gonna marry Ryan when he gets off his mission.” My family had a good laugh about it, but it was a terrible situation for a moment or two!
I want you to know that I am dating as we agreed that I would do while you are away. I wouldn’t mention it, but someone suggested to me that it was dishonest for me not to tell you about my dating in our letters. I thought I should ask and make sure. Do you still feel the same about not wanting to hear about it or has that changed?
No, I haven’t changed. I do NOT want to hear about your dating experiences. I think it is great that you are dating good people (as I know you would) and I think you will grow from it as you have already found. I think that story is hilarious though, and I appreciate Jordan’s looking out for me.