Hello my friends! As you all know I just got home from my mission in Florida a couple weeks ago. When I was in Florida I met some pretty cool cats that I became good friends with. Last week I got an email from one of those friends named Elder Breeden. Elder Breeden and I served around each other near the end of my mission and he’s a pretty funny missionary. I liked the story he shared so much that I asked him if I could share it with y’all. Enjoy!
I want to tell you a story that I was reminded of this morning. You’ve all heard it at one point or another, but I believe it’d be fitting to illustrate what’s happening in Minneola this week. The was I was reminded of it was because of this old picture of me that Elder Carver found.
Most of you have seen that unibrow in real life. Some of you have not. I won’t go into details on the brow itself, but I will tell you what it did for me. It drew teasing when it first emerged from my forehead in middle school, and it still turned heads all the way into my missionary service. It was a source of pride in high school. It was essentially a brown hairy mormon birdie to the world, and the world responded with a thumbs up. All the world, that is, except Florida. Elder Husbands, if any of you remember him, wisely said “That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen on anybody’s forehead! If you do what was that thing today you will never baptize anyone, and you will fail at your mission!” He and many other missionaries begged me to tear the two caterpillars apart, but I would not, until the gentle nudging of Elder Hawkins persuaded me to try it out, and grow it back if I didn’t like it.
Though I wasn’t instantly converted, I liked the attention. So I would let it grow back and then wax it each time I got a haircut. Although Elder Carver did have a big part in thinning back the hair on the bridge of my nose the real confirmation came after the trial of my faith. Only after I had declared to the world through a photo sent home that I had two eyebrows instead of one did I receive an email which brought me the satisfaction I needed and the giddiness I sought after. An old friend replied, and though I couldn’t find the email itself today, I remember the words she wrote exactly. (Pay attention to the gender specific pronoun I used and to the fact that I like that gender a lot.) “Why are you hot now?” were the words, that joyous phrase! Not only did someone think I was hot, but a girl did! A girl who lived over 3,000 miles away, and had no reason to be anything less than honest with me! Through the gentle nudgings of friends, I had achieved what I had never even dreamed of achieving with my unibrow! Yes, it was good and beneficial at the time I had it, and it even propelled me forward at times, but it needed to be pruned back before it outgrew itself. Although I miss it some days I don’t long for it, because as my dear old friend says, I am “hot now.” And that hotness came from the beauty that change is, and that it brings.
Don’t think this email is about my hotness, because if you’ve seen Jonny Bravo, you’d know I am far from being the hottest youngster on earth. The change I went through in that story is meant to reflect what has happened this week. Lots of changes have affected this area, and I’m anticipating a lot of growth and development in my missionary abilities. We had a zone conference on Thursday where I found out that I’m actually terrible teacher, and if I’m right everyone else in our mission did too. But Elder Dodson and I have studied up on goal setting and planning, and we hope that that will bring the discipline necessary to change. Our ward boundaries also got realigned. For those of you who don’t know, a ward is what we call a congregation in our church, and its geographical boundaries are determined by serious study of the number of church members and the speed of the current growth and projected growth, and after serious consideration and a lot of prayer, the Spirit confirms to them whether their plans for are the Lord’s will or not. So yesterday, the Clermont ward essentially annexed part of the Minneola ward. We lost a lot of strong members, including those who inspired last week’s email that I made friends with. But with the strength that’s left the Lord will prosper us as long as we work hard, trusting in His direction.
Even though change is difficult, and differences are scary, I know that we can change for the better and still be true to ourselves. Just like Dr. King said, “It’s all good.” Here’s a video the church made in the ’90s, it’s pretty funny.
And another one you can actually take seriously that’s related to change.
-Elder Clay Breeden