Thank you to so many of you who wished Cody a Happy Birthday. I think this is going to be a birthday he is never going to forget. I communicated with his companion last week, and was able to send a box of birthday party stuff to the sister missionaries apartment (they are in the same complex but a couple of buildings away) and also an envelope with some money so they could buy lunch for the whole zone and have a very fun day. I don’t know the details of the events yet, but his companion was so sweet when we corresponded. This was his response to me last week:
“That is so awesome. I am going to make it one he will never forget. Rest assured, your son will have a great birthday party. It is nice having him closer for these kinds of things for sure (he is referring to the fact that I couldn’t have pulled this off if he were still in Sierra Leone). I will make sure to send you lots of pictures. Your son is awesome. He is my favorite companion because he loves me and helps me when I need it. He is the answer to my prayers, my mom's prayers, and to the prayers to lots of people who need the Gospel. Thanks for having a great son. I will keep you updated, and anxiously await your package. Sincerely, Elder H”
He told me he would send me lots of pictures next week, so I can’t wait. I hope he has had a very wonderful and memorable day. It sounds like it has been perfect so far, and he is supposed to go for a hike after emailing, which he used to love to do with all of his high school buddies all the time.
Thanks all. Have a wonderful week.Love
Nan (Cody's Mom)
It is weird to no longer being a teenager.... I remember when I turned 18... best/worst day of my life.. I could now buy dry ice... but I could no longer make dry ice bombs haha. 20 is a good age... No more teenage probs and I get to spend my entire 20th year in the service of my Heavenly Father! That right there is the best birthday wish I could ever have.
So I opened up a letter that my sister prepared for me before the mission last night that said..."When you know you are where you are suppose to be." (Note from mom: Jenessa recruited lots of family and friends to write letters to Cody for him to open on certain days. Some of them were specific to a particular day, and some of them, like this one, would be opened randomly when the description fit. We were concerned that he had to leave these behind when he was evacuated from Sierra Leone, but were thrilled to hear that he took those with him. It was a very special and wonderful thing for his sister to prepare for him and for all who participated and wrote letters for this project). It is funny that I never opened it in Sierra Leone. There were times when I contemplated opening it... but it just wasn't the time yet. Well, when I got to California... I thought about just throwing it away because it was probably all about how cool Africa and the people there probably are. I didn't want to open it and have it make me feel home sick from my Sierra Leone family. I held on to it.. and something prompted me to open it last night. It was hand written by one of my sisters best friends Kenna. I read the letter and felt the Spirit so strongly testify to me that I am where God wants me. I have felt that same spirit when I first got here and realized this is where I would be for good and when I met and baptized Tray and Brandi... God loves to reassure us. One of the coolest things about this letter was that not a single time did it specify Africa. All it said is that when you open this you will have felt a connection with the people you are around and a feeling from God letting you know he is aware of your situation. It also said that no matter where we are, we can make a difference. Holy moly Kenna... I love you and I loved your personal experience about when you felt reassured from Heavenly Father that you were in the right place. God knew I needed to hold on to that letter for as long as I did. I love the amazing way that he works. God is not a God of coincidences. Thank you Kenna.
We had another fantastic week. I love exchanges, if you haven't noticed from the past emails I have been sending. We saw plenty more miracles on this last exchange. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from the missionaries I serve with. I may be their leader... but they sure are my teacher most of the time!
Pray that our investigators will come to church because apparently my prayers aren't doing it on their own! haha
Love you all!
Shout out to Heavenly Father for sending me to the Earth at this specific time in my specific family! I LOVE YOU!
Love Elder Cran the Birthday Man