Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tribute to Stephen, also known as Beaver Boy

Stephen is my cousin leaving on his mission on Wednesday. His family came to visit us in Nauvoo one last time before he left. Most of the time his family was here, I was EFY. And when I came back, I had lost my voice from screaming so much. And then they were touring Nauvoo and Monday was my first day of school, and they left while I was at school. When I was with them, I meant to ask Stephen to write in my journal. But I forgot, so I desperately texted home on the way to school asking him to do that before he left. It's so weird for me that he's leaving for the MTC on Wednesday. I mean, I grew up with him. Even though my family lived in Japan, we'd see them every summer when we'd come back to visit Utah. They were me and Tashi's favorite cousins. And our ONLY cousins for a long time. It was just us 4 for about 6 years.

I looked up to Stephen so much. He was my brother separated from me during the year. I thought I was going to marry him! (Until my mom told me it was illegal to marry your cousins). Haha but we'd find the best hiding places and just sit there together and each read our own book. That's how nerdy we were. We were only 5 and 7! One time we hid so good, our parents couldn't find us all day! 

And being a member of the Limburg family, we all had to take piano lessons. Later on, we all took voice lessons. So now everytime we get together, Jordan just sits down at the piano and starts playing sheet music and plays it really good the first time. Our favorites to sing together were Phantom of the Opera, High School Musical, and the EFY medley. And oh my, their voices are so good. They can read music and have the perfect pitch without hearing it on the piano. And Jordan can sing higher than me! Their singing ranges are huge! Singing with them was so happiness, I wish we could do it everyday (now you see why I was so upset that I lost my voice).

All my life, people have been leaving on missions. But nobody this close to me. Nobody I've grown up with. It really feels like my older brother is leaving on his mission. I'm so proud of him. He's going to Japan!!! It runs in the family I guess. He'll be a very good missionary. Haha the boy I grew up with is going on a mission to the place I grew up in! I'm so excited that he's going there. And I loved how we talked about patriarchal blessings that last night and how 2 years seems like a long time, but it's really not.

When I came home from school, I ran to my journal to see what he wrote. He had written 2 whole pages!!! And my journal is huge, so that's a lot of writing. I sat there and sobbed while I read it. My heart hurt. It actually hurt. Like it was going to fall apart. (Now I know what a broken heart feels like haha) But that's how much I love him and how much I'll miss him. I'm going to be writing to him like, everyday!!!

This is what he wrote in my journal:

Hello. My name is Stephen Mulder. I'm Lexi's cousin. I'm staying at her house in Nauvoo, or should I say, I've BEEN staying there. We're leaving in about 30 minutes. We've been here since Wednesday evening. She was at EFY for the first couple of days, but we still got a chance to do some things together. We had a lot of fun last night recording ourselves singing. Jordan and Tashi sung with us too. It was pretty hilarious because Lexi had pretty much lost her voice from EFY, the songs were way to high for me, and everyone kept going in and out of key Haha. It was great.

Well, I think the main reason I'm sitting here writing in someone else's journal is because in 9 days I will be heading into the MTC. I've been called by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to go and serve a proselyting mission in Nagoya, Japan for the extent of 2 years, and I won't be able to see or talk to Lexi for at least that long. We've been kind of like best friends our whole lives. Lexi was showing me some pictures of us last night when we were little. By the way, I'm 19 years old right now.

Well, I'm not exactly sure why Lexi asked me to write in here because she didn't ask me in person, and I've got to hurry so we don't miss our flight. But I want to leave you a short testimony, Lexi. 

Satan has a lot of tricks to make the filth of the world appear fun and exciting and popular, but it's fake, and it only brings misery. It may seen like those kind of people are happy, but they're not. Find joy in being different! Take the opportunity to use that in your favor to be a tool for missionary work in the Lord's hands. Try your very best to be a good example and lead others back to Father. Remember they're our brothers and sisters, and that EVERY soul has great worth in the eyes of God. Bring people to the church and to the gospel, and you will find happiness. If you ever feel lonely or upset or confused, remember to ask yourself if you are reading your scriptures. That is ALWAYS the answer. In spite of what's going on around you, you can be happy if you are being obedient to the Lord's commandments, and doing the SMALL things. Those are the ones that count.

I know that Heavenly Father loves me, you, and all of His children. I KNOW that. I don't know how to describe it, but I know that he does love us, no matter how much we distance ourselves from Him through our disobedience. I know that the atonement is the only way that we have a chance of making it back. I KNOW...that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and I love him very much. I know that a testimony in the Savior is the rock upon which we MUST build is we are to be standing to greet the Lord when He returns again. The casualties in this great war of Latterdays are increasing everyday. The Lord needs our VERY BEST! Don't give up, and have faith that the reward for enduring to the end is as great as God promises (D&C 14:7). And finally, ALWAYS look to the temple. I don't unserstand everything yet, and I'm sure I never will in this life, but somehow, I know that the temple is how God will raise us up to overcome this carnal body and realize our full potential, in His presence.

Remember this and plan for the temple, and nothing less. Promise this to yourself and to your God. I love you Lexi. May God be with you to comfort and bless you. He is the light, rely upon Him. If he can trust us...surely WE can trust Him. 

♥ Stephen Mulder

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