Monday, August 29, 2011

A Special Letter From Julie

August 29, 2011
HEY There Kathy and Lani!!! WOW! What a wonderful surprise it was to see a note in my inbox from you.  Perhaps a better introduction is in order.  I'm Julie  and my son is James .  We have had the honor and privilege of meeting and visiting and learning from your son.  What an outstanding young man!  My son has been so inspired by both your son and the other Elders we have met.  We're originally from Louisiana and moved here to the Conroe area 2 years ago while my older sister was going through chemo.  After she passed away last year, we needed to move on and get our own thing going.  Fortunately, I met this "crazy" old man (although he's not as crazy as he would like people to think) who is heavy into food storage and he talked me into working at the cannery down in north Houston so we could buy some home food storage items.  Couple that with the brief discussion I had with a very good and longtime family friend about her faith and I was super interested.  I researched, I dug, I investigated, I asked questions, I didn't think there was a place for me.  Everywhere I looked, there was something that didn't feel right as far as a church home went.  So, while I was at the cannery, I asked a few questions and they got my phone number and I figured.. yeah... well.... I'll probably never hear from them.  WRONG!  Sure enough, your son called me and introduced himself as one of the missionaries and I agreed to meet with him and his companion, Elder Maughan, at the church.  What a turning point that was for me!  
You should be and VERY proud of your son!  It takes guts to get out there and meet strangers and seek out people like me who don't know where to look and are very skeptical of the whole "religion" thing.  It's great that I love doing research on any given topic so it was important for me to distinguish the facts from the rumors and find out the answers for myself. His answers were backed with scripture (something I was looking for) and his demeanor was kind, patient, and caring.  It wasn't something I expected in the least.  Believe me, I used to see these young men riding their bikes from time to time, wherever I lived, and thought.. That's CRAZY!  How wrong I was.  What I feel now is: How Inspiring! How motivating! How awesome is that!!!
How blessed I am to have met your son.  His courage is admirable!  What a role-model he is for the younger boys!  WOW!  
I cannot gush enough about how he has inspired me.  
As far as my son, he really does look up to them.  I know he has connected with your son, but he has also connected well with your son's companion, Elder Esplin.  He considers them his older brothers.  He said that the other day.  He said: Mom, they're like the big brothers I never had.  When they leave, will we ever hear from them again?"  I told him that they're our brothers forever and they'll always be welcome in our home!
Anyway, they took him fishing once already and asked if they could go have lunch with him at school.  Talk about an ego booster for a kid who has been dealing with some significant and serious bullying at school (and yes, they've only been in school for 1 week).  
Well, I commend you on raising such a fine young man and I wish and pray that his future is blessed with an abundance of all that is good! 
We will talk again sometime soon.  I'm sure of it! 
Many hugs and lots of love back to you!

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