2 DAYS! Despite my lack of writing ability, I hope I can convey how excited I am to board that plane on Monday. The past 9 weeks have been a learning/refining experience for me. Getting thrown into the rigors of missionary study and the depths of the Croatian language was far from smooth… but it was worth it! 9 weeks in and I’m so happy – so thrilled with where I’m at, where I’m going and what I’m doing.
This week I’ll highlight one experience.. Last night, as a mission, we met with a sister named Ann Madsen. Her and Her husband were great friends with Hugh Nibley and Kresmir Cosic. A brief recap of Cosic’s story: He is a basketball player from Croatia who grew up in the depths of communism. 6-11, at the age of 18, he found himself wanting to come to America and play ball, with offers from Ucla and Byu. Somehow he arrived on the Provo campus with no english in his blood and no concept for religion.. but agreed to sign the dotted line signifying that he would live campus rules (Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Curfew). Over the course of his college basketball career, he was introduced to the knowledge of who he was, where he came from and where he was going after this life – simply put, he was taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the time came to sign an NBA contract, he declined and knew that his greatest duty was to take the gospel back to Yugoslavia. Kresmir went on to translate the Book of Mormon into Croatian, pioneering the church in this area of the world. It’s very apparent that without this great sacrifice from a young man from Yugoslavia, the mission to which I’m going would not exist. With great sacrifices come Eternal blessings.
General Conference was a blast this past weekend – The spirit in the MTC was so strong for each and everyone of those sessions. I challenge each of us to go back and study the words proclaimed. There’s always more to learn and personal applications to be had.
A word that’s on my mind from last weekend is Rescuing. Whether it’s our own families, the refugees, or children of God who may not be aware of their eternal potential, there is always rescuing to be down, and progression to be had. One talk that stuck out to me was by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled “He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry you Home.” I loved his thoughts on the all-famous Parable of the Lost Sheep.
“Over the centuries, this parable has traditionally been interpreted as a call to action for us to bring back the lost sheep and to reach out to those who are lost. While this is certainly appropriate and good, I wonder if there is more to it. Is it possible that Jesus’s purpose, first and foremost, was to teach about the work of the Good Shepherd? … The sheep is worthy of divine rescue simply because it is loved by the Good Shepherd… Our Savior, the Good Shepherd, knows and loves us. He knows and loves you. He knows when you are lost, and He knows where you are. He knows your grief. Your silent pleadings. Your fears. Your tears.
He will rescue you.
He will lift you up and place you on His shoulders.
He will carry you home.”
Friends and Fam, this is the hope-filled message I hope to bring to Eastern Europe. As I have reflected on those missionaries who have gone before me, I can’t help but be filled with peace, love and a knowledge that the Spirit of the Lord will be with me as I witness everyday that Jesus is the Christ. I do not know what’s before me. As a matter of a fact, I do not one single person who lives in these 5 countries. But I know that they have a Savior, A Shepherd, whom loves them completely.
May the journey continue – Stay tuned.
With all my love,
– Elder Perry
“There’s nothing gained by playing small. Don’t let the little you get in the way.” – Branch President