This is the first of many letters that I will be writing to you over the next 2 years. I couldn’t be happier for you, or prouder of the decisions that you have made that have landed you in the MTC! I know that this course will bless you now and for Eternity. But more than that, your great choices will bless your future wife and children with a home where the Priesthood has influence and power (think about that the next time you go to the Temple and are at the veil).
Speaking of the Temple, you and Mom are probably sitting in the SLC Temple as I write this letter. Grammy took me to the SLC Temple days before I entered the MTC too. I hope that you will have a wonderful experience there. Think about the tender love that your mother has for you. Think about all that she has done to guide you to this point of your life. To borrow an important word from the scriptures: REMEMBER! I promise you that no one on Earth loves you more than her. You owe her so much for all of the time, love, and prayers that she has given on your behalf. Just like we will never be able to make a truly equal payment to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for all that They have done and continue to do for us, we may never be able to repay our mothers for the blessings they bring into our lives. However, your missionary service will do much to repay her for all that she has given to you, her Beloved son.
I’m not sure when you’ll actually read this letter. It may not be until your first P-day and you’ve already spent days in the MTC. Enjoy your time there! There may never be another time like now in your life. You get to study the Gospel for hours each day, be surrounded by thousands of people operating on a Spiritual high, be taught by wonderful leaders, and at least once a week sit in the presence of a General Authority! But that’s not all. You now have the great privilege of having a companion! Companions are wonderful! Please love your companion. Lift him up in all that you do and say. As you strive to be a great companion through service and love, your mission will be even better! Your time at the MTC is a serious booster shot of testimony and faith. Eat it up! Drink it in! I know that you will love every minute of it and it’ll be over before you know it, so just enjoy the ride.
I’ll share something with you that I read in the BoM today. Ether 8:16 teaches us that the devil uses his power to keep us in darkness. That is true. Think about times in your life that you were not on the straight and narrow. Those times gave you, and all of us that spend time walking away from God, doubt, hopelessness, fear, anxiety, despair, and tend to cause us to aimlessly wander looking for solid ground and love in places where they cannot be found. As a missionary, Heavenly Father will use you to combat Satan’s efforts to keep His children in darkness. As you learn about and follow the Light of the World, Heavenly Father will cause your light to shine so that many people will be led to know Jesus Christ and be blessed by His healing Atonement. You will be a light when your thoughts, words, and deeds reflect the Love of God You have always been an all-or-nothing kind of person. Now, more than ever, be ALL-IN!! Give everything you have. Your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, to the building up of the Kingdom of God on the Earth, and for the establishment of Zion. Hold nothing back. I promise that as you do this, Heavenly Father will MAGNIFY your talents to the blessing of many of His children. And you will be happy.
Dalton, I love you. I will miss you not being in our home, but I wouldn’t want you in any other place than where you are right now. If you get a little home sick, say a prayer and ask for comfort and strength. You’re in the MTC!!! Please do your best to write us and share with us all of the wonderful things that you will be learning and doing in that singular, Heavenly place.