Friday, January 10, 2014

To My Dad...

Good Morning Family and Friends

Although I am far away from you today, the truth is, spiritually I do not feel the distance. I feel close to you all and have been greatly comforted by your prayers and your words of encouragement. I know you share my deep feelings of loss, love and hope. And I’d like to speak to you for a few moments about each of these feelings.

Loss: On the 4th of January 2014, this world lost a great man. I'm not going to lie. It’s hard to believe that he is truly gone—that he hasn't simply left on a business trip to Alaska or Idaho. And yet, from another perspective, the truth is that he has embarked on a trip, a journey—one that will prove much longer than usual, and, from my point of view, one that began much too soon.
For you see, I'm going to miss my Dad. I’m going to miss him a lot. I’m going to miss the way he would crack up laughing whenever he watched E-trade baby commercials or his favorite movie, Madagascar. I'm going to miss the sense of safety I always felt when he was near. His family always knew he would do anything to protect them. I remember the times he felt I was being treated unfairly at school and he was ready to go there to give one of my teachers a few choice words. We literally had to hold him back! My Dad was always there for me . . . and I know he always will be.

Love: Every memory I have of my dad makes me feel so loved. I have many fond memories of the two of us together. Among my favorites would have to be our late-night conversations in the car that we started right before I left for my mission. We would pull into the driveway, turn off the car, and just talk—the two of us. My Dad always seemed to have the answer to every question or problem.
I love my Dad so much!
Every time I think of him I can't help feeling happy and loved. Just the thought of him makes me want to be a better person. He always told me I would do big things in life. I know that I have no choice but to continue on my present path. He taught me to be the best at whatever I do, and with his passing, my desire to make him proud has grown. He was always pushing my sister and me to our limits, academically and athletically. He knew exactly what to say to make us want to improve. Although I'm currently not writing papers or competing on a race course, I'm in the process of improving myself as a person. I know what my Dad would want for me—and for that reason I have found myself walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in the grand attempt to be more like Him and to find the Christ-like attributes in me—in short, to be a better person.

Hope: I have a firm testimony that although I had originally thought I would be separated from my father for two years only, the time has been extended just a little. My testimony concerns Eternal Families. This life is simply a time of trials of our faith, and once we finish we return to our families. I won't lie, I do feel a heavy weight on my heart, but it is not because of my father’s actual passing. Rather it is because I, personally, won't get to see him for a little bit longer. However, the thought that I will never see him again has not once entered my mind. I know without a sliver of a doubt that he is with me. I teach people every day about The Plan of Salvation, a plan that we agreed to before we came to this life. Once we die our spirit and our body separate, and our spirit waits for the second coming of Jesus Christ and Judgment. The most interesting fact is that the world we live on is the actual place the spirits wait. They have complete knowledge of what happened in their lives. For that reason I know my father is with me every day. I know I will walk with an additional companion every day. Most missionaries only have one companion. I will always have two.

Now, a few of you may be wondering why I am not the one giving these words here today. I can tell you all it was not an easy decision. My decision weighed three factors: my family, my father, and God. I know that remaining on my mission is best for my family. My father taught me whatever I start I must finish—he taught me perseverance, and that I must not be a quitter. And I asked God. In James 1:5 we read: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.¨ I have seen the importance of this promise we have from God here on my mission. I asked, and received an answer based on Galatians 5:22 ¨But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."

 I came here for two years of service. I have made a promise and will not break this promise with my God and with my father. I have not felt the responsibility or the blessings of this calling ease one bit with the passing of my father. But I have felt the strong and compassionate arms of our loving Savior supporting me and carrying me as I continue with my labors in His all-important work, bringing souls unto Him, Who is the only source of lasting happiness, even our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I love you all.
I want you to know that you are all in my prayers.
I know my father is here with us.

I am Rawly Lyle,
and I carry my father's name with pride.

I leave things with great love and confidence in the name of Jesus Christ.

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