Dear Xander,


I wish I had better advice for you. I have to say that I didn’t like junior high much at all. I remember walking through the halls filled with millions of people. Sometimes I felt so lost and confused. There were so many new people and different ways of living that sometimes I couldn’t believe it. So just remember you only have about two and a half years to go.

I’m just kidding. What I think you’ll find is that school won’t get easier, in fact it will get harder, but you’ll get better at it. You have a lot to learn when you make the jump to junior high. Last night I was working in Prato. It was the end of the night and it was dark and rainy. It wasn’t one of the funnest or most hopeful moments of being a missionary. But then I started thinking about how long missionaries had been doing just what I was doing in Prato- walking around, smiling at people, talking about the gospel, helping people know who we are and what we have to say. And that gave me hope. Odds were that the doorbell we were at had been rung by missionaries several times before. Years of missionaries have been helping to lay the foundation before me and I’m benefiting from their work and helping prepare the way for others.

So if it helps to think of it, remember that I’ve been there before. I’ve stood in the halls of crowded Wasatch Jr. High and so has Stefan and Hans. And we made it! And you will too. And you’ll be able to help Gabe and Mary when their turn comes. Just know that I know how you feel and that I’m pulling for you.

As for any tricks? I like toast with Nutella, or cinnamon sugar, or jam, or cheese and a good glass of milk. Just be patient and before you know it you’ll be on your mission writing me about what I need to do. I don’t know if anything I said will help, but remember that missionaries pray for their brothers at home too.

I love you.


October 24, 2011



  1. cristie

    October 26, 2011

    such wise excellent advice. xox

  2. Mary Staples

    October 26, 2011

    That is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever read. What a sweet letter. I love your boys..and you!

  3. Tracy

    October 27, 2011

    Oh my. I love your children.

    Also – junior high really can suck.

  4. Judi

    October 27, 2011

    xoxo! what dear brothers!

  5. Rachelle

    October 28, 2011

    I love sibling love.

  6. Linn

    November 2, 2011

    Honestly, this made me cry just a little. Nothing in this world is sweeter to me than siblings who deeply and truly love each other. Nothing. Those of us who don’t have it watch with awe and wonder.

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