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Dear Gramps,

I find myself needing a little bit of help. I’m here in Iraq and I have just gotten an email from a good friend of mine who is going through a hard time. She has really been down lately–doesn’t even feel like she wants to go back to school (BYU-Idaho) One of her brothers is getting married, another is thinking about marriage, and her parents are thinking about going on a mission. So she thinks that she won’t have a home anymore, though she knows it’s good for her parents to go. Also, she has met a young man that she likes a lot and she knows he likes her. But she doesn’t want to start dating him because she is going back to school soon and he is moving back to Mexico. Also, he isn’t a member of the Mormon Church. Perhaps you could give me a little advice to help her get through this. I’m a solider in Iraq and have been out of the dating loop for a while now and would like to help her if I can.

Dalene, from Taji, Iraq Dear Dalene,

It looks to me like your friend is leading a rather normal sort of life. It’s not at all unusual when changes come in one’s close relationships to feel a little insecure. Kind words of encouragement are always helpful, but I’m afraid that they won’t solve the perceived problem. She’s going to have to wade though this one by herself. If she doesn’t give up and flee the field, she will get involved in her studies, find new friends, be happy about the marriage of her brother and forget the non-member friend to whom se feels attracted at the moment. I think that you would be right to help her see that her present situation is quite transient, and before she knows it she will have an entirely new set of problems to worry about. You might remind her that each problem she encounters or each difficulty that she confronts was put there by the Lord, and has a specific purpose for her growth and development. For those who are attempting to obey the will of the Lord, there are no accidents. Our Father in Heaven doesn’t even use difficulties as punishment for those who hate Him. He merely withdraws his Spirit from them and they destroy each other. But for those who love the Lord, He provides opportunity for character development by the trials He purposefully puts in their paths. The author, Henry Drummond, once said, “Intellect develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life.”


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