I've included part of my letter to Austin here because is tells a personal story and I thought it would be a good Blog contribution.
I remember writing to both Celeste and Tiana about the importance of the third quarter of their missions. Disappointments and obstacles seemed harder to overcome during the third quarter. I’m so please that as you have nearly completed your third quarter it seems like you have only gotten stronger. You seem full of energy and commitment to apply all the experience you’ve gained to further the work. There didn’t appear to be any let up over the past 6 months which is fantastic. Either you hid it well or you choose not to let it drag you down. Either way that is the mark of a champion and it establishes you so well to do the next important thing which is to finish hard and fast.
As important as the 3rd quarter, the finish is absolutely critical to success. When I coached the championship swim team in
I told the team that if they would totally swim so fast over the last 15 feet we would win the meet and the provincial championships. I surprised myself with that prediction and was a little scared. But it started happening, in race after race our kids passed up one or two kids during that last 15 ft that we took home the championship trophy. I was going out of my mind as we ended up out scoring the other team by more than 50 points. My team carried me around a 50 meter pool and then threw me in the water. It was one of the most joyous days of my life and I still get heart flutters when I think about it. Compared to how I felt after the 400 IM at conference, I want the strong finish to be my legacy.
I’m telling you this so that you will leverage the hard work and spiritual experiences gained to finish your mission as a champion without letting up a stroke or being distracted by a nearing finish line. Love you son. Make your body tired, your voice raspy, and your companions weak from sprinting to that sad day when they pull your strained fingers away from serving the Lord in the Canadian mission field.