|With the teachers|
Last week! Hopefully, anyway. I know a lot of flights have been cancelled in that area. By Monday it should be good. As it is, we have 7 weeks here instead of 6 because of Christmas. We lost the Sisters in our district yesterday since they aren't going to New York.
It's been a good week. Let me tell you that Sundays have never failed to be so spiritual. On Sunday I accompanied in Relief Society for "Be Still My Soul". President Stewart told me I needed to come back with valuable information about all their inner workings. He said it's normally pretty tough to sneak into Relief Society here. I did discover that they watch Music and the Spoken Word - not fair in the least.
Then during sacrament meeting, as a last hurrah with the entire branch there, we did a musical number we've been working on. We sang Joseph Smith's First Prayer (in Spanish) to the tune of Come Thou Fount. The third verse we hummed while Elder Moe quoted the First Vision in Spanish. Wow. A few weeks ago, Elder Nelson came and spoke to us. He promised us as an apostle of Jesus Christ that if we were ever in trouble, in our lives or if a lesson was going bad, to tell the story of the First Vision and the Spirit will come rushing in. I have found that to be true. Afterwards, President Stewart came up and talked to me about it and said he was almost crying. I was thinking, "umm President, my sources say you lost it" (my back was turned during the song so I couldn't see). And of course the Presidency wives didn't stand a chance. Combining that promise from a prophet and combining it with a sacred hymn sung by missionaries was indescribable. And I can tell you it didn't come from impeccable musical talent - we've got two good singers, everyone else ranges from usable to pretty horrible.
This morning we had an interesting experience. Last night at gym time, Elder Hull attempted to catch a basketball with his face. His glasses didn't make it. So we got shuttled to the outside world to have an optometrist fix them. And guess what? Provo is still alive! The world is still turning, apparently.
I've been thinking some about the vision Nephi had where he witnessed the destruction of his own people. When you read later in the Book of Mormon, you discover that would have been a horrific vision. There's no words to describe how awful the end of the Nephites was. Afterwards, he laments that he viewed his afflictions above all else because of what he had seen. Yet right after that is pretty interesting. His brothers are quarreling and Nephi asks what's up. They say that they don't understand Lehi's vision of the tree of life. Nephi proceeds to talk with them and clear things up about the vision and does his best to invite his brothers to repentance and to God. I think this is pretty spectacular. He had just witnessed the destruction of his people, and that it was due to the posterity of his brothers and their hatred of Nephi that they would pass down generation to generation. Yet Nephi never stops being kind. It seems as if he immediately forgave them. And despite knowing exactly what was going to happen, he still never gave up patiently teaching his brothers and inviting them to Christ.
I think we can all learn a lesson in forgiveness and persistence in missionary work. He never gave up on them, even knowing the future. It was a hopeless case. Nephi would never convert them to the Lord. But God doesn't ask us to bring converts. What he asks is all our heart, might, mind and strength. Those are expectations we can fill no matter what the circumstances or people around us.
Turning outward in time of great trial was a defining characteristic of Christ. I testify that this is the way to self-conversion and happiness. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
(a second letter sent....)
So one day in one building they had boxes of free garments! It was the best day ever. My comps were laughing at me endlessly. I decided that I like the 50/50 better than the drilux, but they're too expensive to just buy new ones, also the spandexish ones are awesome for the gym. So I doubled my stocks. No one else was brave or cheap enough to join in. Granted.... on pair of the spandex did have a nice brown streak right in the seat (like is that legal?). I couldn't bring myself to keep that pair.
I had an appalling experience in a lesson with the Law of Chastity this week. It's probably requisite. Fortunately (actually I don't know how fortunate I feel), I wasn't teaching. I was role playing an investigator. One of the Hermanas just started grilling me. The scenario was that I was living with my girlfriend and needed to get married. She just skipped that bit and made sure I understood the knitty gritty. Por ejemplo: she demonstrated where appropriate clothing should cover, and then asked "If a woman isn't doing that, where is the first place you look"?
*deer in headlights*
Umm... do you want me to answer that? What do you want me to say? I responded by saying that I had a question. She answered it briefly and then went right back to her question. Once she was sufficiently satisfied with my answer, she asked where the first place a woman would look if a guy was wearing a swimsuit below the hips. I thought I was smart by saying, "I don't know". Nope, she proceeded to gesture just to make sure I would understand.
It didn't get better.
On the bright side, I think our lessons have been increasing in the Spirit. It's so beautiful when you are studying the scriptures thinking about an investigator and the Spirit shows you exactly what they need and how to touch them. It's hard to explain, but it means so much more that just coming up with the answer logically on your own.
I think that we are working hard and have shown God our desire to qualify for discernment and guidance with our investigators. We've now had three different investigators all come to a lesson one day with some big issues from encountering anti-mormon people since the last visit. Each time, I knew. As soon as they opened the door, I knew what was happening. And each of those lessons has been so guided by the Spirit and some of our best lessons. I know that the Spirit is what turns us into teachers. Because we're just 18 and 19 year old kids.
I hope you know how much I care about you all. I wish you the best,