Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 2. 2015 Hola! Buenos de Nueva York!

Hola! Buenos de Nueva York! The weeks are passing by so fast!  Where do I start? Well first of all, New York pizza is bien bien rico.  Ever Tuesday we have district meeting, and there's a pizza place by the chapel that does dollar slices the first half of the day, so that's an important part of building district unity of course.  We had mission conference this week which was absolutely incredible.

Which reminds me.... driving to the mission office we noticed that there was a lot of ice out on the ocean.  A member said that its been the coldest February since the 1800's.  Our car got stuck in ice the other day actually.  Someone had created wheel wells in about eight inches of pure ice which we slipped into whilst parking.  That was a doozy.

Anyway, mission conference.  Present were two of my favorite general authorities, they are from the mission department, and their wives, which was really special.  There was just too much awesomeness to sum up.  All I can say is we are so, so lucky to be led by the men and women we are led by.  They have truly lived in such a way that has allowed them to be powerful conduits of the Spirit.  I don't know how they expect us to give up President Calderwood.  Everyone says their mission president is the best. I'm going to say it too.  But I'm right.

This week I had an interesting experience - my first lesson in which I did not strongly feel the presence of the Spirit of God.  It really is a fascinating situation.  See, we've taught a lot by now, in all sorts of different circumstances.  There have been all sorts of different people, lessons, receptivity, and screaming children.  Yet to my great wonder and gratitude, we have, to varying degrees, felt the Spirit in every situation.  Until now.  After the lesson I tried to figure out what I had done wrong, but I couldn't think of anything.  Honestly, it was technically a decent lesson.  But there was something missing, it wasn't satisfying, and I didn't have confidence in it.  Well later that night during nightly planning, I decided to tell Elder Galke about it, and right as I was explaining that I didn't know what I had done wrong, the thought popped right in my head: our studies this morning were half-hearted.  It was last preparation day, and for some reason as we were studying it was more like it was a day off, not a preparation day.  In the middle of companion study, the other Elders in our apartment came up to ask something and then it digressed.... It wasn't too long before we had started beating on Elder Vidaurri (he's just like Nathan! Can hardly go a single day without his beating, he will provoke until it comes).  Anyways, we completely wasted half of comp study, and our language study got shortened to go do laundry.  This was the first time we have not been diligent in our studies.

Was the garish deficiency in our lesson for the first time as well a coincidence? I learned two things from this.  First, he importance of studying and the importance of being obedient.  Elder Holland said, "tell me how your obedience is and I'll tell you how your mission is going to be".  This doesn't just apply to missions.  It's stressed more because there's more to be obedient to, but obedience is not a two year principle, but rather, an eternal principle.  Elder Holland could have said, "tell me how your obedience is, and I'll tell you what your eternity will look like". How many places do he scriptures tell us just that? Secondly, this experience was a witness of the importance of nightly planning.  It was during that time when God gave me my answer as to what I could do to ensure that type of lesson doesn't get repeated.  I don't think it was a coincidence that my answer came during the very next opportunity I had to be obedient to the missionary schedule. I think He was trying to teach me something in that. I hope each of you will look for how these principles of study, obedience, and planning/goal setting can apply in your life.  My goal in writing is not to just share stories, there isn't enough time for that in one session per week.  I hope in every letter to share what I have felt and learned, and to be a witness of this work.  I know that Christ's church on the earth today is led by men and women of God, as it was in he past.  It is written, "Ye shall know them by their fruits".  I know that the fruit is good.  On a mission I've had the opportunity to associate personally with them, and the more I do, the more I know of their goodness and divine calling and authority.  I say all this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Don't Bother Me Jimmy, Daddy Had a Long Day at Work. Elder Galke decided that a complete fathering manual is not complete without instruction on how to make dad noises, poses, and cliche oneliners. So this is going to be the cover of our new book.

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