There is this thing called serving God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength that is kind of hard. If you’re serving with your might and strength but not heart and mind, then you’re probably doing a lot of good things, but you’re probably not all that happy because you don’t want to be doing those things. 1 Cor 13….it’s possible to do a lot of good things even if I don’t want to, but if that’s how I’m going about it, without charity, then “it profiteth me nothing,” it doesn’t make me happy and it doesn’t change me.
This week went by fast and slow…missions are the absolute weirdest. It goes by fast when I am happy and I am happy when I am able to focus and I’m able to focus only when I try super super hard to rely on God. The first day I was able to do that I noticed a huge difference in each lesson and how I felt at the end of the day.
OH MY I don’t know how to break it to you guys but I live in crazytown where most of the people should be in some sort of mental institution. The other night we pulled up to Taco Bell and in the mini van next to us I heard a big hairy idotic dult of a human being give a verbal threat to his teenage son, and I was like WHOA this guy thinks he’s tough, and then he IN PUBLIC in a PUBLIC PARKING LOT gets out of the car, grabs some sort of rod, and gives two giant beatings to the kid. And that’s normal here. All I could think was “I need to get a Book of Mormon into that car” haha and instead of getting his license plate like a normal human being, I ran into Taco Bell and found the lady who was with them and asked if she’d like a book about Jesus (“Yes, I need it” she said). And then they took off before I thought to get their license plate number. Oh p.s. this county is the 3rd highest for drug use in the nation.
Here is another story that you may have heard about. There’s a snake-charming church, something like if you have enough faith you won’t get bitten, and the pastor got bit and died. This was like a year or more ago and it made national news…yeah that took place in La Follette.
WHERE AM I.
On Thursday we had zone conference and it was awesome. President Griffin just came in at the beginning of July and he has a lot of high goals and expectations for us. Historically this mission hasn’t been the most obedient so they’ve been slowly working up to the white handbook rules. Now all the leeway from the past few years is gone. I’m glad I’m being held to high expectations.
Something I’m going to focus on for the next little while is the Book of Mormon. There are two reasons to read the book…one is to gain a testimony, and the other is to experience conversion [with testimony meaning knowledge/belief that it is true, and conversion meaning change and a desire to be closer to God…repentance.]. We talk about how the Book of Mormon is essential to conversion with our investigators…yeah we care that they have a testimony, but that won’t do them much good if they aren’t changed by what they are reading. And it won’t do me much good to have a testimony if I’m not using the book for my conversion, too.
My favorite lesson of the week was with the Bradneys about the Priesthood. I was so excited to teach that lesson. I asked them what the priesthood is (their answer: men doing stuff in the church) and who holds it (their answer: the prophet, the bishop, men). (One of the things they were worried about before being baptized was that women don’t have the priesthood.) I know that Dawn and Charlie, especially Dawn, needed to hear the lesson that proceeded with my very woman-conscious explanation of the priesthood. In the MTC Sheri Dew came and taught Relief Society one Sunday and it was about the doctrine of the priesthood and actually ended up being cool. The priesthood is not men doing stuff in the church, and it’s not something that just men need to study and know about. I have been set apart as a missionary and I hold priesthood authority to perform my duties, as in Elder Oaks’s talk this past April. Anyway….there is still a lot we need to learn about that, but God wants us to be a people of power. We couldn’t perform our callings in the church without the priesthood, I couldn’t be out here without the authority of the priesthood, and the power that comes with our callings and ordinations is such a blessing. So I talked about that and equality and all the stuff I’m good at going off about, haha. They ate it all up and I know the things I taught were so important for that family, and those things wouldn’t have been taught if I wasn’t there teaching them. The Spirit was there.
Let me think if there’s anything else important….fireflies are still so cool. It’s like there are magical fairy creatures that actually exist and it blows my mind (p.s. no one has sent me a wikipedia article on them yet…..)
Ok I’ve gotta go. I love you all so much, thank you parents for the family camp pictures!! Olive already looks older to me. Ok bye!
– Sister V. Hale