I hear things are warming up in Minnesota. Progress! What with our biking we do in our mission and the temps in the 80s this past week (inside and outside of our apartment!) I have been experiencing a phenomenon known as sweating. I believe I've experienced it in the past, but it's been such a long time, I can't remember when!
To those of you who have sent me mail and packages, thank you so much! With natural mailing delays and my procrastination, I have not been able to respond promptly, but I will respond! I have been encouraged and inspired beyond what I can express in words, by the things you have shared with me! Your email replies have also been very inspiring and humbling.
I hope and pray that you are all doing well in your lives. Here is what happened in my past week.
On Preparation Day, I played a game called Settlers of Catan. Apparently it's been a big hit for a long time. The camaraderie we have with other Elders has been a source of comfort, inspiration, and hilarity. Elder Mosher and I have developed great friendships with two other Elders names Elder Richardson and Elder Hendricks. They are funnier than we are, which doesn't take much, but they are also diligent and earnest in their missionary work! Elder Richardson plays the piano really well and draws really well and Elder Hendricks loves reading the scriptures and being hilarious just by being himself.
That Mon. evening, Elder Mosher and I met with a man who lives close to the church building we attend. He is member, but doesn't come out to church very often. There, we got to know him and his life story and taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the enabling power that comes from Christ's Atonement. He has been trying to quit smoking and wants to get married to his wife in the temple. We felt the Holy Spirit during the lesson, guiding us and helping this man increase his faith in Christ and His Atonement.
Being married in the temple is significant for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe that marriage is a heavenly ordained pattern that can only exist between a man and a woman for eternity, not just for this life, but for forever. God established this pattern anciently and His ways have not changed. He loves us and desires for us to live in eternal relationships that are created, sustained and sealed forever, but only by His power and authority. This is why we believe that marriages performed in the temple are not only for this life, but for eternity as well.
We've met many people of other faiths! It is always encouraging to hear that they are attending church and are holding true to their beliefs. We rode our bikes past a house and noticed that a woman was waving to us from the door. We came back and talked to her. She is a Seventh-Day Adventist and has been for over 50 years! We asked her if she had been waving to us and she said "Yes, I'm trying to be a good Christian!" It was awesome! We also knocked on a door and had nice man tell us he was Rastafarian. He was holding a knife and cutting sponges, but he shook our hands and we had a nice brief chat. We've talked with Jehovah Witnesses, Catholics, Pentecostals, non-denominationalists and many others who have other non-traditional views! It is great to be able to invite them to learn more about what we believe. We seek to share the truths the God has continued to bless this earth with and to add to people's faith and devotion.
We ate at the house of a Black Angus farmer one evening. Before we went to the house he had to artificially inseminate two cows and, lucky Elder Mosher and I, we got to witness it. Having grown up near a farm my dad owned, I'm surprised this was my first time taking part in that. I'm sure you all wanted to hear that! Anyway . . .
In other animal news, I found out what a Pomeranian is: a very cute dog. We've seen several in our area and I can't help but laugh whenever I see one because it probably is the cutest dog in the world.
One of the responsibilities we Elders have is to minister to those who are sick and otherwise afflicted. We give blessings of comfort and counsel as well as anointings. We believe that God has blessed us with His power and authority to be able to do this. We received this power and authority from God through our leaders who hold the priesthood - God's power and authority. Elder Mosher and I were able to give several blessings to church members and missionaries this week, although anyone can receive a blessing if they have faith in Christ and the healing power of His Atonement. It's a very remarkable statement to make, that we are able to serve others with power and authority from God, but I know through experience that we are doing exactly that.
During District meeting this past week, we learned about how everything we experience in life can be a miracle if we look at it with the proper perspective. We also learned that we need to hold ourselves to the same standard that we hold to those whom we teach. It's always amazing to be around other missionaries who are dedicated to serving others. We had a Sister who had to go home for medical reasons, which is sad. It's always sad to see others go through hard times and have to sacrifice even their opportunity to serve. We hope she returns!
My challenge to you this week is to consider what foundation you have built your life on. It's difficult to do sometimes, but it's rewarding. Our lives are full of many different things with which we end up constructing our purpose in life. It's good to always re-evaluate and check to make sure that the foundation is sure and strong. I have experienced in my life that as I build my foundation in Christ, my purpose in life is clear and strong.
I would like to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon about this concept: Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
I love you and think and pray about you a lot! Have a great week everyone!