Meat and Potatoes: Ephesians Chapter 4

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,
Good news is that I am not being transferred, so it will be a less of a headache for Mother's Day. So, I talked to the person who is allowing us to use his computer for the calls. He told me, via text, to give you his contact info... but I only know his cell phone number . . .

I was not even sure what the Power Show was; it was a giant flea market with a tractor pull. Yes, it was done by a coalition of churches. In fact, I work at a food bank that is run by the same coalition of churches. With this area, it seems as though I am helping the ward to go forward in missionary work and to help certain less actives. We are still trying really hard. The investigator that is on date has some things to work on and we are having to push it back. Another investigator, who is "waiting for her mom to die," finally let us know what is the problem: the priesthood. Luckily, like Apple, we have a talk for that.

I was talking to my companion this past week, especially with my communication (which I will get to). He told me that he thinks I'm proper, just by the way I say my words. He also thinks I sound British, because of the words I use. It is by the words such as "fairly well" and "excellent" that makes him think that. That made me chuckle.

So, before I get to the meat and potatoes of this letter, the one part you want. Monday, we had a district P-day, where we played games. I was distracted in basketball over my communication, so I did not do much. They went easy on me. And when I did actually make a basket, one elder, who is greatly taller than I, picked me up and hugged me, all the while I was being swung. My back hurt after that. Then, we played soccer and they said I did fairly well and asked if I ever played. I told them no and described my brother and Bria and what I did during their games. Apparently, somehow, I picked up something from osmosis.

Tuesday, we went to our blind less active. We do have someone that is working on his music, thankfully. Now we are trying to figure out how to help him, because he avoids gospel topics. He is not ready yet; I personally do feel that. The answer that I have received is to make him happy. Why? Each day is a living nightmare, because he attaches himself to the past with his friends and other things. His life is never going to be what it used to be, yet he latches onto it. Everyday he forgets the day, because "it will be better in the morning" and he wakes up and it is another nightmare. He cannot move forward, because he does not know what to move forward to. He surrounds himself with bitterness. Once we get him to church, he will start to move forward, hopefully. So, make him happy is very limited, because he latches onto something to talk about. Right now, he is talking about massages, because he is a certified deep tissue massage therapist that has no clients.

Tuesday and Wednesday, it had been raining and we had an awesome storm with tornado warnings and such. It was nice. We tracted beforehand and ran into a lady that was deeply devout about the Bible. She had found it sad that we accepted more than the Bible, "for the Bible is everything, for Jesus said it, and if we accept more than the Bible, we call Jesus a liar." We made her very sad, despite how many different ways we tried explaining it. But the storm stopped on Wednesday. We went into the church, then we went out. It was hot and my companion complained about the humidity. (You could see it cling to the glass.) But, to be honest as I said to him, I do not feel it. It just feels hot. (He is from Idaho.) He did not understand until we used our phone to call the weather service and looked at Lemoore. That day it was 96 degrees. I do know that our heat is dry and this is humid, but I cannot tell the difference. It just feels hot.

Friday, we had a zone meeting. Then, we had a companion exchange. It took forever coming home, because a van had hit a bus. That night, I had a wonderful dinner, because I had some excellent conversations. I also have an option to use, (I have to get permission), for the blind less active.

Saturday, we had Elder Bednar and I will get to that. Then, it was a day of service for the rest of the day. We helped a less active by circumstance, the wife of the less active who is in the nursing home, to be uplifted, especially after all she goes through. It really helped her to go forward a bit and turn to God. And Sunday, we helped that less active as well. Plus, we had a special stake conference with Bishop Dean M. Davies.

So, before I get to Elder Bednar, there are a few things I would like to discuss. One, communication. So, I learned to stop fighting God. When you do, you do not win. So, what do I mean? I never accepted where I am and who, in terms of communication, I am. Hence, why I was struck with Proverbs 17:27. I accept the fact that I am a quiet person. Now, I wish I was social, which was also a problem. I figured it was what I needed and I always read about Enoch and Moses who had similar problems and God helped them. Then, I read Ezekial 3:26, which God, to one of His servants (a prophet), struck dumb to make sure he was not a reprover. So, what was I to do? It was accepting where I am and being grateful that I have this weakness. It will get better, however God wants it to get better. It was here that it actually seemed as though I moved forward. Two, I had an idea that I am going to do when I am older. With the journal that I have, particularly the spiritual things written, I am going to get another, later, much later, to formalize all of those spiritual thoughts and form, in a sense, scriptures for my children, using those thoughts, testimonies, and the true scriptures.

Now, Bednar. Elder David A. Bednar is really great, along with Elder Lynn G. Robins and Bishop Dean M. Davies. He is straightforward, yet funny. Meeting an apostle makes them human, because you get to see how they actually are. You still sustain them, but you get to see who they are. Hopefully, that makes sense. We, beforehand, read 3 talks and he followed up with them. He asked questions and we responded; we asked questions and he and the other general authorities answered. It was funny. At first, Sister Bednar spoke, then Bishop Davies, then Elder Robins, and then Elder Bednar. When Bishop Davies came up, he said in the words of a famous song, "I feel good." In response, Elder Bednar, when he got up, told Bishop Davies and us, in good humor, that every Thursday, he has a meeting with the Apostles and the First Presidency, and now, he has interesting report to give about Bishop Davies. He reminded Bishop Davies, he was not kidding. Elder Bednar was going to tell them that. Then, Sister Bednar came up and humorously said, "You still like that stuff. Whenever we play the radio on those stations, you always ask me who sang this. I do not know, my grandma never let me listen to that on the radio when I was young." Then, Bednar gave us some guidelines. He was not going to play Guess-What-Is-In-My-Head, because whenever he points (and he pointed to an elder) and asks a question, "that poor elder's mind has gone totally blank. He does not know his name, not even where he is at this point. All he knows is that Elder Bednar is pointing at him. In fact, he is gone blank, just by pointing at him." Later, when we asked questions, he gave guidelines. He was not going to play Stump-the-Apostle, "I forfeit, you win." He told us to not ask where the Sword of Laban is or where Kolob is, "I do not know and I do not care." He told us not to pull an obscure verse of scripture from Isaiah and ask for the meaning, "I got the same set of scriptures as you do. When I became an apostle, I did not get a set of scriptures with answers in the back."

Now, here is what I got from the entire thing, because they did not give talks. Sister Bednar briefly spoke, which helped confirm that this is the time for preparing for the future. Bishop Davies reminded me that I am on the Lord's errand. Elder Lynn G. Robins reminded me that part of what I have learned thus far is to fight Satan and the darkness. It also reminded me a future trial I will face with a certain temptation. And that will come from marrying at the appropriate time and day, which may indeed be later than I expect.

Elder Bednar modeled teaching for me. I learned overall the Gospel is active and personal. We have agency; we are agents to act and not objects to be acted upon. Satan wants us to be objects. We have to learn in faith and pray in faith. It is all active, not passive. Conversion is acting on testimony. We should expect to act and to choose the right, because we chose to make covenants that said to do that. My own teaching has to be active and personal. I am to be the conduit, which means being worthy and bring in the Spirit. My pattern of teaching is and should be asking questions and testifying. It requires in part, observing and listening. My goal is also to help others to learn to find things out for themselves. Interestingly for me, he hit a lot of my patriarchal blessing and helped me to understand it. That is in part where I got this new direction on my teaching. When the time comes and the mission ends, I should keep the habits I have learned. Now, I am not expected to wear a white shirt and tie. The world is supposed to and should be weird for me. (As if is not already.) I should not quickly go back to the world and perhaps just be in the world and not of the world. I should always have a temple recommend, be on guard, and be humble. The world will be like in Babylon. "Whenever [I] enter into a mall, it should feel as though I am in the midst of Babylon." By accepting the covenants and things of the Lord, I am enlarging my agency.

Bishop Dean M. Davies spoke at the special stake conference, which was quite different from most stake conferences. He focused on the temple. I need to have a testimony of it. I have a few active and less active people who dislike the temple. I was reminded to have a testimony and then enter into the new and everlasting covenant. The temples show God's love, because it is where the living and the dead receive ordinances. We should not be afraid to talk of Jesus Christ. After all, we are Christ's church. It is okay to talk about Him. He put that we are the Christian church, due to its restoration. (Of course, we do not go around saying that.)

After all of that, I felt exhausted. Spiritually drained is the fastest way to be physically drained. I did not want to do much yesterday after getting home from stake conference. I was done for the day and it was only 1:00 PM. Of course, I worked.

All is fairly well!


Elder S. Todd

P.S. Can I be honest for a second? Well, either way, this makes me laugh. But, I always mentioned Avatar: The Last Airbender for a reason. I knew you never did like it and thought it was just a cartoon. So, I always brought it up for the fact that, "Hey, other people like it too!"