As the subject has hinted at, this week was 'average' in a manner of speaking. Elder A and I have overcome our differences and are working very well together (at long last). I suppose -just so I do not forget later- I should start with the highlights of this week. Um... yeah, there is no specific order to these events, it's just as I remember them happening. This week we saw a fried bat suspended in the air, hanging on the telephone wires (I'll include pictures); Our Muslim investigators dropped us (can't say I was too surprised but I'm still sad because it sounded as though we were going to be able to teach them); and Elder A and I celebrated our week with what is called a "TimTam Slam" (a TimTam is a chocolate biscuit [or cookie], and you bite both ends of it, and then insert one end into a mug of Milo [which is like hot cocoa] and suck the cocoa through the chocolate cookie, and then you eat the cookie before it melts to the point that it detaches from your teeth and falls into the mug, so you end up drinking thick, melted chocolate for the most part... it's a very effective way to gain weight, unless you're me...), so Slamming almost killed me... WAY too much chocolate, I don't know how Elder A does it. There are nine TimTam's in a package and he's on number 5 by the time I've finished number 2. Anyway, I think that's it as far as worldly highlights go- I'm saving the spiritual things for last.
|Really... can there be TOO much chocolate??|
|More Fried Bat|
I have sent letters out, so hopefully those to whom I've written will receive their letters in another five days or so (I sent them about five-six days ago) and I have more to send today, mostly to those people who write me- I'm not very good at it but I do try to write back to those who write to me. Also, I printed heaps of photos, so I'll probably be sending those with various letters.
So,it sounds as though the Little One is struggling to want to go to church. Little One, my most awesome little brother ever whom I miss quite sorely, I've decided to direct a few words to you (but anyone might benefit). I wasn't exactly sure what to say to you, Robby, when Mum told me you were struggling to go to church. It's sort of hard to understand why that is when I can't have a conversation with you, so I suppose I'll just try to impart of some 'wisdom' and with any luck it'll help you out. I know it can be really hard to go to church- when we weren't going to church as a family and Mum started to make me go with Elizabeth, I really did not like it. Who wants to sit in a big room with heaps of old people and heaps of crying and variously whinging babies, and then not be able to do anything... just sit there and listen to old people ramble on... pretty boringas, eh? I know how that goes, trust me, I've been there! But we can get so much out of going to church! Heavenly Father loves you SO MUCH, little man, and He wants you to be as happy as He is and He wants you to be able to live with Him again! He knows the best way for helping us to be happy, though, and He's told us that going to church will help us. When we go to church, and when we "partake of the Sacrament" or eat the bread and the water, we're promising God what we promised to do when we were baptized- remember that? We had to baptize you TWICE because you're silly toe came up out of the water! And when you were baptized you promised God that you would follow His commandments and be the best little boy you could possibly be! But sometimes we make mistakes and don't do everything God wants us to, and sometimes we even end up doing things He's told us not to do- we break our promise to Him. So when we go to church, and eat the bread and the water, we're making those promises again- we're saying to Heavenly Father that we're sorry that we didn't do everything He told us to, and that we want to try again. And you know what? When we do that, Heavenly Father says He'll bless us with the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost. Remember that guy and what he does? The Holy Ghost is supposed to help us to do what God has told us to do. He can do a lot more than that, too- he can cheer us up when we're sad, and he can help us know when Heavenly Father answers our prayers, and he can tell us if we're in danger or not- he's a pretty cool bloke, eh? And he sticks with us all the time when we do our best to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do. Church can be really long and boring -I know where you're coming from- but we go to church so that we can go back to live with Heavenly Father someday, and not just Him, but so that we can see our family members again, too! That's pretty neat, eh? Heavenly Father loves you heaps, little man,, and He wants you to be as happy as He is, and He's shown us how we can be as happy as He is, and if we want to be happy for the rest of forever, we gotta go to church! What do you think, Little One? Church isn't so bad when you look at it like that, eh? And you've got heaps of friends at church, too! You've got it so good; you've got friends at church, Mum and Dad and Elizabeth at church, and you get to eat bread and drink water- who doesn't like the sound of that!? Alright, so there are better things to eat and drink BUT that's not the point of it anyways! So it can be really hard, going to church, but Heavenly Father knows that it can be hard, and He really appreciates it when you do go to church, and that's why He's promised to bless us too- Heavenly Father doesn't tell us to do anything just to do it, but we always get something out of doing it too. This might not be the best example, but it's just like when Mum tells you to eat your vegetables before you get dessert- you've got to go to church before you can have your dessert, and Heavenly Father wants to give you HEAPS of dessert - or good things!!! I hope that something in there helps you see why we go to church. =)
Anyways, I'm short of time now... that took a lot of effort: how do you explain complex doctrines to such a little one? I suppose I haven't yet achieved "true intelligence" which is the ability to take something complex and sophisticated and teach it on such a level that even a child can understand. Maybe I did do that, but it certainly wasn't in a nutshell.
Church for ME was alright, up until we got into Priesthood. We were talking about the varying parameters that we had to follow in order to be worthy of a temple recommend. The process more or less started with society- we can exist and function within the laws of society and still not abide within the laws of the Church. The process went up: we can maintain our standing in the Church but not be living worthy of our priesthood, and then we could be living worthy of our priesthood but fail to magnify our callings, and thus be unworthy for the temple. (It looked a lot better the way it was drawn on the whiteboard.) Well, the brethren got to talking about living in the various areas, and shades of grey between society and church and church and the priesthood and so on and so forth, and this is what half of the brethren's basic argument boiled down to: "You can get to the Celestial Kingdom even if you're as close to the edge as you can get" That argument made us -the eight Elders within the room- fume. How can anyone call themselves a priesthood holder if they are looking to do the absolute bare minimum to get into the Celestial Kingdom!? That kind of thinking is cowardly, lazy, and ungodly. I could not believe my ears! Solid members or members whom I believed to be solid, were rationalizing that even if you were close to not being worthy but still basically worthy, you could obtain exaltation. They related it to taxes- I don't know a lot about taxes, but they said that there are hundreds of ways that are still legal that can get you out of paying higher taxes, and then they said the same could be said of obtaining the Celestial Kingdom. That kind of thinking is NOT the kind of thinking that should be going through ANY priesthood holder's head, EVER, and anyone who has EVER thought that they can get into the Celestial Kingdom with that attitude should be ashamed of themselves. Elder W, being the cool and collected Englishman that he is, calmly raised his hand to add his thoughts, which were something to the effect of this: "If your focus is 'How close to the edge can I get and still obtain the Celestial Kingdom?' then your focus is not on the Savior, who is at the 'center' as it were." I was thrilled with what Elder Wild had to say. Maybe I'm just a little more hardcore than your average priesthood holder, but the priesthood is a real, tangible thing, and it must be treated with respect. Sometimes priesthood holders mess up- we all do (that's why we have the gift of the Atonement). But if your thinking is that God will justify a little sin here and there, I have no fear in quoting scripture and saying woe unto you, you perverse and corrupt generation, woe unto you. God will NOT be mocked, and as Christ's representative, I am NOT about to let His church go to the dogs, especially to such feeble and slothful thinking. The work will ONLY be stopped by hallowed hands- that is to say that no UN-hallowed hand can stop it, or no outside influence can stop the Lord's work. Only His people can stop His work, and that is something that I am not about to let happen while I am on His errand.
Well, I'm sorry for that stiff message... I feel very strongly about this, can you tell? XD I wish I could leave on a more happy note, but really... priesthood holders, if you know you have to step it up, step it up, and stop rationalizing and excusing your shortcomings. Those who rationalize and justify committing a little sin have no place in the Celestial Kingdom, and how sore would be your sorrow if you had to explain to your wives and children that you could not herald them into the kingdom of our Father because of your quest to do the bare minimum? Shall we shrink or shun the fight, brethren? I can promise you, priesthood holders of the Church, that the Lord has provided a way for everyone to accomplish and fulfill every commandment He issues them, and (ready for this [I might as well take a stab at it]) if He commands home teaching to be done, just DO IT!!! Big deal if you have to drive for an hour to get to your assigned family- the Lord has commanded it, and I would really hate to be the guy that stands before the Lord, and then asked if I had fulfilled all my duties as a priesthood holder, had to answer and say, "Sorry, Lord, but the drive was just too far." If the Lord has brought you to it, He will -He WILL- bring you through it, and I leave these things with you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, even Jesus Christ, amen.
Lots of Love!!!