I'm glad everything is going well. I love you all.
People from my MTC district got their Brazilian visas and there's no rhyme or reason to it but honestly I would be pretty broken up if they made me leave Arizona right now. Too many people here to save.
So let's review the week for a moment in my head. Ok. Lessons learned:
* When people ask you what you think is in the bag, you just walk away. Just walk away! That's all. You just hand them a Book of Mormon, testify, and walk away.
* Being dropped over the phone is a sad experience, especially when you're at a point with the people you're teaching where you can say, "You're breaking up with me over the phone and not in person?! That's just rude." Yeah, that one actually was really sad. I miss them.
* Cinnamon is powerful stuff
* Portuguese translates mostly into Spanish
* People have fascinating perspectives on/questions about the gospel
* You can get anyone to take a Book of Mormon if you try hard enough, including people who tell you you're going to hell.
* When people say they don't want to talk and you ask them why, they'll tell you their life story, which then translates into how the gospel can help them.
* If you're just yourself, people are more willing to listen.
* Miracles happen
* Bouncy balls change lives and days
* Alcohol ruins families and lives
* Coincidences really aren't a lot of the time, especially when we ride up to a member who is like "Why am I smoking?" and then throws it all away.
* You have no idea who will listen to you and who won't so you just have to talk to everyone.
* We're pretty much all Laman and Lemuel (complaining, often un valiant men from the Book of Mormon), which is sad.
* Motorcycle accidents are just rough
* Prayer works
* Love your companion
* It's not a numbers game
* You can put up big numbers and have it mean absolutely nothing or vice versa.
* Go out with the missionaries. Do it. They need you. And you need them. Just go and see
how it goes.
* When I'm at the pulpit speaking, I lose all track of time.
* You never know what you're gonna get when you ride up to a bus stop.
* Protein is essential
* Water really is essential
* There's such a thing as a "devout atheist." That one was fun.
* Pleasure does not equal happiness does not equal joy
* Lunch is overrated
* Faith is power
* Just about no one in the world GETS it. It's sad.
* If you're not happy, you're just not doing it right.
* Perspective is everything
* People don't think they have time for Christ
* You make time for what's important to you
* Some of the scariest people you will ever see have the kindest hearts and the most open
* People are just lost and feel they have no purpose when they don't have or understand the gospel. And it's really sad.
* True doctrine UNDERSTOOD changes attitudes and behaviors. Do you UNDERSTAND?
They let me speak and there wasn't really time to prepare so I just walked up to the pulpit with scriptures and my notebook and apparently I talked for like 25 minutes. They told me to go for 20 so it wasn't all that awful but hey. There was much to say and much I didn't get to, but I want to share a couple of things that stuck out to me as the Spirit spoke.
First, the church is true. Second, what is the purpose of fruit? To produce other trees. The taste and look are all secondary to the seeds it plants and the trees that grow from that.
Prepared soil is important. "By their fruits ye shall know them" refers to that there should be other trees growing around you. The Atonement, Fall, and Resurrection are all towards the purpose of allowing us to choose forever, because sin, (transgression of the law and substitution of our own law), subjects us to justice which restricts our ability to choose, for we can't choose consequences. "What ye do unto one of the least of these. . ." is also to be taken literally. If you want a pump-up consolation scripture, consider Romans 8: 38-39. Oh, man.
Figure out what's important and what is not because honestly most of it is just not. Study the scriptures. Every day. Because it's a commandment. Meaningless prayers are a mockery of God and of the gift of prayer. Fast offerings aren't a suggestion. If you actually believe it, you better be actually living it to the best of your ability, because this is it. THIS IS IT. I can say it all I want, but you really just have to figure it out on your own. Focus on the essential and make every day one that brings you and others closer to your Savior. Otherwise it is a wasted day.