Hello everyone!!! Another week down and everything about it was good! Last week was really slow. We had lots of things happen but not very many lessons or discussions taught. But sill lots of cool things that happened! Before we get to that, there were some questions asked that I want to answer! I think that Tanner Galloway is going to go to California somewhere. And I think that Trevor Bursach is going to Argentina or somewhere in Europe. Things are really changing back home aren't they. I have been told by a lot of people that missionaries come home and are super disappointed because they are expecting things to be pretty much the same but it is not at all. People move, friends get married, unfortunately even some people pass away. I knew things were going to be different when the family moved to the new house but I didn't quite know how much different it would be. I still don't know I guess but it good to know that most things are changing for the better!
It is always sad to hear about people leaving the church and getting divorced. Even in the church, there are people who are actively going to church that still have lots of problems. I think that is because satan knows that we are on the right path and has to spend that much more time on us instead of those that aren't on the path. An example of this is in Lehi's dream in 1st Nephi chapter 8. There are a few different people mentioned. There are those that never grab onto the rod, those who grab on but let go halfway on the path to the Tree of Life, those who make it to the tree and taste of the fruit but fall away, and those that taste of the fruit and keep eating of it! Notice how it says that the people that were holding onto the rod and that made it to the Tree of Life were mocked. It doesn't say those who never grabbed onto the rod were made fun of or laughed at. The tree can be taken as the Church of Jesus Christ. There are many many people that are on their way to make sacred convenants such as baptism and there are many people that make it into the church! But it is these people that were mocked. After people fell away, they weren't mocked anymore, it was so much "easier" than staying on the path or staying at the Tree of Life. That is because satan knows this church is true and doesn't want anyone else to come to that same knowledge. And it tells us why those people that were at the Tree of Life fell away. It says "after they had partaken of the fruit". They stopped eating it! They stopped coming to church and reading their scriptures and praying. Whereas the other people were pressing "forward continually" toward the Tree and were mocked for continually "partaking" of the fruit. The only way that we can remain true to our covenants and to the church is by continually doing the things we know we must do.
There is my Spiritual thought for the letter. :) My clothes are fitting great! I have torn 2 of my pants though because my legs are getting so big (not from fat, muscle all the way!!). I have plenty of shirts and socks and garments. My shoes are holding up and I have more than enough ties! Elder Gilsons birthday was this last week!
On Thursday I learned something pretty interesting. Our church is not the only church to believe that we can become God's someday! To other churches, it is known as "Deification". I found a talk thing all about it from Keith E. Norton online. It was really interesting to find out that not all the truths were lost, but they were just scattered among all the other churches in the world. But it was the Priesthood that was lost/taken from the earth. Also, I found out that the Earth was in a "terrestrial" state when Adam was in the Garden of Eden. This also means that Adam and Eve had "terrestrial bodies" which is why they couldn't have children. After the Fall, the Earth "fell" too making it turn from a "terrestrial" state to "telestial" state. When Christ comes again, it will again be turned to a "terrestrial" state and then after the Resurrection and Final Judgement, it will become a "Celestial" state, even the Celestial Kingdom where the righteous will go to become Gods! Just some cool information to know! Later that night we got to attend a missionary setting apart for Calleigh Summers. She is going to Georgia. I would have loved to go down that way but I love it here even more so that's okay. :)
Friday we were asked by one of the missionaries out here, Elder Charles, to go visit a family he used to teach. Their name is the Boswell's. They weird thing to me was brother Boswell is the young mens president and all of him family is very active! So we stop by and his wife greets us warmly and quickly invites us inside to have strawberries with cool-whip. She told us that has been meaning to call us so that we can teach her daughter. Tori is 10 years old and not really their kid. Well, yet anyway. For the past 2 years, the Boswell family has been trying to adopt her. She has been coming to church for those 2 years and has begged her real parents to let her get baptized. But for whatever reason, her real parents have told her no. So she has just been reading her scriptures and praying and coming to church just like she knows she needs to because she knows it's the right thing to do. The cool thing is, the Boswell's should finalize the adoption papers by the 19th or 20th of September! That means Tori can get baptized! So we talked with her and set a baptism date for the 20th of September so she can get baptized right after the adoption which is what both she and her parents want. She is such an inspiration to me! How often do we want something really really bad but are told no and so we just give up. She knew what she wanted and it was a righteous desire and the Lord is most definitely going to bless her and her family for their continual diligence to the right, even though it was a hard and long process.
Saturday we did some service for one of our investigators, Edward Seale. Ed is in his late 60's and lost his wife about a year ago. But it is still hurting very much and he is still down on himself for that loss. He has good reason to be sad but I am so so thankful to have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation! It really lightens the burden and sting of death. Anyway, because of this loss, he has lost all desire to get work done around his house, especially his yard. So we came over with the sister missionaries and attacked his front yard with weed-eaters and rakes. It took us about 2 hours to get his yard done, that's how big it was. We didn't even rake it all cause we ran out of time. The weeds were easily over 4 feet tall throughout his yard! The ones against his house were over 6 feet tall! I couldn't see over them!! But we got it all down and mostly cleaned up and he couldn't help but cry. He is a very emotional gentleman and he definitely had a softening of his heart from this act of service! Keep him in your prayers that he will continue to feel of the Lord's Spirit and accept the message that we have. :) Something very sad happened on Saturday though... I lost my CTR ring... I was putting get in my hair after helping some members move and I remember taking it off to wash my hands and then we left right afterward. Somewhere either at their house or on the way to our house, it got lost. I can't find it in the truck and they've looked all over their house. It is sad but I've learned to let little things go that I have no control over. Like when I got my long board stolen, I was upset but I was able to let it go cause it is just a material thing, both that and my CTR ring can be replaced. I hope I find it someday but if not, life will go on!
Sunday was kinda awkward. We went to a farewell out in Fort Thomas ward. The whole meeting was off... The first speaker didn't look up from her paper for her entire talk. She kept the same dull tone the whole way through and took up 35 minutes of the meeting. That left Kody McNair with 10 minutes to speak. He started off by pulling out his phone and said, "Bare with me for just one second. I have to record this talk for those people that aren't here today." I'm pretty sure that isn't allowed... But the Fort Thomas ward is just kinda weird like that. Everyone is super close so you will hear people from the audience yell up from the congregation to the speaker in the middle of his talk! It is super weird... But then Kody said, "Bishop asked me to speak on how I prepared myself for a mission. But instead, I want to talk on friends." I can see how you can tie friends into preparing yourself for a mission but he didn't even do that! He just blew off the topic Bishop had asked him to speak on. It was a very weird sacrament meeting.
But the highlight of my week was of course our Zone Conference with Elder Malm of the Seventy! Oh, he was AMAZING!! He didn't just stand up there and give some speech about what he thought our mission could do to improve. He stepped down from the pulpit, came in front of us missionaries, and talked with us like we were having just a normal discussion! He asked us what we thought we could work on to improve our mission. We talked about desires and obedience and perseverance when things look bleak. These are a few notes I wrote down from the meeting.
- Matthew 14:16-21 is the feast with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. Christ took what they had, blessed them, and then gave it back to the apostles to give out to the people. It makes me think of Ether 12:27 where is says that the Lord will take our weaknesses and make them strengths. This is not for our benefit, it is for the benefit of those were are serving. The catch is, the apostles gave Him all they had for him to work with. We can't hold back anything from the Lord if we want to become the missionary (or member) we want to be someday.
- Matthew 14:25-31 is when Christ and Peter walk on water. We know that Peter took his eyes off of Christ and started to sink. Christ of course caught him and saved him. But then what? It doesn't say but we know it was stormy and the boat couldn't have traveled to where they were that quickly. So did they get back to the boat? This means (it is not doctrine but an opinion) that Peter walked back to the boat with Christ holding him up. Christ won't just catch us when we fall, but will walk with us when we need Him.
- STUDY HELAMAN 5!!! It is all about Nephi and how amazing of a missionary he was. There is something to be learned in EVERY verse in that chapter.
- A General Authority asked to people to come up to the stand as he was giving his talk. He handed them each an end to a piece of string that extended the entire length of the stage they were standing on. He walked to the middle of the string and tied another string into a knot around the long string. He then said, "This long string represents time and eternity. This knot is our life compared to the rest of it." Our life is so miniscule compared to the expanses of eternity! What am I going to do now to make this life actually mean something afterwards. Thinking about my mission, compared to the rest of my earthly life, this time is so small! And yet there is part of my mission that I can unfortunately say I was degressing or not learning anything at all instead of progressing and becoming the missionary I want to be. How will I look at my earthly life in a million years? Will I say I have lived it well or will I look back with regret? Then make those changed now.
- Never Run Faster Than The Holy Ghost!!! The Holy Ghost is the teacher and we are just the tools to help it come into their hearts. If we rush through a lesson, if we don't follow the promptings, or if we cut it off by talking, it will leave. Silence is the greatest tool the Spirit can use to teach people. That is one reason why the Celestial room is so amazing and why we can learn so much. Notice how there is little noise and that takes away most of the things that would distract us from listening to the Spirit.
- Ask ward council these 4 questions:
1) What is the goal for this ward?
2) Where do we want it to be in 2 years compared to now?
3) What goals do you want to accomplish?
4) What do we need to do to get this ward where the Lord wants it to be?
All of it was amazing but these are the major points that hit me and are helping me want to change the way I think about things and the way I do things. I got pictures with him afterward! I also got pictures with Elder Hickenlooper and our descendants! I forgot my card reader by accident so I will send them to you soon! I have just about filled up my card by the way. I think I have like 200 pictures left is all. I will send it home soon!
I love you guys so much! Thank you for your emails and helping me become the person the Lord wants me to be! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!
~Elder Kyle Harris