Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons learned on the mission:

Today, I just thought I'd share some lessons that I've learned on my mission.  As missionaries, we leave everything behind for two years to go teach the Gospel.

The first one, I'd say, was prompted by what I did on Wednesday.  Wednesday morning, at five-thirty in the morning, we got a phone call from one of our members.  We had talked about maybe us running with him in the morning.  I was half hoping that he had forgotten it, since I despise running.  To quote Neal Armstrong, first man on the moon, "I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running up and down a street."  (I'm quite willing to spend a few playing soccer, though.  Interesting.)

But, sure enough, at 5:30 we get a call saying that he'd be in front of our house at 5:45, maybe 45 minutes before we normally get up.  We got dressed, put on our running shoes, and huddled back in the covers in hopes that they would still have some residual warmth.  He arrived all too quickly, and we got into his little Protege.  (Incidentally, this is exactly the same kind of car that I had back at home.)

We drove over to a little park he knew of, Greenbank Park.  It's a nice place, and all the jogging paths were lit by little streetlights.  I'm groaning, still half asleep, and really wishing that I was back in bed.  We got out of the car, and walked over to the path.  I thought it was interesting that there on the pavement, there was a little line that marked "Start / Finish."

Rocky ran too.

We got jogging, and it wasn't all that bad.  Sure, I was tired, and I was just trying to maintain my position a couple dozen yards in front of Francisco and Elder Lindsley.  I think that's the longest I've run for a long while.  The path that we were running on had little markers painted on the concrete, "1/4 mile," "1/2 mile," etc.  I had thought, when I saw that first one, to run up til the 3/4 mark and stop running there.  Somehow I missed it, and for the first time in two years, I ran a full mile non-stop.
 My companion tells me that running is more mental than physical.  (In that case, I'll just get cut by thinking about running.)  I didn't believe it until I saw that marker there. 

In life, we can do whatever we want.  We're able to grow up and be whatever we want.  The choices that we make will determine who we become, and ultimately whether we are happy or not.  In the words of Lehi, a prophet living about 600 BC,
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. ~2 Nephi 2:27
We can be happy, I know, only through Jesus Christ.  He is the source of all that is good, and can help us in more ways that we can imagine. 

Now for lesson two learned in the mission:

It's not a good idea to microwave a hard-boiled egg.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I have to say, I'm all for fall.  By that, I mean that I love fall.  It's my favorite time of year.  The leaves change color, wind blows through your hair, and you really feel alive.  As the leaves gently fall off of the tree, you get the lovely crunch of foliage under your feet.  It's not too cool, but not too hot either.

Fall, to me, is when God gets out his big paintbox, and doesn't spare anything.  Oranges and yellows mix with the much tamer browns, while the blue sky outside shares space with cirrus clouds.

To me, autumn is a witness to God.  He exists, and Autumn is my proof that he loves us.  He wants us to be happy.

Really, that's why he sent Jesus Christ to pay for our sins.  Through him, we can be clean from all sins.  We can be free. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

The computer is timing out. I'm talking about time. What luck.

I'm sitting here in the Newark Public library.  Finally, a decent computer.

As I waited for the computer to become available, I was just stunned by how much information we have at our fingertips.  In each bookshelf, we have at least a hundred books, each one hundreds of pages long.  In the bookshelf to my right, we have books of history, the presidency, a seperate book about the president's wives, the civil war, a book about native american tribes, another one listing TV shows from 1995 to 2007, over in the shelves even further to the right, you have two books on D&D. (I checked.  Habit.)  You have Mormonism for Dummies, you have shelf after shelf of paperback romance books, you have Terry Pratchett, and an incredible amount of information.  If you were to live here, and just start reading books, you might finish them all before you die.  Maybe.

There's just too much information here in the world for any one man to process.  That's in books alone.  Then, you have the Internet.  Even if you were to remove all redundant material...Click here for something mindblowing.

As the first little picture there says, if you were to read all of the Internet from one end to the other, it would take 57,000 years reading nonstop.

In all this, it's important to prioritize.  There are things that are downright bad, things that are good, better, and best.  We each have 80 or so years, a gift from God to use as we see fit.  If we choose, we could go to lolcats and read all about certain cats are denied cheezburgers.  We could spend any amount of time reading on forums about webcomics, gaming, books, fantasy, romance.  (I should know, that's how I spent a lot of time three years ago.  Except for the romance part.)

But that wouldn't be best. 

God has commanded us to seek wisdom from the best books.  I know that if we will spend time reading from the best books, something I've interpreted to mean the scriptures, we will have happier lives.

You can find the Scriptures with your local missionaries.  Or, since you're on a computer right now, why don't you check out the scriptures right now?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Musings on Mormon

My voice is back to normal, thank goodness.  After a chili eating contest with a mexican, I was afraid that I had done some permanent damage.

I've been reading the Book of Mormon lately, and I am constantly amazed by the sweet Spirit that I feel whenever I read it.  In times of trouble, it helps me to rise up.  Life is easier, and I've actually found that I look forward to opening up this wonderful book.

The Book of Mormon sustains me.  It, more than anything else, helps me to know that this is the true church of Christ.  As it says in Matthew 7,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Life, Gaming, and the Gospel: Sneak Attack!

Time played a rather rude trick on me a few days back.  As missionaries, we each pay $400 a month into a missionary slush fund to diffuse the cost a bit.  It goes towards rent, electricity, gas, and all that fun stuff.  Less expesive missions need less, while more expensive missions need more.  In this mission, we get all of the housing taken care of, and we get $130 per month to spend on food.  Since we go grocery shopping every monday, and since October has five mondays, this means that this month we have slightly less pocket money than usual.  I was sitting at my desk, looking at the calendar and the amount of cash that I had left, working on my budget.  I flipped up the calendar to the month of November, to see how many weeks were in November, when I stopped short.  The six week period we're in, at the end of which I return home to Washington, ends half-way through November.  I just sat there and thought a bit: in three weeks in this month, and three weeks next month, I'd be sitting at home.

So what do I do now?

It kind of felt like something out of Dungeons and Dragons.  There's this whole class called the Rogue.  They're schtick is that they sneak up on something and stab it.  It does more damage than usual, and is a real pain.  (Since I like to play big guys with big swords, I'm usually the target.)

Sometimes, we have something similar in life.  We're just going about, doing our job, helping others, when something comes out of nowhere and smacks us.  Why does this happen to us?  Is God punishing us?

Of course not.  To say that bad things only happen to bad people is also to say that good things only happen to good people.  God is not punishing you.  He loves you, and wants you to be happy.  Sometimes bad things just happen. 

However, God has a plan.  It is so wide in scope that we really can't take it all in.  He has his eyes placed on Eternal Life.  These eighty-or-so years that we have are just a drop of water in the Pacific Ocean compared to that.  While it seems everything to us, God knows what is truly important. 

I know that as we trust in Christ and repent, and are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end, we will have the eternal life that God wants so badly to give us.  If we move forward even in the tough times, we'll have eternal life.

And now, the definition of a sneak attack:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's kind of weird to think that I am now almost at the end of my mission.  I have a transfer left, which translates out to forty-two days.  Well, 41 now, but who's counting, right?

I feel like I've begun to get it.  Things are starting to work out.  If there's one thing that I've learned from my mission, it's to trust in the Book of Mormon.  I know that as we read its pages, we will always find something to guide us.  God loves us, and wants us to have success.

I love my mission.  Let's do this thing.