Jared's girlfriend is engaged! Oh congratulations pal! Oh no, not to him! Haha, no idea why, but that line came into my head. I figured it'd look nice on the top. And funny story, actually fits in with this week's happenings. But we'll get to that later!
Let's start with Renalyn. Ah, blessed day! Renalyn is awesome! She is the one we taught back in the day that moved away and then just moved back. We checked with her about how the lessons had been taught and how her understanding was and what we still needed to teach. She is so solid! So ready to get baptized! We set a date for 2 weeks from now, but she said she wanted to get baptized sooner! Ha! Fine by me! So we have her set for this Friday! Interviews are finished and she is good to go! I could not be more excited! And she and her husband got all married up back in April (I probably sent pics, it was the wedding we had about my first week in the area), so about a year from now, they can be all married up in the temple!! Sweet? I think yes! But, there is a sad side to this story. I don't know that this ever happens in real life. Maybe in the movies. And definitely in jokes. In fact, I remember one from Brian Reagan about it. There is no forgiveness when you ask a woman what month her baby is due....when she's not pregnant. AHHHH! "Ah, the pandas at the zoo! They are havin a baby....". Oh man. Yeah, my face is usually pretty red cuz we spend some good time in the sun. But it went far more red. They told me back before they moved that she was pregnant, so with that thought randomly coming back to my memory, I asked when it was due. I was met with blank stares. Oh snap. Um, the baby? You told me back in the day....Thankfully, the husband remembered. Didn't help the situation though. He said, "Ah yeah, that was just a false alarm. This though, (tapping his wife's belly), this is just fat." Please, let me sink into the floor. Didn't happen. But there was something that did make me feel better. Heard a woman at church yesterday make the same mistake. Sigh. Not one of my finer moments.
Our bakery woman and her children are also progressing right along schedule. Should all go well today, (knock on wood). Name it. Should all go well this week, they will be baptized next Saturday. So we could have baptisms two weeks in a row! Life is just going well! Their family is doing sooo good! We haven't taught the dad yet. Super nice man, but so busy with the bakery. I asked him the other day about coming to church with his fam. He said, sure, but that he'd have to find someone to take over while he was gone. I mentioned he could also just close. He said, "For an hour?" I mentioned that's not quite what I had in mind. He laughed and joked, "Ha, what, the whole day?" He quieted down quickly when he saw in my face that is exactly what I had in mind. But the next day when we were teaching his wife outside the bakery, I heard a man come and ask for something and then say, eh, nevermind. Just get it tomorrow, to which he replied, ah, you won't be able to. We won't be opening tomorrow. WHAT?! Sweet!!! And they didn't. They all came to church together yesterday! It was awesome! I'm very excited for them.
We are also teaching this other wonderful couple. Man's name is Jerald and his wife's name is Che. She is a LA (active when she was a kid but then they moved to the city and she never went back). He is catholic. But we have had 2 really good lessons with them. He is a good father, honestly searching for the truth. And he is making wonderful progress. They came to church yesterday too. We are super excited for him.
We did have some sad news this week. We have been teaching a woman named Jen. The missionaries started teaching her before I got here. She has made some wonderful progress since I've been here. Came to church for about 6 weeks. Went to temple tour with us. Has been living the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. Reading the scriptures. Got an answer to prayer that our church is true. We were talking with her about baptism. She said she does not want to be baptized. She knows it's true, but she doesn't want to change churches. She actually only even listened to us because the woman she works for told her she had to. We asked if she really had received an answer that the church was true. She said yes, but she still didn't want to change. With no desire to be baptized, we can't help her progress. She thanked us for the lessons but didn't want us to come back. It was so sad! It is hard to be rejected. But it is so much harder when someone has been changing and knows that what you are teaching is true but still rejects you. We were so bummed for her and for all the blessings she will give up. We invited her to keep reading and praying and to let us know if she changes her mind. But for now, we are dropped. Or in other words, dumped. We were feeling a little low in spirit as we left. And to make matters worse, the tatay chewed us out for issues that weren't our fault. Kind of like being kicked while you were down. Was a tough night indeed. But! There are still more people to share with. And we can only hope that the Spirit will get the better of her eventually and she will accept the gospel.
We also cooked the best missionary cooked meal of my mission this week. Steak, real mashed potatoes, gravy, and some steamed up vegetables. It was divine. But you'll see pics of that later.
We had zone conference! It was incredible! I won't go there, cuz I don't have time. But zone conference is a wonderful time for the mission president to just heap the spirit on the missionaries. I love it! Also, there was a talk shared from Sister Sperry that you might want to check out. It's called, "And Nothing Shall Offend Them" by Elder Bednar. Pretty awesome. Look it up!
The thought for this week came this one night when Elder Jensen and I were about ready to head home for the evening. One of my most commonly used sayings is, "It's a sick world we're living in". Yep, Jingle All the Way. But we say it all the time. Whenever we see something gross, or wrong, or just completely sinful. Sad thing is we find ourselves saying it way too much. This one night, we had just noticed a lot of such things all right in a row. Kind of weighed on us a bit. Found a scripture. Moses 7:26, "And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced." It just made me think of how filthy the world is at this time. Satan is definitely putting in some overtime. It's very sad. So we all see the filthiness being spread. That is quite apparent. But what is this chain that he is using to spread darkness? Alma 7:15 reads,"Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction". It is our sins that binds us down and lets darkness be spread. When we live in sin, or show others that they should sin, we become bound down in sin and we spread that blackness to others. 2 Nephi 26:22,"and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever." The devil is very crafty. He leads us carefully. He encourages us to spread that darkness carefully. And therefore, as it said in Moses, it covers the whole earth. So how do we shake off those chains and stop the spread of darkness? 2 Nephi 9 has that for us. Verse 45 says,"O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation." We break free when we come unto Christ and use his atonement. We help others when we show a good example and teach them how to come unto Christ and use His atonement. One of my favorite verses is 2 Nephi 26:25 which says,"Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price." The Atonement is for all. Only through the atonement can we become clean and help others to become clean also. Only through using the atonement can we break down Satan's power on the earth. The atonement is a wonderful gift that can't be bought with money. It is bought with a willing heart and spirit. It is bought when we are willing to change ourselves and do only those things that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father. We literally rid the world of darkness through letting our good example be seen. 3 Nephi 18:24,"Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up葉hat which ye have seen me do." I pray that we can all hold up a good example to others, and help them find the wonderful gift of the atonement, that we may rid the world of darkness. For a good example, maybe check out Alma 19:6. Can't go wrong with the sons of Mosiah.
Anywho. Time for pics! I promised pics of our timtams adventure. So I got some of those. A couple pics of us demonstrating how it is done. Then a group shot, just to show we are having a good time. And then, how good are timtams? The pic of my comp shows it all. Face of pure joy. They are THAT good! A picture of us with our bakery woman and her husband. They are some wonderful people! I hadn't realized how small they were til we looked at the picture. Man. She has a "presence". Makes her seem a few feet taller. Then some pics of our DELICIOUS meal! Food Fact of the Day: Steaks can be cooked in a frying pan. Fact!! Oh the things you get to try on a mission! And one last pic just so you can see how much I enjoyed the food. THAT much. As you can see, not only are we living it up, but we are very thoroughly enjoying it all! Life as a missionary is THAT good! I'm sorry, I don't know what's up the 'that' in all caps all the time. Just sort of happened. I blame the water.
Well folks, I hope you are all doing so super good! Keep it real this week! Have an excellent week and study your scriptures!