Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thoughts on the Pioneers & other ponderings

Unfortunately this week I have not had time to write in my journal, so much missionary work to do and all, makes for getting home on time rare this week so writing in my physical journal was sparse and when I did write, I wrote my testimony.
Scripture passage I liked this week:
I think it is impossible that ye should be ignorant of the things which have been said concerning the coming of Christ... He should make it known unto you what ye shall do... Prepare your minds" Alma 34:2-3
 In missionary work there are no callings, since our call is a full time missionary, a representative of Christ and a worthy member to represent the church all combined into one, so whatever other duties are given to us are called "assignments" I have been assigned to be the English Leader, We teach English every Tuesday as a service to the community.  I am in charge of who will teach what class- Beginner, intermediate, and advanced, what the spiritual thought at the end will be and conduct the beginning meeting, and plan a showcase, held every 6 weeks, and order materials such as books and make sure all is set up and taken down in the classrooms (chairs mostly).
This week I hate the language as always and the culture shock increased this week too-- I swear there are more ants in the Kitchen, and my lap, and my hands, and the bathroom insects have begun to inhabit it, again, I know because at one point I cleaned it so good there weren't any, so I know they are new... since I finished the Book of Mormon I decided to start another book
Missionaries are allowed to read only a handful of reading material- the standard works, Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, Preach my Gospel, and the missionary library- which consists of
"Jesus the Christ"- a 700 pg book all about Jesus, loads of references. 
"True to the Faith"- a dictionary pretty much, outlines phrases and words not usually used in every day conversation (such as salvation, atonement, eternal life, holy ghost etc)
"Our search for Happiness"- what the church is for the member and non member basically a book of understanding and
"Our Heritage"- a history of the church, the early saints/ pioneers to present time.
I already read "our search for happiness while reading through the Book of Mormon so began "Our Heritage" and finished it!!!  Wow, I feel better about serving in Thailand. There are many sacrifices I thought I was making that I thought were difficult, after reading some the early church member difficulties I had to say "I don't have it that bad, I am blessed" I will share a few with you 1. I do not have to travel across the plains of the US in winter and have my feet so frost bitten that when they removed my socks all the skin came with and had to get their feet removed and walk on my knees the rest of life.  2. I did not go blind from the sun for serving and working on a railroad that needed to be completed to supply much needed supplies to the saints.  3. I did not have to leave my sick stricken family to a mission that was of unknown duration with myself being ill too.  But they saw so many miracles and were greatly blessed- like all there crops being eaten by grasshoppers and fasting/praying and seagulls coming and eaten them all up thus not starving to death, and 100s of converts coming into the gospel, souls saved through missionary efforts.
3 favorite stories-
1- the prophet, Brigham Young asked a select few to leave the colonized salt lake valley and spread out further, one man already settled, had fruit trees and farm and everything was asked to leave, and he left to colonize 100+ miles away from the salt lake city the winter was so harsh many turned back to SLC but he stayed saying the prophet asked him to go and he wouldn't leave till he was asked to.  He left all his fruit trees! I don't know if I could do that, those take along time to grow, along with other crops.  Seeing his strong faith strengthen mine
2- A daughter of a bishop was given a newspaper from england in may. She was with the two elderly men who gave it to her asked her to give it her father, the paper contained info about his ancestry, which would be used to do work in the temple (see mormon.org "temples" ) the paper was dated May 15th, the girl received the paper in may, only a few days after it was printed! This was before planes, it takes weeks for things to be shipped, this was a miracle!  People who have passed wanted their ordinances to be done (baptism) and were very anxious for that to happen.
3- During the great depression the church established a welfare program and began buying and farming land and raising cattle etc, worldwide.  In Germany they were asked to share their harvest of potatoes with whom they were against war at the time, switzerland, they freely gave to their fellow brothers and sister one year- 75 tons of potatoes, the next 90 tons! They saw a need a willingly gave.
I then thought- these miracle and hardships seem fictional, but I know they really happened just how I know the stories in the Old and New Testament happened and everyone on the earth today is living in a time when prophets and apostles walk the earth again.  The only time miracles cease is when we don't have faith.  If we have faith, if we know we can be healed or speak thai it will happen.  Miracles cease when our faith ceases.  Do I have the faith to speak this insane Language? Do I believe, when inviting for several hours in the sun, this next person will let us in to share the message? If I believe it, it will happen.

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