Monday, October 25, 2010
Welcome to fall
A picture from the MTC.
Elder Bergstrom's comments were great. I feel like he has grown a ton on his mission by hearing that; I hope (and plan) to do the same. But after his comments, I feel like I have a long way to go!
I guess it’s a good thing to have a busy week eh? Better busy than not, especially in the mission field. I cannot stand just sitting during the day. Ugh. So, good for you Mom and Dad to be busy.
Yes, I would love GOOD winter gloves if they are available, seeing as I do not have any and it’s showing signs of getting cold here. There were a few frosts in September before I arrived in Saskatoon, but there had not been any since I arrived until this past week. Just to show you how quickly the weather can change here, last week it was about 15C, so about...59F or so. Today's high is supposed to be 5 or 6C, with snow in the next day or so. AH! IT’S ABOUT TO BEGIN! 6 months of severe cold and snow. Oh dear. I mean, this is Seattle winter right now! Oh well, I guess it will make a man out of me and it will make the "winters" in Utah a breeze. BRING IT! I have seen videos from missionaries last year that boiled water and took it outside in -40 and it froze before it hit the ground. So yes, I should be able to spit and have it freeze before it hits the ground. (That, and going up the Space Needle are the only 2 things on my bucket list.)
Well, I am sure expanding my taste buds, that’s for sure. I have not denied any meals, and have eaten dried fish, shrimp, and other things. I have found that small shrimp is actually not all that bad. Yes, expanding my taste buds.
Another funny bit...I accidentally told an investigator that the Gift of the Holy Ghost is a literal baptism by fire. Oh man, that was bad. I quickly corrected myself when I saw the investigator's eyes get wide, by saying something like "...oooh, nope. That's not true. What I meant to say was it is a FIGURATIVE baptism by fire." Big difference. Oh boy. Any questions as to what I am referring to by baptism by "fire", ask my parents.
Elder Butterfield and I have run into a lot of Muslims. I even teach in a Muslim mosque! How great is that?! This particular Muslim sect is very interesting. They believe that Jesus is the Messiah (not a traditional Muslim belief), but they believe he was on the cross, but did not die on the cross. I believe all Muslims believe he did not die on the cross. But this sect believes that Jesus returned in the mid 1800s and made a trek from Jerusalem to India and that we are in the Millenium now. They are closer to being Christian than they think! Oh, I already have some fun mission stories like that. I mean, like I said, I teach in a mosque!
My companion had a wonderful insight concerning the Atonement and the laws of justice and mercy. I hope I can explain this clearly. To preface: many prophets foretold of Christ being crucified on the cross, but why a cross, is there any significance behind crucifixion specifically? That I still do not know. I know that crucifixion was the most cruel form of killing someone at that time. So back to the story...my companion noticed something interesting during a video on the Atonement that we were watching with the Muslims. At a point they show a balancing scale in a market. My companion noticed that the scale more-or-less made a cross when equal. He wondered if the cross represents equality in Justice and Mercy, how both are fulfilled through Christ. The law of the universe demands that justice be administered with all sins committed, but Christ is merciful. How can He be both totally merciful while maintaining total justice?
The video described how this can be through a parable of a young man wanting something very badly and signing a contract to have what he wanted immediately, but also promising in the contract that he would repay all the money by a specific time. Over time the young man paid back a little, but not most, figuring that he had more time to repay the debt than he really had. Though he knew when he had to repay it, he procrastinated earning enough and spent time doing other things. When the day came to repay the debt, the creditor with the contract came demanding the remaining money. The young man could not pay it. The creditor said he would take all of the man's possessions and money and throw him in jail. The young man wept pitifully, and begged for mercy. The creditor asked how he could fulfill the justice of the contract if he administered mercy to young man. At this point of total despair for the young man, a third party, another man, came. This third man came and offered to pay the debt for the young man if he (the young man) would honorably pay Him back and serve Him until the debt was paid. The young man gratefully agreed. The third man paid the creditor the remaining sum (administered justice) and by doing so, allowed for total Justice and Mercy to be applied. Christ is that third party and we are the naive young man in that sense. God will judge us and demand total Justice, yet He is merciful. Christ, who atoned for our sins on the cross and in Gethsemane, administers total mercy if we have lived honorable lives and served Him. Maybe this is not new knowledge to most, but to me, this parable really put the Atonement into perspective for me. The cross...is it a symbol for total Justice and total Mercy? I do not know. Maybe. My companion's observation was certainly an eye-opening experience for me.
With that I would like to close. I love my family so much. I love searching the scriptures every morning as I am beginning to grasp deeper meanings to simple things in the Gospel. I know this is the true church. What more can I say?
So one additional insight...
Many latter-day saints (myself included) often desire to obtain the sealed portion of the plates. Well, why should we ever receive it if we HAVEN'T READ THE BIBLE? What else is there to say?
I have loved reading Jesus the Christ and the New Testament concurrently. I am on page 204 of Jesus the Christ after starting over. Wow it’s so good but takes a long time to wade through it all. I love marking up my scriptures with all the insights! Anywho, I have to go.