Monday, June 1, 2015

Another Week in Paradise!

Well, I guess I'm not sure about paradise, but it's pretty good.

This week we had interviews with President Murdock! Those are always good. (For me, anyway. I can't speak for other missionaries.) He told us he'd be interviewing everyone in our district from 1:30-3:00pm. Knowing that that wasn't going to happen (interviews always run long), we told our 5:00 dinner appointment that we might be a little late. We didn't get there until after 6:00! I guess a big part of that was my interview. Don't get me wrong, other people's interviews were long, but mine was about an hour and a half. We sat down at about 4:30 and President Murdock shared with me a little message on faith that he was sharing with all the missionaries, and then I just started talking to him about my mission, all I've learned, how I've felt about it, and on and on. And he had a lot to say as well. We also talked a lot about the mission culture (what goes on when the Mission President isn't around), and came to the conclusion that while it still isn't perfect, it's come leaps and bounds from where it was when we entered the field. We talked a little more about my mission and then ended the interview. Elder Tavares (and two other elders) didn't get the chance to have an interview that day, so we went to President's house two days later for Elder Tavares to have his interview, and for me to get a temple recommend interview (my recommend would have expired yesterday). So, although it was long, it was a good interview! I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve under the direction of President Murdock.

I've talked a bit about Chris who's moving into the ward. We helped him move around some boxes during the week so they could clean the apartment he's leaving (he's a midget, so it's hard for him to move stuff by himself). And then finally on Saturday we moved him out. The only problem-- the house he's moving into wasn't ready yet!! But the contract on his apartment was up, so he had to go. We took all of his stuff to storage (he has a LOT of stuff!). The coolest part is that the ward he currently lives in came to help him move out; and that's the Coal Mine ward! If you remember, I served there for the first six months of my mission! So I got to see quite a few of the guys from the ward, and most of them remembered me (including Brother Foster who's married to a lady Dad knew at BYU-Hawaii)! We'll (hopefully) be moving Chris into his house this coming Saturday.

We taught a couple of good lessons to Christine this week as well. She's the 88-year-old Catholic lady who's the most active non-member in the ward. She came to church on Sunday even though her fellowshipper (who normally brings her) couldn't come! So she's doing really well. I had the chance to teach the Gospel Principles class that day, and it was a great topic: The Church of Jesus Christ Today. So, I basically got to teach Lesson One: The Restoration. I'm glad she was there, because she seemed to get a lot out of the class.

Brandan also came to church! It was his second time, and he decided to stay for all three hours. Let me just say, he is so awesome. He cleaned 15 banks the night before and got home at some pitch-black hour of the morning, only to get up and come to church at 9:00 a.m. He's doing so great! As our ward mission leader put it. "You struck gold when you knocked on his door!" He's still facing so many trials in his personal and business life. He told us it's the hardest time he's had in his whole life! But he still told members at church, "These fine gentlemen came and knocked on my door, and everything's been great since!" Obviously things haven't been great, but the perspective the gospel brings make these things in his life bearable, and that's a miracle he's been recognizing.

My desk--in case you were wondering what it looks like!
We had a great lesson over lunch with him on Friday about Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi chapter 8. Brandan said people have been telling him in essence, "I'm glad you're making God a bigger part of your life, but beware of those Mormons..." We read Lehi's dream and talked about the group of people who "came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree." These people were "clinging" to the rod. We made the comparison of a dryer sheet clinging to a shirt. These people ate the fruit, and knew that it was "desirable to make one happy," just as Brandan knows the Gospel makes him happy. Yet these people, after partaking of the fruit, "cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed." They were ashamed, or embarrassed, by people in the "great and spacious building. . . (who) were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit." We then pointed out to Brandan the group who came next, "and. . . did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron." And when these people were mocked by those in the great and spacious building, they "heeded them not." And then to bring it home, Nephi gives us the words of verse 34: "These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away." We drew out Lehi's dream as we explained it, and drew Brandon holding fast to the rod. He said, "I want to hold on with both hands. And my feet. Like, everything! I'm not letting go!" We explained that the iron rod was the word of God. And he's been doing fantastic at holding fast to it. He started reading the Book of Mormon a week ago, and he just finished 1 Nephi! He's doing great!
"Elder" Curth and Me

On Sunday, I got a call from Elder Curth! He's the Elder who trained me when I first got out into the mission field. He was passing through Denver on his way to Arizona from Ohio. So I met up with him and got a picture.

The Church is true! I love you all. Be excellent!

Elder Rogers

p.s. Here are a couple of my favorite Elder Tavares moments from the week:

At a dinner appointment:
"Yeah, they're this band called Politically Correct. They have everything in their band, like an African-American, an Asian, a Hispanic person, a normal American, both male and female."
"Elder, did you just say, 'a normal American?'..."

And this one from just about two hours ago:
"I was a really premature baby. I was like 32 weeks early."
"You were not 32 weeks early."
"Yeah, I was."
"No, you weren't."
"Yes, I really was! I was in an incubator for like three weeks."
"Look, Elder, I believe that you believe that; but I'm telling you it's not true."
"Well maybe it was like 22 weeks early."
"Elder, a full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. You were not that early."
He kept decreasing the time until I finally agreed, to appease him.

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