Friday, July 25, 2014

Week 49: The Nuisance of Freedom

Americaaaaa!  Happy late Independence day.  I hope you guys had a killer time watching fireworks behind the middle school with the whole city of Yorba Linda like we have every year of my entire life.  I got to see like, three fireworks.  In people's front yards.  Cause I guess that's legal here.  I also celebrated my independence by completely disregarding several personal health standards.  Ice cream and candy-shop fudge for lunch (nothing else), twinkies and mini donuts during our planning session, and the best banana pudding ever plus Special K peanut butter bars at bishop's that night.  I regretted nothing. Except the mini donuts.  Not worth it.
We had FHE with the ward mission leader and his wife, Book of Mormon pictionary.  We love them a lot, they're like our ward parents.  Except they're, like, my age.  Or younger.  It's only weird sometimes.  Weirder still when I get pictures in the mail of my own friends, younger than me, that have babies.  I can barely cook for myself.

We aimed again for daily contact with the newlywed less active, who jumps back and forth between being really committed (in word) to do what's right and simply not caring i.e. not coming to church because he doesn't feel like it.  I'm glad he said he welcomes my chastisement, because I went hardcore this week.  I basically told him (through the scriptures) if he doesn't bring his kids up in church and they go off the deep end, the sin is upon his head because they were his responsibility, I told him that the Savior rarely if ever did what he "felt like doing" because he was always doing the Father's will and NEVER thinking of himself.  I told him that not coming to church is being totally selfish, and refusing to change and overcome the natural man is blatantly rejecting the Savior's Atonement.  I did not tell him that I wanted to punch him in the face for drinking with his friends on the Fourth.  But it better not happen again.  I think one of the things that stresses me out the most with this guy is this fear I have that I'm going to have a son someday with his same attitude and it's going to rip me in half because when it's you're own child, you can't say "welp, transfer time, you're someone else's burden now!"  It's a lifelong stewardship.  And if they don't change, a lifelong frustration.  That's just the nuisance of agency.  They're free to choose, and some just consciously choose the wrong.  japgo;ish;lskdfj.  But we'll worry about that later.

I learned in my studies this week that if you don't live the law of consecration when appointed to do so by an apostle, you'll fall over and die.  New testament.  I learned in our continued "end of the world" discussion at Bishop's that when we all have to leave society and live in Independence, Missouri, we'll most likely be living the law of consecration there.  Better give it all, or you give up the ghost (so says Acts chapter 5).

I got to teach my own family this week!  The Valdez family.  Ha.  His progenitors are from Mexico but we're probably cousins somewhere down the line.  They make good burgers and delicious fried chicken at a local convenience store, currently don't have a church (because everyone judges the plethora of.... artwork... on his body), and he's curious because he worked in a jail and once saw an inmate reading the Book of Mormon.  We met them awhile ago and finally got to sit down and teach them.  Quite promising so far.  We also got to teach this young family, who totally look like Utah/Cali/Arizona Mormons, even with the tats on the dad's arms (who also looks like he should play guitar in coffeeshops on weekends) and they're really open.  Said they've prayed about the Book of Mormon and haven't got any "negative energy" so maybe learning more is a good thing for them to do.  (Answer is yes, it's actually the best thing you will ever ever do.)

We've been keeping a tally of shirtless old men we spot while driving around town and we're up to 8 for the week.  One of them we actually got to teach, Plan of Salvation because he said he was a recovering drug addict whom God had preserved but for what purpose, he doesn't know.  So we taught the purpose of life.  He liked it enough to agree to another lesson.  Maybe next time he'll put on a shirt.  We can only hope.

I know I've complained a lot about how hard the work is out here (and don't think for a second I'm exaggerating anything because for realz you don't even know) but like.  It's like what our DL told us once.  In the world, it's like this: input --> output.  Your efforts determine your results.  In the mission, it's like this:  input --> AGENCY --> output.  There's this giant wall between the two, and that's other people's freedom choose.  To accept or reject.  To act or to ignore.  To pursue or to cower.  And there's nothing I can do about it.  I know it's how it has to be, because Satan's plan was that no one has a choice and life is meaningless.  But it's really a bother to us laborers over here.

So I was reading in Alma 43, about how the Nephites are battling the Lamanites, and the ill-prepared Lamanites are fighting like dragons and somehow killing many Nephites through their armor, and there's twice as many Lamanites so the odds of winning just aren't so good for the Nephites anymore.

 45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.
 46 And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; 
So they end up winning, of course.  And it's all because they remembered why they were flinging swords in the first place.  Their cause was noble and God-sanctioned, so of course He was on their side.  No battle is too big for God.  I'm here to do that which I feel is the duty which I owe to God.  And even if I don't come out conquerer, if I die before my journey's through.... happy day.  All is well.  At least I was fighting for the right side.


Sister Valdez

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