Wednesday, January 14, 2009
SIVA & RAMMENI
I am still in Abhishaik's area. I'm actually teaching his family now. His sister is doing really well, and her mother is too... but she doesn't speak english :( Oh well, we ignore rules and teach people the gospel, jk. The gospel is for everyone she just will have a hard time understanding in church, the mother I mean. Abhi is still doing great. He's my first baptism, but I've two more... haha, yeah. I baptized Siva and Rameni last sunday, it was a real treat. They had learned the lessons for 8+ months now and were finally willing to be baptized now.
I guarentee that India is dirtier than any American city, maybe even twice as dirty. Mother, the sewers are open on the sides of the roads. I don't remember if I told you this but my OLD bike fell into one of those ditches. It was perhaps the grossest thing you can imagine. Fortunately I have a new one, completely new and amazing.
Your grasp on the hymns sung by newly formed branches in foreign countries is exactly correct. There are creative timings and unrecognizable tunes sung for the 5 different songs that they know and cycle through every week. They sing "repent and be baptized..." every single week. It's cute (and annoying.) We're teaching our converts how to broaden their repetoire and sing songs correctly and so are the couple missionaries. I don't play piano in sacrament, two or three have enough piano skills to play the hymns. I play for district meetings though.
Here's something for my blog, which, as the emails I am receive are telling me, everyone is really liking so keep up the good work!
1. First of all, we as members represent the church, that's true, but remember that the church is JESUS CHRIST'S. If you really believe that, then you should be able to overcome the hypocrisy you see around you. Trust me when I say that nobody is perfect, not even me. Only to Jesus Christ can we look to as a perfect human example as we try to be perfect "even as [our] father in heaven is perfect." People will make mistakes, and may make the church look bad, but that in no way means that the church IS bad, rather that it is misrepresented. We were provided the atonement because we are mortals, we will make mistakes, but through the power of His mercy we can be clean again. That opportunity is extended to ALL, including members of the church who profess cleanliness but practice uncleanliness. Therefore, when you go on a mission you do not represent the sins of all the church members, but rather Jesus Christ and the opportunity of reprentance that he gives to all men.
2. I'm a *pretty* straight shooter. In this case, I'll be direct and to the point. EVERY PERSON IN THIS WORLD MAKES MISTAKES. I make ridiculously stupid mistakes and you've made mistakes too. When we recieve forgiveness for our mistakes, when we truly repent and cease to continue in unrighteousness, then we are clean, and our sins are forgotten. WHATEVER sin occured in your past, if you can accept your repentance, if Jesus Christ accepts your repentance, and if required church intermediators have told you that your repentance has been accepted, then I will join in saying that you are not only clean enough to represent the church, but more prepared than countless others, because you have a firsthand knowledge of the forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers in its fullest.
3. Go on a mission. There are so many reasons to do it. There are a lot of selfish reasons not to. Believe that there is a life after this one and that we will be infinitely rewarded for our devoted service to the Lord. Know that the blessings that are extended to us on a mission cannot be completely provided by any other means than by serving a mission. Your testimony will increase tenfold, your knowledge of the gospel will increase tenfold, and your love for the Savior and capacity for charity will increase tenfold. I do not regret coming on a mission, and I never will. You will regret not going on a mission. All worthy males are provided the duty, all worthy females are extended the opportunity. The sacrifice is not a small thing, but it's not the whole world. The blessings ARE the whole world. GO ON A MISSION.
I love my Savior and have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I love that I have the best family in the world, life sure is easier that way. Thanks for everything!
I love you soooo much.