Good Morning Friends and Family,
The past week has been pretty hectic. Between transfers, exchanges, and the weather, this will probably be one of the most unique weeks of the mission. Elder Talbot is officially my companion and he is a phenomenal missionary. He is always striving for perfect obedience and has really fine tuned his teaching skills. I know that there are so many things that I can learn from him. We transferred on Wednesday at a world wide mission conference that we got to watch. The last time we had a missionary conference happened more than a decade ago. The title was Preach Repentance and Baptize Converts. I learned so many things about how to be a more effective missionary.
Right after district meeting Elder Allred went on exchanges with Elder Jenson so Elder Staheli joined Elder Talbot and I. Normally exchanges last about 24 hours, but around noon on Friday the storm kicked in. About 2 hours later we got a call from the Zone Leaders asking us to stay inside because road conditions were too dangerous. With no more than two inches of snow on the ground pretty much everything was shut down. It wasn't until last night that we were finally ungrounded and were allowed to exchange back.
I have never been so board and antsy in my life. I wanted to go outside and work so badly, but we just stayed in side and played board games all day. I also got to read Jesus the Christ for several hours. The only way to read that book is with a dictionary. Elder Talmage's wording is so precise and elaborate. He is pretty much the modern day Isaiah.
Church was also canceled, which was a unfortunate. I was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting about some chapters in the Book of Mormon. It is the part where Nephi is receiving the interpretation of his Fathers dream of the Tree of Life. As I was reading it, a question popped into my head. "I know what the rod is, and what the tree is, and what the great and spacious building is, but what is the path?" As I started to think about this, I realized that it represents, to me, Christ's Atonement. There is no way by which man can be saved except through Christ. The scriptures help us stay on the path, or use the atonement to the fullest. There are other paths, that may look correct, but they were not paved by Christ. If you hold to the Rod, especially the Book of Mormon, you will remain on His path and you will be able to taste of the fruit of the tree.
Lessons I Learned:
- Study with purpose: One thing I have started doing to increase the value of my studies is have a study journal with me. After that, I always study with a purpose. When I don't have a question I would like help answering I focus my studies on the Atonement of Christ. I ask myself what does this verse, chapter, story, teach me about the Atonement of Christ. There is a quote in Preach My Gospel that says the more you understand the Atonement, the more you will have a desire to go out and bring people to Christ. I started doing a deep read of the Book of Mormon, which means that I picked up a spare copy in my apartment and I am going through the entire book marking and annotating anything that teaches me about Christ's Atonement.
- The most mentally taxing, emotionally draining, and physically exhausting thing is idleness: Being grounded the past couple of days was quite literally the worst. It was killing me being stuck in a small apartment with 3 other dudes being forced to find ways to entertain ourselves. Over time you could see everybody's moral slowly dissolve. Saturday night, after 48hr of being inside, we decided to take out the trash and check the mail. It felt so good to just be outside in the freezing weather I started making snow angles. Sunday we went out and tracked and we were rejected at almost every single door, but it was so much better than being stuck inside.
I love y'all,
- Elder Shill