November 17, 2014 Letter
I'm REALLY excited to tell you about my week!! It was so fun! First off we met this crazy guy in his 70's that told us he is going to send lasers into the sky on New Years Eve that will write a message saying "If you do not repent before you will not be part of this world." Hahaha. And then he claimed to know everything about electronics but he was asking us to help him download the Gospel Library app on his new Samsung tablet. After we finished we were leaving and he called out to us, "How do you turn this thing off?!" It was hard not to laugh in front of him!
We saved an apartment from burning down this week!! We were eating dinner with some members and we heard an alarm going off. We walked out onto the balcony and saw smoke billowing out of the window of an apartment across the courtyard. We ran over and knocked on the door. No one answered so we knocked on the neighbors door to see if they knew what was going on. This lady opened up and saw that we were missionaries and was actually pretty rude and wouldn't listen to us even though we were pointing at the smoke pouring out of her neighbors window! After calling 9-1-1 when the firemen showed up, they knocked on her door and she sure listened to them!! 3 fire trucks showed up about 5 minutes later and to get into the apartment they had to break the door down with a sludge hammer! It was pretty cool!! No one was in the house which was a blessing! A minute later they came out holding a pot that had been left on the stove and had ignited in the kitchen! No flames had caught the rest of the house yet and all they had to do was clear the smoke. Sweet huh?!
There's a lady we're teaching that we stopped by this week and knocked on her door. A little time went by and then she answered the door. She was very startled to see us there so I asked if she had heard us knock. She said she hadn't but she was just coming outside so she could smoke. I told her God had sent us to her house to tell her not to smoke. She was pretty mad I said that and told us she had had a terrible day! So we asked why it was so terrible! After telling us a few things we would pry deeper and ask, "Well what else went wrong today?" until she got it all out. By the time she finished she had gotten so intense she had crushed her cigarette! Before we could celebrate she had already gone in to grab another one. We told her she wasn't going to smoke that one either. By this point she just started to laugh and we were able to convince her she didn't need to smoke anymore. We talked about her motivation to quit smoking and she expressed a strong desire to quit. We challenged her on the spot to bring out all her cigarettes so we could break them all into pieces. It was REALLY difficult to get her to do this but she finally did and we had a cigarette smashing party!! That was fun for all of us :)
We had our transferly based Mission Leadership Council this last week and our mission president prefaced his comments by introducing his topic as "Covenant Keeping" and then proceeded to read specific portions of the white handbook. He introduced his topic so subtly that I almost missed that when he was talking about covenants he was talking about what the white handbook refers to as "guidelines". This is a pattern I'm beginning to notice in the church. Less and less are they saying what we can and can't do. They are providing guidelines and asking us to use our best judgement. For example, Green tea is not explicitly against the word of wisdom. There is an argument for both sides and the church will not make a rule about green tea. We have to be spiritually mature enough to govern ourselves.
Also the Phoenix Temple was dedicated this week! President Monson was very humorous. During the Corner stone ceremony the wind was gusting and it was blowing President Monson's tie around. He looked down at it and said, "George! Get down George!" He then buttoned up his suit to keep it down and then looked up with a big smile. Lynn G. Robbins spoke at the dedication and talked about patterns. Almost every program in the church has a specific pattern of how often we participate in it. Church is once a week, seminary has it's schedule... But we are not told how often to attend the Temple. They leave it at, "go often." It's significant that they allow us to show Heavenly Father our appreciation for Temples by how often we go there.
Have a fantastic week!!
Love Elder Janis