This week went well. I started my second transfer in the same area with the same companion so nothing much has changed except he's district leader. Honestly hardly anything has changed. We still do the exact same thing ever day. I think the most entertaining part of my mission happened this last week. Elder Meline and I were going to teach an 81 year old woman named Jeraldean when we found some other woman climbing through her window. I asked what she was doing and then she quickly came over to us and started talking. I don't even remember most of what she said but she was definitely on something. Jeraldean then showed up and we got to sit back and watch an 81 year old have a gospel conversation with a tweaker. It was great. It destroyed the lesson but it was great.
I got to play a game of horseshoes on Monday. Elder Meline and I were riding by Jefferson Park in a last ditch effort to find someone to teach and we found these two men playing horseshoes. So we rode over and started talking to them. Their names are Ramon and Hector. I guess their idea of fun is grabbing some beer and marijuana and playing horseshoes every night. Ramon started trying to make fun of us which ended up with me playing a game of horseshoes against him. If I won he had to let us teach him but if he won I had to convert to Catholicism. The score was 6-2 and he was winning. Then I came back and won 7-6. He's now an investigator of the church. I'm still not sure if he was serious about me converting to Catholicism.
Oregon losing to Arizona was probably the worst thing that could have happened for me. Church yesterday was less about Jesus than it was about making sure Elder Earl knew his state got crushed by theirs, even though they're all ASU fans. It sucked. Every time the ducks lose the whole state seems to verbally gang up on me.
Anyways, being here in Arizona during thanksgiving has put a new perspective on gratitude for me. Seeing all of these problems that people have makes me extremely grateful that I was raised in a way that put me on a safe path away from all of that. Because I was raised by two shining examples of what life is like without the influence of what many seem to think is happiness, I'm happier then ever. In fact, I'm free. A girl I was teaching the other day said she doesn't like "Mormonism" because of all the restrictions. The only thing I could think of was how much it must suck to look at it that way. Because I've lived those "restrictions" I've seen them for what they are. They are simply the only way to be unrestricted.
These "restrictions" say that I shouldn't do drugs. Because I don't drink, smoke, or whatever else someone figured out I don't have to live with that constant dependency on those substances. I don't have to sleep in bed sheets that smell like a crematorium. I don't have to worry that I drank too much to drive home safely. I don't have to worry about what will happen to me while I wait for my wits to return. I don't have to worry about whether or not this body that God gave me is as suited as it used to be to hold up against the impediments that I already know are waiting for me.
These "restrictions" say that I should stay abstinent until marriage. Not only that but I shouldn't view pornography. Ever. In fact I shouldn't even have immoral thoughts. Because I've followed those rules I've learned many valuable lessons. I've learned self control. I've learned how to respect women. I can live the life I'm supposed to live right now. Having kids is not what I'm supposed to be doing right now. Whether or not it's an accident. Because I'm living the way I'm supposed to be living right know, I know that later I'll have a wife that loves me, kids that will grow up in a home with two parents just like they deserve, and I'll have a greater sense of loyalty and fidelity because I've already chosen it.
These "restrictions" say that I shouldn't gamble. The world says "you can't win if you don't play". That makes about as much sense as using cocaine as a weight loss program. Just don't do it.
These "restrictions" are the only way to keep yourself unrestricted. They are the only way to be free from sorrow. They are the only way to be yourself. Honestly they're the only way to be free at all. To drive the point in a little further, they're the only way to live the life God meant for you to live. "Wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10).
I am so grateful for the way my parents raised me. Because of them I can be truly happy. The knowledge that they helped me find for myself is priceless. I'm grateful that my parents lived and are still living the way that God intended. I am who I am because of their example to me. I'm grateful for my younger siblings. I love my parents but Hayden, Peter, Hannah, Andrew, Martha, and Collin are my role models. I'm grateful for the example they've shown me. As hard as I am to put up with they've done it in the most loving way possible. Someday I hope to be able to gain the attributes that my siblings already have. I love them. I'm especially blessed to be on a mission as a representative of Jesus Christ. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me. I know that because of that love he prepared a way for me to return to Him someday. I know that because of that love He sacrificed his only begotten son in the flesh to atone for my sins. I know that because of that love I can repent and be brought back onto the straight and narrow path back to Him. I know that because of that love he restored His gospel through Joseph Smith. I know that because of that love I can be with my family forever. There is nothing more I can ask for than the peace and security this gospel brings. This IS the true church of Jesus Christ restored again to the Earth. Through it you can live the life that God intended for you to live. The Book of Mormon IS the word of God. It coincides perfectly with the Bible. It has the answers that God wants you to know. You can read it, think about it, and pray about it with a sincere heart, honestly intending to know whether or not it is true. If you do this it will be manifested to you through the Holy Ghost so that you can know the truth of all things. Why? Because God loves you. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.