Just finished another great week in the AMM (Arizona Mesa Mission)! It's still around 70 degrees here. It's weird to think that it's December. People here start putting their Christmas lights up pretty much the day after Halloween so most of the place is already lit up. We went to a member's house for dinner and walked into a winter wonderland where their living room used to be. I don't really understand it. I guess you have to compensate for the lack of snow somehow.
Thanksgiving was good. We started out the day with the Hampton ward turkey bowl at 7am. They had already been playing since 4. They're insane. We played with them until 10 and then we rode our bikes 8 miles to murder the YSA zone in their turkey bowl. Then we just got fed the rest of the day. It was great.
We had another lesson this week with the man getting baptized on my birthday. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how all his answers will come from reading it. Apparently he hasn't had the time to read it. He also told us he has a problem smoking. It ended up being a really good lesson. We promised him that if he would read Moroni 10: 3-5 and pray about it that he would know that it's true. I also promised him that as he read the book that he would be able to stop smoking. He said he would but he's said those exact words before and he never did it.
The next day he showed up at church with his son and pretty much slept the entire time. After the meeting he pulled me aside and thanked me for the night before. He said he took me up on reading it and he couldn't put it down. He stayed up all night reading. He said he knows it's true, he hasn't smoked since he picked it up, and he wants us to come back. It was a pretty cool experience for me.
It's funny how everything I study seems to apply to someone I teach that day. This past week I've been studying charity. I guess it was just something I wanted to apply in my life but there's really no set definition that I could strive for. The only definition I've ever heard is that charity is the pure love of Christ but that's a huge goal to strive for and something that will take a lifetime for me to perfect. If not more. So as I studied this week I came up with a simpler, attainable goal for me right now. So, for me, charity is patiently expecting the best out of others.
As I read about Christ, that's how he treated all of his disciples. Not only his disciples, but all mankind. For example, look at Peter. Peter tried to rebuke Christ on multiple occasions, fell asleep only a stones throw away from where Christ was atoning for all of our sins and sorrows, cut a man's ear off, denied Christ three times in one night, and then after all he had seen simply went back to fishing.
In John:21, Christ comes to Peter and His other disciples and patiently expects that they do what they were asked to do before, and feed his sheep. In every single instance with Christ, Peter is corrected not with harsh words, not with stern criticism, but with patient expectations. Because of the way Christ dealt with him, Peter rose to those expectations. It came to the the point where crowds lined the the streets, praying that the shadow of Peter would fall upon them so that they might be healed. This not only happened with Peter. Paul of Tarsus became one of the most renowned missionaries of all time. John became the Revelator. Moses became the leader of the Israelites. But why does that matter? Because people rise or fall to the expectations you have of them.
So for me, charity, simply put, is patiently expecting the best out of others. If I expect someone to be annoying I'll probably act according to those expectations and they'll do the same. But if I act how Christ would, it will be a whole lot more beneficial to them and to me in the long run. That man who I taught this weekend proved that to me. He used to be...well...really bad and now he doesn't even swear. The best part about it is he doesn't realize it. It wasn't until we talked about it that he said "I haven't dropped an F bomb for a month". I know that if it wasn't for the expectations that Christ has for him he wouldn't be where he is at today. God knows our potential and knows that every single one of us can reach it. Those are His expectations for you. Reach them.
Sincerely, Elder Earl