Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014

  • Hey Everyone,
       This week went well. It was just another week to tell you the truth. Although we did find some new investigators. I'm pretty excited about them. One is an old race car driver and then we are also teaching two teenagers we play basketball with here and there. Speaking of basketball, I guess I'm developing some street cred at the apartment complex in our area. They have an outdoor basketball court and when people are on it, I play with them. It's a pretty much guaranteed way to have a conversation with people, especially if you win. Humility is key to coming to Christ. Sometimes people have to lose a game of basketball to find it.
       The other people we are teaching are doing great. We brought our family of three that will be baptized next month to a baptism on Saturday. The objective was to help them understand what their baptism will be like. It went alright but we will have to have a lesson later this week to discuss further what they have to look forward to.
       YSA work is still tough. Not much has grown there in the past week. Our work as of right now just consists of visiting members and encouraging them to do missionary work. It's rough but at this point that is really all we can do.
       We went on another hike yesterday. We drove out to Superior to climb Picket Post. It's a mountain overlooking the town and is a fairly challenging hike. Most of it is simply straight up the mountain. However, It was a very cool hike. At the peak of the mountain there's a bench overlooking the view, right next to a mailbox. In the mailbox is a notebook where you can add your name to the list of people who have completed the hike.
       On the way to Superior we had a forty five minute drive. Therefore I had some time to rest and to think. Earlier this week, we were talking to a man outside in his front yard. Somehow the topic of Vikings came up. This man turned out to be very knowledgable on the subject. He told us about how the Vikings were known to be very brave warriors. He told us about how committed they were to victory and how they seemed to have no fear as they carried out their duties. But hen he said something that really caught my attention. He told us that a lot of the time, this commitment and bravery didn't just happen to flow through their veins. They were trained to think that way. And to further their commitment, once a Viking army landed on the beach and was prepared for battle, they would be commanded to burn the ships. Once the ships were gone, there was no turning back. The only choice was victory.
       It made me think of my life. How many ships do I have, waiting on the shore for me to turn back and sail away? How many ships do I need to burn to be fully committed to the life that I should be living and what are they?
       This also led my thoughts to one of Jesus Christ's parables. This parable is a story about two men. These two men are in the process of building houses. As they look for places to settle down, one of the men finds a nice open area on the sand. As I think about this, I picture him finding a place on the beach. Convenient for his entertainment, but not exactly conducive to having a firm and safe house to live in.
       The other man finds an area where the ground is sturdy without any sand. I picture him finding a place most likely near the first man. The difference is that he probably put more work and thought into it and decided to put in the extra work and follow the guidelines that go into building a safe home. He probably thought about not following some of the guidelines so that he could have the temporary pleasures that the other will find on the beach. But as the story goes, he was smarter then that and decided to choose safety over temporary fun.
       The two men finish their houses and move in. The man on the beach goes out and enjoys the sun and the ocean and has a great time. He probably stays out there all day and let's a few things slide like taking care of his house and making sure it's maintained. But he has a good time so it's all good. The man who built his house on he sturdier ground stays at home for a while and fixes things around the house. Not only does he fix things, he probably improves them. That way he's prepared for whatever may happen to his home. Once he is finished with his labor, he walks to the beach. He lives about a mile from the beach so it will require some walking. He might even question himself a little bit. He might ask himself why he didn't just build on the beach, nothing will happen to him anyway. Then the thought leaves his mind as he remembers the guidelines and the blessings that will come from following them. He eventually gets to the beach and enjoys himself while he's there, just like the other man.
       That night they both return home. It was getting cloudy so there was no point in staying on the beach. They fall asleep and prepare to repeat the day in the morning. As they are sleeping, a storm comes in. The rain starts to beat against their roofs and the wind begins to push at their walls. The man that lives on the sturdier ground wakes up for a moment to acknowledge the storm. A thought enters his mind and he wonders if the storm will damage his house in any way. Then he remembers that he built his house just like the guidelines said he should. He had a good foundation and his house was maintained and prepared for if this happened. Comforted by the fact the followed the guidelines, the man gets back in bed and prepares to repeat the day once the sun rises.
       The man on the beach has a different experience. Drops of rain start to seep through a hole in the roof that he forgot to fix. As the rain water pelts his face it startles him and he wakes. He has a hard time getting up. His long hours in the sun have caused his skin to burn under it's rays and he is feeling the effects of it. The wind outside is terrible. As it presses against his walls he sees what appears to be a crack in one of the major beams he left exposed in the wall.the more the wind blows against it, the bigger the crack becomes and the closer his wall comes to destruction. He throws his blanket on the bed and ignores the pain from his sunburns so that he can run over and do his best to support the beam. The hole in the roof has grown. Rain water now comes as it pleases and continues to destroy the home. Water has also begun to rise up from under the floorboards, flooding his home. The wind finally rips open the door and water rushes into his house, pulling his feet from under him, and separating him from the broken beam. The beam gives out and the wall crashes down on him. Ironically enough, the beam he was trying to save has now trapped him to the floor. The water rises in his home. The beach has flooded and the tide is rolling in. Waves crash against the remaining remnants of the man's home, slowly pulling him and his home out to sea. He is forced to watch as everything he has worked for is washed away. As he lays trapped under the beam, he realizes what the guidelines were for. How he wishes he had put a little more effort and time in and followed them.
       The storm leaves and the ocean returns to its normal position. The sun rises and the man who followed the guidelines rises and begins to inspect his home. Pleased with the small amount of maintenance the storm has left him, he begins his chores and repeats the day.

          Sincerely, Elder Earl

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