Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,
So the was a little rough, not gonna lie.  But those weeks happen, and it's okay.  It's just really discouraging sometimes. :P  Haha no but the week went fast, so it wasn't a long rough.  It was just a quick rough.  So that made it alright as well.  It was crazy hot though.  When I got here, everyone was like "No, it usually doesn't get over 100 degrees here, even during the summer." was totally 108 last week.  Which is officially the hottest weather I've ever been in.  So it was fun biking in that.  It actually wasn't that bad.
On Friday, Elder King and I were at an interview for an investigator in our district (Elder King is District Leader) and right after the interview we get a call from the brother of one of our investigators.  I pick it up and he started telling me about kittens.  He was talking pretty fast, so I couldn't really understand what he was saying so I was super confused.  "No, we can't actually have pets, so we can't take a kitten."  I said.  "No, they're stuck in a pipe."  He said, which I thought was kind of weird, why would anyone try and give a pipe with a kitten in it to anyone?  It took a little conversing for me to figure out what he was actually trying to say.  Apparently a cat had kittens in his back yard, and when the kittens got old enough to walk, they fell into a sewer pipe (which was technically supposed to be closed, but for some reason it wasn't) in his back yard.  They had been meowing for about four days, but he thought they were under his house and that they just lived there.  I don't know how he found out they were in the pipe.  But anyway, he was able to get one out, but the other was stuck in an area he couldn't reach.  So we started digging up the pipe to see if we could cut it and reach the kitten. When we got to the pipe, we found out it was clay (very hard to cut/break).  This was about and hour into it (he had been at this since was now 5pm.)  Long story short, we called some plumbers and they dug a hole (in the right spot...) cut the pipe and got the kitten out.  We really didn't do a whole lot...but it was cool that the first people that came to our investigator's mind to help was us.  And, we have an article about it in the local newspaper (Sunday's) and the two main pictures are of me holding the kitten.  That was kinda cool.  There are missionaries talking to us from all over the valley about the article.  It's really kind of humorous because we didn't really do anything.  Go figure.  Oh yeah, and the kitten's fine now--it was adopted by one of the plumbers.
My bike was also stolen this past week.  That was...depressing.  So now I'm borrowing my roommate's bike.  He's trying to sell it to me...but it's not exactly the best bike in the mission (he got it at a yard sale for $30.)  I think the most depressing part about the bike being stolen is it technically wasn't even my bike.  When I got to the mission, they gave me one to borrow till I got my own.  For some reason I was under the impression that it was a permanent loan.  Well, now I have to get my own bike anyway.  I just hope Elder Parker (former missionary who left his bike in the mission) doesn't come back to haunt me.  The deal is, when I go home, I leave my bike behind.  Which I'm okay with.
I've been thinking loads about repentance this week.  I've read some more from the Miracle of Forgiveness and just from some other things that have happened in the week, it seems to be a pretty prominent subject for me recently.  I guess it should be since it is one of the first principles of the gospel.  It really is an incredible opportunity to repent and become better.
So often we get got up in the mysteries of the gospel (where Kolob is located, why bad things happen to good people, anything in the book of Revelations) and we miss what is really important.  You know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is really just Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.  That  The whole thing.  Everything else is just important to know.  Priesthood Authority, The Plan of Salvation,  The commandments, the laws and ordinances--they're all just pieces that shoot off from the first principles and ordinances of the gospel.  Shyeah, the gospel really is as simple as that.
Accordingly, the Atonement of Christ was suffered to bring about the Gospel.  Had the atonement not taken place, the Gospel would not exist, and there would be no salvation.  Sometimes I forget that living by faith (not by sight) is a privilege.  Sometimes I forget that repentance is not a punishment, it's the complete opposite.  Baptism isn't just a ordinance, it's a covenant made so we can receive the blessing of the spirit.  Enduring to the end is not a sentence placed on us for this life, it's and ongoing outreach of our Father in Heaven to extend forgiveness.
Everything thing in the gospel (God's entire work and glory) is to bring us eternal life.  The Atonement of Christ allows us to access that on conditions of repentance.  What an amazing opportunity.  And that opportunity never leaves.  Ever.  It takes time, it hurts often, it brings humility, sorrow, remorse, reconciliation, restitution, change.  But it brings peace, confidence, spirit, love, knowledge, light, physical and spiritually blessings, purpose, joy in this life and the next.  It's totally worth it too.
Anyway, I gotta run.  How was reading Chapter 6 of PMG?  What were your attributes you chose?  What have you done to work on them?  Did you follow the prayerful commitment pattern?
As always, I want to let you know the church is true, it always has been and always will be.  I love and appreciate all you have done for me.  Keep the faith and don't you dare ever go back on it.
Elder Russell
P.S.  I'll see if I can send pictures later today.  The library is kicking me out of the computer system for time. ;)

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