Tuesday, February 7, 2012

02.06.2012 "First Week of February 2012"

Hello Everyone,

Well we're still in the dead of winter and we've been having sunny days in the 30's and 40's with no snow at all. I give up. This is sad. I've only worn my boots two or three times. At this rate, it would'be been better if I hadn't bought any at all! At least when I finish my mission it'll be winter. Maybe I can sell my boots off to another missionary who's just coming in and hasn't bought any yet.

Things have been going pretty well here in St Johns. It's been a busy week here. I spend Wednesday in Lansing on a trade-off, which is always fun. We had an odd experience while we were door knocking. We were talking to a lady at the door, and as soon as we told her we were missionaries she told us "I can't talk right now, I'm in labor!" and shut the door. What? First of all, why would she be home alone if she was in labor. Second, why would she come to the door? Third, she didn't even look pregnant! I've heard a lot of excuses, even someone who said "I'm sick. We're all sick!" SLAM. But I've never heard the labor excuse before. Sometimes you meet funny people on your mission. 

Speaking of funny people, I'll have to tell you all more about an investigator we started teaching a few weeks ago named Mark. He's an interesting guy. He likes to teach us a self defense move after the lesson and before we go. He's a pretty nice guy though. He always smokes the whole time we're there, and we have to open the windows because it makes Elder Ballard feel sick. 

We also met with Gale again this last week. This time we read the "Explanatory Introduction" at the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants, and also Section 1. The Explanatory Introduction got Gale excited to read the Doctrine and Covenants, and she should be getting the triple combination that she ordered sometime in the next few days. If you've all never read that, you should. I've never read all of D&C, but it helped me understand it a lot better.  At this point, we're thinking we might answer questions when we see her and also read and assign her chapters from the Book of Mormon and D&C that teach more about the Plan of Salvation and maybe some of the commandments we teach about in the fourth missionary lesson.

President Draut, the Branch President here, gave a really good lesson last week in a combined Priesthood and Relief Society about Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Instead of making a list on the board of Do's and Don'ts, as most people tend to do, he instead talked about how just making lists wasn't going to help us. Someone will always disagree with what we write on there. Instead, he told us that he wanted to talk about what it means to keep the day Holy. We spent the hour talking about what holiness was, which is actually really interesting. I had never thought about it before that way. But the whole purpose of the Sabbath day is to keep it holy to us. The two most important elements to follow are the inspiration and guidance we receive from the Holy Ghost, and also the guidelines provided by prophets who hold the authority to do so. There is a balance between following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, and we find that by following the Spirit along with those prophetic insights. 

The part that stuck with me most was about what the Bible Dictionary said about Holiness. Look it up, when you have a minute. "Man of Holiness" is one of the names of God the Father (Moses 7:35) and to be able to become like him we ourselves need to become holy. I love that. Everything in the gospel helps us to become more holy.

I am so grateful to be out here, and I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be right now. I know that our Father in Heaven hears us, and does answer our prayers in his own due time, in  the way that is best for us. I know that because I have seen it, time and time again. There is so much power in sincere, heartfelt prayer. I know that the scriptures are the word of God. I find so much comfort and strength in them daily. I am so grateful for the God in whom I know I can trust and build my foundation on, a foundation on which if men build, then cannot fall (Helaman 5:12). This is the Lord's work and He is in it. It's such a blessing to be a part of it. 

Love you guys. Hope you all have a great week. Don't get too much of a tan out there.

Elder Trevor Casper

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