Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Letter #5 from Danny-June 30th 2009
It is a blistering hot day today in Provo. How is the weather up in Salt Lake? Feels like it is in the 90's down here. It is incredible to think that Thailand is going to be 20 degrees hotter and 100% humidity. Joy!
Few updates, mission presidents came in last week. Most of them left on Sunday. It was crazy seeing so many of them. Probably was around 90 mission presidents and their wives here. It was very common to be walking to a different building and run into an Apostle or into a Seventy.
The GA fireside was postponed until Friday of last week. As expected, it turned out to be a great show. I got in line about 3 hours before the doors opened. Good thing. They opened the doors 35 minutes before the devotional was set to begin. Within 5 minutes the entire gym was full. The next 30 minutes was fun. We waited in our seats as we watched general authority after general authority walk in. It was funny to see them kick people off the stand because someone higher rank came in and they didn't have enough room on the stand! In all there was seven apostles present at the fireside. Holland, Bednar, Cook, Perry, Cristophersen, Anderson, and Oaks.
Within 5 minutes of the starting time, they announced the speaker to be Elder Holland. This came as somewhat of a surprise because he had just spoken at the MTC 2 months previous. He gave a sturring sermon on the neccesity to have the Holy Ghost with us at all times. It really gave new meaning to the phrase always having the Holy Ghost with you.
His talk was entitled "The Divine Companionship". He went on to explain that this title had several meanings. 1st it talks about your relationship with your companion; if you don't get along with your companion you cannot be successful. 2nd he talked about the divine companionship being between you and your spouse.(this was mostly aimed towards the mission presidents in the audience) 3rd is the divine companionship of the Holy Ghost that all missionaries need in order to function.
He declared that missionaries should not travel two-by-two! We should be going out three-by-three; the third companion being the Holy Ghost. He told us to ask ourselves this question at the end of everyday: "Throughout today was the Holy Ghost our Senior companion, Junior companion, or was He not in our companionship at all?" This has been something that Elder Holt and I have been evaluating everyday.
Another point he made was from the scripture in the D&C where it talks about "thou shalt not teach without the spirit of the lord". I had always thought this scripture meant that if we did not have the spirit, that we would suck at teaching, or that without the Spirit we would have to rely on our own intellect, BUT that is not what it is saying at all. The word "shall" is an imperative verb. This means that the Lord is saying "I strictly forbid you from teaching without the Spirit". "Shall" is commandment language; just like "Thou shalt not kill", to a missionary "Thou shalt not teach without the spirit" is also a commandment.
The other words that he said that distinctly stuck out to me were "welcome to the work of angels, welcome to divine companionship, welcome to the greatest hour of your life". Elder Holland went on to say that we are sending out God's "bold declaration". What a bold declaration it is! This wording comes out of 3 Nephi 11:31-41.
*As a side note*
3 Nephi 11:31-41 is quite possibly the most beautiful language ever recorded in the history of the world. It far surpasses anything I've read in the Bible or elsewhere in the Book of Mormon. It surpasses any great literature I have ever read. Shakespeare eat your heart out. These ten verses are the spoken words of Jesus Christ as he first appears in America. They are so eloquent, yet so simple. So deep, yet unmistakable. Read them as scripture. Then read them as literature. Notice the double-crossing chiasmus. The inversed points between chiasmus at the peak of A and B(v. 33 and v. 38). THERE IS NO WAY A FARM BOY WROTE THIS BOOK. The verses start out by the Savior stating that He is going to declare is doctrine. The chi ends with the same word, declare, but this time, it is the Lord commanding us to declare His words.
Back to Elder Holland, he ended his talk by assuring us that if we are obedient and have the Holy Ghost that it is enough. "It is enough, He will let those missionaries and investigators feel a touch of heaven. That is when the Earth starts to tremble & the lightning strikes. Even though it is a still, small voice, it comes as thunder."
I am running out of time. So I will just have to tell you more about this talk another time.
Things are going great in the RC! I have quite a few serious investigators. This week I called back Polly and Deborah a few times. I taught their whole family a lesson about hope and how to get through hard times with faith in Jesus Christ. My lessons were mostly focused around Alma 58:10-11 and Alma 7:11-12. They are great verses, I would suggest you check them out!
I also called a guy named Brian Richardson. He is from Ohio. He is pretty much a golden investigator, if I don't get him baptized I would be surprised. I guess we will just have to see though! I am committing him to see the missionaries and to go to church this week, so I hope that goes well. He has a desire to read the Book of Mormon, and his wife has been for quite some time. He really strives to better himself through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and is super interested in the idea of Eternal Families. I'll let you know how that goes.
Today my district got to clean the temple! It was quite fun actually. We were there for about 4 hours. It is amazing to see how much effort and time they put into keeping the Lord's house as neat as possible. I spent over 2 hours cleaning small cracks in the windows with Q-tips. No joke! It was very fulfilling work and gave me a fun perspective on the temple.
This next Monday the older Thai district is leaving for Thailand! We will be the old group! The week after the younger Thai district is coming. That will be crazy to be the old, experienced veterans. The next district only has 4 Elders, so it might be a little bit different.
One last thing before my time runs out. Everyone go check out www.mormon.org . It is an amazing website!!!! I can't say enough about it. The resources on it are just so impressive. They have testimony clips of real converts and their thoughts about the church. They also have tons of full length church films that you can watch under the "media" section. Tell everyone you know about this website! It is amazing!!
I love you all and thank you all so much for all the letters, packages, and prayers I receive. Make sure to pray for the Thai people so that the Lord can prepare them to receive my message when I get there.
Love, Elder Brown