Hey guys! It’s awesome to hear from you. Thanks for all your service. Elder P loved his package. He keeps saying “Elder Greaves! I love your mother!” Apparently he is one of the last missionaries in his large family, and the newness has worn off for his parents. They are awesome people, but they DID forget to write him last week, so he had no mail from his family. That package really made his week. And mine! Thanks for the envelopes (that was a subtle hint). I have a funny post card that I’m going to send to Sawyer.
As for the Adam and Eve question, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. We know that it was necessary that they not live in the Garden of Eden, but why send them there in the first place? Why not skip all of the Garden stuff and just put them on Earth? Why make the whole Plan contingent on a sin? Why give the Catch-22 situation between having kids and eating the fruit? The answer I have come up with is that God, as a perfect being, couldn’t make an imperfect man. He couldn’t make a fallen man. So he made man perfect in his image, and allowed him to become imperfect through his own actions so that the punishment of leaving His presence would be a just one. Thanks for your insightful answers!
As I’m typing this, I can already feel my English grammar and vocab beginning to slip.
This week has been both hard and awesome, as usual. A few days ago, Elders P., A., L. and I prayed together to be shown our weaknesses as it talks about in Ether 12:27.
No, just kidding, but what followed was a really difficult day, at least for me. We had to teach Bruder H. (playing the part of Josef, a person he baptized). We usually teach our investigators every 2 days, but through a strange set of circumstances, we hadn’t taught him in over a week. This was only our second lesson with him. The first wasn’t so great, and Bruder H. (a really really harsh teacher that’s fun because he can both dish and take extremely large doses of sarcasm, which I am more than happy to supply) told us that the only reason we got invited back was because we somehow peaked his interest in the BOM. Elders B. and P2. were not invited back and had to start over. Just know, this is not typical investigator behavior. We’ve told other missionaries in our zone that and they are just amazed.
But we went back and taught him – nervously, because we had gotten chastised for two hours last time – and it went just okay. We weren’t personable enough this time, but we taught the first lesson much better. My German was all over the place because I was so nervous. That’s annoying, because that’s usually my strong suit. So we only got chastised for one hour after this lesson. I call that improvement.
So the investigators (our teachers) try to let us know when we are being too boring, or not asking enough questions or whatever, by doing a few things. Bruder D. falls asleep (he may actually be asleep, we don’t know), and Bruder H. pulls out his phone.
So yesterday, they were teaching us how to do a planning session by doing a role play (common). OVER AN HOUR LATER, they finished, having really imaginarily (it’s a word) planned out an entire day and 3 lessons. I tried letting them know they were dragging on by purposely – maybe not purposely – falling asleep and also turning my chair away from them towards the window. I don’t think they got the message. Oh well. Their teaching will improve if I keep helping them.
On the flip side, Elder L. and I taught an awesome lesson to Johannes, who is a 50 year old man who used to be Catholic but left with the whole priest/child thing, and also because he doesn’t like all the riches. The first time we taught him, the other group had taken too much time, so we said a prayer and left. The second time, he kicked us out (remember, not the usual) because “we didn’t have all of our scriptures marked”.
It’s really hard to find things in the German Bible, because it is not LDS. The verses are all smooshed together, no spaces or indents, and the names of books aren’t easily translated. James, for example is Jacobus in this Bible. Also, there are like 5 books that we don’t have in KJV. After that, we got better, and we taught him a really powerful lesson on how he could live with his deceased wife again if he is baptized, and how she is getting taught the same things as he is while in the Spirit World. He finally read the Book of Mormon chapters we assigned after that (Alma 40-42), but his biggest problem is he feels strange praying our way. So he never did it. Even after that lesson, he refused to prayer about the BOM, saying he felt kind of scared. At this point, we had been over prayer like three times, prayed for him as an example, had him pray with us, gave him a pamphlet with info on how we pray, but nothing.
So I just asked him how we could help him, and he asked if there was a pattern. We explained the whole “address, thank, ask, Amen” thing, but then said it was a loose pattern. We talked about how that was good, because then we could really talk with God. We explained that every prayer was personal. We then talked about the Word of Wisdom, and did our best to explain why coffee and tea were on the list. We only challenged him to pray about it, because he seemed kind of iffy about it all, but then we came back and he had given up coffee already! Well, he said he tried to, but could tell he was addicted, so we helped him and told him we could give him a Priesthood blessing. He also prayed about the BOM and got a feeling “that it is good”. Awesome!
One of the devotionals was about charity, and the speaker shared this scripture:
1 Cor. 13: 1-3 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
How powerful is that? I have been praying for charity lately, as it is the only way to teach by the Spirit.