Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 70 - Falling Down

Friends and Family Alooooooha!
I'm loving it here in Kona. The work is moving and the ward is awesome!
We had MLC this past week and Elder Johnson, of the seventy, trained us again. He taught us about the tree of life in Lehi's dream. He talked about the symbolism of some of the objects Lehi saw. The first one he talked about was the iron rod. He had us read D&C 68:4 which tells exactly what qualifies as the word of God. It's anything spoken by anyone when moved upon by the spirit. It can be the scriptures, conference talks, FHE lessons, primary lessons, and he even said a protestant minister's words, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost and truth is spoken, qualify as the word of God. He then introduced three different groups of people that Lehi sees in his dream. The first group was people who were on the path, but fell away. So people who were baptized, but later fell away and, as later learned, never caught hold of the iron rod. The second group was the group that caught hold of the rod, followed the path, made it to the tree, partook of the fruit, but then saw the great and spacious building and fell into forbidden paths and were lost. The third group was the group that did everything the same as the second group, but rather than falling away, partook of the fruit and fell down at the tree. 
Elder Johnson compared the treatment of the iron rod between groups 2 and 3. Group 2 clung to the iron rod, whereas group 3 held continually fast. He asked us what the difference was, then explained that in his eyes, clinging to is a "white knuckle experience". He likened it to white water rafting, where you hold on for dear life during the rapids, but during the calmer parts of the journey your grip loosens. He said that is why they fell away, because they weren't holding fast continually. Then he read in 1 Nephi 11 with us where Nephi desires to know the interpretation of the tree and is shown a vision of the Savior. After, he is told that the fruit of the tree is the love of God. He explained to us that the tree was our Savior Jesus Christ, and that the fruit was the atonement. I can't do it justice, but when he told us that, the spirit was so strong in the room I felt like I was shaking. He went on to explain that the reason the people in the third group fell down at the tree was because they recognized their Savior when they saw Him and fell down to worship Him. He then asked the question which I pose to each of you: Will you recognize the Savior when He stands before you? We can only come to know the Savior by striving to become like Him.
Another experience I had this past week was on a flight to Oahu. We were exchanging with the APs so I was on this flight by myself. I was placed between two people and was eager to talk to them, but was quickly disappointed. The lady on my right had a dog on her lap and was catching up on some Z's. The guy on my left had his face buried in his phone and never looked up. The spirit was telling me to talk to the guy on my left, but I rationalized that he was busy, and didn't have time to talk to me. I kept getting the prompting that I needed to talk to him, and finally took hold of the opportunity I had when the drinks were passed out. He set down his phone to take a drink and I started talking to him. We talked the rest of the flight about the church, and I found out he lives on the same street as me and my companion in Kona. He said we could stop by this week once he gets back to teach him and his wife! Guess the spirit was right.
This week was also a big week with Teki. We set him with a date for January 10 on tuesday night. He told us he wanted to be baptized, but wasn't sure if his mom would allow it. He said he wants his family to accept the gospel, but they're really strong in Siasi Tonga (the tongan methodist church). He went home for the holidays and told us that he'd talk to his mom about being baptized. He called us on saturday and told us that he asked her and she said yes! She told him wherever he can feel the spirit to go there!
Love you all and have a great week!
-Elder Merrill

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