Wednesday, June 18, 2014

[6/2/2014] Week 65: Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)

We had such a great week!

On Friday, we met Russell Foy. He was found by the elders in the Machias, WA ward, who taught and baptized his cousin, Josh, not too long ago. Russell couldn't help but notice how much Josh has changed since his conversion. He is much happier, more full of life, and even quit drinking! Russell has heretofore been hardly religious, if at all, and more focused on things of the world. Admittedly, he "smoke[s] a lot of pot" to help his anxiety and Acid Reflux Whatever. We taught him the message of the Restoration, using the new pamphlet teaching method, and invited him to pray at the end. During the long moment of silence following his prayer, the Spirit powerfully touched each of our hearts. In fact, he described feeling "peaceful and calm, his stomach at ease, which is weird because usually I need marijuana to do that." The next day, he attended with us the baptism of a young lady that the sisters in our ward have been teaching, we taught him about the Book of Mormon after the baptism, and he accepted a baptismal date of July 27th. On Sunday, Russell attended church with us, was received magnificently by the ward, and was reading the Book of Mormon on his phone in between meetings. He'll be playing basketball with us in just a few minutes and will attend Ward Home Evening tonight. We're stoked!

I want to share an insight from President Bonham's letter this week:

"A thought about the Big Project: I grew up with a mother that could (and often did) sew clothes for herself and the rest of the family. When Sister Bonham and I were married, I knew that she could sew too (she made her own wedding dress, for example—photo at the mission home). However, in the early months of our marriage I didn’t know how well her projects would turn out. They involved trips to the fabric store for main and supplementary fabrics, zippers, buttons, sewing tools, thread, patterns, and so on. Then would come the chaos: pattern pieces sitting out—thin paper that couldn’t be lost but would fly off the table if the door opened; fabric pinned to pattern pieces and piled up; half-sewn pieces of clothing draped over chair backs or hanging on a hanger—but missing one arm; special sewing scissors that I had better not touch; contrasting pieces looking for a place to attach; zippers that looked to me like they were put in backward; and holes for buttons opposite places where no buttons hung. Sister Bonham would work away on these projects, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, fitting in other responsibilities around them and putting them together bit by bit. Sometimes it appeared to me that the project was going backward as she would take apart a seam that she had already made to adjust it to be smaller or larger. Then, after a while, the chaos would get smaller, the stray threads would get picked up, the extra pieces would find their place in the clothing, and soon she would appear, dressed in her “project,” saying, “Do you like it”? And I always did! Sometimes the project was for someone else and it appeared all packaged and ready to go in a gift box or the mail. At first, I didn’t know if these projects would always turn out. Some looked scary and I wondered if she would finish them. Probably some were better than others, but to my untrained eye, all of them turned out well. After a while I began to develop great confidence in Sister Bonham’s abilities. I didn’t worry when I saw the chaos of a new sewing project. I knew that by-and-by, after her worry and work, something wonderful would emerge. She has even passed this talent along to four of our five children. 
"So why am I telling you about Sister Bonham’s sewing prowess (other than because she’s so wonderful—even now about half the clothing you see her in is homemade)? It is because I had an interesting insight this week. It comes from Moses 1:39: “For behold, this my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” I know that sometimes we think that eternal life (the kind of life Heavenly Father lives) is just too grand of a goal for us and is not really possible. Even when we consider the idea of relying on the Savior’s atonement and having a couple trillion years to work on improving and learning and growing, we still seem to feel that we just “aren’t celestial material.” I disagree. And that is because in this case we are the “project” and Heavenly Father is the one making it. It is His work and glory to help us to receive eternal life. He is determined to get us there—and we can get there if we will choose to do the right and keep working at it, relying on the principles of the gospel and exercising faith, repenting, being baptized (entering covenants, renewing them through the sacrament), receiving (heeding) the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. So, if we are willing, He is the project manager and He has infinite power, knowledge, wisdom, ability, patience, and love. What is to stop Him from completing his “project”—us? He can and will help us to receive eternal life if we will let Him. Now if that is not a thought to “enlighten” your day, I can’t think what is!
C. S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis put it like this:
That is why He warned people to “count the cost” before becoming Christians. ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have the free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect—until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.’ (Mere Christianity, 1952)

Yesterday, in Elders' Quorum, we were asked to name our heroes as part of the lesson, and after "my dad" and "my big brother" were already on the board, I volunteered "my mission president". I really love that guy.

In other news, Elder Haupu and I continue to disagree at times, but we're doing way better at getting over it quickly.

This week, we had the responsibility of making some pretty serious correction with a missionary who already doesn't seem to like me. ( :( ) It was a difficult task for Elder Haupu and I as we haven't really had to correct on this issue before (in fact, I haven't had to correct hardly at all -- such good missionaries in this mission!), so we role played it a lot and it ended up going just about as well as it could -- at least on our end. It still wasn't received to kindly, but I guess you can't win 'em all. We recognize nobody likes to be told what to do (refer to introductory paragraph of 1 Nephi 1), but we just want him to have the best mission experience possible, and there have been too many mistakes in the mission recently to risk not saying anything.

Leanne hit her year-mark the other week, so a letter from Mom to her might be nice. She's windin' down.

Seth looks stinkin' sharp! I like that he's almost the only white guy. And that he's not wearing anything dumb (camo pants? fedora? C'mon.). He looks way classy.

So Margo's starting marching band? That's so awesome! I'm so excited for her! On that note, I had the opportunity to play the French horn yesterday for the first time in something like two years. It wasn't perfect, but the owner of the horn had a copy of Andromeda, so I was taken riiight back to Sophomore year. It felt so good. And my face was tired after playing for less than five minutes. I can't wait to hear Margo play again!

And I can't wait to hear Seth's truck running!

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

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