Monday, March 30, 2015

Email Update: 3/30/2015

Dear Everyone,

Well, I guess people like reading novels from me, with all of the different comments that have come my way since the last letter, so here you go. You asked for it! ;-)

This week we've had a lot of really cool experiences, with the necessary slow times in between. I've decided that Monday's are some of my least favorite days out here, because we can't really get much work done, and we are quite literally an hour and a half away from the closest missionaries, so no getting to spend time with them. (Exception: this week all of the Baker City missionaries are coming up to John Day, and we're gonna go bowling). Wednesdays tend to be better, but still hard, because of District Meeting. We aren't able to do much work then, either, because we have to go down to Baker City for the meeting, and we often don't get back until later in the day. Basically, in time for dinner, and not many people like us stopping by in the evenings here. 

Other then those, the days have been pretty great. We are still working with Lindsey, who is doing just as awesomely as before. We actually taught the 3rd discussion at Nick's (her official-unofficial fiance) house, in his "Rave Cave."
It's the basement of his house, that he decked out with sheets hanging on all of the walls, which he and anyone else that he invites over painted with a bunch of different paintings in neon colors. Of course, there is the necessary six blacklights all over the area, so all of the paintings popped out, and our with shirts were as bright as spotlights. With everything the way it was, if felt like we were in a perpetual evening, right at that perfect time where the sun has just gone down, but everything is still so bright and colorful. The lesson itself went really well, too. Like I said, it was on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and just like everything else, she soaked it up like a dry sponge. I really love teaching this lesson. It really is the foundation of everything that we teach. Without faith in Christ, we wouldn't ever feel the need, or even the desire, to keep His commandment. We wouldn't believe in a possibility of life after death, or a chance to progress to a point where we are like our Heavenly Father, because there would be no way for us to overcome our mistakes and sins. Without a belief in Someone who cares for us more than life itself, enough to create an Earth for us to live on, and to give His life for us, there would really be no hope for a better life then the one we are living now, whatever that life is. With that faith in Christ, we don't have to face struggles alone. We have a friend who knows everything that we have gone through, exactly as it affected us, and how to help us overcome it. We have a guide, Someone who has walked ahead of us, and knows where we need to go in order to be safe and happy, happier then we can even think of until we feel it. We have the opportunity to repent, to see that we need to change something in our lives, to feel the pain that comes with sin and poor choices, to tell our Heavenly Father those things that we have done, and to work never to do them again. We have the chance to be completely forgiven for anything we have ever done, and to feel the peace and joy that comes with that forgiveness, that knowledge that we have nothing to fear, nothing holding us back from being the absolute best that we can be.

Which, when you think of it, we are the children of God. That's pretty huge potential.

Now that my speech is finished, continuing with the story. We taught her all of those points, along with Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. She was really excited about it all, and for her baptism coming up this Saturday. Funny story to go along with that... Nick had mentioned that the day he was baptized was the best day of his life, and Lindsey had agreed with him by saying that there really couldn't be much better. So, like the missionary know-it-alls we are, Elder Reischman and I both start listing off all of the things that will be even better, later on in life, including going to the temple, getting married, having kids, grand-kids, etc. Note, neither Nick nor Lindsey had made any mention about marriage or anything of the sort---everyone else just already knew it was going to happen. So, after we finished going through the list of different things, Lindsey said that Nick and her weren't to interested in having kids, because it would be a mini version of the both of them (picture your closest four year old, and add a lot more intensity and mood swings, with a whole lot of awesome, and you have Nick and Lindsey). That is when Elder Hitch Reischman asked very pointed question, "So, did you just announce that you two are getting married?" *Cue obnoxious grin from me and Elder Reischman*

They both laughed, and Nick said, "Well, everyone has been asking us when we were getting married, so I guess it's not that awkward." Lindsey goes on to say that it would be really great if we could both be there when it happens, and we all make some more fun of each other for a while, until we realize that we only have a few minutes until we are supposed to be home. Gotta love unchanging lighting messing with your sense of time.

Yesterday, we had a lot happen, too. As usual, Sunday was our busiest day, with church, a lesson with Cody, a lesson with Lindsey, and a lesson with the Kilmer family. Cody's lesson happened right after church, and though it was a shorter one, he progressed a lot. First off, Cody was a plaid (plad?) shirt and jeans kind of guy every Sunday before, and he, without any encouragement from us, showed up to church in a white shirt and tie. Always a good sign. For the actual lesson, Cody had met with the Bishop before church, so the first thing that Cody said to us was that he wanted to get baptized in May! I always love it when people make their own choice to be baptized, because it shows that they really do believe in what they are doing, and know what they are getting into. It doesn't hurt that Cody's already awesome, and working to live the commandments that he knows. He even grabbed a Tithing slip before he left the church building! We haven't taught tithing yet!!! So, with a newly set baptismal date set for May 2nd, Cody went off to have dinner at Audry's (who is now Cody's girlfriend) house, the daughter of our High Priest group leader. (According to Seth, her brother, Cody is hogging their sister, but he's really fun).

The last lesson of the week was another one with Lindsey, and it was probably the smoothest lesson on the Commandments I've ever been a part of. She's already reading the scriptures, praying, coming to church, keeping the Ten Commandments, and Keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Everything that is prohibited in the Word of Wisdom makes her violently sick to use, including coffee and most tea. She has already had a learning experience with the Law of Chastity, so she has no more problems there. General Conference is the same day as her baptism, so she'll get to have that exposure to all of the Apostles and the Prophet. On a slight side note, this was the least awkward time I've ever taught the Law of Chastity, mostly because I didn't worry whether or not it would offend her. Usually, I've tried to ease into the subject, beating a nice wide circle around the bush, until they have to figure it out themselves. This time was a straight forward no sex before marriage, no pornography, and marriage is between a man and a woman. It was also so much easier to explain the blessing that come with keeping the law, the self confidence, the strength, and the love shared between two people bound for all time and eternity, with children as a gift from God, to bring joy into our lives, and to further teach us to be like Him, the perfect Father of All. I know why I've had such a hard time in the past, and I'm so grateful that I don't have that hanging over me anymore. I am so glad that I was able to learn that God is there for all of us, and that regardless of who we were, or what we've done in the past, we have a Savior who died to free us from those sins and temptations. I would be a lost and terrible soul without that ability to repent, and now I know the joy that comes from turning it all over to Christ. I think that is why I was able to be so bold and confident in what I was teaching Lindsey, and I'm glad that I could help someone grow and be better then they were before.

Those stories should've filled at least a few minutes of your time. Thank you again for all that you do for me, knowingly or not, and all of the prayers on my behalf.

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

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