Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bryce is sooo excited that Brandyn will also be serving in Brazil!!

First off, BRANDYN SERIOUSLY?!?! BRAZILLLLLLLLL?! I'm over excited. I don't know if I'll be able to think about anything else this week. I almost didn't believe it until I saw the video that Ben sent me. (Thanks Ben). I loved watching the video and I can't wait for Brandyn to come visit. This is crazy.
Unfortunately, Rosa got sick this weekend and could hardly get out of bed Sunday morning. The baptism will be next week. She was in a lot of pain and asked for a priesthood blessing that afternoon. About 30 minutes after we gave her a blessing and left she called to tell us that all the pain went away and that she was feeling a lot better. I'm very excited for her. She is also very excited and wants everyone to meet the missionaries, haha. She is super funny. Her daughters have heard parts of our conversations over the past weeks and are developing an interest.

Adriano, a less active that we found on an old list of members, came to church on Sunday. We had passed by his house to visit him on Thursday and he mentioned that this week he felt like he should start reading the scriptures again. We're planning on visiting him with a member this week.
We have been inviting virtually everyone we talk to to various "family nights" at members' houses. This week there will be many church activities and we're hoping this will give the ward a jumpstart because things are moving kind of slowly. I'm very thankful for the strong families who act as pillars in this ward. We can always count on them to help us.
Things are picking up, and I'm looking forward to the prospect of the next few weeks. I'll be here for at least another 6 weeks with E. Lima, and for that I am thankful.
I feel like I should mention a short thought/connection I found while studying this week. It is about Alma 32 and 1 Nephi 8 from the Book of Mormon. I was reading Alma 32 and one led word to another, which led to different chapter, which led to a big stream of ideas that I tried to write down.

When considered together, Alma's discourse on faith (Alma 32), and Lehi's vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8) shed more light on the subject of faith and of enduring to the end. Alma compares the rewards of faith to a tree's fruit. The "experiment of faith" to which Alma refers can conveniently be likened to the sraight and narrow path that leads to the tree of life that Lehi saw.
Alma invited the poor and humbled Zoramites to "awake and arouse [their] faculties, even to an experiment upon [his] words and exercise a particle of faith." In Lehi's vision, an angel invited Lehi to follow him (an exercise of faith). He then describes his experience that followed an exercise of his faith (verses 7-12). Notice that it wasn't easy, and that he first had to travel in darkness.
Evident from the joy with which Lehi describes the fruit of the tree of life and with which Alma describes the fruit of faith, the fruits they describe are of similar nature. We can see from the account of Lehi that he got to taste the fruit because he exercised his faith first. Alma emphasizes this very exercise of faith. By holding to the iron rod which accompanies the straight and narrow path, we are, simultaneously trying the experiment that Alma counsels us to try.
The fruitful comparison goes even a little further:
The poor and humbled Zoramites were despised of all men because of their poverty and coarseness of their apparel. They were cast out of the synagogues which they had labored abundantly to build with their own hands. "They were esteemed as filthiness."
They can be likened to those who partook of the fruit in Lehi's vision and were mocked by the people "both old and young, both male and female" whose dress was "exceedingly fine."
These two groups of people represent those who are willng to humble themselves, willing to try an experiment upon the words of the prophets. If they do so, they will partake of the fruit that fills the soul with exceedingly great joy, that is desirable above all other fruit (1 Nephi 8:12) which is "most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all which is white, yea, and pure above all which is pure." If they do so they "shall feast upon this fruit" even until being filled. (Alma 32:42)
If you follow the example of the poor and humbled Zoramites and of Sariah, Sam, and Nephi in seeking after the fruit of the tree of life, "Then my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and longsuffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you" (Alma 32:43)
There will always be those who mock and point their fingers at those who partake of the fruit. In Lehi's vision there were some who partook of the fruit and then fell away because they were ashamed. (1 Nephi 8:24-28)

We can choose whether we will continue in our experiment of faith by enduring to the end, or if we will be ashamed and wander off and lose ourselves in "strange roads" (verse 32). For those who endure to the end, Alma and Lehi promise the fruit of the tree of life, or eternal life. In Christ's words to the Nephites he promised eternal life to those who look unto him and endure to the end. (3 Nephi 15:9)

I really enjoy how the stories in the Book of Mormon compliment so well the speeches given by the prophets. Examining them together generates a lot of instructive connections.
I still feel like I'm free-falling because of the news that Brandyn will come to Brazil in September. It seems so far away, but it will come quicker than fox's grab (his R move) on super smash bro's.
Thanks for the many pictures. And thanks for the Easter package! 
A delightful week to all!

Elder Young

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