Monday, October 17, 2016

Lotsa Stuff!

Dear family and friends,

Lots of stuff from this week, so let´s get right to it:

I don´t think I´ve talked much about my branch president.  His name is President Diaz, but EVERYONE calls him Pionner or even President Pionner for his printing business by the same name.  Why he named his business Pionner? I have no idea.  But he´s super good about just getting out and visiting people, and is always really blunt and straightforward with what he says.  Anyway, he´s been getting really animated about the lack of full tithe payers in the branch, and has turned tithing crazy.  Every lesson, whether it be with a 40 year member or the first visit to a new investigator, it´s tithing.  Every time he stands up in church, to speak or just to direct the meeting, it´s tithing.  If you weren´t a member of the church, or familiar with the doctrine, you´d think he was living off of it haha.  It´s getting kinda out of control, but his intentions are right at least!

I read a quote this week by Joseph Smith, saying that we will never receive an answer to our prayers if we don´t understand who we´re praying to! That we have a real Father in Heaven, with a body of flesh and bones, who hears and loves us.  There´s something to work on with investigators!

The elementary school here is super different.  For one, there´s a billion projects!  Like science fair times 100.  The poor kids literally study at least 6 hours a day! It´s a pretty different education system.  The other thing, is it´s a whole lot less politically correct.  Example: this week, the local teacher (a member of our branch) took us to the home of her 7 year old student to teach him and his mom.  Can anyone imagine that happening in the US without a huge uprising??

We had a fun first lesson this week with someone we found in the house of a less active.  This lady was a recently converted Jehova´s Witness.  There are lots of those here, by the way, and I really respect them actually.  Most of them are very polite and dedicated to their work.  This lady was super sweet as well.  We asked if we could share a message with her, and she agreed.  We began talking about the restoration, like always, and all went normal, until we got to the part about Joseph Smith.  The first time we mentioned his name, she got this huge smile on her face and said, "Oh that´s right! I was just reading about him in my bible the other day!"  ....It seems that the Jehova´s Witnesses are hasting the work by adding Joseph Smith History to their newest version of the bible.  So that´s good news! ;)

I think I talked a few weeks ago about this, but the thing that stresses me most about this work is just the fear of not doing it well enough.  It´s so important! If someone chooses not to accept the gospel out of their own agency, there´s not a whole lot we can do about it.  But if someone doesn´t accept it because we dropped them before they could, or because we didn´t teach with enough power or clarity, or because we didn´t work hard enough...that stresses me! One scripture, however, that has comforted me this week, is the famous 1 Nephi 3:7.  I often thought of this scripture as teaching the truth that in order to not give us commandments that are too hard, Heavenly Father will change or alter the commandment.  That he´ll look at us, his children, and say, "Well they can´t handle this, so let me change it to make it easier...there we go."  Of course that´s part of it, but I failed to learn the lesson taught about the Savior and His atonement.  Maybe Heavenly Father will never give us a commandment without preparing the way, because He already has prepared the way! The Savior is the way! His changing power and grace is unlimited, and every person on this earth can keep every commandment given of the Father by relying on Him.  So even if the commandment to "go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is daunting, the qualifying power of the atonement and Christ´s magnifying of our weak efforts is even more hopeful.

Well...that about covers it.  Hope you all have wonderful weeks, and we´ll talk to ya next Monday! Thanks for all the emails and pics and everything, they really make my week!

Love, Tanner

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