Thursday, April 19, 2012

Teaching about the restoration from right where it all happened

Just when you think that things for Christopher can't really get any better, he sends home a great letter telling us all about how great his week has gone.  In one of his recent letters home, he told us about receiving a phone call from his Branch President with some good news about the progress that a few investigators have made and their decisions to be baptized. He also told us about how great the Branch is where he is serving and how good they are about fellowshipping new members of the Church and introducing their friends and neighbors to the Gospel. All of this has done as much to help Christopher to learn and grow as it has the people that he and his companion have been teaching.  In his letter he said:

"I can't even express to you how grateful I am that I came on this mission! I had no idea what I had before I came out here. I didn't realize what the Book of Mormon truly was, what having a prophet and apostles on the earth really meant, what modern revelation means for me in my life and how knowing the truth could give me everything I've ever wanted. In the beginning I thought the end couldn't come soon enough, but now I feel like time is slipping away and I know I'm going to miss this so much. It's been an incredible experience and I'll never get to do anything quite like this ever again. I can honestly say now that I love my mission and that it means everything to me."
Christopher shared with us an experience that no other missionary in any other mission gets to have.  He told us that serving in the mission where the Sacred Grove is located provides them with a unique opportunity.  For any of you who have served a mission in the past, you can probably still repeat the first lesson which is all about the first vision, Joseph Smith and the restoration.  The lesson talks about how Joseph Smith was seeking very earnestly to know which church he should join.  Then after having read in the Bible that he should ask God and that God will answer his prayers, Joseph decided to go to a nearby grove of trees to pray.  We know this grove of trees as the Sacred Grove.  Being so close to the Sacred Grove, Christopher is able to not only teach the first lesson just like we all did as missionaries, he also gets to turn this first lesson into an object lesson as well.  After teaching investigators about Joseph Smith and the first vision, he and his companion can then take the investigators to the actual grove of trees where it all happened and let them feel of the spirit first hand.  No where else in the world can a missionary do that.  Christopher told us just how grateful he is to be in the Rochester, New York mission and to be serving so close to where the restoration of the Church all happened.

For whatever reason, both Christopher as well as his younger brother who recently returned from his mission, love to speak in Church.  Most people hate getting the phone call from a member of the Bishopric asking if they would be willing to speak in Church.  But Christopher told us in his last letter that he just recently gave a talk in Church about resurrection and hopes that he will get more opportunities to do it again.  Of course unlike the rest of us, he has the right attitude towards speaking in Church as well.  He told us that he likes it so much because it gives him a chance to learn more about the Gospel.  He said that he thinks that he still needs more practice because he gets nervous just before he gets up to speak.  I think that being nervous before you speak is natural and probably helps you to focus a little better.  Christopher told us that speaking about the resurrection helped him to understand the first vision better.  The reason why is because of the experience of Joseph Smith seeing God and Jesus Christ as two separate beings with bodies that are the same as ours.  It also helped him to understand more about how both the teachings of the Bible and the Book of Mormon complement each other when it comes to understanding what it means to be resurrected. Anyway, it is always great to hear about how Christopher's mission is teaching him more about the Gospel and life.

We aren't quite sure what prompted Christopher to buy a puzzle featuring actors from the old TV show, "90210".  Christopher told us that they were at the Salvation Army store one day and he thought that the puzzle was kind of funny, so he bought it.  He and his companion put the puzzle together and then somehow, hung it on their wall.  So here is a picture of Christopher with is "90210" masterpiece.