Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Learning the right lessons from the scriptures

Penn Yan seems to be the place to be these days.  That is what Christopher has been telling us.  Over the last several weeks, Christopher and his companion have had a lot of success.  Christopher has told us all about many of the people that they are currently teaching and just how excited he is about some of the baptisms that have taken place and others that are coming up.  Christopher wrote us a few weeks ago and told us that many of their investigators have come to church and are preparing themselves for baptism.  At that point in time, transfers were coming up and he was really hoping that he would stay in Penn Yan.  Thankfully, transfers came and went and he and his companion are still together in Penn Yan. 

Of course, one of Christopher's favorite things to do and one of the advantages of serving a mission in upstate New York is that they can take their investigators to the Sacred Grove.  Being so close to many of the church historical sites allows them to actually show people where all of the events that they teach them about, actually happened.  Imagine serving a mission where you can teach people about Joseph Smith and the first vision and then take them to the place where it happened.  There is only one mission where that can happen and that mission is right where Christopher is serving.  Talk about the ultimate object lesson!

Music is still a big part of Christopher's life and has been a big part of his missionary life as well.  In one of the previous blog entries, I posted a link to a video of Christopher and his companion playing guitar at a backyard BBQ.  Well, both Christopher and his companion have continued to use their talents in the same way.  They have been planning a BBQ, movie and music night at the church building and spent a lot of time contacting members of the church in the area to tell them about it.  They also let all of the other missionaries in the area know so that they could bring the people that they have been teaching.  When the night finally came, Christopher said that they probably had more non-members of the church there than they did members.  Some of their friends from a nearby Methodist church came to play some music and then after dinner, they showed "Finding Faith In Christ" on an outside movie screen.  Christopher said that most of the people stayed for not only the music and dinner, but also for the movie afterwards.  He said that the whole night went really well and that everybody seemed to really enjoy it.

In Christopher's last email, he told us all about the greatest day and also the worst day of his mission.  They just happened to be the same day.  It was the greatest day because one of the people that they have been teaching for the past several week, was finally baptized and confirmed a member of the church.  They also set a baptismal date for another one of their investigators with whom both Christopher and his companion have been working very closely.  Those kinds of days are always the greatest.  But then Christopher told us about something else that happened that day which wasn't quite so great.

Christopher said that they had been approached by a guy that was an Evangelical Christian.  This man told them that he wanted to take them to lunch and talk about Jesus.  Christopher was a little apprehensive because something like that usually means that they are really looking for a Bible bash.  At first this man acted really nice towards Christopher and his companion, but then as they started to talk, all of the anti-mormon stuff came out.  This man told Christopher and his companion that they needed to stop doing what they were doing or they would go to hell.  After it was all over, both Christopher and his companion felt awful.  What made them feel so terrible was the fact that this man spent all of his time trying to tear others down rather than using his knowledge of the scriptures to build people up.  The most interesting part of this whole experience was the analogy that Christopher drew between this man's actions and the practices of the Pharisees of the New Testament.  If you recall, the Pharisees of the New Testament would spend their time planning how they would attack the Savior and his teachings.  They would approach the Savior and ask seemingly innocent yet very deceptive questions in hopes that they would be able to catch Jesus in some kind of lie.  Of course they were never very successful at this tactic mainly because the Savior could see right through them from the beginning.  Christopher pointed out that the practices of the Pharisees and those of this man, were very much the same.  He approached these missionaries in a very deceptive manner with the intentions of contention rather than love.  I guess there are all kinds of lessons that can be learned from the scriptures.  This man seemed to be more interested in learning from the Pharisees than he was learning from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Despite all of that, Christopher said that overall, their week and especially that day was still one of the greatest of his mission.  In fact as Christopher is working through the last few months of his mission, the days and weeks just get better and better.  The only problem, according to Christopher, is that they are also going by too fast.  Oh did I mention, Christopher's release date is January 2nd.  Just a few months away.

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