Good morning everybody! It's a sunny day here in Texas. And if you're wondering why, it's because we're in a horrible drought and every baptist and their dog has a "Pray for Rain" sign shoved into their front lawn. But none the less, I love my life.
This week, my testimony has grown more than ever. I always thought I was pretty solid in the church, but I never realized how much I just accepted principles I didn't understand. And I think about how many people accuse Mormons of being blind followers. I'm starting to realize that the reason we blindly follow is because... well, there's not a whole lot to dispute. We know it feels right and we know that the things we have researched have checked out and made us happier, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to diligently look for flaws. But I'm here to tell you, without getting too preachy, there aren't any flaws. Just ill-researched theories made up of out-of-context material. I never realized how much people hate Mormons until I came to the South. But it just builds my testimony of the validity of it all. We don't sit in our services and trash other churches, and if you'd like to know why, it's because we're a Christian faith, doing what we can to be Christlike. We have no necessity to tear down other faiths, only invite them to learn more about how to be closer to Christ.
We've had some pretty interesting experiences this week. We finally got someone to ask us how we knew that Joseph Smith didn't just do a bunch of drugs and then make up the Book of Mormon. That was pretty easy to talk her out of. We just showed her the video of Jeffrey R. Holland rebuking everybody who doesn't believe in the Book of Mormon. Saying, "never mind that Joseph, Hyrum, and thousands of others either gave their lives or risked their lives to protect this book." That turned into a powerful lesson.
We also had one of our investigators invite us to "Broken Chains Freedom Church". Let me lay the scene of this awesome experience, we pulled up to the building in the middle of no where. We were the only car in the parking lot, everything else were huge motorcycles. We were greeted by two burly men with beards and tats and lots of leather. and walked into a building that smelled like cigarettes. It was fun, don't get me wrong. A rock band played all sorts of songs for us to sing along to and then we listened to the sermon. It was no uncommon for members of the congregation to shout "Amen!" or "Ain't that the truth!" after everything he said. I actually loved it, and let me tell you why. I have the opportunity to be surrounded by people who love God and Jesus Christ all the time. We may differ in beliefs, but everyone we have talked to worships Christ, loves Christ, and wants to return to Christ. Everyone lets us pray with them. They may think we're going to Hell because we "added to the Bible", but they care about us as their "Sisters in God" and want to tell us their opinions for the same reason we're here to tell them out knowledge. We all are just looking out for each other. And that's wonderful. But I know God knew I needed to come here to Texas, whever everyone is really firm in their faith, to help me see WHY our church is true, HOW our church is true, and how other churches are based on very true principles, but are missing pieces. And I don't know who reads these emails, I don't say this deliberatly to step on anyone's toes. But I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is operated by God himself. "One church. One faith. One baptism". I know this is the same gospel and church Christ established when he was on Earth. And because God is a God of order, he would give us a prophet to guide and direct one organized (incredibly, unrealistically, impossibly organized) church.
Despite what these emails sound like, I don't have much time to think about life at home or myself, for that matter, all we do is plan for, talk about, and think of the people we should be or could be or are teaching. So I'm getting socially awkward. In a good way, I hope. But I thought I should throw that out there.
We taught a bundle of lessons this week. None worth mentioning specifically, except for that when you're a missionary, you learn to feel the spirit in some pretty interesting places. We taught the Plan of Salvation to a man in a little dingy restaurant called "The Branding Iron". All you can order is meat or peanuts made by men who probably smoke in the kitchen and all the decor was made of dark wood and horseshoes. Hahaha...Sup, Texas? I cried. It was awesome.
Well, to wrap up I should mention that I have caught myself saying "y'all" three times now. We better teach a lesson in Spanish soon. This is getting out of hand.
I love you all. One day I'll send pictures... I can't figure that part out yet.