Monday, November 30, 2015

Chapter 6 In Which I Haven't The Foggiest, But We Certainly Have Some Fog

Good morning Baltimore!
This week has certainly been interesting. I would like to quickly give some exposition on the title of the piece. It is the beginning of Week 6, almost transfer time, thereby making this Chapter 6 of my life in the mission field. If I messed that up, who cares? Not I, said the fox. Also, a brief note about the fog here: Holy matrimony, this is fog! The fog in Utah doesn't even qualify as "wussy wisps" in comparison with this fog. This is true, manly fog. I would go so far as to say that this fog is thicker than a Senator's skull, and that is certainly saying something. Anyway, I think it is way cool.
However, I shall now attempt to tell you about this wonderful Thanksgiving week! I have had the opportunity this week to try my hand at at least 3 different trades, namely that of Dental Assistant, English Teacher, and Chef. I will begin with my exciting advents in the name of Chefdom. We went to a potential investigator's house containing 3 women who are rooming together for college. I apparently forgot to write about this last week. So, last week we knocked into a woman named Valerie, and shared with her the Resoration. She was very kind and received it well, but when we went back to visit her, we met her two roommates, Launa and Teresa, instead . Launa is a member who just got out of prison. Anyway, we found out that Valerie had just had a stroke and was in the hospital. So we sent the Elders in that area by to give her a blessing, and instead started teaching Teresa. Well, we haven't been able to share much with her because she's been busy fighting in the courts to retain her house, but we went buy Thanksgiving Eve to check up on Teresa and Launa. As we talked, we offered service in any way that they needed, and they asked us if we could help bake pies. We thought they were joking, so we laughed and said we'd love to help, but the pies probably wouldn't taste very good. Well, they weren't joking, so Elder Geddes and I spent the next few hours baking (fortunately we had no other plans that night. Isn't it great how things work out like that? Every other plan had fallen through, and they were actually our back up.) It was funny, because we couldn't find the measuring cups at first, so we sort of... improvised the amounts for the salt and the ginger. Anyway, our extempore cooking ended up actually being really good! We wound up with one of the pies and some cranberry orange muffins I helped bake. We stopped by afterwards and they told us that all six of the pumpkin pies we had cooked had just been ravenously devoured by their Thanksgiving guests. Apparently, we are really good at guessing (I prefer to call it "intellectually measuring) out the amounts.
I also had the wonderful opportunity to serve as dental assistant this week. Elder Geddes felt like he was getting a cavity, and so he enlisted the help of Dr. Haws, a dentist in a nearby stake. When we arrived at the scheduled time, it turned out that the business was actually closed that day (it was Friday). Dr. Haws was kind enough to come in on a day that he didn't have work in order to help Elder Geddes. Anyway, I ended up helping push buttons for the X-ray, and I thought that was all I'd have to do, but then Dr. Haws found a small cavity and offered to fill it right there, right then. So he did, and I got to put on gloves and a mask, and hold little suctiony thingermabobbers, and suck saliva out of Elder Geddes' mouth, and use a tool to hold his tongue out of the way, and so on. It was actually a lot of fun. Elder Geddes actually got his cavity filled without using any anesthetic, and he said it hurt a ton at the end. Oh well.
Lastly, I got to try out being an English teacher. Okay, not really, but I hope my English teacher is proud of me. I actually gave a training in district meeting on Tuesday about how we need to teach investigators according to their needs and the promptings of the Spirit. As part of my training, I contrasted how Polonius, from Hamlet, taught his son, and how Alma, from the Book of Mormon (duh), taught his sons.  It was actually funny because I started out by asking the district, "Now, who remembers the story of Polonius from the Bible?"
Awkward silence... Everyone felt stupid that they didn't know it, until I told them that he wasn't in the Bible, but actually a Shakespearean character. It was actually a highly instructive contrast. When Polonius offers advice to Laertes before he leaves, he gives really vague, general advice that isn't incredibly unique for Laertes. The advice itself isn't bad, but Polonius is using the occasion to gratify his pride and better his image, rather than giving the advice out of actual love for his son. On the other hand, when Alma teaches his sons Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton, (Alma 36-42) he teaches them each lessons that are tailored specifically to their needs. He still talks about the Atonement with each one of them, but he still teaches them each very differently. If you have the time, I would recommend studying that. 
Before I close, I would like to share a scripture with you, namely Romans 8:35,38-39 :
"35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angles, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"
I add my testimony to Paul's here. I know that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. He will always love us, no matter how badly we mess up, and no matter how much the world may try to shut out God, he will always love us. We choose whether or not we accept him and his mercy. We choose whether or not we respond to his loving guidance, but his arm of mercy is always extended to us. The Gospel is for everyone: Bond or free,  black or white, male or female. This I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Benge

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