Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 24 in Ambohimanarina

Wow.  24 weeks in the same town.  Not bad.  That’s almost 6 months.  But he seems to be having a great time, and his testimony is growing.

Subject:  "Get me a milk. Chocolate."

Wow. Another long week. And yet at the same time, a very short week. It's weird how that works. Looking back, time always seems shorter. You just can't seem to win with that.

One thing we did just win though, is a major game of soccer. There was some big game of a bunch of missionaries verses one or two wards. The teams were actually pretty easy to figure out, since it turned out just being the white people against the black people (and I say that in the least offensive way possible). Final score, 7 - 4 white people. Way to go, missionaries.  I admit, as do the other elders that played, that we were tired as none other after two or three minutes. It was rough. But way good. I haven't had a chance to run like that in the last... 7 months. A long time. Although I could promise you there's NO WAY I've been in Madagascar for 5 months. Crazy.

Many of you have asked about general conference and how that works here. Well so far, it hasn't. Apparently for some reason we get to wait about three weeks before our "conference Sunday". So conference happens, and we get to watch it at the mission office (in English!) three weeks later. So be sure to hold back on any spoilers for a while. Or not. I always love hearing your guys' spiritual learnings and things.

A little odd news for some of you. I found out recently that a bunch of David's mission pictures are on the iPod that you gave me, and we found a way to look at them. Things I've learned from it include my brother's unseen cow-milking skills, giant spiders, and I need to start taking more pictures. Fortunately, I've started doing that. Unfortunately, I left my camera at home today, so we'll have to wait another week. Sorry about that. But rest assured, pictures are coming.

Our investigators are all going pretty well. Or rather, they are going the same. The diligent ones are still pretty diligent, and the lazy ones are... still lazy. We've been starting into some serious drop talks with people. Not a thing we like to do. One of the biggest people that bugs me is this lady named Arlette.

Her daughter (Prinsia) is scheduled for baptism on April 27th, and Arlette reads a ton from the Book of Mormon. The problem is that she refuses to come to church (or just lies about coming), and even though she says that she believes the Book of Mormon to be true, she won't be baptized because she was baptized before in the Protestant church. So she clearly understands NOTHING that we've been telling her for the last 5 months. Which does not make us happy. And just to complicate matters, we basically have to drop Arlette while still teaching her daughter, which does not work well. Why do people refuse to understand the gospel?

One thing that we've been learning in our house is just how simple the gospel is. We have to follow God's commandments, repent when we make mistakes, be baptized, and then we will have eternal life. And then everything else in the gospel can be built upon that. Whether or not God has a body, where we are from, where we are going after we die, and pretty much any deep doctrine you can think of. We will receive an eternal, immortal body because that is what God has and what he wants for us. We repent so that we can return with God, because that is our goal. And you can keep building. We've found some sections in Doctrine and Covenants that have some pretty crazy interesting deep doctrine about exactly what our spirits are made from. It talks about how we were truth before, or light, in other words. When we follow God, our light grows. When we disobey, it gets dimmer. This isn't just some unseen, mystical thing, but a very literal change within our spirits. If we obey God enough, we will receive all of the light and truth that he has to offer, becoming the most that we could ever be. We also learned that Satan rejected and rebelled against that light, and even though he still exists, he has NO light. God is light, Satan (one of God's children, formed from light just like the rest of us) is the opposite.

It's like life is a game where we have to go around collecting little light points, and if we fill ourselves up, we win. Satan was that guy who just didn't want to follow the rules, and ended up losing his light.

The big moral of this story is that the message of the gospel is very simple. Faith, repentance, baptism in water, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And once you understand that, all the other deep gospel things can build on that. And there are some REALLY interesting deep doctrines, and super cool church stories out there. Try studying some of the History of the Church books sometime. Good stuff.

I'm trying to keep this pretty short, since we kind of are running late on time. Suffice it to say, the work is still going great, and other than Steven's ear infection, things seem to be going pretty well at home. Keep up the good work, and study some of the gospel things out there. God has given us all these things to help us build our light. Shine forth.

I love you all,

- Elder Arrington

PS: Julie, I haven't had  an email from you in a while. I trust this whole "second baby" thing has had your mind pretty busy, but you have to make some priorities. Meaning emailing.

PSS: David, same for you. Let's hear how life's been going with my one college attending brother.

PSSS: Steven, we'll take that ear infection you had as a sign that you should email me. God is calling you up to repentance, directly in your ear. That's punny.

PSSSS: Julie, I was officially kidding about that. Stay focused on James and Parker.
Good luck to you all!

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