April 24, 2017
I have been doing pretty okay this week. Things have been a little weird in the mission though. A few missionaries I know have gone home early, which is sad, but Elder Bias and I are well. Joel passed his baptismal interview and will be baptized Saturday at 9. We are really excited for it!
Yesterday we went to Why I Believe with our investigator, Rachel. The speaker was Mason Wells, one of the missionaries injured last year at the airport in Belgium. It was a really good fireside. The recent converts that spoke also did an awesome job. All in all it was a great event for people investigating the church.
I saw the picture of the valentines box, that is pretty weird it took so long to get back to you, after being undeliverable. haha. Sometimes they don’t leave packages at the door though. Transfers are three weeks away. After that I will only have five left, less time than I spent in my first area, which I think is crazy! Odds are I will be transferred on the Wednesday after mother’s day, but I don’t know for certain.
Skyping will be a little weird for Mother’s Day, as my ward meets at 1pm-4pm our time. I hope we can find a time to make it work well for everyone.
The cherry blossom parade was fun! I was an usher on the west end of the parade and pretty much just made sure the people sitting in the bleachers had tickets. In other words, I just watched the parade with Elder Bias, Strubell, and Bassey. It was pretty fun.
Currently our apartment is looking a bit rough as we had some issues with bed bugs (again) so I will probably give you a photo tour next week.
In regards to your topic, I too get frustrated with some people’s aspect of “judge not”. I am glad you and dad taught me well because that is a problem many people out here have a hard time getting a grasp of. One way I like to view it is that yes, we do not pass judgement of others salvation. Each of us on this earth are the literal children of God and, as such, heirs to glory (as stated in Romans 8) . However, each of us has agency on this earth to help us grow. God expects us to utilize this agency and make decisions to bring ourselves and others towards him by following the example set forth by Christ. Every day we encounter those who struggle following that example and we, as the Savior did, have a responsibility to encourage those around us to choose the right. If someone I teach is breaking the Word of Wisdom, I let them know they are going against the laws of God and encourage them to repent and follow the Savior. If I do not do my best to help them receive their inheritance by encouraging them to turn to their Savior and repent, then the judgements of God will have full power over them. It is through our own repentance process and the mercy of God that we can return to him. In my personal opinion, people who get insulted by those trying to help them become better people need a dose of humility and the ability to recognize the need of repentance in their life. If you do not believe this, the prophet has given us instruction to read the Book of Mormon more often, and I would suggest 2 Nephi 9: 39-41. Jacob didn’t have a hard time telling people when they were messing up. Encouraging repentance is not a bad thing. As a missionary, we are told to Teach Repantance and Baptize Converts. It is through repentance that we become converted to the Lord. (Feel free to use what you want from that, it did get a little harsh at the end haha.)
Some things that keep me inspired are the Scriptures. Also, President Johnson does a great job. He has to deal with so much I can’t even begin to understand. Last thing I can think of is my memories. Good stuff locked in my brain. When I feel discouraged I just go dig up a good memory, whether it be backpacking, skiing, going to the beach, reading with you and Kyle when we were little, going to a movie with Grams and Gramps, goofing around with Tucker and Spencer. Those little pushes help me stay happy and willing to serve.
I don’t do much to relieve stress outside of walking. A lot of stuff I used to do is no longer permitted, so now the main things are singing and walking around. Sounds sort of lame but I enjoy them.
I smiled pretty good while I was on a killing rampage of all the dang bed bugs in our place. I was pretending to be a velociraptor, making weird noises and such and all in all having a good time.
I love you all a ton. Dad, I guess you still are the rattle snake whisperer. I am glad you have a way with snakes. Did you remember to do your own snake call back at it? If not, I suppose not trash talking it was a wise strategy. Do your best to not step on any more snakes okay?
Elder Jacob Norris
Trust God, good things will come 🙂