So guess what? Transfer calls were on Saturday, and I found out I'm getting transferred! I have mixed feelings about it. I'm sad to leave Rockwood because there are a lot of people here that I've come to love a lot. But I'm also excited for the future. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, and coming to love them too, and seeing a new area, and serving in a new ward with a new companion. There's a lot to look forward to.
We saw Ronnie again this week, which was nice. We haven't seen him in awhile. He's not really progressing, but he likes our visits and he does learn things. We taught him about the principle of "opposition in all things" and how there are really only two choices (choosing to serve the Lord or the devil - and we can't not make a choice) from 2 Nephi 2, and it seemed like it clicked for him, at least on some level. He seemed like he liked it. He's a weird one though, hard to read and hard to teach. I will miss him though.
We had dinner with the Jennings again this week. It was great. I always look forward to going to their house. The Spirit was there, and we had a great visit, and a great discussion. And the food was awesome, as always. I was thinking about it this week and I realized they are two of the people I'm going to miss most when I leave.
Cool story actually. The Jennings are awesome about missionary work and sharing the gospel with the people in their lives. I wish all the members (including me) had their fire. :) And this week Sister Jennings told us about a lady at the nursing home where she cuts hair. The lady had a Book of Mormon on her walker, and when Sis Jennings asked her about it, she said that an elderly couple had given it to her and that she "didn't know how anyone could believe that it's not straight from the mouth of Jesus." She invited her to come to church with them one of these weeks and she agreed!
And then the next day we got a call from Pres Griffin, who told us he had a referral for us (and president never calls to give referrals, like ever, so it was definitely an important one). Apparently a senior couple in a nearby area had given a Book of Mormon to an old lady in a nursing home in our area and had been working with her a bit. Turns out it was the same lady! :) Elder L will be working with her with the new guy, and the senior couple and the Jennings will be involved too.
We also went with the youth in our ward this Wed to play volleyball and other games with a Baptist youth group, and that was fun. And I had a fantastic exchange with Elder Larson, my district leader. It was a wonderful experience and gave me a lot of hope. He's a great missionary and a true friend.
So. My message for the week:
So on Sunday there was a theme in the topics at church, and it really struck me. The theme was pride. And I am definitely guilty of pride.
I am convinced that pride, in one form or another, is the root of every sin. President Ezra Taft Benson defined pride this way:
"Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.
"The central feature of pride is enmity--enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means 'hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.' It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 232)
I'm just going to share a bunch of quotes I liked from Chapter 18 of the book I just referenced.
“Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. …
“Pride is characterized by ‘What do I want out of life?’ rather than by ‘What would God have me do with my life?’ It is self-will as opposed to God’s will. It is the fear of man over the fear of God.
“Humility responds to God’s will--to the fear of His judgments and to the needs of those around us. To the proud, the applause of the world rings in their ears; to the humble, the applause of heaven warms their hearts.”
The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.
The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”
Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves.
Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of that word. It limits or stops progression. (See Alma 12:10–11.) The proud are not easily taught. (See 1 Ne. 15:3, 7–11.) They won’t change their minds to accept truths, because to do so implies they have been wrong.
I also really love this scripture in Jacob 2. Today, when I read it, it seemed very pointed to me:
20 And now, my brethren, I have spoken unto you concerning pride; and those of you which have afflicted your neighbor, and persecuted him because ye were proud in your hearts, of the things which God hath given you, what say ye of it?
21 Do ye not suppose that such things are abominable unto him who created all flesh? And the one being is as precious in his sight as the other. And all flesh is of the dust; and for the selfsame end hath he created them, that they should keep his commandments and glorify him forever.
And when you read that last bit, remember what God's glory is (Moses 1:39):
For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.I challenge all of you to join me in doing some soul searching. Let's all apply the counsel found in Elder Uchtdorf's fantastic talk "Lord, is it I?" and ask ourselves, and the Lord, "Lord, is it I?" Let's all strive to yield our hearts to God (Helaman 3:35), and humble ourselves, and let go of ourselves, and give ourselves to His work - loving and serving and lifting our fellow men.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. :)
1) Me with Ronnie :)
2) Tried pickled pig's foot this week. (It was gross)
3) Selfies from the long car ride back from dinner at the Qualls. :)
4) Tennessee sunset