Like I mentioned, I got transferred! Now I'm in Oak Ridge, TN, in the Melton Lake ward. It's a really neat area. Lots of history. The government built the city to research and develop the atomic bombs that were dropped to end WWII. And the ward seems really great, and I love Elder Lakko, he's hardworking and easygoing and funny and we're getting along great so far.
My last couple days in Bristol were a blur of goodbyes and packing like crazy. I was a little sad to leave Bristol and all the people there. And I was sad to leave Elder Lambert. But I'm excited for change and for my new area.
So far Oak Ridge has been good. We tracted into a couple of legit people, one in particular seems promising. She talked about how God has blessed her and changed her and how He's made her a totally different and better person than she was before. She wants to have a stronger relationship with Him. We are going to meet with her again this week. :)
We also got to volunteer at Oak Ridge's "Secret City" festival on Friday and Saturday which was awesome! The two wards here hosted a booth about family history. People could come and find records of their family from the 1940's census. We actually had a lot of people come through and we even got a return appointment from it, so that was awesome. Plus the festival was fun and there was a cool WWII reenactment we got to go to.
Also - Joyce got baptized back in Bristol!! :) I will send pictures as soon as I get them from Elder Lambert.
My message for this week is pretty personally meaningful for me right now. Yesterday while we were out knocking on doors there was a guy who answered and was pretty rude to us. He tried to bible bash with us and told us that we are a disgrace to the name we wear. It's not the first time people have been pretty rude to me on a doorstep and it definitely won't be the last (especially in the heart of the Baptist South), but for some reason he really got to me. I was so angry with this dude. I couldn't stop thinking about him. All throughout my shower this morning I was itching to sit down to study the scriptures and find all the ways I could prove him wrong and prove just how much of an idiot and a jerk and a hypocrite he was... I knew it wasn't right and that I was overreacting and letting Satan get to me, but I didn't care. P And then when I got up from praying and started to study, I somehow ended up instead reading a talk from Elder Oaks that was exactly what I needed to hear, and all the anger just sort of drained from me. Here's two quotes from it:
'In the concluding days of His mortal ministry, Jesus gave His disciples what He called “a new commandment” (John 13:34). Repeated three times, that commandment was simple but difficult: “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12; see also verse 17). The teaching to love one another had been a central teaching of the Savior’s ministry. The second great commandment was “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). Jesus even taught, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). But the commandment to love others as He had loved His flock was to His disciples--and is to us--a challenge that was unique.'
'...The gospel has many teachings about keeping the commandments while living among people with different beliefs and practices. The teachings about contention are central. When the resurrected Christ found the Nephites disputing over the manner of baptism, He gave clear directions on how this ordinance should be performed. Then He taught this great principle:
“There shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
“Behold, this is … my doctrine, that such things should be done away” (3 Nephi 11:28–30).'
My challenge to you is to join me in examining yourselves. Do you love others as the Savior loves each of us? Even those who may not love you in return? And are you allowing the spirit of contention into your life? Of course none of us will ever love or live as perfectly as the Savior did and does, but that's the idea. No matter where we are or how poorly or how well we are doing, we can always improve to be more like the Master. So do that. Evaluate your life and your heart, and prayerfully strive to improve. :)
I love you all! The Gospel's true!
Elder Alex Swindler
1) Goodbye pic with Bro & Sis Finch. He was the Bristol ward mission leader. They're awesome.
2) Goodbye pic with Bro Call, another awesome member we worked with a lot.
3) Goodbye pic with Bro & Sis Call (not related to the previous guy - confusing, right?). Also awesome.
4) Goodbye to Elder Lambert!
5) Elder Lakko and I found a minion at the Secret City festival!
6) At first we both thought this license plate said "Vol Satan" but then we realized it actually says "Vols 4 TN..." Hahaha
Video: You Are a Sad, Strange Little Man...
A video of some country singer performing a weird song about a chicken at the Secret City festival.