I look forward to hearing about how fair goes. I wish I could be home to help train and fit the steers. Those skills I learned with the steers have carried into missionary life. Elder Palmer and I needed hair cuts, so I trimmed him up, and he cut my hair. He did a good job. Also, training and steer is a bit like training a new missionary. First of all, you are always training when you are with the steers. They observe everything you do and your reactions. Second, it is best to be consistent in how you tell the steer what to do so they know exactly what you are trying to tell them. In a similar way, a new missionary pays attention to everything you do. You have to be consistent in your attitude and the rules that you keep. If for any reason you need to do something that does not fall in line with all the rules, specifically the minor ones, it is important to explain why and what. From what I understand, parenting is very similar. You can’t pick and choose when you are training, or parenting.
This last week and the week before, there have been homecoming talks by missionaries returning to this ward. One of the recently returned missionaries served in La Crosse, Wisconsin and spoke Hmong. He knew the Bakers! That was a fun connection. One missionary got home from Argentina last week. I have observed who these missionaries become and their testimonies, and how they adjust to “real life.” Some are super happy, others act like they are still far away, another made everyone feel special. When I get home, I will be super exited to be with you all again. It may take some time to adjust. I may feel like it’s not real. I’ll need to be busy. I may get stressed as I make decisions about college, but I will love being with you to share experiences, laugh, play, talk, and work.
What are some of the insights that you have found as you have read the scriptures lately? I’ve found that the Book of Mormon was written for our day. Helaman 13: 24-28 describes how corrupt people can be. They go to pastors who preach smooth things, who say you are saved by grace. You cannot work your way into heaven, so just be a good person. Christ has payed the price for your sins. Well, true it is that Christ’s grace is what saves us, and, on our own, we unworthy creatures cannot merit anything, but it is upon conditions of repentance that we receive Christ’s mercy. To save us (meaning reward us all Eternal Life) regardless of the choices we made, would not be just. And god is just. Were it not so, God would cease to be God, and we could never anticipate the results of our choices, therefore making it impossible to choose good verses evil. (I hope that made sense, if not, you can ask me about it when I get home, or in a letter.)
Another passage in Helaman, Helaman16: 20-22, describes a complaint/argument that unbelievers have. I hear this today too. People say that we are brainwashed or controlled by a prophet, a man. They say that they only need their relationship with God, not man. They think that religion restricts them, telling them what they should or shouldn't do. They are not willing to humble themselves and seek to do the God’s will. Why do they not see that living in sin restricts them? Doing God’s will enables us to be free. Anarchy is not freedom. Living within the bounds the Lord has set will grant us Eternal Life someday. What could be more free than inheriting all that the Father has? Romans 8:16-17 Anyway, Helaman wrote for our day. His days were like our days. If only we could learn from those accounts.