October 20, 2014 Portugal
I’m glad things are trucking along at home. I really never liked heights either, but be careful up there (on ladders) okay? Also, I’m happy to hear you are enjoying work. I wish I knew what I want to do when I get home. I just need to find something I really like, I guess…..
So a funny/crazy thing that happened this week is we ate dinner in an investigator’s house from Guinea! And wow. There was so much food! It was not the typical lesson or dinner that I’m used to or was expecting, but it was a good experience. I’m pretty sure people from Guinea drink alcohol with every meal. Everyone else at the table started drinking all kinds of wine and beer and alcoholic beverages that I’ve never heard of, soooooo by the end they were all kind of drunk. Also, they eat with really loud music playing (not very conducive to the spirit I must say) which to me sounded like a mix between Reggae and 90’s funk. The woman of the house started dancing in the middle of the kitchen and then she grabbed Elder B and me and we did our best to learn how to dance like an African.
The same lady invited us over for a birthday party the next day at 4:00, and again, there was so much food! And every time I thought I was done eating, I would accidently make eye-contact with someone at the table and they would hand me more food. We finished with our stomachs about to burst and from there we went straight to our recent convert’s house — for ANOTHER dinner appointment. I don’t know how we survived, but I thought I never wanted to eat again…..
Also, something I forgot to say last week was that our recent convert had his first chance to pass the sacrament! The only problem was that he didn’t have a tie and someone from the stake said he needed one to pass, so I immediately removed my tie and gave it to him. We had a white baptismal tie, but the high counselor said it wouldn’t work, so I wore the white one and the convert used mine. After the meeting he tried to give it back to me, but I told him it looked better on him anyway so he’d better keep it. It was great. He was able to bless the sacrament this last Sunday, with my tie of course. (I don’t know if he owns any others…)
QUESTIONS from mom:
1. When is your mission’s next transfer date?
2. Do you want an additional sweater in your Christmas package?
3. What are some character traits you admire in your companion?
4. Are you remembering to write in your journal?
5. How is the missionary weekly money working out?
6. Did you get reimbursed from the mission home for the extra luggage fees?
ANSWERS for mom:
1. Every six weeks. The next one is on November 10th.
2. A sweater would be nice. Long sleeve, please. And blue would be cool.
3. The members adore him. It’s actually quite cool. He says he’s from Portugal and they instantly love him. He’s really funny with people too.
4. Yes, I try and write every night, but I miss some days, but I think I’m doing pretty well with writing.
5. Money is good. Just don’t be stupid or have a companion that wastes it, because usually you buy some things together and other things separately. Problems arise with money when there are other things you have to pay for, like unanticipated trips for doctor’s appointments or a broken washing machine.
6. I got reimbursed for the 100 dollars, but I have it in cash because they just put it on my card.
So, I was studying this week in 3 Nephi 3 about the people of Lachoneus. I pinpointed some things that he and Gidgiddoni did that I think are applicable to families.
1. “Gather together” 3 Nephi 3:13
Lachoneus knew that if his people were spread out, they would be much more susceptible to the robber’s attacks so he gathered his people–the righteous–Nephite and Lamanite into one unified body.
—-We can stay unified by going to church every Sunday where we can be protected by the buffetings of Satan
—-Also, your family is a great place to be unified. Have Family Home Evening EVERY week- a time away from the Gadianton Robbers of the world.
2. “Fortifications should be built” 3 Nephi 3:14;25
The Nephites were on the defensive, because if they attacked, they would not triumph. Thus, they knew that they need a physical buffering zone to give them the upper hand. 3 Nephi doesn’t explain what kind of fortifications these were, but I think it’s safe to assume they are at least similar to the fortifications built by Captain Moroni 89 years earlier (Alma 50:1-5), who caused that they should dig up huge heaps of earth around the city, and timbers the height of a man, pickets that were “strong and high,” towers with places of security. Moroni understood that it is better to face your enemies from as far away as possible. With our families we can:
—-Family scripture study
—-“And they did fortify themselves against their enemies.” vs 25
3. “Repent of all your sins” 3 Nephi 3:16
Lachoneus knew that the people were only safe if they were righteous. It reminds me of Elder Holland telling the young men of the Priesthood that if they weren’t clean, then “Get clean.” Family application:
—-Forgive one another in the home. Don’t let the adversary infiltrate your defenses because you’re too prideful to say “I’m sorry.”
—-Teach good principles and enforce rules. How grateful I am for a loving mother who taught me to stay on the straight and narrow.
4. “Appoint CHIEF CAPTAINS over all the armies…that had the spirit of revelation.” 3 Nephi 3:17
What a better person to lead God’s army than a prophet (Gidgiddoni)!
—-The father of the home receives revelation for you family. LISTEN TO YOUR DAD! I’m so grateful for a father who was an example to me on how to live a Christ-like life.
—-We also have prophets and apostles who warn us and guide us! Watch ALL of general conference as a Family! It’s so important!
Parents, seek to receive “the spirit of revelation” for your families.
5. “The Lord forbid.” 3 Nephi 3:21
The people wanted to go attack the Robbers but the Prophet told the people that they would not be spared by the Lord and they obeyed.
—-We must be willing and humble enough to accept correction in the home, or from the counsel of church leaders. We cannot go about life “Imagining up some vain thing in [our] hearts…that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and vain thing.” 3 Nephi 1:2 If we do the Lord will not help us, but we will be delivered into the hands of Satan. vs.21
6. “Make weapons of war of every kind…strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers.”
Gidgiddoni knew big walls would not be enough to protect them. But if they were prepared and “put their prayers unto the Lord their God,…he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle.” 3 Nephi 3:26
—-We don’t live in an age where we can hide our family from Satan–his influence is everywhere. Now is the day when we have to stand up for our beliefs WHEN confronted with temptation.
—-Individual prayer and scripture study
—-Choose good friends. One of the prophets said “A friend is someone who makes it easier to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.” So, evaluate your “friends” to see if they fit that definition.
Phew! Just some of my studies this week. I hope this helps someone. Don’t forget the little things.
Love you all!
Elder Cory Zwahlen
Missão Portugal Lisboa