Tomorrow I’m getting transferred to Winfield, West Virginia! My new companion will be Elder Espinoza, who I have not met. I’m excited! A new start in a new area will be really great. I’ll send my new address this coming Monday, but a good rule of thumb would be to just send anything to the mission home at:
West Virginia Charleston Mission
888 Oakwood Road, Suite 310
Charleston, WV 25314
I guess that Winfield is pretty close to Charleston, so I imagine it will be a more rural area. No hollers (hollows) yet! There have been a few out here in Ohio, but for the most part we’ve worked in fairly densely populated areas thus far.
I wanted to share just a few of the things I felt from General Conference this weekend. There were many recurring themes, but the one that stood out the most to me was the gaping division between the ways of the world and the laws of God. I have felt an almost constant reiteration this past month on the topic of the commandments. It has come in personal study, lessons we’ve taught, sacrament meeting, Sunday school, revelations in quiet moments, I mean LITERALLY constant reiteration. I remember sitting in a Saturday session of General Conference and realizing how all of that had been preparation for what was to be shared in Conference.
This month I learned that the commandments are not rules or laws assigned by an Omnipotent Dictator; rather, commandments are laws of nature, specifically human nature, which are shared with us by a Benevolent Father who wants us to be well aware of what will make us happy or unhappy in this life. God has not set commandments to cause us to be obedient to Him; rather, He has given commandments to instruct us on what will keep us safe and lead us home to Him.
Commandments are less like rules in a game or sporting event, and more like boundaries on a highway. Picture yourself driving on a two-lane highway through the mountains. On your left is a double yellow line, and on your right is a guardrail. Those boundaries are not arbitrary restrictions, set there to "keep you in line", they are for your protection. If you cross over the left, you are likely to collide with an oncoming vehicle. If you cross over the right, you become subject to the natural law of gravity, and collide with the ground.
So we find ourselves in a time when the world has decided that the natural laws of human happiness, which God has lovingly instructed us in, are outdated and inapplicable. Society is painting over the yellow lines and bulldozing the guardrails.
Thankfully, we have a prophet! We have the priesthood keys of revelation, prophecy, and seership! We have the words of a loving Father in Heaven who outlines exactly where these boundaries lie, and often He even instructs us which highways are still safe to travel!
On a separate note, I don’t know who said it in this past conference, but I remember hearing something stated along these lines: "We do not currently have to endure the trials and the adversity that the early saints did. This will not always be the case."
I don’t know what’s coming, but I want to be prepared for it. I pray that I may plant my feet firmly on the Lord’s side.
As usual, I am out of time. I never get to share the good stuff! Haha… These past six months in Portsmouth, OH have been marvelous. I have been privileged to work with some magnificent missionaries. I thank my Father in Heaven often for assigning me to work with Elder Ryan Carter. He is an incredible man, who has been very prepared to love everyone he meets while serving in the Lord’s vineyard. I have been very blessed these past three months.
I know that there are only good things ahead. In the words of President Pitt, (in the giving of which I’m not quite sure if he’s quoting the movie Astro Boy):
"Onward and upward!"