Well, where do I begin... Last P-Day was the last we had with Elders Denning, Lesa, Kelley, and Neville. It was so great to spend some time with them. They are going to be awesome in the field. We did this thing called "Sauna" where we get a huge curtain and tape off the entrance way to the showers, turn them all on the hottest they can go, and then Sauna it up. It was really nice. It wasn't entirely illegal, either.
So, our zone got a new district this week, and guess who's in it? Elder Ethan English! From Maeser! That threw me through a time void. But yeah, he's right next door to me and I'm his zone leader. I'm so glad I got to go to Maeser. There is such a strong fellowship that exists within the student body. We are all just so united. It's amazing. Sister Baker sent me a journal of past Maeser missionaries that I will pass on to Elder English and then probably to Elder Moe. It is full of amazing MTC experiences and advice from my fellow Maeserites. So cool to be apart of this work, and to have said I graduated from Maeser Prep!
Alright, here's a few questions... Do we know a Ben and Terra Kocherhans that live in Arizona? Elder Rogers says they're in his home ward. And Jason, did you know Elders Calliger and Pitcher in your mission? Pitcher works in the mail room and said he recognized my name from the Merida Mexico mission.
I've been having fun trying new foods. One of the Elders from the new district brought some Vegemite. In small amounts, it's not that bad. It's kind of reminisent of soy sauce. I've also been eating Easy-Cheese like a mad-man. On crackers, no Leaning Towers of Cheezah.
The speaker at the devotional was Sister Edmunds, the second ever sister in the Philippines. Hello, another Philippines reference. I'm going to such a cool place. Anyways, she was the funniest person in the world. We could not stop laughing after anything she said. I guess she writes books too, so I'd look her up. Mary Ellen Edmunds. She was also in the same area as our Branch President when he was serving in the Philippines, so they know each other. Sister Howard says she has her permission to be President Howard's second wife.
So, I've gained about ten pounds since I got here. Still skinnier than anything, but at least I'm gaining weight.
We have flight plans! YES! We leave from here onin the morning, get on the flight to DETROIT(Yeah, what?), then fly from Detroit to Manila. 21 hour flight. That'll be fun. Looks like I won't get to go to China after all. I really wanted an international layover, but oh well. We're flying Delta, and they have all the weight requirements here, and it seems pretty straitforward so I should be good.
My writing has gotten terrible since I started learning Tagalog. I feel dirty using English. Tagalog is way better.
So, I'll tell you a little abbreviated version of Elder Dennings conversion story. He had grown up in a Mormon home, but never really followed anything in the church and didn't really care. As he explains, "I did a lot of crazy, stupid stuff in high school." He was in a death metal band, he was a cage fighter... he was also a professional surfer.
His whole family loves surfing, so the only times he had with his family were while they were surfing together. While on a trip to a third-world country, they went out for a day of surfing after a tournament the day before. There, they all caught a extremely dangerous strand of e-coli. He then explains how he started slowly dying from it. At a point of extreme suffering, his father offered to give him a priesthood blessing. Elder Denning exclaimed, "how could that possibly help me? Are you kidding?" His father then said "I'm not going to sit here and do nothing, let me give you a blessing." After the blessing, Elder Denning went to sleep. When he awoke, he felt fine. No signs of sickness whatsoever. But the rest of his family was still severely sick. There were no sanitary or helpful hospitals in this county whatsoever. So Elder Denning began to pray for the first time he had in many years. For three hours, he repented of what he had done in the past, and for not being worthy to receive the priesthood. He asked for his family to be healed. Lo and behold, they were all healed that moment.
That is the power of the Atonement. It is the power of change. It's the power of a complete shift in direction, and a re-focus on purpose. That moment, Elder Denning realized that nothing else really mattered more than him being able to save his family, and living worthy of the power to do so.
Like Nephi said, why should we sin? Because of the flesh? Because boys will be boys? Because we're all human? Because we're teenagers? Because because because........ Awake, my soul! Realize that the body becomes more powerful than could ever be imagined when it becomes unified with a clean spirit. The mind is sharper, and more focused. Emotions are pure. Desires are righteous. And physical strength is easily obtained. Why would an axe boast in it's own power, when it's real power comes from the one who wields it; the one who can use it to its full potential? Through small and simple means, great things are brought to pass. Through primary answers, the full potential of man can be reached. Sa pangalan ni Jesucirsto, amen.