So, just a heads up. I don't think the mission office saw fit to notify you, but just wanted you to know I'm doing good. Most people here in Virginia stop about 30 feet back at a red light, and when I saw a van approaching a red, and I had a green, I thought it was safe... Apparently not everyone stops that far back... haha. We spent most of Thursday in urgent care, but we're back out on our bikes and working hard again. My helmet is a little damaged from being run over, but it still fits okay and I shouldn’t need a new one. Thanks everyone for your prayers! They truly work miracles!!!
Don't you love how, if you take events from the week, and combine them just right, it sounds really scary? Let me fill you in on the truth here... 1) The mission office has nothing to notify you about 2) the van did come very far over the crosswalk as I was riding through, but I avoided getting hit by a few inches 3) Wednesday, Elder R took a curb too shallow, and sprained his shoulder, so that's what we were in urgent care for. He's fine now, and just rests it in a sling when we're in our apartment. Very minor. cool miracle though. His pants, forearm, belt and shirt were way scraped up, but his garments and anywhere his garments cover are fine! there are miracles everyday if you're watching, we didn't catch that until we tried to find the Gs he was wearing and couldn't distinguish them from his others 4) My helmet was left on top of a fleet car when unloading bikes and fell under the tire as they were backing up 5) Your prayers really are working miracles :)
now to hit your questions....
-L was from South Jordan
-R is from Fiji. He says from the capitol. I want to say that's Suva?
-I'm learning a LOT with DLs as trainers. It's been cool too to see the different things they do. Lgot me very familiar with the duties and clockwork of it, and R has had a tough district (two ETs and a few other "nights on the phone" [sick people, requests for blessings, companionship disagreements, etc.]) so I've gotten to see him resolve a lot of things, which is good because L never even encountered those.
-A FSO is a Foreign Service Officer. They work through the state department on an international level. They're treated as military officers, so are some of the safest people from the draft, and they get to work with people from all over, sometimes even getting stationed in embassies!!! It takes a lot of tests to become one though... Something like 2% of applicants make it...
-Of the bike problems, only one was me. I just readjusted my derailer, nothing big. Elder R has had some troubles though, flats, broken gears, bent tires. He keeps saying: "Man, these cheap american bikes can't do the Fijian guys!"
Some really exciting stuff has happened this week. Tuesday, we were at district meetings and some random dude walked in. Then I noticed he was wearing a nametag. Then I realized it was president Riggs!!! He came to our district meetings and fed us lunch and ate with us, so we all got to get to know him a bit. He's an AMAZING guy. I was wondering how they would EVER come close to Albright, but they got the right man for the job. They're different, but they're both EXACTLY what this mission needs at the time it needs it.
Tuesday night, we had our second discussion with N, and he kept just talking about baptism like it was already decided. We didn't even need to invite him. We just pulled out the calendar and said: "well, it sounds like you want to do this. When works for you?" He is so excited! We picked August 15th, and the rest of the lesson, he just kept saying: "I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I'm actually DOING this!" It was hysterical. He read what we asked him to and said he felt the spirit really strongly and that he hadn't prayed about it because he knew it was true. So, we encouraged him to take Moroni's challenge anyway, emphasizing the importance of receiving such a direct answer to a specific question and testifying of the strength it would bring to his quickly growing testimony.
He came back for another lesson Friday, and says that his mom isn't too keen on him getting baptized, but not to cancel it. It's kind of a delicate situation now. I guess N's older brother dated a member who very obviously "just wanted to dunk him." His mom kind of has a bad taste in her mouth from that. She says she's okay with Nate getting baptized, but "doesn't want him making any life-changing decisions until his temporal lobe has completely developed." Anyways, she tried to get him to sign a contract that he wouldn't get baptised until he was 22, and he wouldn't do it. It's hard, because he's technically 18, he doesn't NEED parental permission, but we don't want to do it when his mom isn't supporting him in his decision. We're praying lots and hoping things improve soon. We were prompted during our lesson to promise him that if he took Moroni's challenge, the spirit would guide him in what to say and do to soften his mother's heart. So, small stumbling block, but we're all very confident and have great faith that she will come around before the 15th of August.
The Riggs had two half-mission meet n' greets to meet all the missionaries and introduce them to their family. They have six kids, four of whom are with them here. Their Oldest Daughter, R is currently expecting their first grandchild, and their oldest son is off at Arizona state. Then here in Virginia they have with them Ra (18), K (15), A (12) and B (9). R is turning in his mission papers in a few months and will likely depart and return from here.
Their family is hysterical! Sister Riggs at one point started telling a story about when they were dating, and President Riggs jumped up to correct the account and was met with a stiff arm! Sister Riggs, never taking her eyes off the laughing missionaries just said: "Honey, sit down. I got this." and finished her story her way. haha. Then, President Riggs gets up to speak and Kstarts moving the podium up and down. "Sweetie." He says. "I have a scripture for you." He then thumbs his scriptures a bit and starts out: "We have learned by sad experience...." And that was all it took to send every Elder in the room rolling. He tried to speak over the laughter as he finished reading Doctrine and Covenants 121:39. Then as he was talking about his education, he was talking about how he was jumping majors back and forth for years, and as he's telling this, we just hear Sister Rigg's voice: "He has commitment issues." More laughter, this time coming more from the sisters than from the elders. They are very spiritual, too, and I already have LOTS of notes I took from their insights. I'm excited to be serving with them :D
Overall, it's been a good week. Just two quick thoughts for you.
First one. Is this weird or what? I mean, I'm on my mission!!! I've been waiting for this my whole life, and I'm already two months in!!! Where does it all go? It's weird. Every now and again I'll just be like: "Wait, I'm a missionary!" It's so weird. I see my nametag every day as I put it on, but sometimes, I SEE it. It's remarkable that I'm here. For so long, I've known it's been coming, and I'm out! I'll be talking about this time in my life for the rest of my life. For the rest of eternity even. And I'm living it all right now. Sometimes that really just hits me.
Secondly. Has anyone ever heard Jeffrey R. Holland or John Bytheway talk about the armor of God? They point something out that I just love. Look at the pieces of the armor of God. We have the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shield of faith. Our loins are girt with truth, our feet our shod with the gospel of peace and, what is all of that? It's all defensive! I don't know about you, but I'm not just in this battle to not get killed. The Lord has not asked us to simply hold our position and fend off Satan and his temptors. In the words of Holland: "We are supposed to advance in this and win a battle that started in heaven long ago." we have been given a weapon with which we may advance. You'll notice Paul mentions one final piece of armor: The sword of the spirit. The spirit literally is your weapon. It is how we advance. The Lord has asked us to defeat the enemies of truth and to spread righteousness. He has asked us to fight for his cause, carrying forth the banner of liberty! How can we do this if we have not the spirit? The spirit is our sword. With everything else, we can only withstand, but with the spirit, we can attack, we can advance, we can win. Why do you think that Satan tries so hard to remove the spirit from our grasp? He is disarming us! When we engage in activities that drive away the spirit, Satan stands as a bouncer at the door saying: "I cannot let you in the presence of such darkness so armed." He will disarm us and make us face this battle as nothing more than a shell. So often, when we talk about the armor of God, we talk about "not going into battle naked." But are your chances any better if you enter the war unarmed?
I love you all. Thank you for your prayers and letters.