Some more snow, some great meetings, learned a lot and achieved goals this week.
Yesterday's Sunday school lesson was from the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 16-22 and it was a single verse we talked about that changed my entire attitude and perspective on life.
1 Nephi 18:16 "Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions. "
Nephi was nothing short of a valiant servant and faithful follower of God's command. He was exactly obedient, he worked hard, diligent, faithful, set a good example to his family, and he believed and trusted in God. Yet, on their way to the promised land of America his older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, tied him and bound him to a mast of the ship they were aboard so tightly he couldn't even move... For 4 straight days he was tied up! Why? Because Nephi chastised them for forgetting the reason why they were able to make it to where they were- Well on their way to America, happy and healthy. They partied and rejoiced and began praising themselves for being able to make it all that way. But, what Nephi was trying to tell them, it was because of God and His goodness. His brothers basically said to Nephi's chastisement "ah, shut up little brother. What are you trying to do talking to us like this," and tied him up. This is what he got for his faithfulness to God and for standing for what's right in front of his complaining family! Goes to show how far God will test some of us and it's up to us, in those times of unfair trials, whether we are made or broken (make it or break it). 'Making it' meaning the Kelly Clarkson meaning of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", growing stronger and closer to God through the trial OR 'breaking it' meaning you give up on God, and turn your back on Him for the test He has given you. Storms of the sea began from the first day Nephi was tied up. The direction of the boat lost course and the weather got more and more severe to the point where the boat and everyone on board's life were in danger. His brothers, being as ignorant and foolish as they were, didn't realize that if only they would listen to and follow the counsel of their younger but wiser brother they would be saved form the tempest. When Laman and Lemuel finally realized what was happening and that their lives were in danger, they untied him. Nephi's wrists and ankles... I can't imagine how badly they hurt and how swollen they were but the first thing Nephi says is this verse of scripture, "I did look unto my God and praised Him all day long!" Even though we are a lot of the times like Nephi, simply giving it our all, no matter how awful, trying, unfair, defeating and beating life's trials can be, this is how we should respond to any affliction AND to any blessing, at all times in all places, in good times and bad. Praise the Lord. Give thanks, and trust in good things to come.
That's what I learned this week. Don't know what else to tell you so I'll attach some pics.
|In the city. Shinkansen (bullet) train coming through on the tracks.|
|Me and some members all the way back from the MTC! My MTC companion, Elder Thompson on the left and Elder Morris on the right. They are such studs.|