Monday, July 29, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 9 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 30:34 And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?

Hey everyone!  

Life is as good as ever here in Baton Rouge!  I really like it here!  I feel like we are really making a difference.  This week wasn't the best in the terms of numbers and such, but I still feel like it was a productive week.  I went on my first exchange this week.  I was with Elder Billings.  He is from Utah and has been out like nine months or so.  We had a good time and got a lot done.  We did a lot of contacting and less active work.  I had a really cool experience with the Garcia family.  We opened up to one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon; the story of Nephi's bow.  It is in 1 Nephi 16. Where we wanted to start reading was in verse 18.  However, I had them start reading verse 13.  It reads like this:
 13 And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again; and we did call the name of the place Shazer.
 14 And it came to pass that we did take our bows and our arrows, and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after we had slain food for our families we did return again to our families in the wilderness, to the place of Shazer. And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same direction, keeping in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders near the Red Sea.
 15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones and our slings.
 16 And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.
Not quite what I was going for.  However, as I discovered, there are hidden gems in all of the scriptures.  I saw that we can directly compare the journey of the family of Lehi to the journey of life. We sometimes have to travel through the deserts.  Trials will come.  What we need to do is to keep traveling in a straight course towards the goal, and stop now and then in the "more fertile parts of the wilderness" to gain the things we need to keep going.  In our deserts, there are always oases (spelled correctly, by the way oases(pronounced "o way seas") is the plural form of oasis).  What are our oases?I would say wherever we can receive the nurturing influence of the spirit.  This little gem was exactly what la familia Garcia needed to hear.  It was a super cool lesson and I felt the spirit strongly.

OK, another cool story that happened on this exchange.  Me and Elder Billings went by the house of the clan and Hector was outside talking to someone.  This "someone" is named Rene, and he is awesome.  We talked to him forever about how God has influenced his life for good.  He immigrated to the US several years ago, and I'm the meantime, a friend offered him fake papers from Puerto Rico.  He took them and used them to get work.  Next part of the story takes place a few years later.  He had been pretty successful, and had made quite a bit of money, so he returned to Guatemala in order to get his residency.  He was there for about a year waiting to get his green card, just living off of money he had saved.  After this year, he only had 400 dollars in his account, and was worried about himself, and his kids in the US.  He then read in the Bible a verse that said something about children being cared for, not sure which one.  He then got a phone call and was told that his papers were done and he could return to the US.  On the plane ride home, he said he sat on the isle and a gorgeous lady sat next to him. He said that this "lady" had a black name tag like ours and was doing the same thing. We offered him a restoration pamphlet and he said he already had one and went and got it of the dash board of his truck. This guy is prepared.  I can not wait to go see him.  

One last cool thing is that we had a movie night Saturday and it rained all day so no one was working and we had an AWESOME turnout.  We watched the testaments, and Rene was there with his kids, and Hector was there too!  It was awesome.  Bany has been working weird hours, and so has Blas. Daniel came to Family Home Evening on Monday and that was fun.  He also had us over to eat catfish stew.  It was good but really bony.

Oh, Sunday was Elder Thomas' birthday, and Friday there was a surprise party for him.  It was awesome.  

Well, that is pretty much it!  Thanks for everything!  I love you all!  


Elder Scott Turner Andrews  

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