Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Elder Christian Tanner - March 24. 2014: It was raining, it was slippery, it was dark, it was scary!

Hej allihopa! Hur står det till?

 It's fair to say that stress has been a big part of my service here in Utby. Although, I feel like it is getting better slowly. We currently have 6 investigators that we are meeting with on a regular basis. One of them is a Finnish man named Eero (pronouced: Arrow). We have met with him 3 times over the past 5 days and we're meeting with him tomorrow. He has been drinking for a lot of years. He has basically lost everything he has. His kids don't want to talk to him, he has no wife, he lives alone, and he can't stop drinking. But he wants to change! We are working intensely with him. So far, he hasn't taken a drink since the first day we met with him. That is already incredible improvement from where he was when the missionaries first met him (he was dropped a while ago). Pehzman is coming along. We met with him 1 time this past week. We talked a lot about Priesthood Authority. He told us that our church claiming to have the only authority was a big claim. That bothered me for a few minutes. I thought we had scared him away. Thankfully we haven't. Working to get him baptized within the next few weeks. We have a meeting tonight with a guy named Johny. He came to church for the first time my second week here. This will be our first official meeting with him. He's really positive so we'll see how things go. We are also teaching an 18 year old kid named Jacob. He has a lot of interest in religion. Met with him once last week and we have a meeting with him in a few days. So as you can see, we have a few investigators. We have a few others but they will be mentioned as we find out more about them.

I have discovered a lot about other religions recently. We try to avoid JW's because they just want to bible bash with us. That's not to say, however, that they don't contact us. We have been contacted by several JW's. Discussions on the street can last well over 30 minutes. It's definetly not worth our time. But it is interesting to see the difference in doctrine. We had an investigator whom we dropped this past week. He is Muslim. He is the same guy who asked us the simple question of why we need a Redeemer. We went back and answered his question. When we got there he said "I know without a doubt (he's were I started to get excited) that Islam is the true religion (and then came the big sigh)." We tired to say "okay, well, we'll see ya later" and leave, but he just kept going and going. He explained how they want everybody to be Muslim and they are willing to take arms to do it. I didn't know that! Kinda creeped me out. So, as you probably know, we won't be going back to that guy any time soon. But like I say, learning what other religions believe is interesting. I never would have though that coming on a mission to teach OUR doctrine with cause me to learn so much about other doctrine.

I got a good story for ya'll. On Tuesday we were with a family for dinner. They live about a 25 minute walk from the church. We had a meeting at the church right after dinner. We missed our bus to be at the church on time so we tried to ask for a ride. It didn't work. So we either had to wait for a bus or walk. It was 5 minutes faster to walk so that's what we decided to do. We pulled out our handy-dandy GPS and routed our map to the church. We looked at the phone and decided that we could cut through the little forest to save 10 minutes of walking. It was raining, so we needed to save time anyways. We are walking through the forest and everything is going good. FInally, we get to right where we are suppost to meet up with where the GPS said we were suppost to be walking again. At the very edge of the forest we discover a 50 foot cliff. It was raining, it was slippery, it was dark, it was scary! But the sight was beautiful over the town. Lights were on and you could see the enitre city lit up. We started going back the way we came from keeping an eye on the cliff and making sure we were a good ways away. Finally, we made it back on the correct path. Now that we were on the correct path walking to wards the church, we were out of the way of harm. We could see, however, as we were walking past the cliff, how big the cliff was and how dangerous it could have been. We finally made it to the church and by some miracle we were only 5 minutes late. What story is this related to? I'll give you a HINT! Its in the Book of Mormon. It is also a dream given to a Prophet. YEP!!!!! THE TREE OF LIFE. Our GPS was our iron rod. The Tree of Life was the church. The cliff was death and hell. The beauty of the city was temptation and sin (sometimes sin and temptation look pleasing and we want whatever it is). We gave into temptation and let go of the rod! We almost fell off the cliff and died and went to hell. Figurativly speaking, of course. And just like in the story there was mist and darkness and they couldn't see. We couldn't see the cliff because of the trees, the rain and the darkness. It was scary! So if we just take my version of the Tree of Life and apply that to life, its the exact same thing. If we let go of that rod things are going to get slippery and scary. Don't seek the worldly things too much or you will let go of that rod. Sure, you can get back on the rod, but its much easier to stay on the rod the entire time. Don't let pride get in the way. Don't think you know what you're doing. Because you dont! Things arn't always as they seem! So that is my wise words of wisdom for this letter. Stay on the good side of things. It's much better and it's still fun :)

Sorry about the pathetic letter. But that was my week. In short: fast, stressful, eventful, and a good week on the mission. If I remember anything more I will send it if I have time. Have a good last full week of March and we sees you around! HA DET BRA!!!!

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