Ok, so I have so much to tell you about this week!!! It's been a busy one... But, I have to tell yout this one story about our zone leader. I guess he woke up at 1:30am in the morning thinking it was 6:30am and time to get up. Hahaha, he starts turning on the lights and telling people to get up, and then instead of grabbing a towel to go to the shower, he takes a sheet off his bed and wraps it around himself like a toga!!! Hahaha. At this point, Elder Young is like "What the heck are you doing?! It's 1:30, go to bed!!!" So, Elder Luderup (our ZL) looks at the clock, realizes what time it is and is all like "Haha oh, sorry." And, THEN Elder Heartwig, who apparently has slept through this whole debacle just then wakes up, thinks it's time to get up cuz the lights are on and starts to get ready too, hahahaha. So, I guess it was a pretty crazy night :) Haha, the MTC is steadily starting to break the best of us, hahaha. Just kidding.
So, in other news, we got a TON of new tangerines last Wednesday, so we're outnumbered like 3-1!!! It's ridiculous! Oh, but good news! We finally got the proof copy of the Cantonese Book of Mormon!!!!!!!!!!!!! So stoked. It is split into 2 huge, binder like things, but we still read from them, haha. Hopefully, they'll actually start printing the real copies soon. Elder Martinez told me that he knows the guy who is in charge of the translation of Book of Mormon, and he told him that he would get him the canto translation... so he keeps telling everyone that it's because of him that we have them... but I'm skeptical, haha.
Oh, and on Tuesday we got to hear from Elder Nelson! He is awesome and super funny. We heard rumors that he was coming, and I have an inside source (one of the cafeteria workers I became friends with) who confirmed the reports. I was telling everybody in our zone to get down there quick, so they could have a seat (cuz not everyone is as cool as us, and sing in the choir, thereby getting saved seats), but some of them didn't believe me. I told Elder Osborn that if it was Elder Nelson, he owed me one of his uncles experimental Oreos (his uncle works for Oreo and sends him the new kinds before they come out to the public haha), and if it was ANYONE else, then I would give him one of my Trader Joe chocolate bars that everyone loves. Well, needless to say, I was feasting on cotton candy oreos that night hahahaha.
So, it's starting to get real... One more p-day.. crazy. I was reading my favorite chapters of the Book of Mormon, the mission chapters of Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. I was reading after Ammon had converted King Lamoni. King Lamoni wanted Ammon to come with him to his father's land (who was the King of all the land and his superior), but Ammon prayed about it, and the Spirit told him if he went, the king would have his people kill him and that he was needed in Middoni because his brothers were in prison. He told this to Lamoni, and without hesitation, the king told him he would go with him and help free his brothers. So, they suit up the chariots and are charioting along (I don't know if that is a real word hahahaha) when they cross paths with, non other than, King Lamoni's father who was mad that Lamoni is with a Nephite and orders Lamoni to kill Ammon. But Lamoni stands up to him even though he knew the consequence could be death. Lamoni's father goes to kill Lamoni, but Ammon steps in and tells him if he does that he will go to hell. So, instead, the king tries to kill Ammon. (Apparently, he doesn't know Ammon chops off arms like nobodies business haha.) And Ammon ends up hurting his arm pretty bad. The king realizes he could be killed, so he starts to offer up half his kingdom if Ammon won't kill him, but Ammon being the boss that he is says, no, all I want is two things. One, let my brothers out of prison, and two, allow King Lamoni's people to worship freely. (Because he and his people are under his father's rule and would not have religious freedom, even if Lamoni wanted them to.) The king at this point is astonished that Ammon only wants these two things and sees that he is a pretty stand up guy, so he grants both requests (cuz he would have died if not haha) and goes on his way with his messed up arm.
Fast forward to the brothers who are in prison. It says their skin was raw cuz of the binds, they were starved, went without water, beat, spit upon, the whole 9... now think about the change they made in their life. Before, they were rich, doing whatever they wanted, sinning and committing whoredoms... but after they were converted, AFTER they decided to change their lives and serve a mission, they get thrown into prison. And all it says about the whole experience was "they were patient in their afflictions". They HAD to have wondered, "Why, now that I'm doing what's right, what the Lord wants, am I going through this? I'm a missionary! I should be blessed! I'm doing what's right!!" But, what I'm sure they didn't realize is that BECAUSE they were thrown into prison, Ammon was told to go save them instead of going to the dinner and his death and BECAUSE they were thrown into prison, Ammon and King Lamoni went to free them and crossed paths with the king himself, contending with him and gaining religious freedom of ALL of King Lamoni's people.
Sometimes we don't know why we go through hard times when we are doing what's right... why we can't just magically learn canto haha, but God does know why, and he has a reason. He knows all and is the master organizer of everything. So, trust Him and be patient in your afflictions.. cuz it might just lead to the religious freedom of a nation, haha. Also, if you read further you'll see that one of the brothers who were in prison, I think it was Aaron, goes directly to the guy who, a couple chapters before, orders to kill him. He ends up converting him and a ton of others... I challenge you (cuz that's what we do as missionaries, we give commitments, haha) to read these chapters (Alma 17-27), and read after everyone is converted who gets the credit.
I love all of you. I'm so grateful for all the letters and packages everyone has sent me and the prayers on mine and all other missionaries behalf. KEEP THE FAITH, NEVER QUIT. I love you all. Chittyging!!!
Mahk Jeung Louh