Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Epistle 1.28.09

Hello everyone!

Another beautiful week in the city for me. Next week is transfers. Obviously we won't find out what is going to happen until Monday, but the most likely thing is that my companion will be moved and I will stay.

I've had a fun week of just pushing myself. Seeing how much more I can do all the time. I've definitely seen rewards in how frequently the Lord guides me, and in the people who he allows us to meet when he knows we're going to work hard.

I'm really not sure what else to update you all on. Not a lot has changed. This week went by really fast and I feel like I was just writing not so long ago.

I can say that I'm healthy and happy. I love this work and I know that it is the Lord's work. I know this is His church and it is led by a living prophet.

I love you all and love hearing from you.

Keep those letters coming!

Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Epistle 1.21.09

Hello everyone!

I have a couple things to report on this week. The first, I call the Miracle of the Tooth.

Several weeks ago I chipped a tooth (eating hard candy, if you must know!). When I went to get it looked at by a Dentist, they informed me that the tooth had chipped because there was decay inside the tooth, under the area that had chipped off (The decay was probably something that didn't get quite cleaned out well enough from a past filling, and had then continued to spread within the tooth). The real problem, however, was that the decay was very VERY close to the nerve of the tooth. The dentist told me that basically, a root canal was needed, because by the time he had cleaned out all the decay, he would hit the root, so it would all have to be removed, and he recommended putting a crown on top to make sure the tooth didn't just break to pieces in the future, since it would be dead. He did say there was a very slight chance that he wouldn't hit the nerve, and he could try just doing a filling, but even then it might just become incredibly painful later on and end up needing a root canal anyways, so it was my choice.

So, I went in to the dentist last week fully expecting a root canal. After much drilling within my tooth, the dentist told his assistant to take an x-ray, and then came in to talk with me. He told me that the very slight chance that he wouldn't hit my nerve, had become a reality. He knew he hadn't hit the nerve because there wasn't blood everywhere (pretty good indicator), so now came the choice. Root canal? or MASSIVE filling? (He had drilled out what seemed like a good 1/4 to 1/3 of my tooth looking at the x-ray (It's really weird seeing an xray where there is a giant hole in your tooth by the way). Basically a filling was a risk. It might get really painful down the road, BUT, the tooth was still alive, and there was a chance it would be fine. Root canal, no chance of pain down the road, but the tooth is dead. Final. I opted for the filling, and prayed all would work out well. It took him about 2 and a half dispensers of the filling to fill my tooth up, and at the end he told me that my tooth and gums would definitely hurt for the next week or so, but should subside after that. That was partially because the nerve would find the artificial filling, and withdraw a bit in to the tooth, and whine to me just to let me know it was still there. I would have cold/warm sensitivity for a week or two which should lesson over time. If it didn't lesson, I would need a root canal.

A week later I am amazed to report that I have had absolutely no pains from my tooth. Only a minor sore gum. There are definitely blessings to being on the Lord's work!

The second item: The cold.

It got REALLY cold last friday. Wind chill got down to around the 0 degrees range. The mission president decided that for Friday and Saturday, missionaries were not allowed to be outside for more than 30 minutes. That meant no tracting, not biking around checking on people or anything. Of course the Lord provided things for us to do and that didn't mean we got to sit around... we actually hardly spent any time in our apartment those two days but still, I just want you all to know our mission president is looking out for us!

Third. The one you all want to know about. Inauguration. For the Elders in the city our Mission President decided that we had to be in by 5:00pm Monday through Thursday this week, to keep us away from large groups of partiers or the like. The city is just plain crazy. Yesterday was just a zoo. Most of the roads in the city were shut down to cars. The freeway was open only to HUGE amounts of Metro and Charter busses. Masses of people would just clog a street, so we couldn't get through on bike. I just didn't even really know what to think about it, and I'm really not sure how to describe it. There are no missionaries in this mission who live closer to the capitol building. I feel really grateful that I happened to be here, in this area, in this apartment right at this time. It's just a cool thing to see. When we woke up in the morning the freeway going East was empty, and the freeway going West was nothing but one lane of Metro busses (with a few Charter busses thrown in) as far as we could see up the freeway. An hour later it was two lanes as far as we could see. A couple hours later it was three. These busses were (very slowly) moving the whole time, so it's not just like we were staring at the same busses. There were just that MANY! The cheering during the inaguration was VERY audible from our apartment. Loud people. And then everyone in our building it seems was out on their balconies screaming at the top of their lungs "Obama! I love you boy!" (Actual quote from the deck two right and one up from us). After the inaguration was one of the weirdest things. There were people walking on the westbound part of the freeway leaving the area, and that part of the freeway was open! There were cars wizzing by and people are walking along an area with almost no shoulder. And then it was evey weirder because I saw some DC Crossing Guards (they have official crossing guards here employed by the government) helping people along, so obviously this was one of the official exit routs... a running freeway! I took a TON of pictures, but yet again I forgot my USB cable so I can't send any today. There's a LOT of people in the city. But we are safe.

I don't know what else to update you all on. I'm healthy, safe, and trying to work hard. I love my calling and am grateful for this opportunity to serve.

I know that Jesus is the Christ. My Lord and Saviour, and I am honored to call him my Master. I desire to serve him through all my days, and am grateful for the knowledge that He can give me the strength to do so, if I but humble myself before Him and ask.

He loves all of you as well.

I love each of you
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Epistle 1.14.09

Happy 14th of January everyone! I've now been 20 for a full month. This is my 1/12th Birthday! I believe I'll have a party, or perhaps a root canal. Either one sounds exciting enough for my day =]

Things are very good here. The weather is beautiful and cold. However, since I am newly equipped with a Moroni sporting scarf and some earmuffs I am well prepared to face down any chill wind.

This week my companion and I spent some time getting ourselves very organized. I made the decree that I wanted our companionship to work like a well-oiled machine, and so we went about doing that. Sticky note reminders, a small white-board on which we write what time we have to start getting ready to leave whenever we get in, moving the maps of our area from our eating area to out study area so we can plan in the study, and some new firm rules for us to make us more obedient. All of which really make life easier.

It's interesting to me to look at how Satan hungrily gobbles up our agency. We give him a little of our agency and he starts dragging us down before we know what happens. And then I look at how the Lord stands ready to accept our Agency. Little by little we choose, ourselves, to give it to him. We see that our lives get better when we do so, and give him a little more.

Our mission president gave a very cool workshop last transfer on agency. He asked the question, "Once you are out on your mission, and you look at the rules in the handbook, do you really have a choice what time you get up? Do you have a choice when you go to bed?" His answer was surprising, but I agreed with him. No. You don't. When you go on a mission you agree to live by those rules. You have "excercised" your agency. You don't have it anymore. What you DO have is the choice to be a covenant breaker or not. To stand by your word or not. That's the only choice you can really make.
As members of the church we make some very sacred covenants. We excercise our agency and we really only have that simple choice to make. Am I a covenant-keeper, or a covenant breaker? If the answer is the first, then yes, I will accept the calling accepted to me. Yes I will magnify my calling. Yes I will give all that I have to building the Lord's kingdom. The only other option, and the option that entails rejecting callings, not giving of all of our time requested, and doing anything less, is being a covenant breaker. So which will we be? =]

Food for thought for all of you. Even non-members have many obligations they freely enter in to and so excercise their agency. Are you going to call in faking sick to your employer? Or are you going to be the best employee you can be? What choice are you REALLY making? Am I going to be an honest person who does what I said I was going to do, or am I going to be a liar?
Today's epistle wasn't written incredibly well, so I hope you all understand what I'm saying. I need to run home because my ride should be here soon, and then I'm off to the dentists.

I know that Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer, and that through him we can become better and better every day of our lives.

Fill your time with good things. There are too many good things to do with our time to waste any of life's most precious resource on anything less than great.

I love you all.

Till next week,
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Epistle 1.7.2009

Hello everyone!

My time is very short so this will be brief.

This week has been very good. The work is picking up in my new area. The Lord has given us some amazing new investigators, one of whom started talking to us on the street, another of whom yelled at us asking for "tracts" as we biked by him. Both want to hear our message and have a desire to change their lives. We can't ask for better.

The ward is amazing. The city is beautiful. The work is great. I'm having a blast.

I love you all. The gospel is true. Expect a better epistle next week!

-Elder Ted E. Bear