Thursday, May 27, 2010

Epistle - 5.26.10


Good Wednesday Everyone!


Well it's been another wonderful week! We have a baptism this Saturday, Jaymie, he's a great young man. We've been meeting with him since January (We meaning missionaries, I've only been in this area 7 weeks), and if we can't get him a ride to church he's the only person I've ever taught that would bike 7 miles to get to church on sunday. Amazing. The long time period is because we've been waiting for his probation to end this Friday for him to get baptized. He's excited and so are we!


 My companion and I are having tons of fun, of course we are making plans for the music, musicals and various shows we will write together some day.  We were talking about making a band the other day, but then we decided we'd be better off making a musical about making a band, and started discussing how we could do that as a two-man show. I suppose that sort of sums us up in a nut shell.


As we drive we have a tendency to crank Mormon Tabernacle Choir and he sings Tenor and I sing Bass parts. Yes, we're geeks, but we're having fun!


We're planning a neat zone activity for next week. We're going to play kick-ball at a park, then head to the stake center where we've managed to get everyone 2 BBQ pork sandwhiches, Potato Chips, Potato Salad and 2 Ice Cream Sandwhiches all for $2 a person. We're pretty proud of ourselves, and I think everyone will be pretty happy with the lunch for 2 bucks!


Well I'll have to think of more cool things to say next week. I really love you guys, I don't dwell often on counting days, but today is 10 weeks, which is a pretty even number. 70 days. In 1,680 hours I'll be on my way to the airport. Believe me when I say that I will make everything I can out of those hours.


With love,

Elder Ted E. Bear

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Epistle - 3.17.10

Hey there everyone!


So today we went "Duck Pin Bowling" Anybody know what that is? I didn't. You bowl with tiny little balls, on smaller lanes, with short and squat pins. Only 5 bucks for an hour and the whole Zone went and had a great time. Pretty fun stuff. I was really bad at the beginning, it's been a long time since I bowled.


So I think I mentioned that the new e-mail interface is G-Mail. It's really weird! Sitting on a g-mail account I feel like I should just hop over to my Google Reader and read about the latest tech trends like I'd spend hours doing back home. Or maybe just jump over to facebook. I don't know it's just funny to see such a familiar interface but in a different setting!


This transfer will be very interesting, because I really have no idea what's going to happen. Almost any possibility has an equal chance. It will be very interesting to find out what President's plans for me are.


The weather has bene very nice the last day or two. After a weekend of gloomy it's very pretty again. We're just rooting for the temperatures to get up past 70 so that we can take the suits off and I will never have to wear my "Work Suit" again. It's ready to retire!


I think the funnest story from this week was Sunday night. We went to check on a less active lady we've never met. She let us in and she and her mother were making Breast Cancer Awareness bracelets to make money. Just stringing the beads and tying off the stretchy cord stuff. After chatting for a while I really wanted to try making one, so we asked and she thought that was hillarious that two young guys wanted to make pink bracelets. So we helped and made 5 of them. At 20 dollars a pop (When she sells them) that's $100 towards breast cancer research! We felt pretty accomplished =]


I love you all. Hope you're all doing well!


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Epistle - 5.5.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!


 Do you realize how long you've been reading these epistles for? And yet every week you expect me to come up with something new to say! I guess it's a good thing that a mission gives you a lot to talk about week by week!


Two Saturdays ago Elder Smith got the flu, we worked Sunday monday Tuesday, then on Wednesday he blew his ankle out VERY badly. Aweful sprain. Unfortunately there was so much stuff that simply needed to be done, it hasn't gotten much rest, and yet we stlil haven't gotten to work in our area very much. Luckily it has given us a lot of time to study and read the Book of Mormon!


So, today I will share a thought that I read this morning.


Alma Chapter 1, verses 21-24


  21 Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.

  22 Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists.

  23 Now this was in the second year of the reign of Alma, and it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church.

  24 For the hearts of many were hardened, and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them.


There's an intersting lesson in these verses to me. These people were mebers of the true church. They had the true gospel. The knowledge that they had the truth, however, went to their heads and made them proud. So proud, in fact that they began to "contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists."


This kind of behaviour was strictly against the very gospel and church which they were claiming to defend! This pathetically ironic behaviour came from a root problem that they allowed to gradually grow within them: Pride.


Like any talent or blessing, membership in the true church of Jesus Christ is a gift from God, which not all people are priviledged to have access to. Like any other talent, we can not take pride in this gift, but merely thank the Lord for bestowing it upon us. What began in these members of the church as a genuine gratitude for the truth, turned in to a false belief that because they had the truth, they were better than their fellow-men. This fallacy lead them to that wicked and pervasive sin: Pride. The Prideful belief that by virtue of their receiving a blessing others had not, they were better than those others.


We see the outcome of this. "it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church. " and of those who pridefully hardened their hearts we read, "and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them."


Now it does not necessarily say that those whose names were blotted out were the same who came to blows defending the church, but I believe that at least a goodly portion of those who came to blows, did in fact end up removing themselves from the church. I can say that with some certainty because it is true to the pattern of apostasy. They rose themselves up, beyond the teachings of their leaders, to the point that they, thinking themselves justified, behaved in a way that the church condemned. I can only imagine when their church leaders told them they ought not to act that way, they would be offended (another symptom of pride) and turn their back to the church, thinking it had wronged them and escort themselves to the doors.


There are many lessons to learn as we ponder these events. It is a potent reminder that we, being blessed, aught to be our brother's servant, not overlord, and that we have a duty to adhere strictly to the teachings of the living Prophet and Apostles, not to wander off in to our own 'strange paths' beacuse in those paths we will eventually be lost.


I love you all. Stay true. Stay strong. Be humble and take direction, for in that is salvation.


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Epistle - 4.21.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!

Life is good in beautiful DC.

Today was our Zone Activity, so about 30 of us went to play Ultimate Frisbee in the rain down on the National Mall. Really fun. I love playing in the rain because you don't get too hot running around.

I got asked by one of the District Leaders in the zone to give a workshop at his District Meeting about Personal Revelation. All 4 companionships in his District are training, and he wanted my companion and I to train the district on how they can receive revelation in planning and missionary work.

We decided that my companion would share personal experiences about revelation in his mission and I would discuss the doctrine of personal revelation. What it is.

In a true lesson to ME about personal revelation, I spent the entire week before pondering what I should teach. I prayed to know what I should teach. I read talks and scriptures about it trying to find what the Lord would have me say. Normally I get my workshops VERY prepared, so I know exactly what I'm going to talk about and present, but in the entire week of study, pondering, and prayer, nothing came! Finally the morning of as I sat staring at a blank piece of paper, I felt impressed to flip open to the Doctrine and Covenants. I began flipping through and just happened across a couple revelation scriptures I had marked. I wrote down the references, and with that in hand headed off to the meeting, still completely unsure about what I would say, and with a continuing prayer in my heart.

Just as the meeting began I felt impressed to flip open to St John 17,

"11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."

I stood up and read that verse, and began my workshop.

I drew put the names of the Godhead on the board, and asked, "In what way are these 3 one?" They answered, In Purpose. I asked, "From whence does the purpose of the godhead originate, where does it come from?"

After some discussion they came to the conclusion, the Father. I answered that indeed it was the will of the Father that the purpose of The Godhead comes from, and that personal revelation is how we come to know his will, and have the same purpose, thereby becoming one, as they are one.

I enjoyed it, and learned as I continued to teach. It was very fun.

I'm out of time, but I love you all!

-Elder Ted E. Bear