I am really inconsistent with writing personal weekly emails to send out in a mass-email, so usually my mom will piece together parts of other ones I have sent to then forward out. She has, however, called me to swift repentance.
On Tuesday we had a Zone Training Meeting. We counseled with the zone about obedience and positive attitudes, allotment and racism. So we pretty much covered all of the basics. My favorite quote from that meeting was one from Robert D. Hales: (paraphrasing since I don't remember word for word) "Why do any of us choose to disobey when we know the eternal consequences of such a decision? The scriptures hold the answer. Cain and some of Adam and Eve's other children were disobedient because 'they loved Satan more than God.'" A follow-up comment on that quote was made by an unnamed missionary: "Worse than loving Satan more than God is actually joining his army to fight against what is right. Don't tempt others to choose the wrong. When you do, you are working for Satan. If you are foolish enough to choose to follow Satan, fine. But don't you dare bring someone else down with you (referring to bringing other missionaries down)."
Walter was baptized two Sundays ago and confirmed yesterday. He walks five or six miles to church each Sunday, and his family has started coming with him. When he first started investigating the church his wife took his kids and left. On Friday we went and visited him and his family. His wife was there and we spoke about the sealing ordinance performed in the temple. She was captivated and now she is coming to church too, still walking the five or six miles each way.
Silas is a member who comes with us to visit people. He has one hand and rides the poopiest bike. But he is always there to help us. He is the second counselor in the branch presidency and he lives further away than anyone I have ever met (until we visited Walter). He doesn't have a job but he goes into town every day to try to find work. Fast fact, people that do that earn around 200-300/= each day that they are able to find work. That is $2.50-3.50.
So I tell you this so that you can understand that these two men are highly ranked in my book. They have hardships, much more than I have at home, and they are some of the most faithful members that I have met. They never miss a Sunday. They are always excited (in addition to being willing) to share the gospel, always magnifying their callings. They certainly understand that there is a law irrevocably decreed before the foundations of this world upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
Basically, my sob story is that the most faithful members of the church aren't found in mansions driving nice cars. They are most likely living in less-than-optimal conditions, barely scraping by. And still they give their precious time to serving others because they understand what is important. I hope everyone remembers the counsel given by President Eyring in the 2014 April Priesthood Session of General Conference. The three things that he admired in all of his role models were (1) a pattern of sincere prayer with real intent, (2) a habit of selfless service to others, and (3) a rock-solid commitment to total honesty. Be a role model!