Thursday, December 10, 2015

Restoring Humanity One Leaf at a Time

November 18, 2015

Kamusta (that means hello in Tagalog),

We were going on an epic shopping trip to the local Goodwill today, the aisles were skinnier than a pair of Clay Aiken’s jeans. I was in the middle of an aisle looking at Scotch stains Grandpa ties that had the scent of cigarette smoke woven into the tie with the polyester fabric it was made from, when a woman (large, African American woman... Not that it matters or anything) was trying to get by me. Instead of asking me to move or anything she just stopped, looked up at me, and uttered the hilarious but slightly degrading remark,"Oh look. It's Bigfoot." Hahaha I was dying. I love people sometimes. I wasn’t even mad, I was just impressed at how funny it was. 

Fun fact: My area is home to Jerry Springer and a bunch of those other trashy t.v. Shows that I've never had a desire to watch. I thought it was pretty cool too.
Elder Casela and I have been brainstorming things we can do to get this area popping. There's a ton of potential for work here in this area but coming into this area with next to nothing we have to work to find work. At zone conference, President Smith shared a story about how his nephew served in a tiny tiny town in Georgia. His mission president came to him and his companion and said,"Absolutely no proselyting for the time being. All I want you to do is go around and serve the people. No teaching, no passing out pamphlets, just serve until I tell you that you can proselyte." So for the next 6 weeks all they did was go around the small community and serve. They mowed lawns, they helped the small business, they sorted books at the library. Everybody in town knew them because of the service they were doing. At the beginning of the next transfer, their mission president came to them and said, "Ok. You can start teaching now. Go for it." They went out and in a matter of a few short weeks they were bringing 50 investigators showing up to a small branch of 30 people.  The point President Smith was trying to make was that service changes people's hearts. 

This week Elder Casela and I tried to put that into action a little bit. Since it is fall, and since it is Connecticut, and since it is Connecticut in the fall there is close to infinity leaves everywhere. We borrowed some rakes from some members and hit the streets. We went around knocking on people's doors but instead of trying to teach them, we just offered to rake their leaves.

One house we went to was an older man that let us rake his leaves. We spent the next hour or so raking all his leaves off his front yard. At the end he came out and expressed how grateful he was that we had come by. He said that earlier that week he had paid a kid to come and rake his leaves but the kid took the money and ran off without finishing the job. He told us, "You two have restored my faith in the humanity of young people." He was sincerely grateful and it was an amazing feeling that came from service. The little we talked to this man about religion he shut us down pretty quick. If we were to right off the bat start trying to preach to him he wouldn't have listened but because we went about it in a different way we were able to impact him in a unique way. Service rocks. 

Today I had the sickest study on the family unit! I was reading in the good ole Preach My Gospel when I came across the line, "Families are ordained of God." At first I was like, "Cool. Sick. I've heard that and even said that around 1,000 times. That just means God really really likes families." Then I just had a hunch, prolly a nudge from the spirit if anything to study the word "ordain". I looked more into what the word "ordain" really means. To "ordain" means to appoint or decree. I looked up what "appoint" and "decree" mean. Basically 
-Appoint = assign a job/role to someone.
-Decree = An official order issued by an authority

Sooo basically our Heavenly Father has officially ordered and assigned us to our roles in our family. That sounds a lot like a calling to me. To be in a specific family, with a certain responsibility is a calling from God. Then I was thinking about how with every calling that we hold in the church we will need to give an account of our stewardship to God. With the ultimate calling of being a member of a family it will be no different. 

One day I will have to stand before God the Author of the Universe and tell him about what I have done in the calling that he has given me. We will have to explain things like why we ignored our parents’ righteous council in high school because we thought we knew everything. We will have to explain things like the reason that we made our wife cry, or why we didn't give our children the time they needed. Families are the most important unit. Being a member of your family is the most important calling you will ever receive. 

Have a Gucci week. 

-Elder Tyler Johanson

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