Thursday, August 9, 2012

9 August 2012

The statue of Angel Mornoi on top of the Provo temple represents the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations, calling all to worship and give glory to God, in preparation for the second coming of the Lord.
Not all temples include this feature (e.g., the Cardston, Alberta temple does not).  The inclusion of Moroni is an architectural and stylistic decision; it is not a feature of worship or a requirement on all temples.  Nice photography Paul!

Paul has always been intrigued by tie knots.

Paul's desk at the MTC.

Paul's nametag.  As he spends more time in the mission, the white letters will become more yellow.

Paul and his MTC companion.

Provo Temple

Paul's schedule at the MTC.

Paul mentioned this "oops" in a previous letter.

Farewell party for departing missionaries from the MTC.

Dear Family and Friends,
So this week we passed the halfway mark! It's crazy how fast time flies. I think I mentioned it last week but weeks feel like days and days feel like weeks. Yesterday, when we realized that today was P Day, we were amazed because it felt like two days ago was P Day. That's only a good thing though! We're all itching to get out of here and into the field. The MTC is great, but...there's more out there than a small fenced off campus. Some of the things we do to make the weeks better are Purple Tie P Days (Preparation Day = P Day), Smooth Tie Sundays, Trump Tie Tuesdays (If you feel inclined to send me another one of these ties...they're pure class.), and that's it. Super super lame, yes, but it makes time go by a bit quicker. We always get funny looks when our whole district has matching ties. Two of our elders are trying to do "Change your Hair" Wednesdays. I'll pass.
The family reunion sounded like a blast! Glad you all could get together, family is important. Going out on the lake in the boats must have been a good time, too. Did anyone fall over? Grandma Wolthuis, we have a Sister here from Hawaii. For some reason I am forgetting the Island but it starts with an M. I told her about you teaching the granddaughters how to do that dance and she got a good laugh out of it. Grandpa Wolthuis, that's a fantastic quote about being on time. For those who don't know it, it is, "If you are five minutes early, you are on time. If you are on time, you are late." That's so true for missionary work. Granted, we are still in the MTC and our time is pretty scheduled out for us, but being early really does make a difference. That has been our districts goal for a few weeks. After gym, we have 20 minutes to get back, shower, dressed and back to class. It's not much time but we have been getting better and better at it. It has made quite a difference in our evenings. 
I've been reading Jesus the Christ more and more involvedly. We will pretend that that is a word.. For those who don't know, it is basically a history of Jesus Christ from his birth to death, but not in that order. I think everyone should read it, if not with a religious text then just a curious view on a historical event. I've learned a ton about his life in Israel. If anyone wants a copy, let me know, I can get discounted copies here. 40% discount off everything in the bookstore! Anyway, my new way of reading it is not just...reading it as I have been doing. Instead, I'll get my scriptures out and when I find something with a footnote/reference from the Bible, I will go to that page and if anything from that story sticks out to me, take a note about it in the book. For instance, I was reading about Jesus and the tax collector and when he asked for money from Jesus and Peter. Peter, going to Jesus, asked Jesus what he would do. The tax was atonement money, money that would be used to help forgive sins. It was implemented by Moses. Jesus said he didn't need to since he was the Son of God but he sent Peter to go catch a fish and he said the first fish he caught would have enough money for "thee and me." The last three words stuck out to me and apparently James E Talmadge, the author. He said that in every instance that Christ compares himself to people, he never says us. Instead, he says, "my God and your God," or, "My father and your father," or the aforementioned example. This is significant because it shows that he is different from everyone, being the literal son of God. It also shows how similar he is that he can use his own name in the same sentence as the others. I took a note of that in my scriptures and now I'll always remember that. Its a more involved method of study and applies Jesus the Christ to the scriptures far more.
So remember about that Canadian saying that Canada burned down the White House and it's only white because that was the only color left? I heard something else classic at dinner. It was, "And the Fukushima thing was way stupid, too. I mean, more people die on planes than nuclear incidents." This made me laugh because the comparison had absolutely nothing to do with the threat from Fukushima, which was the problem with escaped radiation into the water and adjacent area, not to mention the uncertainty over the problem in the first place...or the magnitude 9 Earthquake associated it. They went on to say that Chernobyl wasn't dangerous, either. I held myself back. Sometimes its not worth it. Did I just say that?

We have also been reading about the Apostles of Christ during his ministerio terrenal (earthly ministry) [editorial remark:  Paul is starting to mix Spanish and English!] . Peter, James, and John are considered those closest to Christ. Peter is the one who denied Christ three times. He is often considered as betraying Christ, though to a lesser degree than Judas. They were brought to see Lazarus raised from the dead, the transfiguration of Christ, and many more miracles. One such, though, the Atonement, is more important. On that night, directly afterwards, he was taken prisoner by the government. When they tried to tie Jesus the first time, Peter jumped forward and cut the ear of the man who tried off. Jesus promptly healed him and scolded Peter by saying, more or less, "Would you not have me do the will of the Father?" Peter then followed these people to where he was tried and sat in to listen. He waited for him to come out. During his wait, he was approached and in that time period  he denied Christ three times. Directly afterwards, when he realized what he did, he cried. Then, he stayed and waited until everyone left when they moved Christ. He waited to see him go. To me, it almost seems as if Christ asked Peter to deny him. This would allow Peter to be kept safe and experience the Atonement in full and give him an opportunity to grow before he lead the Church. Anyway, my point is that Peter was far too dedicated, at least to me, to have not had a testimony and deny Christ in earnestness. He cut off the ear of that soldier in front of the leaders of government, something that was very dangerous. His devotion to Christ was also very apparent. When Christ called to them when they were on the sea at one point, instead of waiting to sail back, he jumped in the water and swam. When word came to them that Christ had risen, he ran there, and while John waited outside, he ran right in. He also took the most criticism from Christ, called Satan even in one part when Peter asks him not to die. I cannot believe that Peter didn't have a strong enough testimony in Christ to die for him when the people approached him.

Another thought I had this week was comparing Jesus and Joseph Smith. Directly before the crucifixion, the Romans offered Christ an alcoholic mixture to dull the senses. He denied stating that he would rely on the father for strength. When Joseph was a child and the surgery was performed on his left, he turned down alcohol and instead asked to be with his Father. In both circumstances, they rely for strength on those who have more strength to give and practice faith greatly.
Changing topics to a weekly summary in the little time I have left, our district sang in the Devotional this week. We got on camera twice, one such instance we were zoomed in on. I couldn't help but giggle, but that's ok, because I was zoomed in on. People have come up to me and said, "hey, we saw you on camera!" Another time, during the devotional, the Elder directly in front of us was called to stand up and they panned the camera to him. Elder Shreeve, Thorsen, and I just sat behind him smiling. It was pretty hilarious.
Here's a great quote from James E Talmadge. It says, "To deny the actuality of miracles on the ground that, because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious, is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend cannot be and that therefore, he is able to comprehend all that is." That stuck out to me while reading Jesus the Christ this week. Powerful quote.
Mom, please send my SD card back! Also, do you have any cool family history stories? Both sides of the family, please! 
Everyone should read Doctrine and Covenants 87 (Mom, link it here and explain what DC is). It, in 1830s, predicts the Civil War in surprising detail. That is decades before the war.
I got shoes in the mail today. Whoever sent them, thanks! I imagine it was family because I told them my old ones were literally falling apart. I think my feet are growing because my toes are near to the end of the size 14 shoes. They are comfortable.
Thank you Susie, Natalia, Jamie, Family, Cousins and family from the reunion, Tori, and Doug for the letters! What a great week it was to hear from all of you.
Thank you all for the letters, they mean so much!
Elder Johnson

No comments:

Post a Comment