We had a pretty fun week. I was reading my scriptures and found something pretty cool that I thought you guys might be interested in. If you look in Matthew chapter 3 verse 13, it says, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized...." So Christ is going from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John. Then if you go over to the book of John, chapter 1 verse 28, it says, "these things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing." So John was baptizing in Bethabara. So... if you go to your scriptures to those maps of the holy land in the New Testament times to map 11, you see Galilee with its borders mapped out. Then you see way down at the bottom of the Jordan River by the Dead Sea, you see Bethabara. If you look at the scale on the map, you find out that in order to get from Galilee to Bethabara, you have to walk more than 40 miles (haha). I thought that was kind of interesting. I mean, not many people walk 40 miles, but Christ did -- to get to John -- to be baptized by John, not just anybody else. I think that's interesting to show that Christ respected authority because John had that authority to baptize. He had the Aaronic Priesthood which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins - like we learn in the Doctrine and Covenants. I just thought that was pretty cool that he went through all that effort to make sure he was baptized by the right person with the right authority, so it would count.
There have been a few families we have been really excited about. Like, a couple of them haven't been to Church for a while, but they are starting to get excited about the temple and about the gospel (haha). So we will go over and teach them more and strengthen their understanding of the gospel. Their understanding is pretty basic. The just soak it all in, and it's so fun to teach them and help them out because you can just see their eyes light up. That is probably the highlight of this week. Visiting some of these people and sharing the gospel with them, especially talking about temples. I read a quote in the Temple Ensign that says that the object every teaching lesson and class is the temple. So everything we do in the Church points us to the temple, because that's where we make the covenants necessary to enter into our Heavenly Father's presence in the Celestial Kingdom.
As we have been going around, we have been able to find more and more people who are interested in the gospel. So we are excited with this coming week to see how that turns out.
I learned how to play a song on the Ukulele that I will have to record next time for you. It's called "Masi Samoa." [NOTE: I think Elder Record is thinking of this song.] I'm pretty sure it's on YouTube..., but I wouldn't know (hahahah). I've just been told. Anyway, it's pretty fun and pretty basic. It's fun to sing to and it's in Samoan. We are going to play it at a little talent show the ward is doing. Hopefully there is going to be a lot of non-members there because they are kind of gearing it towards missionary work. It will be good to show a lot of the non-members that we're not scary (haha) -- we're normal people who have an extraordinary calling.
Last Monday we went and played racquetball with the bishop. He used to be like the second best in the army and the best in all of Anchorage. We played racquetball with him, and actually I've played better than I ever have before. I actually won one of the games (haha). As I have been playing sports, like basketball and racquetball and stuff like that, my focus is a lot more intense (haha). I can focus on the game, and I have gotten pretty good. I'll have to play with you guys when I get back home. We have some fun stuff lined up for today. Mostly we do basketball.
I just want to bear my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon is true. I am so thankful for the scriptures and all that they teach us. It is very true that you get an extra boost from the scriptures. Whenever you feel yourself starting to get relaxed in your relationship with God, if you turn to the scriptures, it strengthens so much more, and you are able to come closer to your Heavenly Father, and closer to listening to the Spirit. As we continue to study the scriptures, we develop that listening ear more and more. I also love Church. Sunday is still probably my favorite day because you get to go and renew your baptismal covenants through the sacrament, and associate with all the wonderful people in the ward, and just talk -- talk about the gospel. It is just amazing to see all that the Church does. Like when you watch conference you feel, "wow, this is just how it is supposed to be." It just makes you feel good. It just makes you feel happy. As you listen to the talks and as you see the other things in the Church, you feel like, "man, it just feels good." Doing things like welfare, tithing, conference or like anything; you feel like, "yeah!! In Christ's Church, we would do that." That is how life is supposed to be, life it supposed to be happy. This makes me so happy.
I am thankful for that, and thankful for all of the blessings and challenges that I received. I am excited to see how I turn out when I get back (haha). I feel like I'm growing so much. I don't think anything can prepare me better for life than my mission because I've grown a lot. I've seen myself grow. I know how much better I'm going to be when I get back. I'm going to be so much more capable to come across challenges or meet new things, or get started in a new career, get married, have a family -- I'm going to be so much more ready for that because of my mission. I have learned a ton. It's kind of like the University for Life. I cannot see a better use of my time for these two years than anything else. College would be nice, but I wouldn't learn as much as I am now about how to live life, and how to be happy, and how to deal with people. I think this is as good as any university, as good as any use of my time. In fact, I think people would be foolish not to go because it is such a good use of your time. Yeah, it's hard sometimes. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it can be challenging, but it's always fun. You will go through challenges, and then you will come out on top and you will feel really good; like, "man! I got through that!" You can see yourself become a better communicator, a better ... just better everything. So I highly recommend serving a mission to everybody who is able because it is a wonderful experience.
I am thankful for all of you, and all my family, and for all that you guys do for me. Keep writing me letters. I'm going to start getting better at writing letters. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love, Elder Record