I haven't been very plugged into world news at all. The biggest updates I get are from the news that only sometimes plays while I do my laundry, and that's my biggest time to email, so I don't pay too much attention to it. What exactly happened? I lost faith in the Supreme Court when they ruled that corporations 'are people too.' I highly disagree with many of their decisions. As far as same-sex marriage goes, and your political fears, I am comforted by the fact that the Lord will never give us anything that we can't handle. Will it be hard? Of course. Without a doubt. These are the Latter Days we're talking about. But the Lord loves his children, and blesses the righteous. If we stay loyal, faithful, and true to our covenants, and stand for what the family truly is, then we will be protected as the Lord sees fit. I've been studying Captain Moroni lately, and the times that he went through were truly terrible. I know that the Book of Mormon leaves many of the details out of the account, but the war chapters were a time of unsure future, danger on every side, and a dark force seeking to destroy the happiness and agency of the chosen people of God. The righteous Nephites were protected by God when they were righteous, and when there were no contentions among them. When the Kingmen rebelled against their brothers, Mormon records that the Lamanites took many cities and many prisoners. The Lord also allowed some of the righteous to be slain, so that the sins and atrocities of their murderers could be held against them at judgement day. What we need is to be like Captain Moroni. Mormon muses that if all men were like unto Moroni, and would ever be like him, then the very powers and gates of Hell would be shaken forever, and the Devil would no longer have power over the hearts of men. Moroni was a man of a 'perfect knowledge,' who 'did not delight in the shedding of blood,' and who 'rejoiced in the liberty of all men.' Following in this great example, we need to seek to promote and defend the liberty and agency of others, while at the same time defending our own freedom just as vigorously. We need to strive to cease contentions among the members of the church. I know this is super hard, but it is possible. Those are my thoughts. What a guy, though.
Elder Pavon and I weren't able to get as much done last week as we wanted to, due in part to an illness on my companion's part, poor guy. We've been slowly developing attendance in the area of a Saturday morning soccer tournament. We do it every Saturday at 10:00. Last week we left at around 1:00, I think it was just a little too much for Elder Pavon, so we both went home and crashed for an hour. We both needed it! A lot of our appointments cancelled, too, so we were left without a whole lot to do. One of the things we did get to do was bless a month-old baby, though! She had been having some respiratory troubles, so the mom asked us to give her a blessing of health. Such a beautiful baby. I did the anointing, and Elder Pavon held her. She got a little bit fussy when she was handed over to us, but when I stated my authority she hushed, and got very very calm. Guess she's still getting used to her name :) I love children, because they are still so close to God. Sometimes when I sit down and type while my laundry is going, a preschool will pass with twenty-odd kids all holding on to one of those ring-rope things. Cute kids. That's kind of the role that I take with families that have small kids. I'll play with them a bit, keep them happy and quiet, so that the mom and dad can be uplifted by my companion. It's a good role to play, and it's amazing to see the kids grow, and how well and quickly and easily they grasp gospel concepts.
So, the day after I emailed last week that we'd be getting Facebook back pronto, we received a notification directly from the Brethren in Salt Lake that all online proselyting will come to a complete halt until the church can release new training and guide books in August or September (so, probably more like October or November). So, false alarm! That was a good Facebook cleanup, I guess.
This week we did splits, and I took the Branch Mission Leader (who speaks very very minimal English) to the Sutter stop to visit the Van der Horst family. I was able to lead and direct and understand pretty much perfectly. The gift of tongues is real! Anyway, that was our week. Nothing too exciting.
I love you guys a ton- make sure you read your scriptures every day, and pray as often as you can!
Elder Richard Brandt Hull 헐
PS - I love the Institute Manuals also. I read them side-by-side with the scriptures every day!