This past four months of my mission and the past four weeks in my new area have been a blast! I'm happy to be on mission and I have been blessed with two great areas so far and two even better companions. We have been teaching a lot of people here in Coquille, a big chunk of them being less-active and recent coverts. One in particular that we teach is autistic and loves to sword fight. So when we teach him the new member discussions we sword fight and teach him at the same time and by doing that he retains the information and all is well. Well he put us on a level system that starts at 0 and goes to 1,000. When we started teaching him he was a Level 14 Master and Elder Madsen and I were Level 0... Apprentices... Determined to climb out of this rut I was in I began to win matches and level up and climb the ranks to a Level 5 apprentice. However just the other day I was faced with a challenge. If I could beat him bare handed while he fought me yielding duel knives ( Fake of course ) I could level up to a Level 30 and take the place of Master. Well after a long, hard, and bloody battle in the muddy, rainy battlefield I emerged victorious with 2 of my 10 lives remaining. I was able to level up and now hold the title of Master and set the record for the highest level AND title any Elder has achieved in the months he's been taught. Yeah I am pretty proud. My companion might have 15 months on me but I now wear the pants since he's only a Level 8 apprentice. ;)
Now for my spiritual thought,
There is only one word sufficient enough to describe Coquille, Oregon. That word is rain.
It rains ALL the time! However it's not a bad thing. Not only do people notice us more but it makes good stories, hard workers, and great analogies! I sat pondering in personal study one morning while watching the rain fall outside and I thought to myself, our Heavenly Father promises us that he will "...Open [us] the windows of heaven, and pour [us] out blessings that there shall not be room enough to receive [them]." When I hear the word pour I think of the rain pouring out from the clouds above. Now the first thing I do when it starts pouring rain is grab my umbrella and try to prevent the rain from getting me wet. As I thought of this I thought of a quote from this October's General Conference. It's by President Dieter F. Ucthdorf. It says, "Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us. His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings." Now like it is constantly raining here our Heavenly Father is constantly raining down blessings upon us and it is up to us to stop fearing the unknown, stop doubting ourselves, and try our hardest to cleanse ourselves from sin so that our umbrellas will be closed and our Father in Heaven can rain down his blessings upon us. I have seen on my mission many times the blessings of heaven that can come when we will put our faith in Him and close our "umbrellas" I know this to be true in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I have posted some picture of wonderful Coquille and myself as well as some beach shots thanks the Bandon Elders for taking us to the coast so often.