Sunday, March 30, 2014

Maple Syrup and Tiny Horses

March 17, 2014

Hello faithful friends and family, I hope you drank some green milk today because it’s ST. PATTY'S DAY!!

Not too much time to email because our district had a St. Patrick’s day shindig with George Foreman panini-maker hamburgers, green milk and mint cookies. Then we made slow motion videos jumping over tables and stuff. It was awesome. 

This week was good, bad, ugly and beautiful. Aside from the unwelcome return of a few Lyme disease buggies we are healthy and moving strong with transfers coming next week. My internal color wheel will no longer match St. Patrick ’s day! WHAT?

This week:

We participated in making real life maple syrup. And as far as I'm concerned that was my official initiation as a New Englander. We took sap from sugar maples and dumped it and boiled it and chopped wood for the stove and generally just felt manly and like unto Paul Bunyan. And on Sunday we received our divide of the glorious finished product. Unh. Ate it on my pancakes this morning. Like Rat from Fantastic Mr. Fox.... "like liquid gold."

We drove past a woman riding in the suburbs on a cart pulled by a tiny horse. One of the most beautiful sights I've seen so far...

Ella confided in us how she was starting to get wrinkled and how frustrated she was that it was happening. We reminded her that she's 93 and possibly allowed some wrinkles before she becomes a centenarian. She didn't seem to care, and told us to love what we got while we got it... Also discovered her family is all Jehovah’s witnesses. Except her. #tension

But she's really thinking about baptism. And if she decides to, and can get permission to first leave the building and second be baptized, we'll have to get creative on how to make it happen. A delightful problem to have!

Jerry opened up because he connected with a member that came with us. We know a little more about what's holding him back and our plan is to reteach the lessons according to his needs (what he wants to be more confident on). I really love the guy so much. He's like the Jamaican grandpa I never had or knew I wanted until now.

Tom... our "practice" investigator... first lesson we covered abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment and reconciling the Old Testament with the New. So that was fun! But second lesson was better and we challenged him to read Alma 7 and find out why Jesus Christ came to earth. What His purpose was/is, and we need to do about it. We'll keep working and praying and see what happens!

Last night after we gave a family a challenge and they accepted, their 8 year old son gave us a challenge. To read... 80 chapters of the Book of Mormon before we come back in 2 weeks. He was considering going higher... so I guess we should be thankful that he kept it to the more reasonable 80. AKA I'm reading from Mosiah 14 to Helaman 2 in two weeks! HAHA! ALL THE WAR CHAPTERS! Feel free to join me. 

This Sunday and this week in general has been all about the Atonement. 

“Years ago there was a little one-room schoolhouse in the mountains of Virginia where the boys were so rough that no teacher had been able to handle them.

“A young, inexperienced teacher applied, and the old director scanned him and asked: ‘Young fellow, do you know that you are asking for an awful beating? Every teacher that we have had here for years has had to take one.’

“‘I will risk it,’ he replied.

“The first day of school came, and the teacher appeared for duty. One big fellow named Tom whispered: ‘I won’t need any help with this one. I can lick him myself.’

“The teacher said, ‘Good morning, boys, we have come to conduct school.’ They yelled and made fun at the top of their voices. ‘Now, I want a good school, but I confess that I do not know how unless you help me. Suppose we have a few rules. You tell me, and I will write them on the blackboard.’

“One fellow yelled, ‘No stealing!’ Another yelled, ‘On time.’ Finally, ten rules appeared on the blackboard.

“‘Now,’ said the teacher, ‘a law is not good unless there is a penalty attached. What shall we do with one who breaks the rules?’

“‘Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on,’ came the response from the class.

“‘That is pretty severe, boys. Are you sure that you are ready to stand by it?’ Another yelled, ‘I second the motion,’ and the teacher said, ‘All right, we will live by them! Class, come to order!’

“In a day or so, ‘Big Tom’ found that his lunch had been stolen. The thief was located—a little hungry fellow, about ten years old. ‘We have found the thief and he must be punished according to your rule—ten stripes across the back. Jim, come up here!’ the teacher said.

“The little fellow, trembling, came up slowly with a big coat fastened up to his neck and pleaded, ‘Teacher, you can lick me as hard as you like, but please, don’t take my coat off!’

“‘Take your coat off,’ the teacher said. ‘You helped make the rules!’

“‘Oh, teacher, don’t make me!’ He began to unbutton, and what did the teacher see? The boy had no shirt on, and revealed a bony little crippled body.

“‘How can I whip this child?’ he thought. ‘But I must, I must do something if I am to keep this school.’ Everything was quiet as death.

“‘How come you aren’t wearing a shirt, Jim?’

“He replied, ‘My father died and my mother is very poor. I have only one shirt and she is washing it today, and I wore my brother’s big coat to keep me warm.’

“The teacher, with rod in hand, hesitated. Just then ‘Big Tom’ jumped to his feet and said, ‘Teacher, if you don’t object, I will take Jim’s licking for him.’

“‘Very well, there is a certain law that one can become a substitute for another. Are you all agreed?’

“Off came Tom’s coat, and after five strokes the rod broke! The teacher bowed his head in his hands and thought, ‘How can I finish this awful task?’ Then he heard the class sobbing, and what did he see? Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around his neck. ‘Tom, I’m sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!’” 

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Elder Jackson

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