Friday, November 6, 2015

October 26, 2015 - Joshua, Texas

Dear family,

Glad you were all thinking of me this week with the cold. 60 degrees is pretty rough but I think I came out alright, haha. I actually had no idea there was a hurricane going on this weekend until I read your emails. It makes sense now because it was like 80 degrees one day and the next it was pouring rain and I thought "Wow, my first Texan rain!" Then it didn't stop and I kind of got over it. I guess everyone around here is just used to hurricanes happening nearby so they don't really think much of it, especially this far inland. I think most of the water ended up pooling in random fields and such so we didn't really have any flooding per se. It was about as much as you'd see in Stirling during the spring. It's mostly dry now.

The rain did put a bit of a damper on the work though. On Saturday literally every appointment we had was cancelled. Some people were busy and some just didn't want to go outside. We also didn't think people would be quite as willing to talk to us on their doorstep if it was pouring rain so we just thought of some less-actives to visit. It wasn't the most productive day but we tried.

The weekend was made even more interesting by the fact that the members we live with/in their barn were gone and left their dogs outside. They do have a shop for the dogs to sleep in but one of them, Sam, is super scared of thunder. He was the last one I would have guessed to have that problem because he is the oldest, the biggest, and never seems to be bothered by Murphy who is hyper and
jumps all over him. Anyway, so Sam has been hanging out by our sliding door all weekend and has managed to even open it a few times. Three times this weekend we came home to find him napping in our apartment! Another time he just walked in while we were sleeping! Oh, Sam... The other dog is named Jack or Flapjack. He's pretty fat and doesn't enjoy running around quite as much as the other two. Unless it involves food.

Yesterday was pretty spiritual and relaxing despite the cold. In the morning I studied the Atonement and Sacrament a little which is always nice. It makes the sacrament a lot more special. There was an amazing talk given during sacrament meeting too. I wasn't really that focused but I could tell it was given by the spirit because I could feel it and the speaker said a lot of the same things I hear from President Ames and the apostles. That's something I've noticed lately; if people are speaking by the spirit they end up teaching a lot of the same things in the same way. The Lord seems to guide the Church in specific directions through those that represent Him and right now I think we're being pushed to make the Sacrament more meaningful and really understand why we keep commandments. One thing that is really emphasized in this mission is that keeping commitments from missionaries is preparation for keeping commandments from God, keeping commandments allows us to make covenants, and making covenants prepares us for God's kingdom. We're really just learning how to
become like Him. That's our whole purpose and it is accomplished by God telling us exactly how he lives. Once we learn this, commandments seem more like a gift than a barrier. The challenge we were given in sacrament meeting yesterday was to treat the sacrament like we would any other memorial because it is one. It's up to us to decide what that means.

So, that's what I learned this week. Hope ya'll have a good day!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

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