Monday, October 22, 2012

Contention, Conference, CES and Calophyllum (#58)

Elder Gubler told a great story at district meeting last week that reminded us that contention is not part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Gubler and Fullmer were teaching a man who belongs to the Church of Christ, and who is very familiar with the Bible.  As they prepared for the lesson Elder Gubler said that he was actually apprehensive about teaching a man who knew bible scriptures possibly better than he did.  He said that he prayed and thought hard on what they should teach, and the spirit seemed to ratify their decision to show the restoration video.  During the video the Elders were praying that the investigator would feel the spirit and his heart would be softened.  After the video was over, the investigator said that he had a couple of scriptures in Isaiah that he wanted to review with them.  Elder Gubler used that as a smooth introduction to Isaiah 29 where he taught the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.  When the investigator had his turn in Isaiah the scripture which he wanted to point out had no meaning in the context of their ongoing discussion.  He basically had a stupor of thought on the point he wanted to make.  The investigator then commented that he would like to have the Elders meet with his pastor.  The Elders politely pointed out that their calling was to contend with no man, but to proclaim the restoration and invite all to come unto the Savior’s true church through baptism and receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Elder Gubler strongly felt the spirit as they testified to him of the restoration and the coming forth of additional scripture which testifies of Christ.  It was evident that the investigator felt the spirit of their message for as the meeting concluded the investigator had them turn to John 21:35 which reads, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”  We are reminded of the Lord’s reasoning in D&C section 50:21-22 where it is written that “he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth.  Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.”

This past weekend was our general conference (we view conference a couple weeks after it airs live in the states, we receive it on DVDs).  We were in-charge of providing sandwiches between conference sessions on Saturday and a pineapple chicken topping for rice between the Sunday sessions.  Other members brought additional food for the pot luck luncheons—the Sunday meal was quite the feast.  In addition to the chicken, Sister Johnsen made cookies, two batches of rice crispy squares, a batch of brownies, two batches of rolls and a jello salad.   We always come away from conference restored and rejuvenated (and in Palau, well fed both spiritually and physically).  On Sunday evening before the Elders went home for the night (after eating Johnsen’s famous popcorn and lemon bars) each person took turns telling something from conference that stood out to them.  We really enjoyed Elder’s Fullmer’s comment.  He and Elder Gubler had a very choice investigator with them at both Sunday sessions, Elder Fullmer commented that it was so fun to be sitting with a beloved investigator and listen to the conference and in effect hear it through her ears and see it through her eyes.  His countenance just radiated the love he felt for the gospel truths taught.   

This week we also had Brother Nicerio, the head of the Church Education System in this area come for a visit.  He was able to attend our seminary, and  institute, conduct training with us and our teachers, and also make a presentation to our students about BYU-Hawaii. 

After he departed he left us with the following words. “I am so grateful for the tremendous work you are doing in Palau. You may not always realize how far your influence reaches into the lives of those you teach and your positive impact might not be readily apparent to you but don’t underestimate what the Lord is doing through you. The Lord loves you and He is aware of the challenges you are facing. Your continued guidance will help many of our Palauan brothers and sisters get the best of their spiritual education. Your work in Palau reminds me of what we have been talking about the past two days I was there, and let me share that again with you…at this time the whole story. I hope it will inspire you.”

P.U.S.H. = Pray Until Something Happens!

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with a bright light, and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This, the man did, day after day.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down with his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the Adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind: “You’ve been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You’re never going to move it” —thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

“Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that’ll be good enough.”

And that’s just what he planned to do— until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

“Lord” he said, “I’ve labored long and hard in Your service, putting all my strength to do that which You’ve asked. Yet, after all this time, I haven’t even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What’s wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately,

“My friend, when I asked you to serve Me— you accepted. I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength— which you’ve done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me— with your strength spent, thinking that you’ve failed. But is that really so?”

“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscular. Your back sinew is mighty. Your hands are callused from the constant pressure; and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you’ve grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you’ve done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

At times, when we hear from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants. What God ACTUALLY wants is just simple OBEDIENCE and FAITH IN HIM.

By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it’s still God who moves the mountains.

P.U.S.H. = Pray Until Something Happens!

When everything seems to go wrong,

When the job gets you down,P.U.S.H.

When people don’t react the way you think they should,P.U.S.H.

When your money looks funny and the bills are due,P.U.S.H.

When people just don’t understand you,
Elder Early is just a couple of weeks away from going home so we decided to go spend our Monday at Toby’s beach which we did when Elder Adams was going home. Elder Fullmer had never been there.

While the elders played football and went hiking E/S Johnsen walked along the beach, sat on a palm tree (which was growing out over the water) and talked with our feet dangling in the warm ocean water and spent about 60 minutes in a hammock (built for two) under a big shade tree right on the beach.  It was a totally relaxing and restoring afternoon!  We ate raw fish that Toby caught about 60 minutes before we arrived, and Sister J brought some lemon bars and brownies along for a treat.  It was a GREAT day.

While on our walk down the beach we met a woman with a pail pulling sap off the trees. She told us that she was collecting it because of its many healing properties. She wrote the name in the sand for us, calophyllum.
The oil is analgesic and is used for sciatica, shingles, neuritis, leprous neuritis and rheumatism. The pulverized seeds have been used to cure ulcers and bad wounds. Bark also has medicinal uses as an infusion or in other herbal remedies. Calophyllum oil has been an important part of Pacific Island folk medicine for a wide range of skin disorders and conditions, from superficial burns and scrapes to neuralgia and fissures. Polynesian woman have used Calophyllum oil to promote healthy, blemish-free skin. It is also used on babies for diaper rash and skin eruptions.

We know that the gospel also has many healing properties; unlike the woman who was collecting, we are happy to be taking from our gospel bucket and sharing its healing properties with the people in Palau.  

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