Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 37 - Surin, Thailand (November 9, 2014)

So last week, not too much happened. The biggest thing that happened was ลอยกะทง!! It was way cool to see! If you have seen "Tangled" There is a part where they all send up lanterns, that was what it was like! We got to send up a few of our own lanterns. In the belief of Buddhism, this is actually a form of getting rid of sins. BUT we did as missionaries always do, and we invited about baptism! We tried to explain the importance of Baptism and much more.

Here is the studies that Elder Beebe and I have had in his own words. I can't type that long.

Tell everyone I love them!

"The title of this email speaks for itself. I'd like to share some notes and understanding I received from Heavenly Father in some of mystudies this past week. (These are just my feelings, thoughts, and
notes I've recorded and you can take, change, add to what you want.)

In my email that discussed the Plan of Salvation and the Good Samaritan can also be used with these studies. Mainly because the Plan of Salvation is expressed and taught all throughout the Book of Mormon and Bible. For example, the story of the family of Lehi leaving Jerusalem to go to the Promised Land, Moses and the Children of Israel, The Brother of Jared, and like mentioned before, Good Samaritan. I want to just talk about my studies on the story of Lehi leaving his Land of Inheritance in Jerusalem. I feel as though the Spirit has led
these studies as my understanding has been built upon and it is my testimony that God has created these beautiful stories in the scriptures for the world.

As we read in the scriptures we see that the Lord speaks and teaches through parables. A parable by definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary is; a short story that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson; especially: one of the stories told by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Bible. It says that it is both a moral and SPIRITUAL lesson. As we read in the scriptures we see that  it talks about how the Lamanites felt they were robbed when the Nephites took the plates from them into the Wilderness. Why would they feel robbed? Sure they are made of Gold and Brass compounds but why other than that would they be of worth? As we see in the scriptures, people and nations dwindle because they are illiterate. The plates of Nephi are the teachings for ALL people. To help them become literate. While people aren't literate they dwindle and eventually lose all talents. We read about this in the Book of Mormon as well as in other historical books. (There is a ton more on this that I haven't written down). The scriptures both have spiritual and moral benefits. In the Bible we read about how Noah built the Ark in Genesis, right? Well he had to get those instructions from somewhere. As we read about that story it explains the exact measurements he needed to make the Ark. Same thing as the Brother of Jared, when he goes and builds submarines for his family and those following him. SUBMARINES. How do we know that it is a submarine that was built? Because the Lord commands him to create VESSELS that are tight. (Ether 2 discusses this story.) When the Brother of Jared goes
to build them he sees that there will be no light in them, so the Lord says to build a window in the ships. The word window is symbolic in this scripture, but how? As we read about the word window in the Bible, Genesis 6:16 it talks about a WINDOW. As we check the footnote about the word  INDOW it explains where the Brother of Jared got his idea to bring the stones
to the Lord in the mountain to make the submarines lit while under the water. These ships the Lord teaches these faithful followers are as Nephi states in 1 Nephi 17:8, " And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee,that I may carry thy people across these waters." No other man has ever created this before, so it obviously had to have come from the Lord to work the way it did. The scriptures have both moral and spiritual meaning to all people. So they are of the most worth in these times to keep nations from falling apart, to keep them all literate and smart! The Lord knows that without these plates, His word would be gone very quickly. Back in the time of the scriptures, the way stories and info was passed down was through oral means. The word of God would have been lost and messed up so fast. So, he teaches through interesting
meaningful, symbolic stories. Most humans learn through visual aids and creating images in their minds. As dad makes up those Bobby stories at night, I'm sure we all remember those stories better than math problems because we created those stories in our heads. It's the same with the scriptures, the Lord couldn't rely on men to relate 1000's of verses day by day to people while they weren't literate. I think it's pretty fair to say that we are all pretty literate and are able to read and write fine, but we can only memorize up to 10- 20 verses word for word. Teaching by stories and interesting parables is the most simple, yet complex way the Lord teaches us all through the Prophets. He is a brilliant author.

So, now onto the the story of Lehi. This is a brilliant story about how a family in Jerusalem leaves the city to go into the Wilderness to keep their lives and eventually lands in the Promised Land. (I've
capitalized the word Wilderness and Promised Land for reasons which I have reasons for.) So we see this great story about Lehi and his family traveling in the wilderness and overcoming trials and death and all these things. It's a great story because it talks about the Plan of Salvation and Jerusalem, and the Promised Land, and the Wilderness. So, as I stated the Good Samaritan story talks about Jerusalem and Jericho, Jerusalem being symbolic of Heaven and Jericho being the World. In this story it can be used in the same way. Jerusalem is the Holy City, Holy Land, and or Heaven.
The Wilderness has many meanings, it could be our lives now, the path of repentance, or trials in our
lives, etc. We all have tons of times in our lives when we feel as though we are in a Wilderness, so you can relate that to your own life. At this time in our lives, we have had many wars happen and that
are happening now over the Promised Land or Holy Land, which many people feel as though is Jerusalem and the area around it. I don't feel as though the Lord would tell us where the Promised Land or Holy Land is and the exact boundaries and would want people to war over it. I feel like the Promised Land is the happiness, joy, enlightened understanding we get from the processes of repentance, it is not a specific area on this earth or a certain land. It is symbolic of where we first started in the Plan of Salvation and where we will end up in our highest state of exaltation along with the happiness and joy through the Power of the Atonement.

I talked about the Wilderness in the past few paragraphs which is symbolic in and of itself. Now, the Lord will not EVER forget or apostate from us. If so, he would cease to be God. The people ALWAYS
will apostate from Him (if that makes sense. We will forget, throw away the teachings etc.) But in Isaiah, we read that ,"His hand is stretched out still." This is the promise of the Atonement, that no
matter what the Lord will pay for all sins of the world. "His hand is stretched out still." While in the Wilderness, we are currently lost and searching for the Promised Land. In the Story of Moses and the
Children of Israel, they travel through the Desert. What Desert could that have been in Egypt? Sahara maybe? They saw blessings and miracles such as water pouring from rocks and manna being fed to them daily. In the story of Nephi and Lehi, why don't they have this happen? Why don't they have rocks full of water and manna walking around daily for them? Because their Wilderness was different from that of the Children of Israel. Nehpi and Lehi and their family were in a Wilderness where there was water, so consequently, there will be animals. Moses didn't need a bow and arrow and a Liahona, but Nephi and Lehi did. They traveled through different Wildernesses to get to the Promised Land by passing through a body of water or multiple times in the case of Moses and the Children of Israel. Nephi and Lehi needed different tools to get through their wilderness because they were in different parts of the world. There were animals to hunt and etc. In Moses' case there weren't. In our Wildernesses, we will need different tools to get through and to fight through to get to the waters to cross into the Promised Land we so much desire.
We may not need to have bows and
arrows or a liahona. But one thing that all these great stories fell on in the end was the basics of Faith and keeping the commandments. The Lord will prepare ways for his covenant people to make it to the Promised Land that the Lord promised with those people. He will NEVER not let covenant people into the Promised Land, if they do their part. The Lord's word must ALWAYS come to pass. If it doesn't He will cease to be God.

Onto the Water that we must cross to get to our Promised Land. In these stories, we see that they all had to cross great waters to get to the Promised Land. Throughout these stories, we see that the Lord
doesn't say where it is or what it is or how long it'll take, He just says that he will take us to the Promised Land.
We must have faith to cross the Waters in our lives. To take that leap of faith to follow our Lord in the Wilderness and to finally cross that finish line, the Great Waters, into the Promised Land or blessings. As the faith of the family of Nehpi lacks the Liahona doesn't work, the Lord will NOT help them. But, as Nephi's faith strengthens, the Lord forgives and works with Nephi to bring his family into peace and the Promised Land. Also, I've heard tons of people say, including myself, that Nephi and his family founded the Americas. But, that is absolutely false!! How could
there be wars and wars within just a few years of being in the Promised Land if it was just Nephis family, Zorams family, and Ishmaels family (including sons and daughters of the wives of Laman,
Lemuel, Nephi, Ishamel, etc.) There had to be others in America before them to have all these wars. (I'll talk about this in another email. Because all clues are in the Book of Mormon, you just gotta look
closer. :) )

As we cross into the Promised Land, we gain that peace and love from our Heavenly Father that He promised us at the beginning of our journey. I'm convinced that the Lord didn't intend for Jerusalem to be the Holy Land or to make it known unto us. It isn't THAT easy. We must go through our own wildernesses in our lives to reach the many "Promised Lands" we will meet in this life. We may have many Wildernesses that take a few days, years or lifetimes to get through. But, we must rely on the Gospel of Christ, that is FAITH, REPENTANCE, BAPTISM (or taking the Sacrament each week), living worthily for the GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST, and we must ALWAYS ENDURE TO THE END."

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