Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Respect the Process - July 25, 2016


Pretty cool week. We taught a ton which is always nice. July is flying by. I especially enjoyed this week knowing it was leading up to Pioneer day. I mention quite a bit how certain aspects of the gospel get magnified on your mission and the 24th of July is definitely a part of that group.

Despite how he acts now, @pettbryan was never all that emotional during my childhood. He'd shed a tear as we re-watch Stockton's game winning 3 pointer or Whitt's half time "make em quit" speech in the '09 Sugar Bowl. He'd usually let a few tears roll as we watch World of Color at the end of a day at Disney... But it was pretty rare to see @pettbryan cry during my childhood.

I do however remember one other occasion he'd break down... The sacrament meetings leading up to the 24th of July. Never failed that as the congregation sang "Come Come Ye Saints" I'd lean over to see a red eyed @pettbryan and I'd give him that "you serious Clark" look. This would typically lead to him giving me the middle finger right there in sacrament meeting and my mother flicking both our ears out of frustration for our inability to be reverent.

--- she never let us sit by each other for obvious reasons #SorryMom ---

So I've noticed more and more I'm turning into @pettbryan and sacrament meeting was an indicator of that as I couldn't help but shed a tear as we sang that hymn.

You think about the restored gospel a lot on your mission, especially all that went into it. That's probably the most obvious "Ron Boone" statement I can make as a missionary but it's true, you really think about it.   You do your best to proclaim it, but quite frankly most the time it results in people taking verbal dumps on your testimony.



So we are knocking doors one day this week and this guy yells from across the street... "Hey Mormons! Come over here and tell me about this Jo Smith of yours!"

You gotta present yourself with confidence as a missionary so we walk on over with our heads high but inside I'm preparing myself for the bible bash sesh that I was sure was about to go down and praying for any help I can get. I hate bible bashing cause 1. Gets nowhere. 2. I just look like an idiot cause I don't know the scriptures that well.

Turns out he didn't want to talk about the God Head or apostasy or kingdoms of glory or the priesthood... and instead he was an Atheist and wanted to convince us God wasn't real. He really just wanted to argue, zero desire to learn. I could of told him the sky was blue and he would have disagreed. We kept it pretty calm. Just did our best to testify and share what we know is true despite him discrediting every thing we say or as I like to call it "taking a verbal dump on someone's testimony". He's throwing everything at us. Even told me the only reason why I go to church is cause I lust after the girls there... I couldn't hold back anymore and just busted up laughing at this point. He was really fighting for scraps. So this goes on for a while...

Then I eventually just ask "why did you call us over here?"

He laughs and says "I wanted to give a germ of doubt to you"

--- now fam. I admit I can be a bit of a smart a**. If you follow me on Twitter you probably know that. But this isn't Twitter and I'm pretty sure chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel doesn't include the mentioned attribute above. Being a missionary requires you to be a little more serious and requires MOAR sensitivity than the #TwitterDreamTeam does. I fully understand that our message we share is bold and I don't expect anyone to believe what I say until they ask God if it's all true... It's a lot to accept that a 14 year old boy saw God and Jesus Christ and later translated an ancient record into scripture, I respect that that testimony will come over time and I respect other people's views. I genuinely try not to be a smart a** out here when people wanna throw heat at us. I'm Elder Pett out here. Not @mpett3... But with that said... When someone blatantly admits to trying to tear down your testimony... Well....

***back to the story***

*it's cooler if you imagine him having a Bane voice*

"I wanted to give a germ of doubt to you."

*i'm like a head taller than this 50 year old Korihor (I'm sorry if that was mean.) but our faces are about a good 2 feet apart and I respond back pretty quickly...
"Go for it. I'm planting a seed of faith in you."
*** silence ***
That may seem like a pretty pathetic comeback but I'm a missionary... What do you expect? This is also directly after he went on a 10 minute rant of how "Faith" is the stupidest thing mankind has ever dreamt up so after I said it he just got real quiet and glared at me. Crane has the "that's a bold move, cotton, let's see how it plays out for him" look on his face. I managed to keep a straight face but not gonna lie I'm thinking "I can do this all day #CallMeCap"  as our eyes are locked on each other. 

If my emotions were like the ones on "Inside Out" I picture the smart a** emotion holding the bench back as the Gospel emotion is jumping up and down in excitement while slapping the Powerade towel on the court while the Loving emotion is just sitting there doing a face palm thinking #SorryMom.

If you ever wanted a glimpse of what goes on inside my head there ya go.

You know in Avengers when Loki tells Tony Stark "I have an army" and Stark responds "we have a Hulk."... That's the closest I'll ever get to that in life.

Not the most spiritually enlightening story but I thought it was funny. I honestly just kind of had had enough of his disrespectful BS so we shake hands and bounce. Move on to the next house and onward ever onward. 

Point is, you get that kind of stuff a lot as missionaries. If people don't agree then that's fine, I respect that... But when its people solely trying to bring down your testimony, man it sucks. And I'll be completely honest Fam, hearing that a lot can wear you down. It's taken a beating on my testimony. I wouldn't say I doubt this gospel, but there are a few seconds where it does make you question... Is this really true?

When this happens I step back. I look at it all. EVERYTHING. I think of all that we believe in. I look at that blue book in my hands. And I think of all that's happened to get to me standing in Bozeman, Montana with that book in my hand.

I think of what I left. My family that I love more anything.. My job that felt like a dream it was so much fun. My home. My school. Life. Just like all missionaries do, you give up stuff. But that's just the surface, the insignificant stuff, it goes a lot deeper than "me". So I go a bit further back. 

I go back to the beginning of the Restoration. I think of a 14 year old boy searching for the truth. I think of the opposition the adversary threw at him before the First Vision. I think of the persecution he faced as he restored Christ's church and translated an ancient record that was buried. All the trials he and others faced to defend that book.

Then I think of a certain hymn. One that brings @pettbryan and I on the same level emotionally... & no it's not "Utah Man". A hymn that talks about what the Saints went through to make it out west. And that hymn plays in my mind. Thinking of what the Saints gave up so that they could live this gospel in peace. All for this blue book. A book that they knew was true. And IF this book is true, which I know it is, then you can go back even further to show the sacrifice that has gone into that book.

I go back to a family that 2600 years ago left everything. A younger brother that had the faith and courage to do WHATEVER was asked of him. The stories of people that would rather die than deny their faith. I think of the missionaries that did the work I'm doing now...Except instead of quoting Tony Stark they were legit breaking out of caves like what Iron Man did (go read Alma 14: 24-29 #AvengersAssemble). I think of the converts that laid down all their weapons and put all trust in God. I think of the Savior suffering all the things we suffer so we have a map to return to him. And I think of all that was done so these records could be preserved for Joseph Smith to find them.

Then I think of my own family. The ancestors that were pioneers for my family. Especially think of my own parents and what they did to get me here. Their example to me.

Seriously just think about it. Think of all that has gone into our message. All the opposition, all the sacrifice, all the tears, all the blood, all the faith. No way the Book of Mormon could have survived what it has gone through without the power of God. No way Joseph Smith would die for something that wasn't from God. No way the Saints could have made it west without God. No way could I be doing THIS without God. No way would any of this be possible without God.

So much has happened, so much has led up to RIGHT NOW. IT HONESTLY BLOWS MY MIND DOES ANYONE ELSE GET WHAT I'M GETTING AT HERE! So many dominoes have fallen over to knock down the next. And the chain reaction continues. And it will continue. "No unhallowed can stop the work from progressing." That's what we are doing right now as missionaries and Latter Day Saints, we are the Restoration. We are called to be a part of this process. Ya it's hard, but it always has been. From the Book of Mormon, to what Christ did, to Joseph Smith, to the Saints to now. 

Alma 37:46-47 (Alma talking to Helaman, the @pettbryan -> @mpett3 chapter)

46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.

47 And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.

Translated to @MPett3 language - "It's gonna be hard. Just like it was for the people before us. Don't shun the fight, don't back down. Uphold the legacy they left. Respect the Process."

I don't know everything about this gospel. I don't know every detail about church history. I don't know why some of us are handed certain trials and more prone to certain temptations. I'm trying hard to do this work but I'm even so far from knowing everything. I'm far from perfect, big time. I still feel inadequate wearing Christ's name with mine. There's a lot I gotta work on. There is so much I don't know. But don't look at all you don't know, rather look at what you do know. And if there is anything I do know it's how much God loves us. The Book of Mormon has taught me that. The priesthood has taught me that. Christ's atonement has taught me that. The family he has given me has shown me that.

I know this church is true. And if you don't know that, that's ok. But give it a shot, and it will change your life. We all have doubts at some point, but if we never doubted we'd never need faith.

For me, I honestly have a pretty simple testimony. I know there is absolutely no way this church would exist without God's hand directing it. No way could this gospel pick me up after I face plant it emotionally, physically, or spiritually if it wasn't true. 

Getting back to what started this whole rant. The Saints coming west were another one of those dominoes that had to fall over to keep it going. A perfect example of another miracle that had to take place for this gospel to be in a position to be shared throughout the world. You take them out and none of this could have happened. I'm grateful for their sacrifice along with everyone else that has made it possible for the restoration. So much has happened leading up to now.

Well, this email turned into a testimony so we will double the random funny stuff for next week. Moral of the story is it's tough when people try to tear down what you believe... But a mission has strengthened my testimony. I've learned up here that a nice turd (professional term is manure I think) fertilizes the crop so I'm just gonna throw this out there that these verbal dumps... While in the moment stink and look ugly... In the end strengthen the seed of a testimony I'm trying to grow. I know it's true. I'm not perfect living it but that doesn't change the fact I know it's true.

---- few quick random things ---

- we had 2 amazing first lessons this week. Both should be getting baptized in August. Plus one more. We found one in the Olive Garden parking lot. Our love for OG bread sticks may have possibly led to a baptism. #ChurchIsTrue.

- walk out of the apartment one day and a husky pup comes running up to us. So. Freakin. Cute. 2 college girls come around the corner chasing the puppy and they are interested. #HuskyForHeisman

- that next day we are having a ZLC and the billings STL's are in attendance. Crane is telling them the story of the puppy and 2 girls and i said "SOOOOO CUTE!". After the STL's gave me the look of death I quickly made it clear I was referring to the puppy and not the college girls.  #CrisisAverted 

- Sunday dinner was with Cache and like 8 other members of the YSA. Felt like one of those nights at home base. 2 of them play for MSU so we were obviously nerding out about the upcoming season.

- got a call one day and I got butterflies when I saw the caller ID said "Cameron Richards". He had a referral for us. Also said "Pett,  I heard you are a zone leader... I CALLED THAT SHIZ ONE YEAR AGO." I love C-Rich. He and Leah are #Goals. He's the ultimate RM/Husband/Dad from Belgrade. 

Ya. I'll tell ya the rest another time, I have flooded you with enough stuff haha, sorry.. Love ya fam!!! We are golfing with Washburn and Stovall today (#BGrade Fam) which is why this is getting sent off a little early. I'm so excited, I woke up like a kid on Christmas. This is going to quite possibly be the funniest round of golf in my life. Talking college football with Washburn and hearing cop stories and being in the presence of THE Jesse Stovall. I love it up here.  
-Elder K

We made ice cream at FHE. Then we wanted to play basketball but we don't have a hoop so Eli took one for the team and acted as a hoop for us, he's a champ. Then we played some game where if you kick a ball to yourself 3 times in the air you catch it and peg someone. I think soccer calls it dribbling or juggling or something like that IDK. It didn't end in a tie and no one flopped so (don't tell @dahlelama I said this) but it kinda made me wanna play soccer. Made it to the final round each time and I even won once! #AchievementUnlocked

Husky puppy

- the rivalry is real up here. #CatsVsGrizz

- Helena ZL's were driving to Billings so they met us at OG. WHICH MEANS I GOT TO SEE MY SPLASH ELDER!!!! It was one year that day we struck the Heisman pose in front of the mission home so we had to do it again.

- don't ask how but Jace inherited a bunch of nerd stuff one day at work and he got a master chief helmet. I nearly cried. "you've completed your mission... Mine is just beginning" #ULegacy


- Lala sent me this. Can we just take a second and look at Z. Atta boy.

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