Monday, September 23, 2013

Sept 22, 2013 Grounded in Christ

So in Cambodia, phone etiquette hasn't quite progressed to the point that it has in America. It is extremely common for people to answer their phone in the middle of activities including church services. Despite the Branch President's continual pleas for members to turn off their phones we continue to have problems with it. This Sunday I heard about a guy in the other branch in Ta Khmao who was speaking to the congregation about repentance when his phone rang and he answered it. He then talked for about a minute while the congregation stared at him. We're still working with the members on this one. It sure is funny though.

You know how they say if you feed birds rice then the birds' stomachs will explode? I don't know if MythBusters have ever done this one (animal cruelty anyone) but I'll go ahead and bust that one for you. False. I have watched with some anticipation for nearly 5 months now and have not seen one single bird suffer any adverse side effects due to eating rice. They feed all their birds with rice, from chickens to ducks to other birds whose names I don't really know. No exploding birds. 

This email is going really quick because we are going to go play soccer on the other side of the city but I do want to tell a short story about a guy that we contacted this week. He sells stuff outside his house and we sat and talked with him for a good 30 minutes before trying to share a gospel related message. He responded to that with a really long comparison involving missionaries and monks (who he represented as suckers) that had to cross a very tall narrow bridge (a plate) but couldn't get along and started fighting (he begins to bang the suckers together) and then fell to their deaths (tossed them to the ground). He explained that this was the reason he couldn't meet with us. I told him that I didn't understand and he told me that it was because I was white and asked my companion if he understood. After shaking his head the man picked up one of the suckers and unwrapped it and said, ''See? It's broken! Buddhists and Christians will only get along if they leave each other alone.'' You sure meet some strange people when you do nothing but wander around trying to talk to people.

We were teaching English on Wednesday and shared the reading that was in the Teacher's Guide. It was pretty advanced reading about foundations and buildings and had a lot of words that our students didn't know. After we read it I went through and translated all the words that they didn't know. One of the words was the word 'grounded'. I didn't really know how to say it in Khmer so I just explained what it meant. The definition that I used went something like this: placed deep into the Earth and then covered to make it firm. We talked some more about foundations and so for the spiritual thought at the end of the lesson I shared a scripture that is found in the Book of Mormon.  ''And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.'' (Heleman 5:12)

Jesus Christ used a similar comparison at the end of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) when he compared those who followed his teachings to a man who built his house upon a rock and those who didn't to a man who built his house upon sand. All of this leads to the question, what is your foundation? Our lives are very much like a large building that depends on it's foundation to stay steady. People can build their lives on many good things, many sure foundations but in the end there is only one foundation that counts.

We must built our foundation upon Christ. I drew a little picture to help explain my point. There were two houses on stilts, one built on a hill of sand and one on a boulder. I asked which one was more firm and one student correctly determined that the one built on the rock was sturdier. I then drew one more picture, much like the picture of the house on the rock, but in this picture the stilts were driven deep into the rock. Both of these pictures represent a man who built his house on ''the rock of our Redeemer'' but one of them has a more sure foundation. This man who has a more sure foundation has a faith and a hope in Christ and his great atoning sacrifice and he has gone above and beyond in the preparation of his foundation. We can each examine our lives and find ways to make our foundation firmer, stronger and more sure. Usually this will involve a change, not necessarily a change from good to bad but maybe a change from good to better. Wherever you are on your journey, now is the time to become grounded in Christ. Love you guys.  -Elder Vore

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