It was Thursday, which means weekly planning. We spend 3 hours preparing, scheduling and planning for all of the people we are teaching that week. We had a referral from another set of missionaries, which means they gave us a phone number and a name and said that he wanted to learn. That's usually a dead end but after calling the number, sure enough! He wants to learn! One problem, I couldn't figure out where his house was, and it seemed like he didn't know either. He recently moved from another province and didn't know any of the normal landmarks or any of the major streets. Well... we decided to give it another shot and after planning we met with Vany (have y'all seen enough pictures of him to recognize him yet?) and asked him to call for us to see if he could figure out where this guy's house was. After another 10 minutes on the phone we finally figured out that he lived outside of our proselyting area. Well, we asked for permission to head on over there and set off! On our way there we got lost twice, had to buy an extra phone card, and then finally got directed, by phone to a really sketchy looking apartment complex. Remember, there is 1st world sketchy and then there is 3rd world sketchy, this one was 3rd world sketchy. Elder Quirante was the one who said it out loud but I was kind of thinking it too: "It feels like they're going to lead us into a dark alley, beat us up and rob us." Though I must say, I am not scared when I'm walking next to Elder Quirante. I don't think anybody is going to try and bother him.
Maybe the weirdest thing about the whole thing was that after we had walked up the dark staircase and into their little room on the third floor, Om Manh and Sombo were sitting there smiling, waiting for us with their scriptures out! We had a great lesson with them and they were super excited to be learning about Christ again! Really fun experience there.
We were on a big high coming out of that lesson as we headed to the church for our next appointment. As we biked we felt the rain coming in hard. Really hard. We were caught totally unprepared and just decided to try and out run the storm. And we made it! Just as we headed inside, huge sheets of rain hit and hit hard. We taught our lesson and left the classroom to find 6 soaked missionaries taking refuge in the front room. As we sat there waiting the storm out, a busload of men in suits showed up and jogged inside under their umbrellas. I guess it wasn't so weird because we were at the district center, but 20 guys in suits anywhere is weird, especially since they were very clearly from at least like 5 different countries. Apparently the Asia Area committee for building chapels was having their annual meeting just upstairs. We spent the next 20 minutes visiting with church leaders from Thailand, Mongolia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam among others.
Finishing up our day real quick because I'm out of time. The streets were flooded. Knee deep water and traffic was not moving at all. After sitting in traffic for about 10 minutes we finally saw the cause of the huge jam. A tree had fallen and blocked two lanes of traffic forcing all the cars to go by one at a time and all the motos and bikes to wait behind the cars. So, Elder Quirante and I parked our bikes and started pulling apart the tree. It was pretty slow going at first but eventually about 15 people who were stuck too stopped to help us and together (with the help of two meat cleavers) we pulled all the branches off the tree and then dragged the trunk off the highway.
And other stories will wait for later but guess what? I want to share something from my personal scripture study this morning. I was reading in Romans this morning when a verse caught my eye. Romans 2:13 reads "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." Or in other words, the people who will be justified and counted as righteous before God will be those who follow the commandments, not those who only hear them. As I flipped open my journal to record my thoughts on the scripture, I saw a quote by Thomas Edison that I wrote down over a year ago. He said, "The value of an idea, lies in the using of it." Boy, doesn't that ring true?
Because I'm a missionary and everything has to relate back to the gospel, I thought of that quote in context of the gospel. I don't know how Mr. Edison would feel about me messing with his words like this but I want to rearrange his quote just a bit. The value of the gospel of Jesus Christ, lies in the application of it. Christ has prepared the way for us. He has given us commandments and direction that will lead us to Eternal Life IF we apply his teachings and actually do the things he has commanded us. If we only listen to his words and then go on our merry way it is quite pointless. Still positive I guess, but incomplete. "The doers of the law shall be justified." Love y'all