Monday, January 26, 2015

Jan 26, 2015 An Incomplete Construction Project

Today I'm wearing the same tie that I wore the day I entered the MTC on January 30, 2013, almost exactly two years ago. Two years in Cambodia can really do a number on a tie. Two years ago, it was a dark pinkish color. It's a silk tie, dry clean only, which of course wasn't really an option out here. It's faded and frayed quite a bit. More of a grey color now. As I was typing I leaned over to Elder Ngov and asked him how he would describe the color. It's a little dark in our corner here so that's maybe the reason why he answered, "Coppery. Kind of a dull copper color." Then I turned the tie over and he scooted in a little bit. "What is that, pink?" This isn't a very interesting story, but I forgot to write stuff down for my email this week so I'm kind of going on nothing. I'm still wearing the tennis shoes that I bought at the beginning of my senior year back in 2011. Nice Nikes, but totally falling apart at this point. I have super-glued the soles back on once before but they're falling off again. We've played some basketball lately and the soles are like flapping up and down as I go up for rebounds. One of the shoelaces broke a month ago, but I haven't bothered to replace it yet. Nobody even uses shoelaces around here. I'm not even sure I could find some.

The area that I'm in right now is kind of new. I say kind of new because the church has been here for over ten years, but most of the members have been baptized in the last 4 years, and that makes for some interesting problems. When you make relatively uneducated, recently converted rice farmers the leaders, teachers and presidents of your church... it's just hard sometimes! Because we have to help them do it themselves. We can't step in and start running things for them or they'll never learn! But, the missionaries often act as advisers in all sorts of different contexts. On Saturday, Elder Ngov and I actually had to split up so that we could go to two meetings that happened at the same time. Jesus Christ called fishermen to be his apostles and President Moon and others have called rice farmers to be bishops and branch presidents. It's an adventure!

Once upon a time there was a man who had a dream to build an add on to his house. He scrimped and saved and made plans but never seemed to have enough money to get things going. One day a construction project near his home was unexpectedly cancelled and the remaining materials were just left there. He called the company and asked for permission to use the left over materials for his own project. Permission was granted and he gleefully got to work. 

Because his plans were already drawn out, the man felt that he could begin straight away. The only problem? He didn't really have all the required materials and tools. He had a lot of them on hand and with the additional materials from the abandoned construction site, he really had a lot. But not quite all of them. While mixing the cement he realized that he had cement and water but no sand. "Well," he thought, "I can just replace that with some dirt and pebbles and it will probably be fine." He poured the foundation. Later he began to make the frame. He had wood, nails, a hammer, a meter stick but no saw. "It's not a problem," he thought. "I'll just break the boards with my knees and then pound the irregular edges out with the hammer." A third problem occurred when he realized he didn't have one of those spatula looking things that they use to spread cement around and lay bricks (in Khmer I call it a brodap liap seemong but I have no idea what to call it in English, someone help me out here?). Undeterred, he scooped the cement up with his hands, packed it onto each of the bricks and then layed them like normal. When all was said and done, how do you think his extra bedroom looked?  We need to have all the required materials and tools and then use them to the best of our ability for the greatest desired outcome possible.

James taught, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. (James 2 10-11)"

 Recently I was working with a family that was really good about studying the scriptures as a family, and were really nice people and loved each other and prayed and stuff like that but never went to church. The problem is, "salvation is gained by keeping the whole law" (Bruce R.McConkie, see the chapter heading for James Ch. 2 in the LDS KJV). Those that go to church, serve the poor, pray daily both personally and with their families, study the scriptures, volunteer in the community but watch porn in spare hours are not keeping the whole law (see Matthew 5:28). Those that do all manner of good works but never renew baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament at church on Sunday, have "become transgressor[s] of the law".  Just like those who obey traffic regulations, don't murder people, don't steal, don't use drugs but occasionally engage in graffiti would need to be punished by the law, those who "offend in one point" will need to be held accountable for what they've done. 

Fortunately there's a way out. I believe it was Spencer W. Kimball who said, "It is better to prepare and prevent than repair and repent, but the atonement has power over all sins."
-Elder Vore 
Pictures:  Check out the nice tie!
                                             Elder Vore   January 30, 2013   almost 2 years ago
                                         Entering the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah

Saying Goodbye to Mom in front of the MTC

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