It's nice and cloudy outside, about time to bust out the boots and sweaters. So stoked. But unfortunately that has left me a little foggy headed... that, and the fact that I thought it was a good idea to wake up at 6 AM to play morning sports with the other missionaries. Sometimes I think that is a good idea and go, sometimes its not. Like today. Frisbee at 6 AM is only enjoyable about half of the time. That being said I hope my email makes sense. It has been a great week!
Meredith is the best! We love teaching her so much. She's always so excited about everything... and so eager to learn. We took her and her brother Michael to the Liberty Jail on Monday and had the best lesson. We watched the restoration video and she loved it. When the movie got to the first vision she was like "woah... that is cool." It is cool... its the second greatest thing that has ever happened on the earth! It's amazing to watch her learn and witness her pure faith in all of it. She is so eager about the gospel, I could be more like that sometimes. We also taught her part of the Plan of Salvation the other day... she loved it. We were teaching about the Savior's atonement and she was like "what are those dots and why are they always on his hands?" What a neat moment to be able to teach Meredith about the atonement, for maybe the first time that she had ever heard it in her life. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. Sometimes I get home at night it hits me how awesome my life is right now.
Tracy has been in the hospital this week. She had pneumonia and the doctors didn't catch it... so she ended up in the hospital. Bummer...but it's actually been kind of a miracle (there's always a positive right?). So prior to this it had been hard to get lessons with Tracy... she would be sick or things would come up, or something. She was finally starting to progress and then boom pneumonia. So we were expecting things to drop off, but NO... she is reading the Book of Mormon on her own, and wanted us to come read and teach her. She is soaking it up and really internalizing the gospel. She wants to have faith. She wants to repent. Not only that but she is doing it! It is amazing. We asked Tracy when she might want to be baptized because she keeps talking about how excited she is, and she was like "well, I should probably wait until I'm out of the hospital." She was dead serious about that too.. haha.
Anyway... I don't even know if I can express how amazing it is to watch these new friends of mine learn and grow. It is the best.
Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of the reconstruction of the Liberty Jail, I suppose at that point it became the Historic Liberty Jail... we have to be very careful to differentiate or else people think that we work in a penitentiary. So I suppose it would only be fitting to talk about how much I love this place, and how much I have learned here. So here are a few of the lessons I have learned at the Historic Liberty Jail
1. Joseph Smith is indeed a prophet of God. I always knew this, but I really, really know it now. It has been amazing to teach and testify of who he was and how the Lord used him to bless his children.
2. The Liberty Jail itself testifies of things that last and that don't last. The jail... didn't last. Here is this impressive building with 4 foot thick walls, built of stone and after 50 years it was falling apart, unable to fulfill it's designed purpose. Although that prison held Joseph Smith and kept him confined, it had no power to confine the beautiful teachings that would come from that place. The revelations received at the Liberty Jail is something that has lasted. I remember going through some hard times in high school and miraculously finding sections 121, 122, and 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It was like I had stumbled upon solid gold. I love it. It helped me through that trial. The revelations recieved there have not only lasted throughout time, but that testimony and knowledge has become a part of so many people's lives over the years.
3. Obedience. I came across a great quote this week... one that really made me think. I'll paraphrase it. It said something along the lines of "Jesus' obedience was perfected by his suffering." Wait... Jesus was already perfectly obedient, suffering or not, so what did that have to do with it. It made me think of sacrifice. The suffering that Jesus Christ endured for each of us was voluntary. It was a sacrifice made from love for each of us, but it was also to perfect the obedience he was offering to his Father in Heaven. Joseph Smith's obedience was also made more perfect because of his sacrifice. He sacrificed all that he had- family, stability, comfort, and eventually his life-- all for his testimony of Jesus. As we are obedient, even and especially during those times where it comes as a sacrifice, we can be more perfect and made more perfect because of the ultimate sacrifice by our Savior.
So there you are... I'll try and pull together a few more thoughts as the weeks go on about what this holy place has taught me. The 50th Anniversary celebrations will be ongoing throughout the upcoming weeks. We have an open house coming up during the Fall Fair here in Liberty. The big events will be happening on October 12th and 13th, when Elder Ballard will be coming to the JAIL! Yes. That's right. I can't wait! I'm trying not to freak out becuase transfers are the week before. I'm really wishing I had some musical skills so I could play the piano or the violin for the VIP event, like some of my fellow jail birds are. I'm trying to study up on my history so maybe they will bring me back to give some presentations if I get transferred.