We had a great lesson this week with Yolonda. Goodness, she is smart as a whip! We were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation. One of my favorite things about teaching the Gospel is watching the truthfulness of the things you teach unfold before your eyes as you teach them. Yolonda is my favorite type of people to teach. She has a pretty good biblical knowledge. I feel like a lot of missionaries are scared of people that know a lot about the Bible, because they might try to bash or prove you wrong. In reality though, they are the best people to teach! Because they have a lot of the pieces of the puzzle up in their head, they are just waiting for someone to help them connect the things that they've learned. This was the case with Yolonda. We taught her about the Pre-mortal life, a doctrine that is not taught in mainstream Christian churches. A doctrine that was lost during the apostasy but was taught in Jesus Christ's church! A true doctrine! As we taught her about this true doctrine you could see light bulbs starting to go off in her head, and pieces of the puzzle being put together. She started so say things like, "Oh say that is why God told Jeremiah 'Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.' That makes sense." And "Well I knew that one-third of the hosts of heaven were cast out with Satan. I've never considered who the other two-thirds were. It makes sense that we were that other two-thirds!" As we continued to form the puzzle from the pieces that she already had she grew more and more excited. We went from doctrine to doctrine. From the fall to the spirit world. As we went on the picture that was being made was more and more beautiful to Yolonda. At the end of the lesson she began to get very emotional. Because just like us, she could see the truthfulness of our message unfold before her very own eyes. She has been seeking truth for awhile, and wants to go where her Father wants her to go. She is so scared to leave behind her Church home, she is scared to make the transition. Yolonda is awesome, and I know that as she gains stronger relationships with the members and continues to read The Book of Mormon, her desire to follow God's path for her with trump over her fear of joining a new Church.
The Reynolds family is doing pretty good. We found out some unfortunate news this week though. Turns out Regina and Alvin aren't married, as we had before supposed. They've been together for 16 years and have four children together, but have never tied the knot. The lesson that we had with them when we found this out was a very good lesson. The really guided the lesson where it needed to go. They opened up more this lesson than they have in any of the other lessons that we taught. They were awesome about discussing this little predicament. It isn't necessary to go into too much detail about all of this. It is probably going to take a little time to get them married or in a position to where they can be baptized. Nevertheless they are still awesome and amazing. Regina loves Church and so do all of the kids. She called us yesterday and asked us if the kids could still be baptized despite their living situation. She has very real intent and loves everything that she has learned. I love this awesome family and can't wait till they all go into the waters of baptism.
I don't have too much more to write about this week. This week was not as eventful as I would have liked… Hopefully that will change this week.
I am so excited for the future. I am so excited to start the next stage of my life. I know I am not going home tomorrow, but before I know it I will be back home. One of my favorite scripture is Matthew 10: 39. Nowhere have I found this scripture to be more true than in the mission field. As I lose my life in this work for the Lord's sake, I find more and more what I want for my life. I have learned so much from my mission. So many life lessons that can't be learned in any books, they just have to be experienced. My desire to have a family and raise them in the true and living Church has never ever been stronger. There is nothing that I desire more in life than a family. Absolutely nothing that I can even think of could be better than having a family. And I know this because I have seen it! I have been in the homes of the richest of the rich! Homes that should be on MTV Cribs. And I have been in homes many homes that have probably been on the show Cops. Some very sad situations. However, without fail, the people that I have met that are the most happy are always the ones that are living the Gospel. The tangible spirit that is in the home of families who are firm in the faith is incredible. It has changed my life and my view of what I want for the future. It is just incredible what you can learn and gain from visiting many different homes of individuals and families. Almost nothing has touched my heart more than sitting around the dinner table of an active family and hearing a child's prayer.
I don't know why but I am going to take a tangent real quick and talk about something. I have talked with and met with lot of people that disagree with the Church's way of teaching Children. They view it as "brainwashing" or a taking away of the children's agency. When they see a parent whispering in the child's ear to help them learn how to pray they see a parent brainwashing a child to believe the way that they believe, or do the things that they are doing. They see the primary songs as trickery to brainwash children. They don't feel that is it right to make choices for their children before they are able to make choices for themselves. Sometimes they feel so strongly about this that it is one of the reasons that they fall away from the Church. Let's think about this way of thinking for a minute... The idea that it is wrong to make choices for your children before they are old enough to make choices for themselves is a slippery slope. First, I think that you have to understand the definition of truth. Truth is the same for everyone, if it was relative to the individual then there would be no such thing as truth. Truth is how things are, were, and will be. Regardless of if you believe it or not. There is truth in everything. Truth is something that needs to be past down once it is figured out, or else there will never be progression. Could you imagine if Einstein just said, "Yeah, I've figured out what's true. But I'm not going to share it with you until you're smart enough to figure it out on your own." Of course that would be ridiculous! Inherited truth is a good thing. However inherited falsehoods are a bad thing. The real question is "what is true, and what is false?" Because of course no parent has any qualms teaching their children what's good to eat, why we don't play in traffic, why we don't eat what's under the sink, and why we brush our teeth. We don't have any problem in teaching those truths! Because we know that the teaching of those truths will benefit our children. So why would we withhold the truth that can be found in the Gospel? We don't want our children to have to get hit by a car to know that playing in the street is a bad thing, or get a ton of cavities to know they should've brushed their teeth. If we don't wait to teach our children these truths, then why would we wait to teach our children about the truths found in the Plan of Salvation, Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, or even about the truth found in prayer! Should we really wait for them to discover it on their own? Or wait till they're old enough to decide for themselves? Is it necessary for our kids to have to go through an unplanned pregnancy to know the truthfulness of the Law of Chastity? Or go through addiction recover to know that they should have obeyed the Word of Wisdom? Or even wait until they are on their deathbeds to try and answer the unavoidable question, "Where am I going after this life?" Would it be reasonable when Granddaddy dies and our children ask us, "Where is Grandpa?" to say back to them, "Well Junior, you're just going to have to wait to figure that out for yourself." Of course not. The only reason you would withhold that answer is because you aren't confident you have the truth. And you don't want to spread a falsehood. The only reason that anyone would have doubts in sharing their beliefs with their children is because they themselves are not confident that what they have is truth. So back to a child's prayer, what is so bad about teaching a child how to pray? Should we wait for our children to have a tragedy to teach them that they can turn to their Father in Heaven for comfort? Of course not. The only reason that we would not teach them is because we ourselves are not confident prayer really works. So in reality by not teaching our children certain things, such as prayer because we are doubtful that it works, we are passing on ideals unknowingly. A child's thought process could easily be, "Well prayer isn't going to work, because Daddy and Mommy don't pray, so why should I pray?" So whether or not you like it, you're always influencing your children by either sharing information, or withholding information. In my opinion the most important thing that we can teach our children is how to find truth. The process that it takes to come to know something is true. In religion it is you read, ponder, pray and repeat. In science it is you study, form hypothesis, test the hypothesis and repeat. Both very similar in principle and important to teach and understand. Teaching our children this process is the most important thing that we can do. It is a process that we MUST go through for ourselves, so that we can know that the things we are teaching our kids are true! For those who do have qualms in teaching their children the Gospel, or doing it before they can decide for themselves. Ask yourself, have I done what it takes to know the Gospel is true? Have I read The Book of Mormon, sincerely pondered on its teachings and its mere existence, and have I prayed about it to know that it's true? Have I made a sincere effort to test out the Gospel by living it? Because just like any truth, if it is true for you it is going to be true for your kids. Drinking the Scrubbing Bubbles kitchen cleaner under the sink will hurt your health just as bad as it will hurt your kid's health. What's true for you is true for your kids also. It is an obligation as a parent for you to discover as much truth as possible. Because if you don't, your ignorance will become your children's ignorance.
Well, sorry for that tangent. I love you all so much. The Church is true.
-Elder Ryan Romero