Monday, September 14, 2015

Goodmorning!

The beginning of this week was not going great. Sometimes on a mission you get stuck and it feels like the space time continuum is locked up in Colorado (or wherever you're serving). That happened to me this week! If any of you know me well, you would know I HATE to waste time or sit around during the day. Most days I have more energy than a squirrel who just drank a red bull. For whatever reason this week was just super slow. No one answered their door or gave us the time of day when we would try to make conversation with them. For me not being able to talk to people all day is like a fish out of water. Needless to say I was very frustrated. On Wednesday the heavenly messenger UPS man delivered a package to me from my grandma, containing one of the greatest books of all time. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. I read it in one day. I simply could not put it down. It's soothing blend of familiar Southern culture mixed with the venomous and potent civil rights struggle made it impossible to set aside. It is several years after "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Jean Louise is visiting home from her flat in New York City. She comes to realize that the fa├žade of "anytown USA" is more swift than slow, melting away. I don't want to give anything away but I will say it is a story of forgiveness and acceptance - TRUE acceptance. Jean Louise's anachronistic language strikes deep in the heart and it is "cringe-worthy" when I heard my beloved Atticus Finch say things I never thought he would. More than anything it tells the story of a family. Families aren't perfect and the Finches are no different. More than a good story however it helped me refocus on my mission. The importance of finding one's moral compass cannot be overlooked. 

That night I was doing a lot of soul searching. I really wanted to know why I am out here and if I really need to be here with all of the stuff going on at home. So I did something that I have been taught all my life but so often take for granted. I got on my knees. I shut my eyes and opened my heart. A lot of times we think of prayer as something routine or methodical- blessing food etc... but REAL prayer is something so much more. It is allowing Heavenly Father to take absolute control of your heart and pour out your aching soul to him. Like when Jean Valjean in Les Miserables prays for Marius's life in the sewers of France ("Bring Him Home"). He has nothing mortal left to give, he gives his heart up to God in prayer. 

As I arose from my knees I felt as though a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It wasn't an overwhelming feeling or a torrent of emotions. It was a peace unlike any other. It was my Heavenly Father telling me "It'll all be ok". 

Saturday morning we worked out in the Styx building a shed for a member of our ward. The satisfaction of a job well done overpowered the itchiness from the insulation that was all over us. 

Saturday night I got to see My Dad, Mom, Connor , and my Grandmother. They were in town for my Dad's Doctor's appointment with specialist Dr. Eric Liu. It was nice to see them and we had a nice dinner in Colorado Springs. We were able to show them where we lived and worked and that was nice. We had some great conversations and I must say Tucanos Brazilian Grill was amazing but nothing was as amazing as the sight of my family. 

Sunday was equally enjoyable. We taught Sunday school about guess what?- Missionary work!! haha. I was reminded about an economic principle as I was preparing for our lesson. The principle is known as the "Paradox of Value". The essential question is - why do people value diamonds more than water? (This has nothing to do with supply its about value). Water is THE most essential substance that a man could use. But yet a 10 ounce cup of water at a restaurant is free.. It's all about perception! A man in a developed country doesn't think of water as the life force of his being but he sees it as something he waters his flowers with, washes his hands with, and cleans dishes with. So the parallel question to that would be - Why would someone care more about his Netflix signal strength than church? The answer is simple. If people see "Church" as a place you go on Sunday than the stigma will remain. However if you treat "church" or religion as something you carry with you every step you take in your life, and in your thoughts and deeds than you will realize just how important Jesus Christ is.

Before I finish- most people who read this know I am a hardcore political junkie. The reason I am such a zealot about politics is that I see it not as a side gig on the news but a moral and pressing matter on my heart. I would like to share two excerpts with you about Justice and Mercy...These are hortative calls to each and every one of us to seek out the wrongs in our society and struggle to make them right. 

The first- is the introduction to Les Misrables. Written by Victor Hugo in April 1862. 
"So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century—the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light—are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world;—Books like the one you are about to read are, perhaps, not entirely useless."

The 2nd is an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr's Address at Riverside church in NYC (1967)
"A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring"

2016 is just as turbulent as 1967. My friends it's time we stop complaining and whining about the plethora of injustices life has in store on a  daily basis- and truly do something! Let me reiterate what Dr. King said so passionately 48 years ago - True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. 
Love and prayers to all
- Tyler 
Doing service at the local library



Colorado Springs sunset



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