Thank you so much for your letters and your e-mails and most of all for your thoughts and prayers on our behalf! Elder Chen and I have definitely felt them and they were very much needed this past week. I'm so glad to hear about all of the incredible things going on back home and all the amazing people who, from the sounds of it, are still just as amazing as ever!!! I can't wait to join you all again but until that day, well I've got work to do out here! :) haha!
Anyway, jumping right into things, I guess if I could put a theme of some sort to this past week it would probably be "hold on" as in the song from The Secret Garden because almost every day this week I have been having to remind myself that "it's the storm not you, that's bound to blow away". Of course there was the oh so exciting news that we all had to evacuate for the terrifying tsunami that just devastated our islands this last week..... And in case you haven't figured out by now, I am being rather sarcastic. Just like so far every other big "hurricane" or "tsunami" that has threatened to turn our way, this one petered out and died long before it ever even touched our shores and in fact I don't even know if this island got so much as a swell (which I'm sure made the many avid surfers over here a little disappointed.) But it did manage to take out almost an entire days worth of proselyting as we all hunkered down in Kalaheo - much to the amusement of many of the members and other locals who all already knew there was nothing coming. It was a fun day none the less! :)
Speaking of Kalaheo, that was one of our second big "storms" that seemed to hit hard the last week. So Tuesday we went with the Kalaheo missionaries (the other set of Elders in our district) to take their car in for what should have been just a short same day inspection and repairs.... only to get news a couple hours later that it would not be done until the end of the week! And then as the end of the week rolled around they got the call that it was going to take another couple days and they could pick it up today (Monday) although we are still waiting to hear from the car shop. Anyway, because of that they were without a car for practically the entire week and they also have one of the largest areas on the island covering more than quadruple our two little towns in Kekaha ward. So being as we were the closes missionaries (or more likely the most available and willing ones) we got to spend most of the week trying to balance and bounce around the two areas with only one car and I had to do almost all of the driving! So yeah, that was pretty crazy and made for a lot of days with 100+ miles and 4+ hours of just straight travelling. I don't know how truck drivers do it! it is exhausting!
So finally one of the last big "storms" from this week actually came from a little insight I had after a really tough lesson last night. I could go into a lot of detail and actually started writing a little memo to myself about it that will probably someday turn into a talk about standing strong against the winds of the world, but for now I will give you the very quick summery. So this certain less-active member we were talking with for the first time, after much conversation in all sorts of directions, basically told me (and I paraphrase really only slightly) "I am worried about you because you seem to be so cemented into this idea of Prophets and Apostles being 'directed by God' that you won't be able to see things change and progress with the times". To which I attempted to continue responding with my testimony and personal experiences but there was not much place by that point, if any, for a seed to take root so we left soon thereafter. But anyway, it was kind of bothering me because he seemed "legitimately concerned for me" because of the fact that I would not change my beliefs to fit into many of the social issues that the world has been altering recently (including everything from Church attendance, to prophets, to homosexuality, to gender equality.)
It was rather sobering to watch as the many stories I had heard and read about in the Book of Mormon and the Bible concerning people who were misled by the cunning words and crafty lies of the adversary came to fruition in front of me. We both tried to express our souls to him and explain that God does not change with every fancy and whim of mankind but he would not take it and we left disheartened and a little upset that truly this idea of "building upon a rock" as the Savior implored us to do is seen by the world as out dated and that the beach resort of secularism is drawing so many into its stream of ever changing doctrine and ideas.
Anyway, I guess again to summarize everything from this week. Stay strong, don't let your foundation slip and don't allow be scared to face the storms that come in life because they come to all of us. The only thing that we can change is where we build our house and our testimony. I love you all and will keep on praying for you!! Thank you again for your support and your love and prayers in our behalf! Congrats to JD and Kyle and everyone else who is still working so hard! Be sure to send my love and aloha to both of them as well as to Sis. Fairbanks and her companion and a very special aloha to Sis. Christensen who I will hopefully be able to see out here in paradise soon enough!! Mahalo nui loa and aloha au ia oe!!! :)