Happy birthday, Mom! I hope that everything went well for your birthday. I had written it into my agenda to not forget. You are right. Time does fly. But at the same time, it kind of crawls. Weird how that works.
I burned a shirt. I almost also burned the whole house down. Kind of stupid of me. We have a little charcole bar-b-que in our pension, which I thought putting a little bit of cardboard in it with the shirt on top would make for a nice, easy burn, like what happened to my tie. I wanted to save a bit of it, so I was holding it in my hand when I burned it. What I didn’t count on was how well it was going to burn. I had forgotten that it was a cotton-poly blend, making a nice, syrupy fireball that, because of the draft coming in from the patio, went right into the pension and filled it with smoke. I remember that, just for a moment, I though “Ah darn, I’m going to die” but luckily just before I started burning the shirt, I had thought to bring some water over and I had my wits about me enough to douse it. The only loss was the hair on my left hand and my pride. Dumb, dumb-dumb dumb. I finished burning it much slower, without holding it, and dousing the part I wanted with water to keep it from burning.
We have a new stake president, because our old one got changed to be an area 70. Our new one looks just exactly like, I kid you not, Mr. Bean. And everyone thinks so. It is so funny. He is from another ward, so it might be kind of hard to get you a picture, but if one day I get one, I’ll you send you it.
We have a success story. His name is Mauricio, and he is a Mason. He was taught by the missionaries before, but for reasons not stated in the area book, they stopped teaching him. He is super prepared. He is a really quiet guy, so much so that he kind of scared Elder Granda and I, which is pretty funny because we thought that we were quiet. But he was very interested, and on Friday, we put a baptismal date and he came to the Sunday session of Stake Conference, and loved it.
On Sunday, I learned a hard lesson. Actually, it was the same lesson that I should have learned before with Juanita. It seems like most of the hard lessons I learn are from that woman. Her husband, Antonio, and her mom, Juanita, are fighting, and Juanita was pretty upset to see them fight. Elder Granda shared an excellent lesson about charity with them, and I explained that they shouldn’t take their family problems to us, but to the bishop. My part didn’t go over too well. It made Antonio mad, and even though it was true, it wasn’t too nice. When Elder Granda pointed it out to me, I got a little mad and felt pretty bad for myself, and we walked home to the pension to study a bit. I felt bad because I have been working on this problem of not being able to demostrate my love for people well before, and that was basically the root of what went wrong in the lesson. I felt like Elder Granda was picking on me, and that I hadn’t done anything wrong. When I got home, I prayed for understanding and for some other things for a bit, and then went and started studying about Charity a bit. I went to Alma 7:11-13, which is a scripture in PMG in the section about developing Christ-like attributes, and thought “What can I learn from the atonement of Jesus Christ that I can apply to myself to be more charitable?” It was pretty interesting, because it occurred to me that if I was a disciple of Jesus Christ, I could follow in his footsteps, and as he had done an atonement, which was essentially an act of empathy to the point to making the suffering of others his own suffering, then I too could do an atonement for others, which would essentially mean that I could pray to understand exactly the suffering of others. Interesting doctrine. I don’t know if it is true, but it is essentially learning to be empathetic, or in other words, having charity. When I finished, I still didn’t feel better, so I decided to start meditating, and I tried something that I have never done before. I wrote a dialogue to myself, where I basically had two voices and I worked through my problems with questions and answers. It worked really well. By the end of it, I was no longer mad at Elder Granda. On the contrary, I wanted to thank him for the criticism he had given me, because I felt that it had helped me be a better person.
I love you all. I hope that everything is going well for you. Sounds like it is. I pray for all of you.