From: Ethan Cade Brimhall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2018 10:57 AM
On Tuesday, we taught and had a baptism interview for Marie Sam who was successfully baptized and confirmed this week! Unfortunately, that lesson was the last valuable lesson of the week. I basically collapsed from fatigue. This cold — or something like a cold — disturbed me from that point on until Sunday. I had enough energy to shuffle around the apartment, but walking was really difficult. I was afraid for a little while that I had contracted mono. After resting on Tuesday, Elder Biney and I attempted to proselyte again on Wednesday, but we were only able to fulfill one lesson with Theresa, a recent convert, before my body gave out on us. So, from that point on until Sunday, my companion and I had some great forced bonding time, which was very much needed. We were able to laugh and joke and study with each other.
I also had a lot of time to meditate and ponder. After reading a few things and remembering some wise words a good friend told me, I thought about how it’s not okay to give up on anything virtuous. Zone Conference on Thursday made me particularly sensitive to that topic as one of the speakers spoke on pride and it’s debilitating effects. It’s really really easy to give up when things are hard and the end is near, but the thought came to me: “Would you or God feel proud of your service if you fizzle out at the end of your service? What would that say about the motive behind your service, however honorable it was outwardly?” Suffice to say, I had some repenting to do. I’m glad God gives his children these opportunities to suffer and learn and change.
In other news, all of my recent converts here now have callings! Some involve a lot of responsibility, some only a little, but all will give them something to do and be proud of: teachers, presidency members, ward missionaries, and others have been added to the Army of God! I feel blessed to have taken part, and to continue to take part in their lives. I wish for you all the same opportunity to be a part of someone else’s happiness — your life will change.
P.S. Mom and Dad, Could you send me a little money? I have had some theft-oriented apartment members or visitors. I wanted to get a few souvenirs to bring home. And yes I am still taking pictures! I’m trying to find times to do it more often. I’ve got about 3000 total from the course of my mission.
Alex, I hear you are teaching seminary on Ether chapter 4 tomorrow.
I think the main theme of that chapter is “believe to gain greater knowledge”. The Nephites had to believe Christ’s words to gain the revelations of the brother of Jared. As the entire human race, we will not receive the greater part of those revelations until we manifest to God our faith and belief through our works. Verse 11 shares something great: “But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.” Verses 15 and 16 say that as you believe in Jesus Christ and His words, as you “rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness,” then great and marvelous things will be revealed to you by the power of God. Great things that God now feels comfortable revealing to you because you believed in the little that He gave you before.
As a side note, the verb “believe” in the Old Testament usually comes from the Hebrew word “aman” meaning “to build up; to support; to be firm in”. In the New Testament, it usually comes from the Greek word “pisteuō” which means something like “to be convinced of the truth of something”. It’s important to know what “believe” means in the scriptures so you get the real meaning.