January 27, 2013

People have been asking how cold it is at home.  The reply is rather shocking, especially when they find out that we also have it hot in the summer.  The sheer amount of weather change in Utah is amazing.  I've acclimated a bit too much to Thailand, I have to have a blanket after I shower or else I'm certain I'll freeze.  Fortunately our house retains heat somehow, and we can keep having nice 25 degree nights.  In the morning it is so cold to me!  Snow is so cool.

I have some goals to get into family history when I get back.  I feel that there is enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life.  I don't have anything to back up that statement though.  There was a false understanding of polygamy as we were discussing the life of President Lorenzo Snow.  I decided to not point it out, because I didn't want to have to spend all of priesthood explaining polygamy to a group that's never really heard about it.  

I also was asked to speak.  I had a day to prepare, then while on the stand I felt prompted to completely change my topic.  However, the two other speakers took all the time, and there was no time for me to speak.   My 15 min talk turned into a "you can speak next week."  So, I'll be writing another talk.  It looks like I'll be teaching Sunday School for the rest of my time here.  That is fun.  Over the last few weeks the branch has independently banned several members from attending the gospel principles class, instead opting for a few selected strong members to rotate sitting in.  There are good reasons, but I've never had any problems or said anything about it.  It was fun to teach our branch president this week, and nice to know I'll have some more experienced members to call on.

This year I got a copy of the Priesthood manual, so I get to read along.  It's so good!  Preparing for church is what makes church so good.  I've sure come to love the church so much as a missionary.  Even with all the struggles we have here, it really is the best.

I eat massaman curry, which has potatoes.  I made some french fries for the first time in months last night.  There is a word for starchy foods, but there aren't too many that we eat, unless noodles count.  I really like eating noodles. 
Speaking of recruiting and such like, the investigator finding process here is still a huge struggle.  We still haven't got any new investigators that have lasted longer than a second lesson in weeks.  For the first time in my mission I've had nobody with a date to be baptized, and we've been stuck like this for weeks.  We talk to people left and right, don't find people who are interested, and when we do, they just disappear.

President Senior has called me as well to compliment me in my changes.  I can't really explain what they are, but every few days I see the difference in something or the other.  Even more confusing is how or why change is happening.  Changes come when the come.  I feel like I've really been in a steady flow of change for a while, even though everything around me is still the same.  

However, just like I discussed with President, I can't figure out what I'm doing in the work anymore.  Not that I've somehow lost all the things I've learned, I've just learned new things that really re-frame how I see everything.  And nothing seems to be happening.  We've got two main objectives in our work right now:

1.  To build and strengthen the branch.  We are working to build it up, and working with the branch a lot more.  I've got a paper full of all the different things we are doing, there is quite a bit we can still do without taking over.  I honestly feel like the branch can't come close to meeting it's goals, God cannot trust the branch to look after so many new members yet.  However, once they are prepared, we can see the blessings flow in, as the branch is ready for the anticipated growth.

2.  To work with the Lord.  I feel like we work really hard for the Lord, but far to often we work alone, because we never asked him to join in.  I don't see God's power manifest here, and I want to see miracles happen as we work.  Hard work, as lead by even more inspiration and more faith with indeed fulfill God's will for our area, whatever in may be.

So, this is where I'm at right now.  I can't tell if I'm at yet a higher or a lower plane, but wherever I am, I know not.  That's the best recipe for relying on God.  I'm glad for the prophets who also had their lives pass by wandering from place to place, never really settling in anywhere.  I'm certain that it is of God, even if I don't really understand it.

I hope everything is well with you.  I love you.

Elder Robert Buss

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