In the Old Testament there is this funny story of Elijah and the Priests of Baal, basically the Priests of Baal are very wicked and worshipping idols and false God's. Elijah comes in and basically tells them they are going to put their God's to the test, so they build up a huge pile of wood and then Elijah tells them to ask their God to rain fire down on the stack of wood. Nothing happens of course and then Elijah calls upon God and the powers of Heaven cause something of this nature to happen.
The reason I start with this story is because we had a similar experience like this happen to us, so here we are out helping a member around his property clear old lumber and brush from all around his few acres of land. We were there with the Other Elders and a member who we'll call Brother P for short. So it was a beautiful day, close to 20 C, so we're out in our short sleeves stacking up all this wood. Because it's February, everything is still pretty wet, even with the abnormally warm temperatures. We start to try to light this fire and almost get it lit a few times on one of the far sides, but it ends up burning out, so I'm on one side and Elder Layton is on the other side next to the small coals that are remaining. All of the sudden, Brother P shows up next to me with a red can, and yes it was Gasoline. Now I know what you're thinking, yes it was a bad idea. So Brother P began to put gas on the opposite side of where the fire had been thinking it would be fine. I had the thought it was a terrible idea, but Before I could even realize what to do, it exploded, and by it, I mean the entire pile of wood and timber. Flames filled my vision, and we could feel the shock wave hit our chests. It was crazy scary. I did learn a very valuable lesson that when someone shows up to gas at the party, run immediately. The Lord truly did protect us, that I do know. Nobody was injured, nothing happened, we were extremely blessed. Mom I promise this kind of stuff doesn't usually happen.
There's the excitement of the week, I feel like I could wrap up my email but I'll share some positive experiences too!
We've been spending a lot of time in Strathroy recently, because the work out there is really booming! We are working with the Ballantyne's still, they are doing well. Kathleen set a date for the end of March to be baptized, so we are helping her work towards that date, she's doing wonderful. We're getting ready to teach the commandments now. We also have been going out to see Sister Pestana, who is so awesome! She was baptized a few years ago, but sometimes it's really hard for her to come out to church. So sunday morning we drove out to Strathroy and read the Book of Mormon with her in the morning before church to help her come, she came and loved being there again. It was cool, we read Alma 1 with her because that's where she was in her reading, if you know Alma 1, a lot is just about the wickedness of the people, but as we read the spirit was very strong, I realized it doesn't really matter where we read or what we read in the scriptures, as long as we are reading, that is what is important. It is how Heavenly Father truly speaks to us. On sunday morning as well we had an amazing miracle. There was a young couple sitting in the chapel I didn't know, so after sacrament meeting I got caught talking with another member, but a different member came over and grabbed me and introduced us to them. The husbands name is George and he just moved to Strathroy from Ghana! He was baptized in Ghana quite a few years ago and married Christy, who is from here. She was over there studying, they met and got married. She isn't a member of the church, but she loved church, and we are going to go see them this week and start teaching her. Really amazing how the Lord works.
This week I also got to go on exchanges in Chatham, hallelujah! I've been waiting 6 months to go on an exchange there. It was this time last year that I was in Chatham, so much has changed and so much has stayed the same. I got to see Kerra while we were there and it was amazing to see how much she has grown in her testimony of the Gospel. She said the prayer at the end of our meeting, and the spirit was so strong, it was cool to see what has happened over the first year of her membership in the church. Her prayer was so sincere and heartfelt, and I could just tell that she has truly become converted to Christ. It was fun to see the old members, and be back in my old area. It's weird how it feels so different when it isn't my area however, London feels like "home" to me right now, but a year ago Chatham would have felt like that.
Yesterday in church I learned a few really cool things that I want to share, first one was a story of a man who goes into the woods to clear a path of fallen lumber with a saw. He works for hours and hours, cutting and cutting away. A man comes down the path and see's this man struggling to cut because his saw is dull. He asks the man why he doesn't sharpen his blade and the man replies that he cannot stop, and he must finish his task for. Little did that man know that if he stopped to sharpen his blade, he would work faster and with more ease. The comparison was to our life, do we stop to "Sharpen our blades" by reading the scriptures and praying? By doing service and helping other? If we do these things, the things of life will flow more easily!
Brother Evan used a quote in Elders quorum that goes "The same water that hardens an egg, softens a potato" to show how when we go through trials and the refiners fire, it is how we react to the situation which matters. We can let it harden us, or build us up and become reliant on the Lord.
Lastly, Brother Bayona in his talk in sacrament said that often we believe doing service is one of the things we must do to return to live with Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom, but one of the early prophets of the church said that the Celestial Kingdom is built upon the foundation of service. If we do service for the motions and not from our heart, we won't be comfortable there.
I have really come to recognize the hand of my Savior in day to day life, and I'm grateful to his hand and his love. This is his Church!
Love you all!
Elder Adam Taylor