This week has been another exciting one on Beru! We were planning on having a baptism, but the flu went around, and both the person who was going to be baptized and the person who was going to baptize him got sick. So we'll see again next week.
Every week out here, we're cranking through the temple lessons so that when our mission president gets here (on Sunday! :) ) he can give people the interviews and get them all recommends. It is making me want SO badly to go to the temple! Especially as it seems like all I find in the Ensigns and Liahonas that we get is talking about going to the temple! NEED TO GO, as soon as I get home.
We've been eating good this week! Had chicken for a first birthday party! And also discovered Argentina Corned Beef on crackers! Very exciting. :)
Read a great article by Dieter F. Uchtdorf this week about always being in the middle. He said that when he talks to missionaries, he often tells them that they're in the middle of their missions, because the new ones often don't feel confident enough to speak up and be effective, while the new ones often get trunky (he had a really nice diplomatic way of saying it, but what he meant was trunky.) He said that if we always think of ourselves as being in the middle, then we won't get into either of those problems. He applied it to life, and how in this life, we truly are always in the middle! We had an existence before this life, and we have the life after this, and we're just in the middle, so we should always be giving it all! So, I got to be taught by both his lesson to missionaries, and his lesson to everybody. :) And I told my comp, "If I ever say anything about how close I am to the end of my mission, I want you to hit me with a stick." (Hitting people with a stick is a thing in Kiribati.) I'm not close to the end, I'm in the middle! So that's a good thing. :)
Just saying, I have a runny nose. Those are NOT fun in countries without toilet paper or tissues! Ah well. :)
Had a really cool conversation this week with a semi active member. He's been having a lot of people ask him questions about the Book of Mormon, and so we talked about it, and how it answers a lot f questions that aren't answered in the Bible. That led to talking about modern revelation, the other Standard Works, and how God hasn't shut His mouth, but still communicates with us as we're ready. It was kind of a continuation of a conversation we had last week, but it was really good. I ended up being a bad boy because of it. We got there at 7 to have dinner, and we started talking, and all of a sudden I looked down at my watch and it was 10. :P I just love the gospel so much! We have so many blessings because of it! I think that I'm going to have a hard time making small talk when I get home, because I'm just going to want to talk about the gospel. :P Ah well, the life of an Elder!
Anyway, that was pretty much the week!! And this week our mission president is visiting! I'm so excited that I actually had a dream about it last night. :) So that'll be fun! I hope that all you folks back home have as great of a week as I do! Best of luck, you're in my prayers!
Letter from April 12, 2015
We're late today because the rain just stopped, so I'm going to get straight to the blog.
Got a letter from Deanne's family this week! Holy crud they're all grown up! Thane is, like, big! And Tate has, like, high school man muscles! And Kelsey! Well, she hasn't changed much, just looking like a beautiful college maiden. :) And Blake is coming home this week! Somebody give him a hug and a congrats for me.
Don't worry about sending pictures, Beru internet is actually pretty good. I like pictures! :)
Well, this week has been exciting! This morning, our shower broke, couldn't get any water out of it. So we spent the morning fixing it, and it's great now! It actually works better than it did! Translation of previous paragraph to outer island life: The old milk can we use to get water out of the well broke this morning, the bottom rusted out. So we had to take another milk can, put holes in it, tie it up to our stick, re-fuse the rope (thank you BSA) and now it works better than it ever did before!
I love outer islands. :)
We're having a baptism this week! Tebwao, an 80 something year old, who is the MAN. We love him very much, even if he doesn't have a tooth in his head. :) So that'll be our first baptism on Beru!
Had some cool insights today in study. Read 3 Nephi 13, which is a redo of Matthew six, which I also read this week. It always strikes me how that whole thing is about desires vs. work. In the church we stress that you need works, and it's true, because work is the actual fruit of the desires of the heart, BUT, at the end of the day, Christ is a lot less concerned about our works than He is about our DESIRES. I heard once that you can have a missionary who is obedient and hardworking, but because his desires are not where they should be, he gets less out of his mission than he could. The missionary that gets the most is the one that not only gives his might and his strength, but his mind and his heart.
I keep trying to summarize this great big thing I wrote in my study journal about it, but it's not working, so I'll leave it at that. It hit home because this week I was being obedient and hardworking, but my desires were not where they should be. Food, family, friends, school, work (found out that MTC Teachers get 20 bucks an hour! And they need Kiribati teachers!) tired of being sick, tired of being eaten alive by mosquitos, and though I was working, my desires weren't right this week. I kind of thought, "It's okay, I'm still working just as hard as always." But I was forgetting that the Lord looketh upon the heart. So I've got something to improve this week! I'm glad that I know now.
One thing about serving on outer islands. Especially when I was on Nonouti, it was hard, because I felt like I wasn't getting the spiritual nourishment I needed. I mean, we have church, conference, church magazines, priesthood meetings, and all that other stuff for a reason. We need that spiritual nourishment! I remember when we got the Liahona, and I just gobbled it down, because I was getting spiritual nourishment from a source other than the scriptures. I thought, "The scriptures are good, but they're hard to digest. It's good to get some from them, but you HAVE to have the other stuff too!" Which may be true. However, now that I've been on outer islands for so long, I feel like I get SO much more from the scriptures and Preach My Gospel! My ability to digest has gotten so much better, out of necessity I think. I get SO much more, and I think that'll be a good skill forever! Once I actually have some other spiritual nourishment? It'll be glorious. :)
Anyway, I must be off, but I love you all! Best of luck on everything!
Elder Spencer Marks
Letter from April 7, 2015
[Spencer's letter was mostly personal. He's doing great and working hard with his new companion. He learned he departs Kiribati on June 17. Here's the part of the letter I can share]:
SHAVING CREAM! Ladies and gentlemen, there are some things in life that you just don't realize how grand they are until you go without for a long time, and then your angel of a new companion lets you borrow. MY FACE IS SMOOTH BEYOND BELIEF! And shaving doesn't even hurt! Holy crud it's glorious.
OILED BIKE CHAINS! Similarly glorious. :)
Best part of the week, P-day morning. There we are studying, and an investigator comes up to our house. We've had two lessons with him. He tells us that he and his family were talking about it last night, and he wants to be baptized. :) So that was amazing! :)
Lots of less active work this week, which always gives a man a headache, but ah well, such is the life of a missionary.
Also, didn't get to email for the last two days because they've been holidays, but here it is for today. But, we have missionary work for the day, so, that may be it for the day! But thank you for the prayers and the love and everything else, I hope that things continue to go well back there! See you all soon!