It's a beautiful morning here in Sydney, Australia! As usual, it's been a very busy week filled with great experiences and miracles!
Tuesday was a special zone training with President and Sister Howes. We reviewed everything we've studied together as a mission over the past year. Amazing how fast time has gone. Like always, President Howes dove into the scriptures with us as we studied from Mosiah Ch. 11. Chapter 11 is about King Noah. Those who maybe don't know who he is, he wasn't a very good man and a pretty terrible king. We read in the first few verses that King Noah, "did not keep the commandments of God, he walked in the desires of his own heart, he caused many of his people to commit sin, and he committed whoredoms and all manner of wickedness." We also know he taxed one fifth part of all the people possessed (which would sound pretty good now days), but he took this only to support himself and his priests. We read further on that the people actually became idolatrous! They were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king. They looked up to him and worshiped King Noah.
As we continue to read, we learn of Abinidi, a great prophet who comes to declare repentance, but the hearts of the people are hardened and King Noah has Abinidi killed. In Chapter 19, in comes Gideon, a strong man who, frankly, had enough. He goes to slay the King. As Gideon is about to slay King Noah, he sees the Lamanites are coming to attack the city, so King Noah pleads with Gideon to spare him so they can stop the Lamanites before it's too late. Gideon spares King Noah. We know that King Noah really didn't have his people in mind, he was more concerned about saving his own life. Being the courageous King he is, he tells all his people to run away, to follow him into the wilderness and leave everything, and being deceived the people DO! They start to run away, running after this man who is only trying to save himself. Seeing that the women and children are slowing down the people, King Noah tells the men to leave them! And...they DO! They leave their women and children behind and run after King Noah, following him into the wilderness. Now when the men reach the wilderness they realize what they've done, they've left everything that was important to them. Wanting to go back, King Noah tells them to stay with him. The men are now angry with King Noah and eventually he is killed.
I really like this story in the Book of Mormon. The people became blinded, they lost sight of the important things and became distracted by the things of this world. President Howes told us a story of his friend who was training to become a pilot. For the training they will put the pilots in a simulator and decrease the oxygen to a hypoxic state so they can experience what it is like to fly a plane with little oxygen. While they are in the simulator they ask them very simple questions. For example: 2+2 is ____? How many fingers on your hand? Draw a circle, etc. Very simple. When they come back to a normal oxygen state, they review their answers. His friend was SHOCKED to see that he had put 200 for the first question. He had said he has 10 fingers on one hand and he drew something along the lines of a scribble for a circle. At first he was in denial and said, "That can't be right, I remember everything, I was completely focused and knew what I was doing." Well, that's how you feel at a hypoxic state. You may not realize you are low on oxygen.
He related that to us being blinded like the people of King Noah. We may not even realize we are blinded or in a hypoxic state. It is so important that we keep those close to us who can help to guide us, whom we know will not lead us away into the wilderness. It is important to keep the commandments, to read our scriptures and do the basic things Heavenly Father asks of us. It was a really good training, I hope I made sense, haha.
We met a man from Thailand this week, his name is ________. Met him at the park and he was probably the nicest man I've ever met. He had some time so we took him to the chapel to give him a tour. He loved it, he asked, "Can you teach me?" Oh, ________, OF COURSE WE CAN!! haha. We've invited him to be baptized and he's accepted. We now have 6 investigators on date to be baptized in the next month, it's amazing. This is the last week before transfers, I hope I get to stay longer, only time will tell. :)
Our recent convert spoke last night at a fireside. She shared how she had come to the missionaries (us) asking them what she should do about a friend who was sick. We told her she could pray and we would also pray. as well. She said in her talk that it was actually her father who was very sick. She said she prayed and the following week he was completely healed. She said that's how she gained her testimony of prayer. It was so good! Of course, I was in a heap bawling, She's so awesome.
I hope you all have a fantastic week, I'm thinking of you daily! All the best!
We ran to the opera house at 5 in the morning to watch the sun rise.