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Foot in Mouth

Hello all:

Sorry I haven't been updating my blog very frequently-- this is one of the less-exciting areas I've served in. We hope to have a baptism this Saturday, though, and another one or two to shortly follow.

Got transfer calls late last night-- Eler Westerlund is heading out to a new area, and I will be getting my new companion soon. We're expecting exciting things this next transfer-- miracles. President Maynes had the mission give some new trainings this past week-- instead of the traditional weekly "discussions" of up to 45 minutes each, we now are instructed to stop by for 10-15 minutes 2-3 times each week. In addition to hopefully doubling our current weekly lessons numbers, it should hopefully help to teach only one or two principles at a time, with a digestion period of a day or two. This will hopefully be easier than throwing a thousand unfamiliar doctrines and a baptismal commitment at them all at once, cramming it all into a short 45 minute discussion replete with questions to gauge comprehension (and a half-hour allotment for those talkative investigators).

Interesting experiences from this week:

Doctrine & Covenants 33 repeatedly states, "Open your mouths, and they shall be filled." But sometimes, what fills your mouth is not the Spirit, but your foot.

In my sacrament meeting talk on faith yesterday, I tried to make the point that our faith must be in Jesus Christ, and not on anything that could fail. To illustrate, I brought up several examples of where you wouldn't want to place your faith. Without thinking, I threw Santa Claus into the list, and pointed out to the entire congregation that being a fictional character, he's not someone we should have faith in. Only afterward did it occur to me that Primary kids attend Sacrament Meeting. Luckily, the sister following me began her talk with a testimony of the reality of Kris Kringle, but I still got a few parents remark to me that next time I want to tell their kids there's no Santa Claus from the pulpit, I may wish to confirm with them first. Oops-- I guess missionaries won't be speaking in Church again any time soon.

We tracted into a lady that night who said she was some sort of "Born-Again Ministry of Faith and Fellowship Community of the Risen Lamb Evangelical Western Methodist Church" or something like that (and I thought our name was long!) She said she was busy having a Bible Study. Without missing a beat, I asked if we could join her. After a few seconds of startled surprise, and another minute of concerned, whispered consulting with the group inside, they finally agreed. But they were really tense-- kept on glancing at us with worried faces, terrified we were going to start spouting demons or something. I was laughing my head off inside. But it went pretty well-- we had a good discussion on tithing and charity (not sure how it tied into the assigned reading of Galatians 6, but OK).

Then they started praying-- that was... interesting. Imagine a group of people holding hands chanting stuff and "rebuking stinginess in the name of Jesus" (hallelujah!), and commanding "the spirit of willing donation to enter me and completely posses me" (amen, hallelujah!) Repeat this about 7 times, getting louder each time. OK, so that part was kinda strange; I kinda value my agency, and don't really want to ask anything to posses me. Pastor T was pretty talented-- she was repeating her chants and hallelujahs at rapid-fire pace, while having a discussion with her daughter. Definite talent. Then they prayed for us, that we might have learned something there, and we left in good spirits. Definitely an educational experience. Gotta love those holy-rollers.

Well, gotta head to another appointment. Hope everything's going well, especially all of you who are taking finals. Keep up those prayers for Japan.

Elder Watkins
Colorado Denver South Mission
999 E. Tufts Av.
Cherry Hills Village, CO 80113

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