The Ups and Downs – June 30, 2015

Sometimes we have high times. Sometimes we have low times. Sometimes we´re in between. We won´t be happy until after we´re dead. But it´s really nice to be able to rant to someone. I actually like listening to rants and empathizing (that´ll be nice for my wife someday, right?)
I learned several things from Elder Alonzo of the Seventy last week.Things to change; understanding and teaching to recent converts the importance of the Sacrament every week. And trying new things; not just following the same pattern, but presenting doctrine and commitments differently to different people. And making the commitments the central focus of teaching.
To talk about the coming week: we´ll be having the wedding of a family this Saturday. And the nephew of a recent convert should be getting baptized. I was very impressed in a ward council meeting we had with Pres. O from the stake presidency. He outlined what the leaders of the ward should be doing, and how to follow the plan of the area presidency.  He went to Texas on his mission, so he speaks English, and he´s a lawyer. So he has a better idea of how the church works. He told them to make and print a program for Sacrament meeting, with the announcements (imagine, what innovation?)  (Not to mention he quoted Victor Frankl´s Man´s Search for Meaning in Elder´s quorum, which is my favorite book.) Pres. O fell very well with me (as the expression is in Spanish).
Our mission president asked me to share my favorite Book of Mormon Story: that´s hard. I read the Book of Mormon a few times as a teenager, but I never really studied it, and I´m finding new things as I work through. One chapter in particular I enjoy is Alma 7. It is a very structured discourse by Alma. I have it all diagrammed out in my English scriptures. He passes through all of the first principles of the gospel, while touching on themes of duty and the two great commandments. I find myself enjoying and noting the literary structure of the Book of Mormon the more times I read it.
These are from yesterday. We went downtown to see the Cultural Center. But, we live in Guatemala, and it was closed for no apparent reason. But theres this dome that´s a cheap imitation of the Jefferson Memorial, and the Catholic cathedral. So we snapped some photos, and headed back to the mall by our house to buy food.
 Escuintla Cultural Center 1 Escuintla Cultural Center 5

Escuintla Cultural Center 2 Escuintla Cultural Center 4 Escuintla Cultural Center 3
About the Supreme Court: this is why I´m going to study international politics.  Everyone, conservative or liberal has a spin. Even centrists. But I enjoyed reading the quotes.
Just remember. We just teach our kids. Like the Jews in the dispora. If they could keep their culture alive almost 2 thousand years, dispersed in groups, and subject to greater religious and political discrimination than we can imagine, can´t a few million Mormons teach their children in Church, family scripture study, and family home evening the commandments and culture of Zion? We´re the chosen people too.
Elder Schafer

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