Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I got your recordings. Thank you. It was great to hear some updates! I
always find myself wishing for more when you finish! That is probably how
you feel with my letters, so I am not asking you to make them longer. I
normally listen another time just for good measure. It was good to hear that
Jessie is going to church and is a little Sun Beam! How cute! I got the
picture of his new church clothes too, which were also very cute.

Happy 5th Anniversary, or something? I'm not sure how to congratulate you on
that. Way to still be here!? It is crazy to think it has been 5 years. Have
fun at your basketball game to celebrate!

I did see that you put money on my card for the bike repairs. I used cash I
already had to pay for that, and will use the money on the card at the
supermarket to save the cost of withdrawing from the ATM.

Say hi to all our basketball buddies and tell them I'll see them in 5

I haven't gotten anything from Grandpa Stobbe. I checked my Gmail account to
double check and there wasn't anything from him either.

I know you are probably planning on it anyway, but keep me up to date with
your basketball team and Shered's. I want to know how his superstars are
doing! : ) I am going play terrible when I get back, I'm sure. I'll have to
get into the rythm again. Oh, speaking of basketball, I have some bad news
that I never told you. While I was in the offices, I had a few things stolen
from me. We are pretty sure it was the cleaning guy (who was a member) but
we could never prove it. On several occasions food went missing when he was
the only one there. I believe he also took my backpack and basketball shoes.
I had my shoes in a cupboard for when we played on P-days, and one day after
not playing for more than a month, I went to put them on... and they were
not there. The same with the backpack I bought myself for Christmas last
year. Didn't use it for a while, went to look for it, wasn't there, etc. I
didn`t want to make a big deal about it because I can live without them
both, but... just so you know. In the end, because there was no proof, and
we didn't want to make a scene, President Stapley quietly let him go, and
hired a new cleaning crew (who cleaned better anyway). On two separate
occasions, the Assistants also lost my flash drives. Luckily, President
Stapley gave me one and I have one of Matt and Rob's that I am using til I
get home. I haven't really had too much of a need, since I can back up my
pictures for now on the computer. I will probably DropBox them all home
towards the end. I don't think I lost any pictures, but I am not postive

These past few weeks we have had an interesting experience with Paola, the
sister in our ward who is the Primary President. She sent us a text message
on New Year's Day (we can receive but not send them) saying that she wanted
us to call her about something very important ASAP. We called her and she
asked when we would be able to visit her, because she had a question about
something. I told her Tuesday night, because we were going down to Dolores
the next day. She ended the call by saying, "Ok, but I don't know if I'll
still be a member on tuesday night!" Knowing her, I knew she was
exaggerating, but that it was important. Over the next two days we tried to
think of what it could be that was such an issue. Finally, when we went to
visit her, she told us she wanted us to explain completely about Baptisms
for the Dead. She had gone to say hi to an aquaintance of hers who is kind
of like a preacher in another church. They hadn't seen eachother for a
while, and catching up, she told him she had joined the Church. He
immediately started spouting some anti-mormon garbage about worshiping
Joseph Smith and how baptizing deceased people was an abomination. Long
story short, he scared her! (She has been a member for about 7 months, and
hasn't taken any temple prep classes) He showed her a scripture that proved
it was not approved in the primitive church (ironically, the same
scripture/chapter we used to help her understand). It was in 1 Corinthians
15:29 "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead
rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" Her "friend"
used this to try and prove that the dead do not rise, therfore we should not
be baptized for them. This, it seems, is a typical example of how people
take scriptures out of context to try and confuse us. He did not realize, or
maybe was ignoring the fact that this was used in a facetious manner. It is
interesting, because for me, reading the whole chapter, it is perfectly
clear what the meaning is. Paul used what to him and those who he was
preaching to was a given truth: that baptisms for the dead were in fact
performed and approved by the Church. That being the case, we realize that
he is making something clear to them. In the vernacular of today's youth: Do
you really think we would be baptizing people for the dead if they weren't
going to have the same chance at salvation and resurrection as us? If not,
why would we even bother? In the end, we were able to help Paola overcome
her concern and understand a little more. We left her with the assignment to
do her own studying, and more importantly, praying, to be at peace on this
subject. Interestingly, after we finished teaching, she told us something
that gives me hope for recent converts all over the world who face
situations like this. She told us that even though she was extremely
confused, and felt like she didn't know what to believe, she knew one thing:
She had a testimony that the Church is true. She knew that she would
eventually figure it out, but in that moment, the only thing that kept her
from simply never going back to church was her testimony. It reminded me of
a quote from my little book: "A testimony is something we keep up during the
good times, so that it can keep us up during the difficult times" (or
something like that)

I am grateful for all of the prayers and love that I receive each day. I can
truly feel them. It seems I have been here for a lifetime. It is a life I
love and it will definitely be bittersweet when it comes time to finish.

Mom, I will send pictures of my clothes next week.

Peace out.

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