Monday, November 23, 2015

In which Elder Basham freezes to death, eats sardines, and makes pancakes - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello you! No no you over there. The one with the eyes. Yes you!

This was a very fascinating week. It is definitely starting to be winter here. The Sun sets at 4:30, and it's 30 degrees shortly after that. While tracting last night we had to wear four layers of coats
and gloves and a beanie. I hate beanies, but I didn't care because the warmth was worth it. We just went shopping and bought leather gloves and scarves. (Ross is fantastic) Overall it was actually pretty great though. I love the way these southern neighborhoods feel in the winter. The houses look so cozy. It kinda feels like Christmas already.

Saturday was funny though because when we left our house it was sunny and bright so all we wore were wind breakers. This was the day we had to bike all day from one side of town to the other and back again. Lo and behold, halfway through our journey, the greatest storm of all time fell upon us. We were thoroughly soaked for every appointment. It was awesome though. We rode like 35 minutes to visit this one guy at 8 pm. This sounded like a terrible idea to me. But it was so worth it in the end. The second I saw him I totally loved him. He has the best smile and laugh in the entire world and the fullest jolly black person voice ever. Like he beats Morgan Freeman. You could literally listen
to him read the dictionary and just be enthralled.  It's fantastic.

Side bar: Elder Tolman really loves he city skyline. He is always making me take pictures of it for him a as we drive around. He also randomly wants a picture of the road. These things must be fascinating for someone who has lived on a farm forever (I tease) but anyway he said this great quote. "The city at night is just like if you put a bunch of Christmas lights on anorexic mountains." So yea there's that for you.

Moving on. I never really considered myself to be a picky eater. In fact I suppose you could call me the opposite. I will eat pretty much anything that is prepared well. Not that I'm one of those teenagers
who will shove anything half edible into my forever hungry stomach. That prepared well bit is important. I've even started eating avocados. So yea not picky. That is until I saw sardines. The second my mother opened a can of them for me this summer my reaction was "Nope. No. No. No. Nope. Absolutely not. Not ever." Little did I know that I would have to face sardines again. One of our wonderful investigators is a family from Africa. They are so sweet and grateful and just my favorite in every way. They offered to make us African food for an appointment which we happily looked forward to all week.  It was a white yam, a can of sardines, and lots of cayenne pepper. I was
a bit skeptical at first due to my previous experience with these nasty little canned fish. But either the fact that I had ridden a bike for two hours or all of the hot pepper made it actually rather
delicious. So I suppose I can eat sardines and not die.

Anyway so after a freezing day of fun and interesting food, I was in desperate need of something warm and delicious. So I decided to make pancakes as an after dinner shmeken. Unfortunately there was no syrup. No problem. I'll just make some caramel sauce. That was soooooooo delicious. Like I cannot describe the goodness. And by some miracle, I made the single greatest pancake ever. I won't go so far as to say I'm good at making pancakes or that I could do it again (I didn't. The rest were burnt) but this one pancake was perfect in every way and was just delicious. The only problem was that I accidentally set the caramel sauce back on the burner which had not cooled off yet. So while our first pancakes had perfect caramel syrup, the next ones had sticky caramel candy. And then, before I realized the problem, it turned from that into a grainy paste of buttered sugar crystals. So now we have that to deal with. Fortunately it goes well in oatmeal.

So yea that was a fun day. Besides that, this week was perfect. Like everything went well and we found so many new people to teach. We had more lessons in one day than we had had in whole weeks prior. This area is really picking up and it's super exciting.

I suppose you are wondering what what I am going to talk about now.  How about an Old Testament story. Everybody knows those.

So once upon a time there was a group of 2 million people standing on the edge of the Red Sea with all the armies of Pharaoh behind them. As any of us may have done, they began to panic and whine. Saying things like "it would have been better that we were still slaves" and whatnot. Meanwhile God was literally right there in front of them as a pillar of fire and the shadow of a cloud. Like right there. All they had to do was look up and remember "oh yea the Lord will fight for us." But instead they needed Moses to remind them of this. And they still continued to murmur as the cloud went down in front of the Egyptians.

Anyway the moral of the story is that God is literally right there watching over you. He is always there to protect you. We go through many trials in this world, but we are never alone. Unfortunately we cannot see him there as an epic pillar of fire always following us, but we're expected to have a little bit more faith than the hard-hearted Israelites. So without that visual reminder, how can we
keep ourselves from doubting and fearing?

That certainly is an interesting question isn't it. It's can be super easy to see the Lord's hand in our lives when everything is awesome. However, life rarely is that way. How do we remember the great mercy and power of God even when life stinks? There are lots of fantastic answers to this question. The one I want to focus on for now is this: Have the covenant written on your heart.

What does that mean? Well that is for you to find out. Yep. It's a homework assignment for you should you choose to accept it. I can promise you that engraving the covenant upon your heart will give you the strength to resist all temptation and overcome all trials.

So with that food for thought, I bid you adieu till next week.

- Elder Basham

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