Monday, November 9, 2015

There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who divide things into two categories, and those who don't. - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everybody!

I love hearing from all of you. This week was super exciting. Monday night Elder Tolman and I ate dinner at the Tolk's house and then had a lesson with an investigator with them. They live in Brentwood so their house is huge. They took us on an art tour and I must say they kinda have Ed beat. They have a painting so big they had to buy this new house just to find a wall to fit it. Anyway that's not even the coolest part. (Side bar: nobody in the south makes good Mexican food) Brother Tolk is the physics professor from Vanderbilt. He is in charge of the laser lab. Here. Watch this video about him.

I'm a Mormon, Musician, and Laser-Loving Physics Professor (2:26)

Alright so yea he is super awesome. The best part is that he invited my district to come visit his lab next Monday. We'll get to see all of the crazy laser shenanigans and it is going to be awesome. On top of that, he is the ward choir director. The chapel you saw in the video is actually the Green Hills building. I've sung on that stage. Anyway, Elder Tolman and I were both in choir so we decided to practice singing for appointments and as a tracting technique. He is a tenor and I'm a bass so it is perfect harmony. We had been practicing Nearer my God to Thee and decided to sing it as part of our lesson. Little did we know, Sister Tolk is a Juilliard piano performance major. So she decided to accompany us. Then they liked it a lot. So they voluntold us to sing it as a special musical number in sacrament meeting. That was great and really helped build our relationship with the members. If I find a recording I may attach it next week.

Anyway they invited us to be in the Messiah concert this December with a full symphony and epicness. This will be the greatest thing ever.

Besides that this week has flown by so fast. I really don't remember a ton of things besides that. Elder Tolman and I are having lots of fun together. I am loving cooking. Elder Tolman is super surprised by how many delicious meals can be made in 25 minutes and under $5. He had been eating frozen pizzas and microwave meals for the last four months. So he is quite grateful for me and I am quite grateful that he does all of the dishes.

Here are a few pictures of things that I found in Nashville.

The public library is freaking awesome

So this week I want to talk about faith. Something I was taught a long while ago finally sunk in:

Faith unto salvation requires three things. 1) a belief in God 2) a correct understanding of his character and attributes 3) an actual understanding that our current lives and hearts are in harmony with God's will.

We read in the scriptures and in General Conference talks that faith leads to Hope which leads to our happiness in his life and the ability to get through trials. That Hope of the love and blessings of God and all that He has in store for us allow us to overcome anything we may face on this life. The faith that leads to this Hope, requires all three of the principles.

Often times faith is simply a belief in God - sometimes without even a correct knowledge of Him. This kind of faith gives us something to look forward to - a hope of a better life to come. But this is not the same thing as Hope. That kind of hope for a better life is hardly anything stronger than a hope that life will be easier after college, after the bills are paid, after all the kids grow up.

The kind of enduring, eternal Hope will allow us to truly find peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. It is the kind of faith that allowed President Eyring's father to have complete happiness despite the death of his wife. It is the kind of faith Great Aunt Rose taught Eva about. It will allow us to become truly converted unto the Lord and, like all the Lamanite converts of Ammon, never fall away. It requires a foundation of faith containing all three principles.

The actual knowledge that one's life and heart are in accordance with God's will is not something you can read in a book, hear from someone, or even think about yourself. This knowledge can come only from the Holy Ghost testifying to our hearts when we are truly doing all we now can to keep the commandments. John 14: 26-27 "the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things ... not as the world giveth, give I unto you."

I can testify that finding this knowledge leads to true peace and happiness. It is by no means an easy journey. But anyone can reconcile their will with the Father's will through prayer. I challenge all to follow the counsel we all heard in General Conference this October to "repent every day" and ask God in prayer "what lack I yet." I promise that as you do these things the Holy Ghost will teach you how to better live a Christlike life.

Always remember that discipleship is not a destination but a journey.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! May the Lord bless you and keep you.
- Elder Basham

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