Monday, January 25, 2016

LET IT GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

Do you know what happened this week? If you guessed snow then you are right, because it definitely snowed. It started out with this little bit of snow on Wednesday.

This little layer of crunchy snow was really great. It reminded me of North Carolina where it would snow, but not really. Just slush and ice everywhere. I had a lot of fun reminiscing and also making snow balls. I will say that this snow is great for making snow balls with unlike the snow on mount lemon or flagstaff. So that was really fun throwing those around. However, although I sang the song from frozen at least a hundred times, we never built a snowman. 

Anyway so there was that tiny bit of snow. Everyone in Nashville was freaking out about it because it apparently never snows here. I've been told that Nashville is in what they call the snow dome because it will be snowing like mad to the north, south, east, and west, but not here in town. So the fact that we had even that much snow kinda stopped everything. I'd say that Nashville reacts to snow worse than Phoenix reacts to rain. Fortunately that all melted up nice and quick leaving the roads all clear by Thursday. However that did not last very long. This is what we woke up to Friday morning. 

It snowed all day Friday. By the time it was done there was almost a full foot of snow. This completely shut the city down. No driving, no biking, no busses, no mail, and mostly no people. But that did not put a stop to missionary work. We got to walk through it all. We spent the first two days just visiting around our block, but we got brave on Sunday and walked for three and a half hours all over town. I'm still kinda dead after that. 

I totally loved the snow. I just went about skipping and cavorting through it like a deer. Or maybe a rabbit. You choose your own imagery there. Either way it was fantastic. It feels so great to walk on a fresh patch of snow that has never been stepped on before. Your feet just sink down into it. Then I went kicking it all around and just having an absolute blast. Then we made ice cream with the snow for dinner. That was delicious. I really wish it would snow again just for more ice cream. Then the next day, after the snow had sat in the sun and been driven on, it was packed down into a hard three inches of ice. While this is terribly dangerous and even lethal for automobiles, it is great for having fun. When walking down hill you can run forward for a bit and then jump into the icy tire track and then slide for a ways down the hill. It made walking a pretty fantastic game. 

However, Elder Brown was far less interested in the snow than I was. It was quite difficult for him to get through the stuff for some reason so I felt a lot like Legolas running circles around Borimir. It was quite fantastic. Although I admit I had a lot less fun with the snow when I had to drive.

Fortunately it was mostly all melted by then. I'll send more snow pictures in a later email. 

So I learned a rather interesting lesson with all of this snow. As fun as it may seem to run off through the snow and make your own path, it isn't really the best idea. You end up really tired after a while and your legs get all wet and your shoes tend to get ruined. It turns out that it is far better to follow in the footsteps of another. However, this is easier said than done. In order to be safest, you have to step right in the previous traveler's track. This requires you to constantly look down and evaluate every pace. You have to make sure every motion is in harmony with theirs. This is rather difficult at first, but as you press forward, you eventually learn their pacing and placement. The further you go in their footsteps, the more you begin to walk like them. 

And so it is with the Savior. He has walked the path back to our Father. His is the only path that can get us there. While going off on our own may seem enticing, it will lead to ruin. And so we must constantly be looking down, evaluating every step we take. We cannot follow Him if our eyes are not on his path. And most importantly, if we are to succeed at following the footprints to the end, we must be like him. It won't happen instantly, but the further we follow the path of discipleship, the more we begin to walk like him. And eventually, his ways will become our ways, and we can walk right behind him to our father in heaven. All of this is made possible through his atonement in which he trod down all the barriers in our way and cleared the straight and narrow path for our travel. And how grateful I am that he did. 

Have a fantastic week and enjoy your weather wherever you are!
Elder Basham

Monday, January 18, 2016

-Green Hills, Tennessee

I'm all out of ways to say hello. So if you can think of a creative greeting go ahead and insert it right there on the line. 


Would you like to see a picture of Elder Brown? Well here you go:

Elder Brown is quite a great missionary. I'm very glad to be serving with him before he goes home. I've already learned so much in the last few days it is awesome. --Also I will get around to learning a new way to tie my tie eventually. It's pretty ingrained in my subconscious after 8 years and I keep forgetting about it.-- Anyway I can see why they have us change areas and companions. There are so many new and different ways of looking at things, teaching, and going about the work in general. You get to learn something new from every companion and area. 

As far as big events or fun stories, not much happened this week. Except this really great regional conference we had yesterday. We got to hear talks from members of the quorum of the twelve apostles as well as members of the general relief society presidency. There were a lot of fantastic things said that really made me think and search myself. I'm so grateful for that opportunity and all that I learned. But what I would like to share with you comes from a talk given by president Benson of the Nashville, Tennessee Stake. 

President Benson served his mission in China and he explained one thing he learned there. While my name-tag reads:

Elder Basham
The Church of
Jesus Christ 
Of Latter-Day Saints

In Chinese it reads:

Jesus Christ's
Latter-Day Saints'
Elder Basham 

So that was really cool to think about. I represent Jesus Christ and all of the people who make up His church. That really brought new meaning to the idea of taking on the name of Jesus Christ. And that is exactly what President Benson's talk was all about. We promise to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ every time we take the sacrament. Often times we think of the sacrament as a means of renewing our baptismal covenants. However, this is found nowhere in the scriptures. All of the scriptures about the sacrament, including the prayers themselves, talk about remembering Jesus Christ and taking his name upon us. 

The sacrament is a forward-looking ordinance. Each time we take it we are preparing for that day when the father shall call Christ and His people. King Benjamin explains this day perfectly in Mosiah chapter five:

7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
8 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
9 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.
10 And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God.

Every time we take the sacrament we are learning to hear the father's voice and remembering by what name we are called and promising that we will remember Christ. However there are many who shall come crying "lord, lord" yet he shall turn and say "depart, ye never knew me." We cannot simply come calling to him once a week. We will never come to know him that way. In order to know him, to know the name by which we are called and the voice which calls us, we must be obedient unto the end of our lives. Remembering him in all that we do. 

The name Jesus Christ is tied eternally with the mission of the Savior, his atonement, his love, and his gospel. It brings to mind all of the work he has done and will do for this world, the work to which he was called and chosen for before the foundation of this world and continuing beyond the end thereof and into eternity . This work is of course "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men." To take upon ourselves His name, we promise to take upon ourselves His work, to act as he would act, to speak as he would speak, and to be as he is. 

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week filled with a remembrance of Christ. I know that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that he is the Savior of the world, and that he lives. He is my redeemer and yours. His love extends beyond my comprehension. He is reaching out to all of us with open arms inviting us to take upon his name. In that holy name, amen. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

All of them at once I suppose

Happy no-more-holidays!

This was the most busy week ever. We went on exchanges finally because it was the last week of the transfer and we hadn't gotten around to it yet. This time, instead of Elder Orr coming to my area, I went to his with Elder Trajillo. They have a Spanish speaking area so it was quite an adventure. I got to teach two lessons in Spanish. I was rather proud of how much I could actually remember from sophomore year.

Unfortunately I lacked the vocabulary to teach but I was easily able to chat. Then I got to listen to the lesson and then introduce scriptures like. El libro de Alma, capítulo siete. Yo leo versículo once. ¿Tus les versículo doce? That was quite fun. I especially loved reading El Libro de Mormón en español. The word choice adds so much more simplicity and depth to the meaning of the passages. Also it was great learning how to pronounce the large words. In one of the lessons, the member fed us lunch and it was delicious. She was from Guatemala. She made homemade corn tortillas and this amazing green sauce to go on the tacos. I loved it so much and it really made me miss making our own tortillas. I may buy some corn meal next week.

Later in the week, back with Elder Tolman, we visited our investigators from Africa. They are really fantastic. I really love teaching them because they really really love to learn. Every lesson seems to end with them shouting praises to God and exclaiming how great the Book of Mormon is and how much they love the clarity it brings. Anyway, they always make us delicious African food. Fortunately we have not had to eat any more sardines. They eat rice with pretty much every meal and  EVERYTHING is SPICY. It's delicious but I'm usually sweating by the time I finish eating. Anyway here is a picture.

With our African Investigators.

Brother Booker took us out to eat at a restaurant called Monel's. It is a soul food buffet. All of the food is inconceivably good, but that's not even he best part. It is in an old southern house and you sit around a big table with lots of people. They bring all the food to your table and its served like it is a home cooked meal. Everyone passes the food around and chats together. Actually you have to talk together. They are very serious about the southern hospitality feel, so you cannot have any cell phones. You just sit around and chit chat with everybody. That was loads of fun and we met some great people. Everyone was curious about what missionaries are and what we do, so we got to explain the church briefly. Planting seeds everywhere we go! Anyway it was great except Elder Tolman forgot his name tag and it was really awkward and funny.

At Monel's soul food buffet
Elder Basham, Brother Booker, Elder Tolman

This was a great week for food all around. Elder Tolman and I went to our Chinese investigators' house for dinner. It was quite delicious. I do enjoy every time I eat with them, but I have definitely learned that Chinese food is absolutely nothing like the "Chinese food" we buy in restaurants here. However, I still like Pei Wei better, even if it is totally America. Also, do you know what is amazing? Answer: chopsticks. Remember that one year when every birthday and Christmas present request I gave was "a pair of chopsticks." Well I was entirely serious. I just remembered again how much I love these things. I've been eating pretty much everything with them. The exception seems to be apple pie and tacos. There isn't a good way to eat those things with chopsticks. It's kinda funny visiting these guys because they literally don't even have any forks. Elder Tolman has to bring his own fork to dinner.

Anyway the most hilarious thing happened. They asked Elder Tolman if he is getting married soon. He laughed and explained that he isn't until he finishes his mission. They she offered: "I have lots friends Chinese girls. Want America husband. If you want Chinese girl, I hook you up." That was quite hilarious and I have teased him about it a lot. I was not offered a wife, but I'm really alright with that. In fact they didn't ask me much at all. I'm pretty sure they are far more interested in elder Tolman than the gospel, so we'll see if they talk to Elder Brown and I next week. Which leads into my next topic: transfers. 

So the time has come once again for people to be moved around, and this time it has affected us. Elder Tolman will be moving to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and I will be receiving a new companion tomorrow. His name is Elder Brown. It is his last transfer so I'll be sending him home next month. That'll be weird. Anyway, in the usual tradition, we sang 152 (God be with you till we meet again) in our last district meeting then gathered around for photos. Here they are. 

You can't see the #Nashtag behind Elder Lansberry's head.

In this one the camera started falling at the last second 
And somebody decided to make a pyramid and volunteered me for the top spot.
I'm not entirely sure it was a good idea but oh well. 

So yep there it is. A lot of them are leaving which is going to be interesting. I had pretty much the same district for my first two transfers, so it'll be weird having entirely new people. 

Thank you all for reading through my week of food; I had fun writing it at least, but now on to something else. This week, as I was taking the sacrament, the words "always remember Him" really stuck out to me. I was seeking for a way to make my work more meaningful and to grow closer to Christ. I realized then that mere obedience isn't enough. Simply going through the motions of following Christ is only a small part of what we can do for him. I have been trying now to remember Him always through all of the things I do. To put meaning behind the motion and a greater purpose to why I obey. 

This theme was only continued throughout church. I loved the lesson from Howard W Hunter. "We must know Christ better than we know him; we must remember him more often than we remember him; we must serve him more valiantly than we serve him." And I would add that we must love him more than we already love him. It is comforting to know that even the prophet feels like he needs to know Christ better. We can never remain stagnant in the gospel, but rather must constantly be striving to improve our relationship with Christ. I am glad that there really is no finish line but that improvement and progression have one eternal round. I'll always be able to love Christ more tomorrow than I do today if I truly work for it. And that makes every minute so much more meaningful. 

I can promise that God loves you and will help you come towards him. For every step you take in his direction, he will more than match your effort. I know that as you strive to remember Him more, you will feel his love and blessings in your life and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Thank you all and have a wonderful week, love
Elder Basham

Monday, January 4, 2016

Greek Food 2.0 - Green Hills, Tennessee

Happy New Year!

So on Friday we had a big missionary "party" in which we met with our zone at a church building. The cool part of that being that the church building was the same floor plan as the church by grandma Basham's house. I had a lot of fun looking around the halls and remembering my childhood. The stage that I used to run up and down, the gym where the 50th anniversary was held and uncle Joe got married, and the chapel where we had grandpa's funeral. Of course this was not the same building, it being on the other side of the country and all, but it looked exactly the same. 

After all that fun nostalgia, I realized that it is also the exact same floor plan as the snowflake stake center where I went to the New Years's dance like 3 years ago. So that was a fun flashback. Furthermore, I found out that my zone leader, Elder Nez, is actually from snowflake and was at that same stake party. So technically we were hanging out before the mission. Except I never actually met him. But oh well. Here he is.

Elder Basham, Elder Nez from Snowflake Arizona

Anyway, after all that fun went down, we got to watch the lion king. It is so weird watching movies on a mission. I'm glad we only do it once a year. But it was also actually super fun. Elder Nez and I were singing along to all the songs. It was fantastic.

In other exciting news, I finally got Greek food. A member took us out for some and it was delicious. Elder Tolman had literally never had Greek food before in his life. Not even hummus and peta chips. He didn't even know what peta bread is. So that was a fun experience getting to show him for the first time. He really loved it so we bought all the things we need to make our own this week. I'm looking forward to that for sure.

In this time of setting goals and resolutions, I would love to talk about Jesus Christ. Many times I hear people talk about New Year's as a fresh slate or a new start, a time where we can set make plans to change ourselves. As great as that is, there is something so much better, and that is the enabling power of the atonement.

So many times we think that the atonement is for sinners. Every day I hear people say "Jesus died for my sins." And that is true. Yes He did. However, he didn't jus come for that. He gave us his life for our sins, for our mistakes, for our addictions, our habits, our conversations, and our thoughts. He didn't come here just so you can be saved in the next life, but also so you can be changed in this one. For the natural man is an enemy to God and will be forever and ever unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and becometh a saint through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is no man made power or influence that can change us, so there is no man made date or deadline to change. 

Because of Him, every minute is a new slate, a fresh start, and the time for you to change. I know that Christ has provided the way for us to become like Him and I know that anyone can do so no matter their background. I love the primary song I'm Trying to be Like Jesus because that truly is our goal in this life, and thanks to Him it is really possible. 

One of the greatest times we can decide to change ourselves and commit to follow Him is as we take the sacrament each week. This sacred ordnance is truly a blessing from heaven and an amazing opportunity to remember the Atonement and all it does for us. I know the sacrament has been an amazing blessing in my life as I strive to worthily partake of it with a remembrance of Christ and an eye single to His Glory. It has comforted me after many hard weeks and given me the strength to press forward through many more. I promise it can do the same for you and I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Have a great week everyone,

- Elder Basham