When did I get old?

Questions?   Last week you indicated you would share this week how your scripture study is going.  Share a favorite teaching moment from the past week.  Share whatever is on your mind in the  time you have.  : )

Last week mom asked about keeping things lean. I have followed the advice that you gave me at the beginning of my mission, it is okay to get knew stuff, just as you get it, get rid of the old. So that is what I have done. My bags are roughly the same as they were when I got here.  Maybe even less weight.

My scripture study really has been fantastic recently, I think mostly becuase I took the time to really organize myself. I was hesistant to do it because I have notes in a million different places. However what I did was I stored all of my old notes and got a new binder and organized it how I want. So now my study is really easy. It just implies mantaining the order in one of my 8 sections of study

1. Book of Mormon

2. Bible

3. Basic Doctrines and Preach my Gospel

4. Themes

5. Questions

6. Reunions

7. Talks

8. Documents

This week my favorite things have actually come from my study of the Bible. In the 24 chapter of 2 Samuel. For disobedience to the commandments of the Lord, David brought upon his nation a plague and the Lord commanded him to go and offer a sacrafice. Which he of course did. I am going to highlight the parts that most impacted me and include the notes throughout the reading.

18 ¶And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.

19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.

20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.

21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? (I thought about the Apostles when Christ washed their feet) And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.

22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him:(In this case, Araunah doesn’t have to make the sacrafice. It wasn’t his sin, but he is consecrated to the Lord and to his purposes so he is willing to let it all up) behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.

23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.

24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.(This is the best part. I can just imagine David thinking that it will do him no good if the sacrifice is of another. In the end our personal salvation comes from being worthy of the sacrifice of Christ.  However, we should not expect that he pay for our sins if we are not willing to pay a small part of the price. I will not give the Lord a sacrifice which doth cost me nothing. Applicalbe in offerings, in time and in service) So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.–   (Because David did his part the Lord fulfilled with His promises and took the sickness from the Land. Of course applicable in just about any situation)

My other section of study was Daniel 3

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

13 ¶Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made;well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful  to answer thee in this matter. (footnote to careful in acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”)

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

I love the faith of these three. They say that if it is the will of God that He will save them from the flames. But in 18 it says that even if God does not save them that they will not bow down before the false Gods of the king. The application I think is rather simple. In the end all of us have affliction in the life, loss of loved ones, personal struggles, job searches, and etc, that are tests, trials and afflictions for us. We should have the Faith necessary so that if it were the will of God that He could save us. However we should also understand that if it is not His will that we will not bow to the struggles or turn from Our God, to look for some other unsatisfactory mandmade immitation. That is not the Gospel.

Personally as a missionary the major struggles are tiredness both physical and mental, the attraction of relaxing just a moment, temptation to be a little less than obedient and rejection. However, if it be that for the rest of my mission I am tired, tempted to rest to not be so diligent or only give 95% of my effort and if everyone in the world rejects me, I will not bow down to the god of laziness, despair and condemnation.

I love my study time.

As to other things. This week a lot of people have asked me how much time I have in the mission. Somehow 14 months have passed since I arrived here in Chile. The time passes rapidly and I have about 8 months left in the mission. It is incredible how the days pass and suddenly one realizes that they are no longer a new missionary. That other missionaries now look at one and say, “wow, he has been out here for a long time.”  I am no longer asking a million questions, but instead answering a million questions from other missionaries.

A favorite teaching moment

  • I had an interchange with a new missionary, Elder Hale. He is from Arizona and only speaks a little Spanish. However in all of the lessons we just focused on him bearing testimony at the right moment based on what we were talking about. It was incredible to see how effective simple testimony is. There was a moment that as we shared with a member he bore his testimony of the importance of sharing the gospel with others and the next day the member took us to a family of friends.
  • Other than that it was a pretty normal week of sharing. When one thinks of it, there are so many that are incredible but it requires a lot of background.

Bueno, I hope everything is going well in the construccion of the things in the house and school and work, and, well, everything.

I love you all,

Elder Caleb Tonkinson

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One Response to When did I get old?

  1. jolivier23 says:

    Wow, I can’t believe he has been out that long. I really miss the study time you get on your mission. You never get another opportunity like that.

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