It was another great week here in Russellville, Alabama. The week was jam-packed with many new things tried and new people we came in contact with. There are so many Spanish-speaking individuals here in the Russellville area and we have been running into and teaching many of them.
Recently, we decided to start up an English class here! The first class that we had was this past week and it went wonderfully. We only had two people there, but hopefully in the coming weeks we will be able to get more people to attend! We had one really funny experience this past week that was a testimony builder for me and that I would like to share.
Last time that I emailed, I spoke about a man who had returned to church after not attending for nearly 40 years! Well this past week, we went out to see him at his apartment about midweek. We all sat down and began talking and proceeded to review the first five missionary lessons as if he were an investigator. It has been so long since he has been to church that he didn’t remember all that much. So on this particular day, we began discussing his week and told him we were going to go over the “Word of Wisdom.” We didn’t know how much he remembered about the “Word of Wisdom,” but before we could explain what it was to him he said, “Ah yes, the Word of Wisdom. Before I began coming back to church I took it upon myself to start living right again and by the gospel standards. I got rid of my coffee maker and got rid of all the tea. I got rid of all alcohol a long time ago. There is no tobacco, no illegal drugs and I am getting rid of all the sugar in my house . . .” I thought to myself, huh? After he finished, we looked at each other and then back at him and asked if that last thing he said was sugar. And he said, “yes!” He truly thought he couldn’t eat sugar. So we then had probably the most pleasant “Word of Wisdom” lesson I have ever taught in which we explained to him that we COULD eat sugar and that there was nothing wrong with it.
I think it is a great testimony to his faith though and it was a little bit of a tender mercy for me. Because this man knew that the Book of Mormon was true and the church was true, he was willing to give up anything for it, even sugar! I had to do a quick self-check leaving that appointment and ask myself if I had the faith sufficient enough to leave sugar behind if I were commanded to do so. (I really like sugar – ha! ha!) I don’t think we will be asked to do that anytime soon, but this man’s willingness to do so strengthened my testimony. I know that by following the “Word of Wisdom” we can receive health benefits and we might be able to live longer, but that is not the reason we have been commanded to do it. The “Word of Wisdom” has been provided to us as an opportunity to demonstrate, through obedience and faith, our love for our Heavenly Father. In reality, our Heavenly Father could have picked anything to put in the Word of Wisdom (sugar included), but he picked five specific things. There are many things that are not prohibited by the Word of Wisdom that are a lot more damaging to our health and well being. But it is not about that. It is all about obedience and faith, the first law of heaven. I am so grateful for all of the experiences that I am having and all of the wonderful people I have the opportunity to meet. I love and miss everyone back home and hope you have a wonderful week.