February 3, 2020


Punto Mogotes, Mar del Plata


Elder Iverson

Elder Ben: Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day! Hope you all had a beautiful, illustrious winter and are ready for spring! I got to call my family yesterday, which my companion thought was a little odd, but Groundhog day really is an important holiday for my family. Down here, I hope that the groundhog didn`t see his shadow, because an early spring there would mean an early fall for us, and it is hot here! Fortunately, we spent a lot of time this week with people in their homes, sharing and teaching about Jesus Christ. We made brownies for my sister`s birthday (and then shared them with a sister in the ward who had her birthday on the same day). We also started teaching english to a family. They`re great people, and it was fun working with them.
We called one of our friends on Saturday night to invite her to church, and at first she declined, saying that she felt too tired to go. As I was about to hang up, though, she asked at what hour it started, pondered, and said that she`d give it a try. The next day we had trouble finding a member who could bring her by car; eventually we found someone who could help, but it was already almost time to start the meeting. When we got to her house, she wasn`t there. We called her and found out that she had assumed that we wouldn`t come because we hadn`t shown up on time--she had gone to the store. "If you still want to go, we could come look for you there." (The house and the store were both near the church). We found her there and came to church, and at the end she said that she had a great time. It almost was prevented twice, but it happened, and she was grateful.
Not everyone had as great a Sunday as our amigo. A companionship of missionaries was coming into MDP for P-day, and when they got out of the taxi, two people zoomed up on a motorcycle. One ran up to them and held up a gun, asking for everything. One missionary gave his stuff, and the other just stood there, frozen in fear. The companion shouted from the motorcycle to kill them, but the thief just took the one missionary`s stuff and ran. Maybe it was because he didn`t want to kill, maybe it was because more missionaries were coming down to meet them, but whatever the reason was, he left the missionaries safe and sound. Not sure if that`s too intense to include in the email...yup. Nobody got hurt though.
What`s the difference between rocks and sand? Why is it that, in the well-known parable, one man`s house stood while the other`s fell? The answer is time. Over millions of years, sand can be compressed into stone or stone can crumble and chip until it becomes sand. It`s the same material, but one is bound together, while the other is loose. Similarly, our lives can be composed of the same stuff, but the results are affected by how it`s all bound together. Consider Nephi and his brothers in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. They passed through the same experiences, but one had his faith strengthened while the others kept on forgetting. Quite possibly, the difference came from time. Nephi remembered his experiences and he took the time to talk to God, and with just that he turned a ball of tangled string into a strong cord of faith that would carry him through numerous near-death experiences. Another way to bind and unify is through the use of a journal. If we forget what we`ve been through, then it`s Groundhog day, and everyday we`ll wake up in the same circumstances of the day before. (If you haven`t seen the movie Groundhog Day, you haven`t lived). The ultimate way to bind things together is with the help of Jesus Christ. Our whims are isolated grains of sand, but if we are willing to sacrifice time and give of ourselves, Jesus Christ can really help us to make a difference. I testify that His doctrine is a sure foundation, and that if we are built on that foundation, no matter what we pass through, we, like Nephi in his first words (1 Nephi 1:1), can say that we`ve passed through many afflictions but that we`ve come to know the goodness of God nonetheless. Have a great week! Thank you for being a light for me!
Elder Sheffer


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