Monday, March 23, 2015

"This is the most real thing I have ever done".

I read a talk on Friday morning by Elder Bednar called "Things As They Really Are" ( It really puts into perspective what is real and what is fantasy. If it isn't genuine, it has no positive value on our life, only negative effects. Especially being in the singles ward, we see a handful of guys and girls so attached to their smart phone or Xbox that it's alarming. 

I read that talk Friday morning. Friday afternoon, we were contacting/tracting when we saw a store that one of our investigators works part time at. We went inside to see if he was there but he wasn't. This store seemed pretty sketchy, but the merchandise looked nice. They had NFL jerseys, hats, watches, blue jeans, polos, and a whole bunch of other modern clothes. I looked at the glass counter and saw what appeared to be Ray Ban sunglasses. Normally these glasses sell for $140+ but the sign said "$40.00". I was flabbergasted because the price was unbelievable. I was skeptical, so I asked the lady how in the world could they be selling those glasses for 25% of the price. She explained how this distributor in New York bulk orders them from the company and how they cut out this and that middle man and blah blah blah. She made it sound really convincing of how they could sell them for so cheap, but they were "genuine".  So, I asked if I could try some on and the proof is in the pudding right? They looked nice, felt nice, and had the trademark logo of Ray Ban. I bought two pairs, thinking I could sell the second if I ever got sick of it. Elder Empey got one too. We looked pretty fresh walking around campus with those glasses on. A deal "too good to be true" seemed true. We received multiple compliments, plus the sun wasn't in our eyes. 

We then ran into a member at the institute who has some experience with high-end sunglasses. He took our glasses and within 5 seconds knew they were frauds. Plastic lenses, plastic hinges, no reinforcement of the temples, glued on logo, imperfections, low-quality framework. We were lied to! The next day, we went back into that store and she immediately knew why we were there. She was so pleasant the day before when she fooled us but, oh boy, was she nasty when we tried to return the sunglasses. Their sign said "Exchange only within 5 days with receipt" but we demanded full refund having been beguiled. She didn't argue with us. She knew she lied and I think she just didn't want us to turn her in. She talked to the owner and then gave us a crisp $100 bill, which I immediately asked, "Is this actually real?" We lost $14.87 on the whole deal but we told the BBB and they should be on it soon. Empey and I knew we shouldn't have bought anything on non-pday and we felt like we wasted a precious piece of the Lord's time. We repented and worked hard the rest of the week.

What does any of this have to do with missionary work or the Gospel? This is EXACTLY how Satan works! He will counterfeit something real in order to ensnare us. He tells us lies to get us to where he can destroy us. He "will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell." 

So on that note, here is an example of truth and light. Jacob, who has been coming to church with his friend Erik the past 5 weeks, came to Church this week as well. We gave him his first Book of Mormon on the 14th, and today, the 23rd, he is in the book of Helaman. That's over 350 pages my friends! We met with him after church yesterday and no joke, he is a different person. The light of his countenance is bright. His smile is contagious. His Gospel knowledge has increased ten fold. His relationship with Jesus Christ is tangible. He told us he "knows that all of what [he] read is true." He watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration the other night and wondered why so many people would persecute him for something that was true. He is spiritually "on fire". He is coming out on splits with us Tuesday night. Yep, you heard that. A non-member is coming with us to teach other non-members that this is true. We will see when he wants to be baptized. It is a miracle, a testimony to me that the Book of Mormon DOES change lives. Its only purpose is to testify of Christ. Jacob picked up the book because we asked him to do so. Now he can't put it down because he knows it is true. "...because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good...O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good"

This is real. This is the most real thing I have ever done. The peace that I feel, even as I type this, is real. Satan can try to mimick a range of different emotions and feelings, but he in no form can fraud us into feeling peace. Christ said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." That's what I want! Elder Bednar says it well too:

I testify that God lives and is our Heavenly Father. He is the author of the plan of salvation. Jesus is the Christ,the Redeemer, whose body was bruised, broken, and torn for us as He offered the atoning sacrifice. He is resurrected, He lives, and He stands at the head of His Church in these latter days. To be “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15) will be a real and not a virtual experience.

-Elder Sell
The fraud Ray Bans! Look real huh??

My swag companion reading the Book of Mormon during a nice sunset

Me wearing my other sunglasses which I should never have forsaken in the first place

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