April 30

Hey Mom and Dad so this week has been pretty good. We were able to get a new investigator named Gideon this week. Gideon is from Kenya and he has had a rough life. He told us stories of watching people starve to death so needless to say he has a tough time believing in God. This week we were also able to go on trade offs with the zone leaders. Elder Leutele (from new zealand) and I got to stay in evandale and smash it here. Other than that it has been really normal. Our converts are doing great and paul is slowly progressing.

  1. read d&c 50 or d&c 112 is what I do to lift myself when I’m feeling down.
  2. adobo is my favorite new food I’ve tried.
    10. Investigators would say this about me i talk really fast and tell stories

Brent – Hey buddy, I’m cheating in the Moroni’s quest fireside and am emailing you. How cool to meet someone like Gideon. I loved teaching Africans in Sweden. Amazing people. The convert  baptism went great. We were in the RS room at Parkland. It was packed. All the YM were standing. At least 10 non members from Centennial came. A good day

Krista – Oh… that is no surprise that you talk really fast and it makes sense that you  are a storyteller coming from your family. I am glad to hear about the two sections of D&C . I will make that my scripture study for this week. So Paul and Gideon and remind me again the name of your Chinese investigator… and what is adobo?

Tommy – his name is martin and adobo is a filipino food that elder miague taught me how to cook. super simple but really good. and yeah the africans are always really receptive – that is sweet i dont even remember convert baptisms in sundance

Brent – Neither do we! It is pretty great.

Krista – Ok… so just saying Philipino food is not that descriptive… any more info? Tell me what you did on splits and a little about your Zone leaders

Tommy – its like meat and filipino soy sauce (very different)  on rice – same as usual finding

Ben – Ben- hey Tommy on our program it says your returning auust 2017

Tommy – one more year

Krista – Hmmm… I will have to look it up and try to find how to make it. Sounds interesting. Where do you go to find in your area? – I think Benny meant 2018 the part he likes is that there is no G in August  …Auust. We look for it every week…  it’s kind of a tradition now

Ben- doh somehow I forgot the year

Tommy – we do a lot of door knocking in a place called campbelltown – haha all good benny

Krista – What is your favorite way to contact people? What are you the best at and what are you trying to improve at?

Tommy – i am not the best at going slow with my contacts, the easiest way to talk to people is on the street because they cant run away

Ben- hey did mom tell you I’m playing Rugby now it is really fun I bit too hard on my mouth guard now it gets stuck in

Tommy – good you want it to get stuck because then it wont fall out – what position are you playing?

Krista – Oh that cracks me up… what a surprise that you are not into details and going slow… sound familiar Benny??? I also laughed at “they can’t  run away”… they also probably can’t send their dogs after you 🙂

Ben- no like have to pop it out from the back. Don’t know my position yey

Krista – Tell me about some of the personalities of the missionaries you work with senior or junior… Who is the most serious? Who likes a good joke?  Who is a good cook? Who is a fierce teacher?

Tommy – exactly – everyone in the district are jokers. i have to be the serious one which is no fun

Ben – in my first practice I scored a try

Tommy – elder garbutt and miague are good cooks – thats sweet!

Krista – That is a hard thing when you have to be a leader… you told me about the adobo… what does Elder Garbutt like to cook? What has become your go to meal for you to cook?

Tommy – i cook a lot of mexican and assorted

Krista – What is coming up for you for PDay… any new training on the horizon?

Ben- thanks, on Friday I went to comiccon. Me and my friend played classic brawl

Tommy – classic brawl how was it?

Krista – What about the senior missionaries? Who is like a mom or dad? Who is a great teacher? Who is a details person?

Tommy – i have been training a lot for meetings speaking of, dad do you have any good leadership trainings that can be applied to the gospel?

Ben- really fun you can be mew two in it witch is awsome

Tommy – and sister smith is like leder miague and i’s mom

Brent – I will have to send you something next week.

Tommy – ok sweet im running out of ideas for trainings

Krista – What!!! I don’t understand, I think you were typing too fast.. explain about Sister Smith and Elder Miague

Tommy – sister smith is like a mom to elder miague and i. she makes sure we are fed

Ben- one thing I got was a pin with cat Head in a cupcake cup with a unicorn horn

Brent – Taylor says hi. The boys and I gotta go. Have a great week.

Krista – What about using the story of Jake in Cameron Lake… He kept swimming deeper and deeper, having a great time and he had no idea that there was a big drop off and that the water was so cold he could be in danger. Finally a man in a kayak pushed him to the shore… could use the analogy of sometimes we don’t know the dangers of what we are doing or what is around the corner… have to listen to people on shore(spirit) and get help from the Lord and others to avoid danger… reminds me of President Packer’s crocodile story.

I have always been interested in animals and birds and when I was a little boy and the other children wanted to play cowboy, I wanted to go on safari to Africa and would pretend I was hunting the wild animals.

When I learned to read, I found books about birds and animals and came to know much about them. By the time I was in my teens I could identify most of the African animals. I could tell a klipspringer from an impala, or a gemsbok from wildebeest.

I always wanted to go to Africa and see the animals, and finally that opportunity came. Sister Packer and I were assigned to tour the South Africa Mission with President and Sister Howard Badger. We had a very strenuous schedule and had dedicated eight chapels in seven days, scattered across that broad continent.

President Badger was vague about the schedule for September 10th. (That happens to be my birthday.) We were in Rhodesia, planning, I thought, to return to Johannesburg, South Africa. But he had other plans, and we landed at Victoria Falls.

“There is a game reserve some distance from here,” he explained, “and I have rented a car, and tomorrow, your birthday, we are going to spend seeing the African animals.”

Now I might explain that the game reserves in Africa are unusual. The people are put in cages, and the animals are left to run free. That is, there are compounds where the park visitors check in at night and are locked behind high fences until after daylight they are allowed to drive about, but no one is allowed out of his car.

We arrived in the park in the late afternoon. By some mistake, there were not enough cabins for all the visitors, and they were all taken when we arrived. The head ranger indicated that they had a cabin in an isolated area about eight miles from the compound and we could spend the night there.

Because of a delay in getting our evening meal, it was long after dark when we left the compound. We found the turnoff and had gone up the narrow road just a short distance when the engine stalled. We found a flashlight and I stepped out to check under the hood, thinking that there must be a loose connection or something. As the light flashed on the dusty road, the first thing I saw was lion tracks!

Back in the car, we determined to content ourselves with spending the night there! Fortunately, however, an hour or two later we were rescued by the driver of a gas truck who had left the compound late because of a problem. We awakened the head ranger and in due time we were settled in our cabin. In the morning they brought us back to the compound.

We had no automobile, and without telephones there was no way to get a replacement until late in the day. We faced the disappointment of sitting around the compound all day. Our one day in the park was ruined and, for me, the dream of a lifetime was gone.

I talked with a young ranger, and he was surprised that I knew many of the African birds. Then he volunteered to rescue us.

“We are building a new lookout over a water hole about twenty miles from the compound,” he said. “It is not quite finished, but it is safe. I will take you out there with a lunch, and when your car comes late this afternoon we will bring it out to you. You may see as many animals, or even more, than if you were driving around.”

On the way to the lookout he volunteered to show us some lions. He turned off through the brush and before long located a group of seventeen lions all sprawled out asleep and drove right up among them.

We stopped at a water hole to watch the animals come to drink. It was very dry that season and there was not much water, really just muddy spots. When the elephants stepped into the soft mud the water would seep into the depression and the animals would drink from the elephant tracks.

The antelope, particularly, were very nervous. They would approach the mud hole, only to turn and run away in great fright. I could see there were no lions about and asked the guide why they didn’t drink. His answer, and this is the lesson, was “Crocodiles.”

I knew he must be joking and asked him seriously, “What is the problem?” The answer again: “Crocodiles.”

“Nonsense,” I said. “There are no crocodiles out there. Anyone can see that.”

I thought he was having some fun at the expense of his foreign game expert, and finally I asked him to tell us the truth. Now I remind you that I was not uninformed. I had read many books. Besides, anyone would know that you can’t hide a crocodile in an elephant track.

He could tell I did not believe him and determined, I suppose, to teach me a lesson. We drove to another location where the car was on an embankment above the muddy hole where we could look down. “There,” he said. “See for yourself.”

I couldn’t see anything except the mud, a little water, and the nervous animals in the distance. Then all at once I saw it!—a large crocodile, settled in the mud, waiting for some unsuspecting animal to get thirsty enough to come for a drink.

Suddenly I became a believer! When he could see I was willing to listen, he continued with the lesson. “There are crocodiles all over the park,” he said, “not just in the rivers. We don’t have any water without a crocodile somewhere near it, and you’d better count on it.”

The guide was kinder to me than I deserved. My “know-it-all” challenge to his first statement, “crocodiles,” might have brought an invitation, “Well, go out and see for yourself!”

I could see for myself that there were no crocodiles. I was so sure of myself I think I might have walked out just to see what was there. Such an arrogant approach could have been fatal! But he was patient enough to teach me.

My young friends, I hope you’ll be wiser in talking to your guides than I was on that occasion. That smart-aleck idea that I knew everything really wasn’t worthy of me, nor is it worthy of you. I’m not very proud of it, and I think I’d be ashamed to tell you about it except that telling you may help you.

Those ahead of you in life have probed about the water holes a bit and raise a voice of warning about crocodiles. Not just the big, gray lizards that can bite you to pieces, but spiritual crocodiles, infinitely more dangerous, and more deceptive and less visible, even, than those well-camouflaged reptiles of Africa.

These spiritual crocodiles can kill or mutilate your souls. They can destroy your peace of mind and the peace of mind of those who love you. Those are the ones to be warned against, and there is hardly a watering place in all of mortality now that is not infested with them.

On another trip to Africa I discussed this experience with a game ranger in another park. He assured me that you can indeed hide a crocodile in an elephant track—one big enough to bite a man in two.

He then showed me a place where a tragedy had occurred. A young man from England was working in the hotel for the season. In spite of constant and repeated warnings, he went through the compound fence to check something across a shallow splash of water that didn’t cover his tennis shoes.

“He wasn’t two steps in,” the ranger said, “before a crocodile had him, and we could do nothing to save him.”

It seems almost to be against our natures, particularly when we are young, to accept much guidance from others. But, young people, there are times when, regardless of how much we think we know or how much we think we want to do something, that our very existence depends on paying attention to the guides.

Now, it is a gruesome thing to think about that young man who was eaten by the crocodile. But that is not, by any means, the worst thing that could happen. There are moral and spiritual things far worse even than the thought of being chewed to pieces by a monstrous lizard.

Fortunately there are guides enough in life to prevent these things from happening if we are willing to take counsel now and again.

Some of us are appointed now, as you will be soon, to be guides and rangers. Now we don’t use those titles very much. We go under the titles of parents—father and mother—bishop, leader, adviser. Our assignment is to see that you get through mortality without being injured by these spiritual crocodiles.

I’m glad Sister Smith is so awesome. Their flat is close to where you live right?

Tommy – around the corner

Krista – That was lucky! Jake is rocking out to the Lion King. I swear I could sing all of those songs in my sleep!!!!!!! Sang with the priests for the first time last week. They did well. Coy sang with them but also showed them a funny email Sister Woodruff sent to him giving him a lifetime exemption from Ward Choir. I suggested Drew go this week… Let’s just say he was hoping for an exemption too

Tommy – haha that is funny

Krista – Yep…there was all sorts of stuff like” it would be detrimental to the testimonies of his family and the ward”. Not sure it is that bad but the priests enjoyed it. May tomorrow finally feels like we can hope for Spring. Have you found that you have adjusted ti the weather enough now that the 19c fall weather feels cold in Adelaide? Are you glad for no more hot weather? I shouldn’t say that because then maybe you will get transferred to somewhere like Darwin where it is always hot

Tommy – gotta go love ypu

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