Tuesday, December 23, 2014

T'was the Email Before Christmas... Also, Steven.

Before I say anything I got to say the mailing system in Africa has thoroughly confused me. And before I comment any further on the atrocity of the said system I have to publicly acknowledge and ask forgiveness to the lovely Granny K.
Grandma, I love you. Thank you so much for taking the time to hand-write a letter to me just about every week. This Zone Conference I received some letters from all the way back in May. I commend you for your consistency and adore you for how much time you spend taking care of those you care about (myself included!). Along with the packages I received from Mindy and Kent and Debbie (and a GIANT thanks to the both of you as well!), you made this kid's Christmas Conference. I truly appreciate it.
And now that outpouring of love has made me not want to lament about the mail. Sooo let's continue.

Back to Swaziland:

I'd like to separate this email from others to talk about something special that happened to me this past week. I did not anticipate what occurred to have ever have been an experienced event in my lifetime, but lo-and-behold, I've experienced it.
And I am so grateful.
This week, I met Steven.

I'll be completely honest- I don't know how to articulate our encounter and I don't know how to do this man justice, so I'll just write what I wrote the day after meeting him.
"Before Galland received his new companion, we had one final lesson together.
I finally met the fabled Steven.

All the hype was obliterated by the reality he was. My mind feels like it has expanded ten-fold. The man is pure intelligence. He has read all of the world's greatest works (they were just lying about all over his house, along with various editions of encyclopedia britannica) and he has been able to distinguish a difference between books and scripture. It is not in authorship alone that differentiates the secular and divine word, it is inspiration. Scripture is God speaking through his servants in the written form. You cannot feign scripture, it is confirmed through the Holy Spirit. On top of all this, he's concluded that scripture truly is Truth; the principles contained within are eternal and for our correction. They are a way for God to teach His Children, and they are for our betterment. Scripture is answer to life's problems.
He's practically memorized the Bible in all his years. His method of reading is astounding. What he does is he takes 30 minutes per page and completely dissects what is written. He is a virtuoso of sorts in his understanding of what he reads and sears it into his brain. It is far past just reading what is on the page; it is complete comprehension. I've never met anyone who knows the Bible more than him.
And even though God has gifted him with one of the greatest brains in this generation, he is one of the most humble men on the planet. He attributes all he is and all he has to this Father in Heaven. He wants so badly to do His will. He follows and understands what he knows to be God's word.
This middle-aged man lives with his Alzheimers stricken mother in a house not unlike any other around it. I know that God led Galland to find Steven and introduce the Restored Gospel of Jesus Chirst to him. Now, Galland met Steven around a month ago, and has not been around to teach him much of anything other than explaining the Restoration through Joseph Smith and what the Book of Mormon is. Slightly socially stilted, my meeting with Steven warmed my heart and affirmed my testimony in the Book of Mormon and in the Church of Jesus Christ.
I'll give you all rough quotes of some of the things Steven commented on with our hour together:
" Frankly, they don't know what they're talking about. They interpret the scripture out of context and infuse it with a meaning unintended. It makes one doubt if they've ever even read the entirety of the book, and if they have, if they understood it." (while fervently apologizing for having to speak his mind on why there are so many Churches and why he doesn't attend a particular denomination.)
"Science is mad intelligence but scripture is Gospel Revelation." (on why he has chosen to rely on the Word of God rather than the wisdom of the world)
"Scripture gives solutions. It isn't just a good read, it is a call to action"
And then, finally, when referring to what he feels and has discovered about the Book of Mormon:
"No man could've written this Book. If anyone is against it, they've allowed an outside influence or opinion to form their understanding. Or they just haven't read it. I've found it is scripture."
In all his brilliance and in all his humility, when Steven spoke these words the Holy Ghost entered the room. I felt God's Spirit confirm something I've come to learn so intimately through the mission.

I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know what people say about it, and I know what people think about it - but I also know how God feels about it, because He told me. I know this church is true. I know the Book of Mormon with Holy Bible, together, contain the fullness of the Gospel.
Find out for yourself. Don't take your neighbor's word for it - or even mine! Read it, Ponder it, and ask *God* if it's true. He doesn't lie.  He's your Father, He loves you, and He wants you to be happy.
Come see for yourselves.
I love you all, I love Swaziland, and I love this Church and what has happened to me since truly joining it.
Merry Christmas!

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