This past week has included adventures to the beautiful city of Melaka as we went on exchanges with the elders there. It was super kool! I sure do like Melaka, and hope that I'll get to visit it a few more times whilst I'm posted here in JB. In addition to that, we had the mission president come and do interviews with us this past week--it's always such an uplifting and good experience when I have a reporting session with him. I sure do love our mission president, and I have a firm testimony of righteous priesthood men called of God to be our leaders. He sure is one.
This week is going to have a lot of adventures in store as well--we get to go on exchanges with the assistants, as well as with some Bahasa elders in JB, and then there's MLC on top of all that. Suffice it to say, the Chinese elders aren't going to be in their own area for a long amount of time this week, but hopefully this is the only such stacked week that we'll have for a long time.
In other news, I had the chance to study from Alma 47 this past week. It was so COOL! Essentially, it tells the story of Amalickiah taking over the Lamanite kingdom. There are three 'tragedies' located within the chapter: The tragedy of Lehonti; the tragedy of the king's servants; and the tragedy of the queen. Lehonti and his army of rebels are "fixed in their minds with a determined resolution" to never falter from their principles...and then Amalickiah convinces them to 'come down'. And then they compound the problem by following Amalickiah's counsel, ultimately resulting in Lehonti's assassination and the assimilation of his army into Amalickiah's forces.
Amalickiah brings his triumphant army back to the capitol, and his servants go out to greet the Lamanite king and bring these 'glad tidings'--in other words, stabbing the king to death. Instead of standing to fight for him, the king's servants flee and are pursued by the Lamanite armies.
The queen hears about all of these goings-on and INVITES Amalickiah into her quarters. He flat-out lies to her and manages to convince her to become the wife of a scumball--and there ya have it, Amalickiah's officially the king of the jungle.
As I mentioned earlier, there are three tragedies in this story, but one of them has a happy ending. The servants of the murdered king manage to make it to the land of the Nephites and live with the peaceful Ammonites--eventually these servants will help the Nephite armies in their eventual war with the Lamanites.
In all three tragedies, people made mistakes--they faltered from things that they knew to be right. Lehonti left the saftefy of the high ground. The servants fled from their duty. The queen invited the bad guy into her living quarters. What can be learned from all of these things?
1. We have to STAND for what we know to be right! We can't come down from our strongholds! We can't go around fleeing from what we know is right--to stand and defend those that we love and care about. We can't go inviting wickedness into our living quarters/lives.
2. We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect. We're all going to mess up every now and then. But instead of being like Lehonti and the queen--who continued to associate with Amalickiah/Satan after they'd been defeated once--we should look to the example of the servants, who fled to the safety of the righteous. We'll all make mistakes, but there is always going to be healing out there, in the outstretched arms of our Captain and King, Jesus Christ.
In essence, we have to build ourselves on that Everlasting Rock, even our Savior and Redeemer (see Helaman). We have to stand for our standards, we have to defend what we know to be right, we have to be willing to reject wickedness--but if and when we do make mistakes, we have to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS remember that it's never too late! Although we may have come down from our mountain for a moment, we can't forget that the ultimate victory, in the end of days, isn't going to be with Satan. It will be with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, Both of whom are willing to forgive our sins and empower us to rise above the natural man. Stand for what is right, and when we falter, we must stand back up, relying upon the arms of Him who is mighty to save.
I love you all, and hope you have a fantastic week!