So this week has been a good one for sure. The language is really progressing. Our district came to the decision that once a week we go on an "English fast". How this works is our whole district is not aloud to speak English until dinner that day. Some would argue that's a little crazy, but honestly Russia won't be any different, So why not be prepared? I think it would be more crazy not to prep for the dive into the Russian Language. It would be really crazy to build the ark right as it's starting to rain. So we might as well be somewhat ready.
On a more spiritual note, during the Tuesday night devotional, the head director of volunteers for the church spoke to all of us regarding our purpose and gave us some advice. I really enjoyed some of his points and have felt the impression of sharing some of them. They seem applicable to more than just our volunteer work. (Please bear with the cheesy headlines.)
1. Don't pretend to be something you're not.
Simply because you are a volunteer for the church, or involved in any other career, does not mean you are to change who you are to meet the stereotype of that position. There is a reason people have different skills and personalities. In music, harmony is not every voice sounding the same. Use your talents, quirks, and everything that you are to better whatever field you're in.
2. When you're dealing with an inward problem, don't turn farther inward, but outward instead.
I would say that 75% of problems that we deal with personally are because we turn farther inward. Example: I feel sad today, so I'm going to just sit and think about how sad I am and say to myself, "People should look at ME and say that MY life is so hard." I'm not saying I'm guiltless in this. It's human to do this and often done without realizing it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a self-centered reaction to your problem. The kicker is that it will make your problem worse. Now that we've established the selfishness of turning inward, lets touch on outward. Turning outward is reacting to discouragement by forgetting ones own problem to help someone deal with their own problems. This is hard to do at times, but there are many blessings in doing this. I will not elaborate on this, but I will reiterate it's importance by saying that turning outward makes us forget those personal problems that have no place or reason.
3. The people in your heart can't hear what’s in it.
I'd say this is the cheesiest line, but also the most important one. It's fairly simple. Let the people you love know that. It's too common that we believe people know what we're thinking. To some's surprise this is not true. If you care about someone deeply, let them know. We don't know how much time we have or when those words will help another, so say it often.
If this was a little heavy or comes off as me telling you how to live your life, that was not my intention. I'm sharing it because I feel these things will be useful and I believe that they will better our lives if applied correctly.
So Story time (blog safe version)
So this is actually a very, very political story for story time, so if you can't handle that, exit now. (This line should be read with much sarcasm.)
The Ghulstook Accords
With us having 9 hours of classroom time and all the other things in between, we often find ourselves longing for some entertainment without breaking any serious mission rules. The hunt was long until a glorious new way to entertain ourselves was found...stealing stuff. Now just to be clear, nothing is being illegally stolen, and the victims of theft are thieves as well. Anyway, the two main contenders in this large game are Elder Harmon and I. It started with stealing flashcards, books, and other little things from each other. Little did we know that this little game of fun would become an ongoing silent war of stealing between the whole district. At the peak of the Team Harmon and Team Johnson conflict, some heavy blows were landed. I woke up one morning, shaved, got dressed, and then found that all of my ties were missing. Who would steal my ties in the dead of night?...Harmon. I searched for Harmon that morning and found that he and all of team Harmon were wearing my beautiful ties. In reaction to this, I pick pocketed the room key off of the weaker link of Team Harmon. The plan from then on was to steal everything (all but a pair of socks). In the middle of this plan of striking back, we were approached by team Harmon. Through a long diplomatic council, we had written what would be called the The Ghulstook Accords. The Word "GhulStook" is not a real word, but if said correctly, It translates to "tie" in Russian. The Ghulstook accords, along with the dissolving of the great nations of Johnson and Harmon, states the following:
-One who steals must be expected to be stolen from.
-No stealing of personal items (keys, letters, scriptures, and most importantly food)
-Items will be returned if the victim realized the item has been stolen
-If the victim does not realize the item has been stolen after 24 hours, the item will be returned and the victim will be made fun of.
-Those who sign this document are vulnerable to theft, but are also enabled to steal from anyone who has also signed this document.
-Failure to observe The Ghulstook Accords will result in banishment from any competition for an undisclosed amount of time.
The document was signed and sealed with a ceremonial plank competition. Now that official rules were set to this wonderful competition, many backed out, but there are still many (including Harmon and I) who have signed this sacred document. So the battle between Harmon and I still rages. For example, he stole my camera last night and left a few gifts.
Until next time.
Elder Cody Johnson