Monday, June 12, 2017

Letter #61

A traveler and his camel were traveling across the desert sand dunes when a wind storm came up. The traveler quickly set up his tent and moved inside, closing the flaps to protect himself from the cutting, grinding sands of the raging storm. The camel was left outside and as the violent wind hurled the sand against his body and into his eyes and nostrils he found it unbearable and finally begged for entrance into the tent.

“There is only room for myself”, said the traveler.

“But can I just get my nose in so I can breathe air not filled with sand?” asked the camel.

“Well, perhaps you could do that”, replied the traveler and he opened the flap ever so little and the long nose of the camel entered. How comfortable the camel was now! But soon the camel became weary of the smarting sand on his eyes and ears

“The wind-driven sand is like a rasp on my head. Could I put just my head in?”

Again, the traveler rationalized that to acquiesce would do him no harm, for the camel’s head could occupy the space at the top of the tent which he himself was not using. So the camel put his head inside and the beast was satisfied again- but only for a short while.

“Just the front quarters,” he begged and again the traveler relented. Soon the camel’s front shoulders and legs were in the tent. Finally, by the same process of pleading and yielding, the camel’s torso, his hind quarters and all were inside the tent. Now it was too crowded for the two and the camel kicked the traveler out of the tent and into the storm.

We had a bummer day this week. We take meals around to different people in the ward from time to time. Remember our friends that came for Christmas Eve. We played Pictionary with them and had a nice dinner. Mark had been bringing Brian to church and even let him wear his church clothes until they could get clothes that would fit. Brian progressed, read the Book of Mormon and was coming to church, he was baptized. He has had various health issues but received the Aaronic Priesthood. We have stopped by to visit with them often and they were still meeting with the Elders. They were no longer homeless and the ward was standing beside them, trying to help them improve their circumstances. Things have started to feel a little “off”. We dropped off the meal and Mark started to unload on us, talking badly about Brian. They are facing eviction, Mark’s truck was towed, with his “stuff” in it. Brian is living on the streets. Mark has a shady friend staying with him. He had every excuse why he is not responsible for any of this. He has taken money from several people in the ward. Ugh, that ole camel has pushed himself into those two lives. We finally told him that we didn’t know about any of this and we were there to let him know that we care about him and wanted to check on him. We felt so bad when we left. We know the joy and peace that comes in doing the things Heavenly Father wants us to. There is safety and it is a refuge from the storm when we keep the commandments, follow the Prophet, go to church, read the scriptures, pay our tithing, honor our parents. Each piece supplies what we all we need for happiness in this life and eternal joy in the life to come. But that stinky camel is waiting at the door. DON”T GIVE HIM EVEN AN INCH inside your tent! Just like sin, it is impossible for a camel to enter a door that is closed.

I don’t know if we will ever be able to find Brian. We hope that Mark can have the courage he needs right now.

We had a good MLC meal. Sister Belamy says that the missionaries look at you like they love you. I guess that’s true. They even thank you for sloppy joes! (My kids hate sloppy joes!)

We are now up to 24 incoming missionaries in August. That will be a record for the Nevada Reno Mission!

The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

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