Things have been a little rough in the Slovak branch this week. Sometimes it is hard to know if people accept our message because they know it is true or because they want financial help from the church. I think they understand the message and feel of the spirit. It's just that life gets in the way. People are poor and it is hard for them to pay their tithing. We try to teach that tithing is not about money but about faith. Elder Allen challenges them to read in Malachi. The Lord says to prove him now herewith. The Lord is bound to bless us, when we follow him.
8 ¶Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Old Testament, Malachi, Chapter 3)
I have been reading "Jesus the Christ" by Talmage. He talks about the “A Sower Went Forth to Sow” (Jesus the Christ, Chapter 19: “He Spake Many Things unto Them in Parables”)
“Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Jesus the Christ, Chapter 19: “He Spake Many Things unto Them in Parables”)
Some seeds are sown and they take root. Others are sown and fall away. This is what is happening right now. Some of our converts are solid and strong. Some, once challenged fall away. It is so sad because you know what they can become but they just do not see it. We will never give up and keep plugging along to find those will accept the Gospel.
I told the missionaries that this is our "Zion's Camp." We are forming leaders in the branch for the future. The church is young here and we take baby steps every day. Interestingly Joseph formed Zion's Camp in 1834. The trek was a time of trial and tribulation, including an attack of cholera which proved to be a chastisement from the Lord. Although Zion's Camp was not able to complete its purpose or stop the hostilities and persecutions the Saints were experiencing in Missouri, Zion's Camp was not a failure. While many of the men complained about the poor conditions, those who pressed forward and continued in their faith were strengthened. The trials were for their benefit and learning, nine of the Twelve Apostles called in those days were a part of Zion's Camp, and all of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy had marched with it. So you see we have lots to look forward to.
Some sad news. We centered our fast on Ashely Harris (Harrison) yesterday. She just found out she has colon cancer. They are not sure of the treatment yet. I will keep you posted. Just pray for her and her family.
Tomorrow we go up to Leeds for a senior couples training. It will be fun to get together with the other senior couples. We have so much fun together. Tonight we will got up to Leeds and stay with the Wilson. We are planning our trip to Europe before we come home in August.
Yesterday the weather said it was 107 back in Mesa. Not looking forward to that kind of weather again. It has been in the low 60's here.
We love you tons. Keep the faith.