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Monday, May 4, 2015

Week #45: Recognition, Understanding and Knowledge

... Another week come and gone. It's been a good week and full new adventures.
       Tuesday we had another multi zone conference with the President to get us pumped to break the record of the mission with the goal of baptising three people in every companionship. This would mean nearly 300 baptisms in the mission which is something never before done and some legacy that we can make.
      Most of this week I actually spent on divisions with Elder Ramirez our district leader. We set up some plans to go and talk to every single one of the investigators that we have so that he can get to know them a little. On Friday, we went over to San Lorenzo to talk to a pilas little lad who we taught the week before. The week before we had an amazing lesson with him and taught him all about the restoration of the gospel. He had several questions, not the doubtful kind, but the kind showing a sincere interest to know the true in what we are saying. This week, when we had visited him it was kinda like the video from The District with the investigator Jinx. We taught him a little more about The Restoration and addressed a few of his concerns and began to teach him a little about baptism, but as we began to address some of his concerns he said that he doesn't really understand how to receive, or rather what is an answer from God. There is truly a great feeling in the room when you can see that someone has a sincere desire to understand. I don't know if there is anything better than being able to see the spirit start to speak to someone's heart and really being able to see the gears in their head start to understand, really understand what we are teaching them.
       I was listening to a talk the other day, about understanding.  The speaker explained that we have different different types of recognition. Specifically the main two are logical and emotional.  These two systems of understanding work a little bit different one from the other. Logical recognition runs on an eight point system.  If something is happening and each of these eight points lines up we know something is the way it should be and feel good about the decision. Now this is actually the slower or weaker of the two. Emotional Recognition runs on a 32 point system and works instantaneously, as something is happening our minds automatically check within the blink of an eye if every one of these points are lining up. When and if they do, we feel normal and calm, but when they don't we have a gut feeling that something is wrong. It's like in football with a quarterback, logically everything may look like his wide receiver is open and in the green but by instinct he can feel that something just isn't right and throws it to a different wide receiver.  Maybe a linebacker was falling back or the safety cheating over or whatever it may have been. He could feel that something just wasn't right and so he acted accordingly.  The speaker goes on to explain that there is actually a 3rd type of recognition which works on a spiritual level and is faster and stronger than both of this combined. It works on a level we can't even comprehend and when we hear something that we know to be true it resonates within us and can feel its truth. I dont know if any of this is actually real but I honestly do believe that people can recognize the truths being taught as they listen to these simple truths.
     In these last few days I have actually been thinking alot about the difference between knowing something and understanding it.  These two things are so different from each other and honestly have about as big of a difference as apples from tomatoes.  Both look the same, and some people may even be able to confuse the two, but they are different and very different at that.  One example that I was thinking of to make it clear was in the movie Saratov approach.  There is a moment in this movie where a man calls one of the families of the kidnapped missionaries and begins to tell them about his story of when he was captured as a missionary. In one part he says "And almost as though it were involuntary you begin to pray for those who have taken you"(and they do). I really can't think of a better example than this to show the difference between knowing someone is a child of god and truly understanding it. Just a moment before Sergay comes into the room and tells them "teach me. Tell me what you tell everybody" and so they do.  In one moment they teach him "that God loves all of his children" and Sergey asks "and me? does he love me?" ever so hesitantly and with a struggle he says "yes". I don't know how he truly felt in this moment. Though moments later, probably even within this same day, they begin to understand that even these people who have taken them are children of our Father in Heaven, and begin to pray for these men. Even for their well being because they truly know , AND have come to understand, who they are, and what they are to God. I can't even imagine having to be in a moment like this but to understand so deeply is something extraordinary.
      There is a reason that we as missionaries teach and promise the blessings of Gospel. Knowing what each of them are is something, but understanding it leads people to action.  My first companion Elder Goodman gave a lesson in a district meeting at one point about this principle. He explained the story of an American army regiment during the Revolutionary War.  This army was composed of untrained farm men more than anything.  A general was brought in from a different country to train these troops so that they would have the ability to win. As he began to try and drill these troops they would not listen for anything and did not obey him in the slightest. Which caused this general to drill them harder to try and break them into being a disciplined army. What this general didn't understand until George washington gave him a bit of advice was while these men were lacking in discipline - they would fight until the death for what they believe in and who they love.  After this the general began to teach this army in a different way, teaching through their needs, and teaching them the why behind the how and the army began to understand the purpose behind the drills.  They became one of the best military units in the army.
      When we can teach people through their needs, show them the why behind the how, people will be lead to action. People will see what lies in store for them after the sacrifice.  Knowing the Gospel principles is good, but if we don't understand the doctrine behind them we will not act.  We act to our understanding and not unto our knowledge.
      Anyways...long email...I must be inspired right now... I love you all and it is pretty exciting to hear about all of you back home preparing for missions and getting your calls. This is a great life here. It is probably one of the biggest adventures I will have in all of my life and beyond that probably one of the biggest learning experiences as well. Mothers day is around the corner talk to you soon.

I'm singing in the rain...just a singing in the rain..

Mom can I bring it home!!!???

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