Monday, August 25, 2014

Share Goodness

This week started off in a cemetery, on a tractor.

I drove a tractor for the very first time! Don't worry, we called President and got permission. We were doing service at a local cemetery, helping to clear up some of the branches that had fallen. We would throw them into that little trailer and haul them off to the woods.

Enjoy the added purple from my camera...

It's not a very impressive tractor I know, just a little lawn mower, but it was enough for me. It was like I was riding my chariot into battle. Wielding a deadly sword (stick) I plunged into the battle. Slashing left and right, I was unstoppable. It all culminated to the final moment when the enemy king stepped forward, and after an intense exchange, I beheaded him in a single stroke. So powerful was my swing that it sent my sword flying into the woods, never to be seen again.

Elder Vickers found the whole scene rather comical, in part because he was walking faster than my trusty stallion could charge. It worked out though, we still won.

The rest of the week was just filled with transfer madness. Both the sisters in the ward left, so we've been trying to help the two new sisters integrate and figure things out. They're doing good though, it's nice to have a fresh start for their area. With summer also coming to an end, families in the ward are moving out, and new families are moving in. It's an exciting time of the year!

Now let's discuss Elder Bednar's talk that he gave at BYU Education Week!

We were encouraged to watch/listen/read it by President Anderson, and it was very good! He talks about flooding the earth with uplifting and edifying messages. Using the internet as a tool for greatness, as a way to bring the light of the gospel into the world by sharing goodness. He mentions a few principles and guides for doing this. Rather than try to recap and rephrase everything, I'll direct you to a site that is much more straightforward than I am.

Let the rain come down, and the floods come up! #ShareGoodness

Elder Horne

PS trying to say goodbye to Brian as he leaves for BYU. Moise intercepted.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tangled in Eden

This week was fantastic! But, before I get into anything, here is a picture from Maddie's baptism last week:

To start of the week with a bang (and lots of travel time) we went to Philly! It was my first time actually going to Philly. I'd been there before for meetings, but never to do fun touristy things. So, let's look at Philadelphia through my camera.

First, we had to stop by China Town. We didn't actually go inside because nobody else wanted to go... but I will make it back there some day! 

Next on our stop was LOVE park. 

(I'm a classy tourist, in case you can't tell)

Then we headed to the temple site! Elder and Sister Carr, the ones who are running the temple site and visitors center, were on vacation this week, so that was a little disappointing. It was still awesome to see the temple in real life though!

On the way to the Rocky Steps, we stumbled upon this little museum, bronze garden kind of place. It was cool.

Lastly, for our final tourist destination: Rocky. We headed over to the Rocky Steps, and while we were taking pictures, this guy comes up and offers to take our picture. We gratefully accepted, but what started out as just one picture, ended up becoming this whole photo shoot! We were laughing so hard, it was the funnest thing. 

Also, while visiting Philly, I would recommend using public transit. We bought these all day passes that give you access to all transit free for the day. We hardly used them. We walked every where, from Center City (pictured above) all the way out to the Rocky Steps and around to the temple site. But that concludes adventure time in Philadelphia. 

Next: This Week in Elder Horne's Kitchen

Also, our district is awesome.

On a completely unrelated note, I thought of this fun example for the Fall of Adam and Eve this week! This all came about, when we were teaching this guy about Adam and Eve, and he'd been raised Baptist, and saw Adam and Eve as these awful people, for initiating the Fall. We were trying to think of an example that would help him view it the way that we do, when it came to me. Tangled. 

So, I'm probably not the first person to think of this, and I know it's not the best example, but hear me out. I was just thinking about Rapuntzel, and her life in the tower. Especially the song, When Will My Life Begin. We'll say the tower is like the Garden of Eden and Rapuntzel is like Eve (she even has Pascal!). In the tower life was good. There wasn't much going on, she was pretty safe, same old thing every day. However, Rapuntzel yearned for something more, for a greater taste of life and opportunity. Yet, just like Eve, she had been commanded to stay. And also, as Eve, she was given warning of the dangers that would await her should she leave; as seen in Mother Knows Best

Then, the Fall comes. She leaves, and we immediately see the mixed response that it has on her. The frank opposition that she is faced with. The exposure to greater agency, and the affects that has. Had she stayed however, as the scriptures say, she "would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for [she] knew no misery; doing no good, for [she] knew no sin" (2 Ne 2:23). Throughout the rest of the story we can see her become acquainted with both good and evil, she learns and grows through her own experience and observing others. Her life does become a lot more complicated and difficult. Yet, nobody ever wishes that she would have just stayed. Why is that?

I love the parallels that this has to the Fall of Adam and Eve, and how it helps us see the picture so much clearer. It can become confusing trying to teach or understand this principle, but I've found that this helps a lot when trying to explain. Examples and analogies help us to learn and apply things. I'm glad that I've finally found one for this part of the Plan of Salvation!

While I was writing that, I realized that the story of Tangled was probably based around the Fall, just because the themes and experiences are so similar. I'm probably just the very last person to realize this. Oh well, hopefullysomebody reading this will just be discovering this for the first time as well. 

Elder Horne

PS More chickens


Monday, August 11, 2014

It was Elder Horne, with a pizza, in the font

Ok, so before we get to the good stuff, let's go over some of the fun things that happened this week. 

The other day we were out in Honey Brook, and naturally I was excited to see what Amish shenanigans we stumbled upon, as always. We had just pulled up to a stoplight, and there was a gas station at the intersection. Lo and behold, across the street at the gas station, is this Amish buggy filling up! It was the weirdest thing! Just this horse and buggy, chilling at the pump. I squinted to improve my vision, and saw that the Amish guy was filling up the portable gas things (for their weed whackers, or lawn mowers or something) and putting them in the back of the buggy. So, sadly we didn't discover that Amish buggies actually run on gas and the horse is just for show, but we are on to them. I should have gotten a picture...

Also, I am not sure if it's cat breeding season or what (isn't that like, year round?) but we have been seeing cats everywhere. Seriously. We just walk around, and there will be like 20 cats just lazing around town. Here were some just chilling behind some bushes. One of them only has one eye, and I wanted to take it home so bad. It's alright though, I can just walk outside and be surrounded by numberless concourses of cats, so I'm still happy. 

We also recreated the Hungry Games, more properly called, the District Games*, during district meeting this past week. Sister Ballard won, because she had the knife and an aluminum shield. I only had a pair of tongs. Don't worry, the knife was actually the Book of Mormon, and the shield was the Holy Ghost. I realized afterwards that a CLUE set up would have been just as fun. "Sister Ballard in the young women's room with the knife" or "Sister Pickett with the volcano burrito in the kitchen." Good times. 

*no humans, animals, plants, or property were harmed in the playing of these games. 

One more random thing. I have been obsessed with making pizzas lately. This week my favorite one was the Tomavado pizza I made. It was so yummy! Fresh tomatoes that I picked from some random guys backyard (after invitation, of course), homemade white garlic sauce, with avocados and Parmesan cheese. Nom nom nom

But, the absolutely bestest part of the week (drum roll...) was Maddie's baptism!! She started taking the lessons with the sisters almost a year ago. Since I got here in April, she has been trying to get her parents permission for her to be baptized. Lots of prayer and fasting went into this. Then, not only did her parents just recently give her permission, her family came to the baptism! It was awesome. She was also the first person that I personally baptized (ever) so that was really special too. The rest of the day I had goosebumps; which may or may not have been the result of my arms being really cold and wet because I forgot to bring a dry shirt to change into afterwards, wups. Regardless, it was fantastic. 

Elder Horne

Monday, August 4, 2014

Inner Peas

Hello hello.

This week was filled with a lot of randomness. I still haven't figured out how it all ties together, so we'll just go through things in no sequential order.

Well, probably the most exciting thing that happened, happened yesterday (Sunday). We were at church, and I was holding open the door and greeting people as they walked in, as usual. Then I see this man walking up the steps, and he looks really familiar; at first I thought I knew him from back home, but then I realized who he was. So, Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, the Presiding Bishop of the Church came to our sacrament meeting this week. No big deal, I was just like the first to shake his hand and welcome him and everything. His sister lives in our ward, and he'd been out in the area doing stuff with the Philadelphia Temple so he came and visited her and her family. There is the first
random thing.

Next, when you find a Trader Joes, you go to it. Even if it may or may not be 30-45 minutes away, and it's the last day of the month when you are about to run out of miles. Those snacks though, totally worth it. Nom nom nom.

Next, I hope you all remembered to celebrate Harry Potter's birthday this week. I know we did. You'll have to forgive my macaroni substitution for a candle, that was the closest thing I could find in our apartment. Make a wish Harry.

Words of wisdom I learned this week:
- If you are going to eat pistachios during studies, don't leave them precariously balanced on the edge of your desk, because when they spill everywhere your companion may be exceedingly startled. And you'll get pistachio dust stuff all over your clothes.
- When buying candied ginger, pay close attention to the difference between crystallized, and UNcrystallized. Because there is a difference.
- When you finish fasting on Fast Sunday, don't start by eating a lot of cake.
- Trying to get a piano from one side of the gym to the other by yourself in 10 seconds is really hard, I'd recommend using multiple people. As well as someone to stop the piano when you get there. Just an idea.

Elder Horne

PS here is the lovely Valley Forge West Zone. So many Sisters... (and Hermanas)