Monday, January 27, 2014

Of Jesus The Christ and Yo-Yo Weather

27 January 2014

Hey, Dad:

Wow, that's pretty crazy about the weather down there; 27 degrees is still pretty cold.  It's been pretty bipolar, no pun intended, up here as far as weather is concerned.  Last Sunday it was in the 60s for highs and then it plummeted back into single digits.  It fluctuated up and down throughout the week and yesterday, it was in the 50s for highs and then it plummeted back into the single digits again.  I'm hoping for a good, long, hard snowfall and consistently cold temperatures throughout the week.

That's cool about the Grand Parkway, and yeah, singing was a wonderful opportunity. (The Grand Parkway is the third highway belt to surround metro Houston.  The Richmond to Cypress chunk opened earlier this month.)  

James Talmage at work.  He did write Jesus the Christ in a room on the 4th floor of the Salt Lake Temple.  

It's a great book.  It's not canonical.

I did get pretty in-depth with Jesus The Christ, and yes, it's a terrific book, and I will definitely re-read it.  One of our Zone Leaders told me that the Quorum of the Twelve proposed to make it a Standard Work and that every Apostle except for James E. Talmage voted in the affirmative.  Is that true? (No, it isn't.  This Faith-Promoting Rumor came about in part because Deseret Book used to publish an edition with leather bindings and onion skin paper, just like the Scriptures. People made assumptions.)

There are some days that are harder than others, but I really mean it when I say that your prayers are helping me and I'm grateful for the opportunities to contact you.  I hope that mine are helping y'all and it's wonderful to hear about the blessings that you've received from this undertaking.  

Have a great week and I'll catch you on the flip side, soul brotha.


Elder McMurray

Hey, Mom.

It's crazy to hear about the weather down in Houston; the weather up here has been pretty crazy, too; it can't seem to make up its mind about whether or not it wants to be winter or spring.  It was in the 60s for highs last Sunday and then it plummeted back into single digits and then it went up and down throughout the week.  Yesterday it was in the 50s for highs and then it plummeted back into the single digits again today.  I'm hoping for a good, long, hard snowfall and cold temperatures, but we'll see.

There is a lot of family to keep track of...

Thanks for keeping me posted about the family and please tell Jack  that I wish him a happy birthday.  That's crazy about Deb, though; I hope she gets better soon but I'm glad that subbing went well.  It's wonderful to hear that Naomi has a supportive Bishop.  It's good to hear that Noah is doing good despite some stressful situations.  (Jack is Sam's cousin, who just celebrated his 17th birthday; Aunt Deb, a school teacher, was hospitalized with a severe allergic reaction, and Lynda substituted for her; Naomi just started a new semester at BYU, and had her first "get to know you" interview with her bishop; Noah is halfway through Junior Year, and prepping for the SAT.)

Seahawks.  They are a football team.  In America.

Manchester City plays real football.  In England.  Some of our family loves them with a pure and perfect love.

Go Seahawks, Go Manchester City, and God Bless America!

Thank you for your prayers; I pray for y'all as well and I hope that you can feel their power; I can definitely feel the power of yours....

Thank you, Mom and everyone, I love hearing from you every week.  Have a terrific one until we type again.


Elder McMurray

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Of MLK and Super Bowl Predictions

Hey, everyone!

Happy MLK day to you too.  It's great to hear about how everyone's doing and that everyone's doing well.  That's also great to hear about Emma's baptism.  I'm sorry about Deb; I hope and pray that she'll be okay. (Emma is an eight-year old in our ward, who was baptized this month.  Deb is Sam's aunt, who was hospitalized with what the doctors think was a severe allergic reaction.  Thankfully, she is recovering.)  Things have been wonderful this past week; we got to go to the Temple, I did Initiatories with a greenie named Elder Jenkins (he's nice, from Idaho like Elder Quayle :) )  We did about nine apiece; we were running a little late for the Endowment session but as we were about to go in, the Temple Workers asked us for help doing Initiatories so that's what we did....I love the Temple and I've come to a greater appreciation for it after reading about the Law of Moses.  I finished the four books in the Missionary Library in about a week, I'm reading the Book of Mormon again, and I recently started reading the Bible; I'm near the end of 1 Samuel.  I sang, "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" in keeping with one of the mission monthly goals of teaching about the Restoration.  I was accompanied by a woman in the ward named Sister Thomas.  She's from Idaho, very cool, very vivacious, in her 60s, recently retired, full of energy, and just a cool lady.  We rehearsed on Saturday night and then again before Sacrament meeting....Many people had their heads bowed in prayer, some were tearing up, the Spirit was just so strong.  It was a tremendous opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord's Hands.  I received nothing but praise from most of the ward members and I confess that I was a little uncomfortable because it was ultimately the Holy Ghost that united us all.  I thanked Sister Thomas for her wonderful support and she thanked me for bearing testimony.  

Our investigator, a homeless 18-year-old named Max who was being fellowshipped by a family in the ward, ended up doing only one lesson with us.  He moved back to Omaha and was recently set for baptism by other missionaries in that area.  Elder Quayle was not happy at first; he felt like the other missionaries were stepping on our toes and he was our only investigator who was making genuine progress, but he figuratively stepped back and was reminded that it was ultimately about Max and the Lord, and we're both happy for him.  We hope that he sticks with it and develops a strong testimony.  We are hopeful for the future; we're galvanizing the ward to do family mission plans and step up their efforts, because as President Monson confirmed, the members must help in the work.  

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts; I continue to feel their power.  I'm staying warm (it's actually warmed up recently, but it'll probably get cold again), we're getting fed, I'm healthy although I did have a sinus headache this morning but I'm feeling better.  I didn't take anything for it....
Tell Dad that that was pretty cool and funny about Peyton Manning's quarterbacking routine.  I think that it'll be cool if the Seahawks win.

I love you all,
Elder McMurray

Birthday in The Field

Hey, family!

It's great to hear from you and everything that's been going on; I'm grateful for the blessings that you've received and I'm grateful for your thoughts and prayers, I feel their power every day.  

I haven't gotten the cards and music yet.

Yes, I'll be singing in the ward next week; I'm singing, "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" in keeping with the January mission theme of the Restoration and the ward accompanist Sister Thomas will accompany me; we're rehearsing this Saturday....

My companion bought me a snazzy tie (I'll have to send you a pic) (I'll believe it when I see it), we taught a new investigator, and a few less actives came back to Church; it was a good b-day.

Teaching Moments on The Frozen Tundra

Hey, all!

It's good to hear that Naomi made it safe to BYU and that Dad is home safe and sound. (I made it from Provo to my front door in Houston in 24 hours, non-stop.  Solo.  No naps, no caffeine: nothing but adrenaline and a crazy dream.)  Yeah, WingStop can't even hope to compete with Dad's chicken wings. (This is true.  And usually, I make wings for New Year's Eve.  This year, I didn't.  It was a little like Sandy Koufax retiring in his prime -- there were many disappointed fans.)  Congratulations to the Johnson family and a very Happy Belated 12th Birthday to Soph.  All my love to the Nikos, Calverts, and Grandma C. as well.  I loved the pictures that you sent as well....

Icy Horror, Iowa Style

Icy Horror, Houston Style
Yeah, the weather has been extremely cold these past few days.  They canceled school throughout the Glenwood area because it was supposed to be a high of 14 below zero today, so one more day of Christmas vacation for them.  We heard that the entire state of Minnesota was shut down due to similar conditions and that the Governor of the state is declaring a state of emergency or something like that.

Things are going pretty good; I was put in charge of a 30-minute training for last week's District Meeting and I think and hope that it went really well.  I'm getting more confident in my abilities to teach and Elder Quayle and I are getting more eager to trade off of each other in visits.  We're hoping to really garner some momentum now that the holidays are over for now.  We've got some investigators lined up and we're looking forward to working with them.  I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon to one of them and it was a pretty powerful and Spiritually empowering experience.  Sister and President Weston are absolutely wonderful and gave a great Trainer/Trainee Training Meeting on New Year's Eve day that was really uplifting.  I'm grateful for them and their leadership and wisdom.  

I got the stuff for the camera; thank you very much for that.  I'll be sending some pictures your way pretty soon. (So far, no photos.)  But I need to get the addresses for the people to whom I need to send thank-you notes.  Please send me those for next week.  

Until next time, I wish you all the best and God speed.  Thank you all for your prayers; I feel their power constantly.  Have a terrific week, continue to find joy in the Gospel, and I love you all.

Elder McMurray

P.S. I enjoyed hearing about Fast & Testimony Meeting in Alief.  Home Sweet Home.