Once upon a time, I loved city festivals. I loved the parades, the carnival rides, the excuse to eat as much fatty food as I wanted to.
However, when you're on your mission; they're horrible. The work is SLOW.
Seriously, I have nothing to report. All of our investigators were gone, or cancelled their appointments with us. We tried to do some contacting at the carnival (which wasn't all that successful), but we did get a picture in "the lil' grave digger", which is owned by someone in one of our wards.
However, on an upside, it did give us some extra study time, so let me share with you what I have been learning in Exodus:
So, for the past four days, I've been reading about the story of Moses. And reading it this time around, I found that Pharaoh was sort of the focus in my reading, and... I've actually have learned a lot from him. Or been reminded of a lot. You get what I mean.
1) Surround yourself with good people. In the court, Pharaoh is surrounded by his magicians and wise men, who discourage him from believing in Moses's divine calling as a Prophet. So, make sure the majority of people you interact with the most are lifting you up, and helping you be a better person. And make sure you're doing the same for them.
2) Study your history. The whole story of Moses wouldn't have needed to happen if Pharaoh would have just paid attention to his history class and heard the story of Joseph. (In retrospect, however, it is good he didn't, or else we would have lost a huge chunk of the Old Testament.)
3) Your choices are your choices. The Lord wasn't the one that "hardened" Pharaoh's heart-- that was his choice alone. Granted, the Lord knew Pharaoh well enough that he could tell what his choice was going to be, but in the end, Pharaoh could have chosen at anytime to let the Israelites go. He just chose not to.
4) Gratitude and humility will protect you. Seriously; it takes Aaron's rod becoming a serpent; having all your water being turned into blood; 4 plagues of frogs, lice, flies, and locusts; destroying all of their cattle; having boils cover the Egyptians entire bodies; having a mighty hail storm that kills people and livestock; having darkness for 3 days; killing off all the first born; and drowning his armies in the Red Sea before Pharaoh finally lets the Israelites go. And yet, he could have stopped this at anytime. Many times, Pharaoh asked Moses to stop these things. And if Pharaoh had stopped in real humility and showed gratitude for Moses asking God to stop these things, I think things would have gone a little smoother and a lot less chaotic. However, on the opposite end, because the Israelites were humble and listened to Moses, they were protected from all of this, and they continually showed their gratitude to the Lord.
So, yes, it isn't a good idea to follow Pharaoh's example.
And the last thing that really stuck out to me: When Pharaoh sends his chariots after the Israelites, they start to lose their faith. To them, they have no hope of escaping-- they're trapped along the borders of the Red Sea. And what Moses says to them really stood out to me: "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them no more forever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."
How neat is that? How often do we sometimes get sucked into the whirlwind of affliction, and get caught up in all the chaos of it, and forget that He will help us through it? If you just stand still for a moment, when you're struggling, and put your focus on Christ and his Atonement, you can feel his grace and mercy, and he can and will help you through whatever you're going through.
Anyways, I love you all. Hope all is going well! Be safe, stand still, and keep your faith strong!