Tomorrow is transfers, and I'm losing both of my companions :( Sister Henry is going home, and Sister Anthony is getting transferred. So since this week is transfers, that meant that we had our last district meeting this past Friday. It was super emotional and super spiritual because about half of my district is leaving. So since people are leaving, Elder Giddings (the district leader) thought it would be a good idea to sing God Be With You Till We Meet Again. NOT A GOOD IDEA. I was crying as soon as the piano started playing! I sobbed the entire way through, and so did my companions. It's hard enough losing one companion, but I'm losing two! It was terrible, I was a mess haha. They better not sing that song at the end of every transfer, I won't be able to handle it!
Elder Giddings gave an AWESOME lesson in district meeting on Friday. He started off by talking about "The Hero's Story," which is basically the plot line to every super hero story ever. A hero discovers he is super, he goes around doing super things, a villain shows up, the villain beats the hero, but then the hero finds their strength and they go on to beat the bad guy. Everyone knows this story, but what most people don't realize is that it's the story of Christ! And that's why people love it so much! The people are unknowingly searching after the story of Christ, and that's why it is told time and time again. I can't tell it nearly as well as Elder Giddings told it, but I'll attach the story to this email so all ya'll can read it. IT. IS. AMAZING!
On Sunday, Elder Hansen of the 70 spoke in our ward! He's the area representative. He spoke about serving and magnifying your calling. He said, "It doesn't matter where you serve, but how you serve." My companions and I also had to teach Gospel Principles. The lesson was on charity, which was very fitting because we had just had the Great Giveaway. Every year, Bend, Redmond, LaPine, and other stakes put on this big event called the Great Giveaway. They fill every room in the church building, including the cultural hall, with donations that they collect year round. Clothes, furniture, toys, books, everything! They organize all of it and then give it away. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and take anything they need. We had about 700 people come through the church! It was awesome! The entire cultural hall was filled with tables full of clothes and shoes, and then every other room in the building was designated for a certain item. It took an entire week to get the church set up for the event, and the members have been collecting donations since last October. It was incredible to see so many people being helped. Many of the people who were there needed school clothes for their kids, and if it wasn't for the great giveaway, they wouldn't have been able to get clothes for their kids. The people were so grateful, and I feel so blessed to have been able to help them. And anything that is left over is donated to Deseret.
Well I love you all! Keep doing amazing things!
Heidi (a recent convert)
There are deer EVERYWHERE
The Superman Lesson
Superman was written by a couple of Jewish Americans during the great depression. The first draft was as a villain called "the reign of the Super Man". however, it never made it far because the two of them realized that people didn't need a super human to oppress them, the world was enough of a foe. what people needed was someone to overcome the world. So they made a new kind of comic off of an old kind of character, a Super Hero, modeled after the long promised messiah of their faith. A man who was promised to have life and death in his hands, who would save his people from the greatest of their foes, a liberator and a standard of truth and power. A man who would be from heaven, sent directly from god. a man as great a king as David, as great a prophet as Moses, the strength of Samson and the wisdom of Solomon. So using every reference they had of who this messiah would be and what he would be like, they built their messiah. I will pull most of my storyline material from early arcs, if they disagree with what you have read or seen, remember that the story has changed a bit over the last 75 years. And if you are referencing any of the superman movies made before "man of steel", repent and know that those movies are heresy and suck. Here's how:
Superman was born with the name "Kal-el" meaning "voice of god" referring to the Christ's long held name of "the Word of God". son of "Jor-el" meaning "god will uplift". Kal-el was born into times of trouble, as the Christ was prophesied to be, since Krypton was about to explode. Jor-el knew this and sent his only son to earth in a small rocket ship. (Jor-el is not purposefully a representation of god, as the promised messiah being the son of god is still unaccepted outside of Christianity) the rocket makes three scriptural allusions: 1) the promised messiah would be like unto Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18 this scripture is used a lot) Moses was put in a basket and sent down the Nile to a place of safety when his life was in danger at home. 2) that the messiah would come from heaven. like space. get it? 3)that the arrival of the messiah on earth would be miraculous. at the time of Superman's origins, rockets were the freaking coolest thing ever, and definitely miraculous. On earth, Kal-el was found by the benevolent barren farming couple, Ma and Pa Kent. The Kent's were a devout Methodist family (although superman was the model of a Jewish messiah, it was important that he was a universal messiah) and given a new name of Clark. Clark was taught to be "mild mannered" (a phrase often taught to immigrant children in fitting in America) and unobtrusive, fulfilling the prophesy that the messiah would have no reason why we should desire him, or even recognize him (Isaiah 53:2). Clark's rural upbringing kept him humble and taught him to be simple. This is more than a Jewish Idea, it is an Ideal of a hero that we will touch on later. Clark donned a cape and space-spandex and was clothed in power, taking up the mantel (literally referring to a cloth worn over the shoulders) of his forefathers as his super-suit was made of his own baby clothes and blankets. His clothing was anything but unobtrusive now, as was his symbol, worn proudly and prominently on his chest. For the messiah would be known when he came clothed in power and glory, and would be a symbol of light. more than a deliverer from oppression, but an inspiration for all who did not oppose him.
And now a different perspective: the hero's story. Every culture has The Hero. And the story is always the same. We must really like this story because we keep telling it, over and over, with different names, different faces, but the same Hero in the same Story.
First, we must build our Hero. He must have been born to be great. The Hero is always a miracle child. maybe be born during some magical festival, born to be the last survivor on a dying planet, or the son of god himself. The Hero has divine origins.
He must be raised normal despite his amazing beginning. People either didn't notice or forgot, because he will be raised in a rural environment and taught folksy wisdom. He will learn practical knowledge and be a common man made to save common man. Sometimes he is a bridge builder, sometimes a Kansas farmer, sometimes a carpenter from Nazareth, but always common and rural.
The Hero will have a mentor, who shows him his true identity, usually old and wise, and having some kind of divinity of his own. Some have a tiny green Jedi master, Superman had both his earthly father, Pa Kent and his powerful morals, and the recorded messages of his celestial father, Jor-el and his morals and otherworldly knowledge. Christ was taught by angels and god himself.
The Hero will cross a bridge. When The Hero is a knight, this could be a literal bridge, for most heroes though, it is a clear distinction that separates them from the common life they knew. Some passage they must cross. Crossing the desert for Moses, Crossing the frozen desert in the Antarctic for Superman, and a forty day fast in the desert for Christ (40 being the number of rebirth). The Hero must distinguish the life he's lived from his new life.
The Hero has an Introductory trial (sometimes called the first trial). something to prove he is a hero. In several arcs, Superman catches a falling plane, carrying it down safely. Christ went toe to toe with the devil after his forty days, and could not be tempted.
The Hero experiences intermediary trials. This is the bulk of the story and is not super crucial to the point I am making. The important thing is that The Hero is actively engaged and busy. Hercules had 10 (later 12) defined trials to complete. Superman stops robberies and crime every day. Christ healed the sick, the blind, and the broken hearted.
The Hero is introduced to the second trial. The second trial is the most important point in the hero's life, and it beats the hero. There's no way around it. The second trial is too much and The unbeatable Hero is defeated. Luke Skywalker finally fights the man who killed his first mentor, and cries like a baby and gets his hand whacked off. In the first of the blasphemous superman movies from the eighties, Superman is face to face with Lex Luthor and can totally stop his evil plot, but instead is tricked into opening a box of Kryponite, which is enough of a problem that he cant stop both missiles and the entire state of California is destroyed. Christ is betrayed by one of his closest followers, is beaten, stripped of all worldly pride, and dies the death of a thief and a rebel.
The hero after being beaten, receives strength. After hitting rock bottom, something lifts them and they grow stronger than before. This is the first separation between a hero and The Hero. Po learns the secret ingredient of his fathers soup. Superman in his grief flies into space. Christ, spends a few days in hell, liberating the captives and setting up for the redemption of the dead.
The second trial is revisited (sometimes called, the third trial). The hero gets another chance to take on what destroyed him, and this time, he wins. Harry Potter jumps out of Hagrid's arms and gets in one last duel with Voldemort, and zaps that brotha. Superman flies so fast that he inexplicably turns back time itself and stops the second missile. Christ is resurrected and conquers sin and death for all mankind.
The hero is now immortal. He is now more than just a legend. He is now more than life itself. Some celebrate by dancing with ewoks. Superman flies into space again and winks at the camera. Christ sits on the right hand of god to rule and reign forever and ever.
So here's why all of that is important: the reason all of humanity wants the hero's story told time and time again, is because it is the story of Christ and somewhere deep down, the whole world will keep looking for Christ until they find him. But it is also the story of us.
We came from heaven, we are children of our heavenly father, and as such are born to be great. Except we grow up just like everyone else, rich or poor or anywhere in between. We are raised as human beings in frail bodies left to learn from this world we have been put on, unobtrusive, seemingly no one to nobody. But we were not left alone. We were given mentors to teach us who we really are, and what we were meant to do. A parent, a missionary, sometimes the recorded words of those long past will be what teaches us about our true self. And so we must cross a bridge. We must make some separation between who we were and who we will be. It could be a baptism. It could be the MTC. It could be walking back through the doors of a church you thought you had outgrown. but you have to cross that line. Then we have to prove ourselves. We have to be the hero we want to be. For some it will be quitting a habit that their old, common self held. A missionary might have to overcome his fear and talk to a stranger on the street. Then comes the fun part. we get to be the hero, the person we were made to be. The great things we wanted to do or be before, but were to scared to be, that's who you are now. live it up. But the second trial always comes. The second trial could be literally anything. It will beat you, in some cases it may destroy you. but that's ok, because the atonement of Jesus Christ is that strength that separates the heroes from The Hero. If used, your remains will make you greater than ever. So that you can revisit your second trial. So that whatever beat you will never beat you again. So that you become Immortal and truly, unquestionably The Hero.
Superman is considered boring by many, because he cannot lose. He always comes out on top and will always come out on top Because he is Super freaking Man. He is willing to be boring because his point is not to be relatable and like us, it's to show us the way to be like him, and to triumph over all foes.