Monday, August 15, 2016

August 1, 2016

From Dad:

Thanks for the email. Sorry we didn't get one off to you this week. We are close to the end of our holiday and are almost ready to fly home. We are a little travel weary but we are loving meeting some of our distant Olson and Fisk relatives.  Grandpa Bruce is in Heaven. 

Sweden is a beautiful country that reminds us a lot of Canada. We had a fun visit with David Burton who is serving here in Sweden and his area is conveniently the same area where Rob and Maria live! He came for dinner there. 

We enjoyed a fun day on the Lake near Rob and Maria's home called Lake Uttran. Rob has Kayaks so we got to try those out for the first time. The have foot pedals that control a small rudder at the back for turning. It took some getting used to to not use it like a canoe. 

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Congratulations on being called as a district leader. It is a sign of trust from your mission president and the lessons you learn as you serve your district will be powerful leadership skills for you in all your future service and work. 

It has been really fun to be with Grandma and Grandpa Bruce and to be able to hear their stories and experience Sweden with them. Sam and Ben have been able to meet some new cousins and enjoyed some fun games and talents with them yesterday. 

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I read a very interesting essay the other day about the story of the 2 Ammons in the Book of Mormon. I gleaned a couple of insights that I'll share briefly. 

1. I always have been puzzled by the start of Ammons experience with teaching the Lamanites. He comes to them, is bound and brought before the King. Next thing you know he is being offered one of the King's daughter to be his wife!!  Something clicked when I read this article by remembering that Ammon was the son of a King i.e. A prince!!  Who do princes marry?

2. Did you ever consider the story or Ammon to be an allegory or type of the Savior?

Here is a quote from the article. 

"Ammon2 at the Waters of Sebus

No episode in the Book of Mormon is more strange and, on its surface, incoherent than the account of Ammon2’s fight at the waters of Sebus and its aftermath.The most surprising facts connected with the narrative are these: (a) the plundering of the king’s flocks is routine and predictable, yet he doesn’t send a force capable of protecting his property; (b) the servants of the king make no effort to fight the marauders in spite of the fact that they will be executed if they fail to protect the flocks; (c) when they predictably fail, the king kills his own servants and, thus, weakens his forces; (d) the king refers to the marauders as “my brethren”; and (e) the marauders and their families are unafraid to hang around the king’s palace in the immediate aftermath of the fight. This is an improbable constellation of details. How are we to account for it? The answer must lie in the implicit dynamics of Lamanite politics in the land of Ishmael.

...the back story at Sebus is a conflict between Lamoni, the titular king in the land of Ishmael, and another group of nobles whom Lamoni calls “my brethren” (Alma 18:20), e.g., some mix of brothers, uncles, or cousins. The contest between the two groups is deadly earnest, but neither can do violence to the other because all are loved and protected by Lamoni’s father, the great king of the land, who has a short temper and who responds ferociously if anyone, including his own family, crosses him (Alma 20:8–16). Since they cannot directly attack each other without risking their lives by antagonizing their shared patron, Lamoni and his rivals seek to weaken their opponent by attacking their economic interests and by ruining their reputation in the eyes of the great king. It is in this context that Lamoni’s servants face doom at the waters of Sebus. The herdsman servants are ordinary citizens of the kingdom. Knowing the disposition of Lamoni’s father, they probably understand that they and their family will die a painful death if they do the slightest injury to any of the great king’s extended family. So if they are so unlucky as to be attacked at the waters of Sebus by the king’s noble relatives, they are doomed. They cannot raise a hand to prevent Lamoni’s flocks from being scattered and plundered by his noble rivals. And if they fail to prevent the scattering and loss of the flocks, Lamoni will put them to death.

If we correctly interpret the political dynamics in the land of Ishmael, we can recognize in this narrative a profound allegory of the human condition and of the plan of salvation, including its key element, the Atonement. Lamoni’s servants are caught on the horns of a horrible dilemma. They are bound by two incompatible laws that, taken together, seal their doom. They must not fail to keep the commandment of their lord to protect his flock and they must not raise a hand against any noble relative of the great king. When the nobles scatter the flock, hopeless and helpless despair is the only available response for the servants because their doom is sure.

For their predecessors, that was the end of the story. But for these fortunate servants the story is wonderfully changed. A godlike nobleman—the most powerful of all, one who can vanquish even the great king himself—has condescended to come among them and voluntarily share their servant status. When the crisis comes and they fall into despair, he rallies them. From him they draw the courage and ability to keep their lord’s commandments. Placing their faith in him and doing as he commands (an essential element in their redemption), they gather the scattered flock and encircle them to prevent their flight.

He, the suffering servant, in turn, goes forth to bear the brunt of the violence meant for them which they were powerless to resist. Against all human odds, this godlike nobleman defeats forces arrayed against him and them. He reconciles the two laws, making it possible for his fellow servants to keep both. They have neither allowed the flock to be plundered nor lifted a hand against the great king’s relatives. Led by their savior, the servants return to their lord without blemish, their lives preserved by the gracious intervention of the godlike figure who condescended to be one with them. Their faith in this noble savior redeems not just their bodies but their eternal souls, for he brings them back not just to their temporal lord, Lamoni, but to their eternal lord, the Lord God."

Sorry for the long quote but I found it a fascinating take on a beloved story in the Book of Mormon that took me to another level of understanding after years of reading that story. Love the thought that Mormon took so much care to testify of Christ even through the stories he chose to include. 

Love you son. Have a great week. 


From Josh:

Sorry for the short responce last week, we need to get members to email at the family history centre here, and he just talked so much I couldn't focus, but i guess that is just an excuse, I will make sure to write more in this email.
So today was an interesting day
 we have amember in our ward that works for Nickalodion studios and so we went on a tour of Nickalodion and it was so cool! We got to see where they worked on Danny Phantom and Pablo Smith (the member who works for them) actually worked on a lot of fight scenes in Legend of Korra. so that was pretty cool.
This area that I am in is hard, not a lot of things going on... you know in 4 nephi where they spend like three chapters on 200 years because it is so peaceful? I kind of feel like that, the members here are super cool and treat us like kings... I am having trouble keeping my weight consistant so that is the only real struggle besides trying to find people to teach, my troubles have shifted from trying to balance appointments to trying to find appointments and a lot of nights are spent in planning trying to figure out what we are going to do to find more people, so it is quite a trial, a ton of stress involved... and now I am called to be a district leader! I am pretty excited about that and I think it is super cool because in my patriarical blessing it says that I would be excited to be involved in teaching and leadership, and I am! I love giving trainings and helping out the people in my district.

I am currently reading the new testament again and I love all that it says I am gaining a lot from reading about the savior's life, I want to be more patient and loving and have been working on being more bold.
I love you all, there is not much to report on up here in the Santa Clarita Valley but I hope you are all doing great!
Love Joshua. 

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Elder Postelnicu during studies one day.
Our district
District leaders

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