This email might seem a bit rushed. I apologize profusely.
I got to do exchanges this week with Elder Brand and Elder Davis, which was really cool. They're both studs, and we had a fun time contacting downtown.
Also, remember that guy I mentioned a few weeks ago that walked past us and said "I dwell not in the land of the living, etc.?" Kind of an interesting guy. He's now walked past us like 6 times on the streets, and every time he has a new comment. I would talk to him, but he never stops! He just keeps going, and I don't really want to chase him. It's been odd.
Hamilton's been extra interesting this week. On one lap around Main street, Elder Lau and I saw like 3 guys just heaving their guts out onto the street. Also, a guy walked with us for about 20 minutes, confessing all his sins to us, and we were just trying to keep him from collapsing (he was super drunk). Another guy, while walking with us, said, "Well, look, I'm not a bad guy. I don't do bad things. I mean, I do crack cocaine, and I used to hire prostitutes all the time, but I'm not a bad guy, you know?"
In other cool and exciting news, we taught a guy on the street for like 45 minutes. He was waiting for the bus, and he just had a ton of questions about religion and stuff. We're probably meeting with him this week, and if not this week, then next.
Also, I ate Balut this week. Super interesting. Basically it's an egg, but their is a baby duck inside that's half formed. It's a Filipino delicacy. We ate it at a member's house, and they said they'd send you guys the video back home. Their name is the Acordas, so if you get a random message from them, just know that it's legit.
And that's basically the week. On a more spiritual note, I was studying a lot about the difference between weakness and sin. I think often we associate these as being two separate degrees on the same continuum, but they are actually very different, and play different roles in the plan of salvation.
Sin, by definition, is a voluntary breaking of God's commandments. It brings darkness into our lives, but luckily through the atonement of Christ we can repent and overcome it. It comes from Satan, the enemy of all righteousness. Weakness on the other hand, is not willful, and it is not a sin. It is inherent in a world full of imperfections, but instead of driving us away from God and all that is good, it can actually be an instrument in pulling us toward God.
The reason I've been studying this topic is because I believe that there are few times I will be more acutely aware of my weaknesses than on a mission. I am literally required to rely on the Lord in hard times, and in part, that is the reason why missionaries have such a rich and gratifying experience. We are made aware of our weaknesses that we may be strong.
Sin can be overcome, but it drives us away from God. Countless times in the scriptures, it is said that if the people are unrighteous, they will be cut off from the presence of God. Weakness however, holds a completely opposite purpose. In the words of Paul "My (God) grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."