This week was pretty good.
This week was general conference, all the church leaders giving talks from Salt Lake. Actually it was last week, but since we're 12 hours ahead we got the DVDs and played them this week. It was really good, I felt rejuvenated.
One of the talks that I felt was meant for me was on the need to slow down and focus on the important things, especially when going through turbulent events, instead of just being busy for the sake of being busy. Obviously this is one of my known weaknesses but I felt like I received a lot of help in going from where I am to where I want to be.
One of the people we're teaching is named M., he's 18 and he and his sister N. live in an orphanage. An American sister named K.R. has been bringing them to church for a while. This was our seating arrangement.
when a speaker with a thick Italian accent comes on.
M. has problems understanding some of the (American) speakers anyway, and often ask us what they are saying.
So when this speaker comes on M. first turns to the right and asks KR what he is saying. She can't tell, so he turns to the left and asks me instead. I also have no idea, at which point he starts laughing pretty hard, followed by the rest of us. The Americans can't understand the speaker, how is he supposed to? We laugh with him.
M. is pretty amazing actually. Visiting him was one of the highlights of this week.
He's been through a lot of stuff in his life but because of KR (she's his teacher) it seemed to work out for good instead of bad.
He said he used to never listen to anyone and always rebel but now he's different. I asked him "what changed?" and he proceeded to give a 40-minute explanation of his life story.
We had planned on teaching the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, translation: no drinking, smoking, drugs, tea, or coffee, sex only within marriage, keep your thoughts pure and choose your life partner carefully.
However, as he was telling his life story, he was basically explaining how all of his different friends had ended up drinking all the time, or marrying crappy husbands who were drunk all the time and cheated on them. So we just had to listen carefully and point out the lessons, which he already realized in the first place.
And then, since this is India, he has two sisters and has to worry about their marriage, so we pointed out that finding good life partners would be far, far easier that way.
The heartless analytical economist in me has a hypothesis.
(1) Actions, especially the type of actions mentioned above, innately have consequences.
(2) Sometimes we as humans can be shielded from consequences by protective factors. These protective factors include
(a) Human action-consquence limitations, ie parents, mentors, and roommates. They make curfews, wait up, pick us up at the police station, ground us, sit with us when we're vomiting into the toilet, etc etc.
(b) Non-human action-consquence limitations, for example access to birth control and abortion
(c) Action-guiders, ie parents, friends, mentors and culture to convince us to avoid patterns of destructive behavior, develop good judgment in the opposite sex, etc.
(3) When protective factors are present behavior can go on for a longer time without serious negative consequences, ie unwanted pregnancy, job loss, addiction, etc etc. Sometimes that can enable people to change course before serious problems result.
(4) Very few to absolutely none of these protective factors are present in an Indian orphanage.
That makes me extremely grateful for KR; she helped M. find the right path. I'm sure his decisions will bless future generations. He has one of the strongest desires to do right of anyone I've met on my mission. Probably because of the stuff he's seen.