We got a few inches of snow here in Casper and for a few days the highs were barely in the 20s. That really isn't that cold for this area, but considering it's still November...yeah.
I have so many pictures to share, but for this week, here's a picture of my neighborhood under a sunrise that we enjoyed while jogging. It is so hard to breath at this altitude..seriously, I'm from Seattle, so that will take a while to get used to. Anyway, I live up that little road at the right of the panorama.
Honestly, we have a beautiful sunset and sunrise almost every morning and evening. It is so awesome. Oh wait, I have to share another picture. We had such a cool experience. A family in the ward (What's a ward?! I explained it last week.) owns 70,000 acres about 1 1/2 hours from town, and they invited us for dinner. The drive out there was so beautiful...almost as beautiful as Washington. Really. Another family made the sacrifice of driving two cars out there to get us all there, which was so kind. Check out the ranch.....and I would love to send pictures of the drive, but I can't choose one.
We drove on state highways until we turned onto a county dirt road, which took us twelve miles back to the ranch. This family is an inspiration. They drive the distance to go to church every Sunday and they even bring their kids to youth activities throughout the week. That is dedication.
The work here has still been mostly looking for people who will allow us to teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but I did finally get to teach my first lesson to someone who is not a member of the church. He has very strong Christian views, and is also a scientist, so it's really cool to hear him talk. We can tell he has a strong relationship with Heavenly Father, which is awesome. Basically we are just trying to discuss the importance of the church. When Jesus Christ was here on Earth, He organized His church and gave the Apostles the authority to act in God's name for the benefit of the people, which authority is the Priesthood (see Ephesians 4:4, 11-14 and Hebrews 5:4). He does not believe that Jesus Christ has one church that possesses that authority. I agree that most, if not all Christian churches are great. They bring people closer to Christ and teach people how to follow Him, which leads to happier lives. However, the Priesthood authority is necessary to perform ordinances like baptism that allow us to be cleansed of our sins so that we can live in the Kingdom of God (see John 3:5). It is definitely through Christ's sacrifice that we are saved, but we must do our part by acting on faith to live His Gospel (See James 2:17-26 and Romans 6). I know that our works do not save us. The purpose of our works is to unlock the power of Christ's Atonement so that He may allow us to be saved in the Kingdom of Heaven, when we stand to be judged (see Revelation 20:12-13). The mercy and grace of God will have no effect on us unless we accept Jesus Christ not only in our beliefes and with our words, but with our whole lives (see Matthew 10:38-39). I invite everyone to follow Jesus Christ with all of your hearts. I am trying my best to do so, and I have hope because of that. I know that Jesus Christ came to Earth, was baptized, organized His church, performed miracles, then gave His life and suffered so that we may be saved. I cannot even begin to fathom the weight of this action, but I do know that it happened, and that His Gospel is the way to be able to live with the Father (John 14).
If there are any questions, if anyone disagrees with anything I've said, or if you just want to contact me, write me a letter:
Elder William Roger Dudley
South Dakota Rapid City Mission
2525 W Main Ste 311
Rapid City, SD 57702
that is not my address, but they will forward the mail to me.
Pictures are welcome in the mail, too. I miss everyone's faces :)