I Need Them Forever and a Day Interrupted

Technology is a blessing and a plague. I know traditionally we say curse, but I’m going to say plague. Plagues are no respecter of persons, they spread quickly and into everything. Technology has replaced traditional forms of communication, courtship, travel, medicine, and so forth. Some times these advancements or changes are exceedingly beneficial. Instead of walking on foot we now use airplanes to travel great distances. This, I think, is a benefit of technology. But in other areas like interpersonal relationships or intimacy, technology has created some hidden dangers.

I don’t really want to focus on technology, but today I am grateful for technology because of a really awesome experience I had.

Saturday, the Sabbath, we went to the Sea of Galilee. This is where Peter, James, and John were found fishing on two separate occasions, Christ calmed the waters during a voyage, and Christ walked on this water and Peter was saved from drowning here. In October 2012 General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk in which he took some creative license in interpreting the story in John 21. We had the opportunity to listen to this talk again as we sat near the shore of the Sea of Galilee. As we sat, I felt the Spirit so strongly, just as I had the first time I heard the talk in 2012. There is a gentle power in the words that Elder Holland delivered that just trigger something inside of me.

“Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

How amazing it was, to sit near where these men sat with the Savior and think about this story. The Savior wants us to be his sheep, but also his disciples forever.

Today, was also another amazing day! While we have been here in Israel we have had the same, wonderful, bus driver. His name is Ata. He’s quite amazing and maneuvers the bus expertly. Earlier in the day, the air conditioning on our bus started cutting in and out. No one really noticed it when we first got on the bus because we weren’t on the bus for very long before we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee… Yeah, I “sailed” the Sea of Galilee, but more about that later. Once we got back on the bus it started to be a little more noticeable. It got a little warmer and continued to come on and cut out pretty regularly and the air was no longer cool. Well, we made it through about half of our day. We had been to Capernaum where they believe Peter’s mother-in-law lived, we saw Syria, marked by the Syrian flag, then we stopped to have lunch in a Druze village and had Druze pita with olive oil and olives {It was pretty good, though I’m not sure I would get it again…}, after lunch we drove to Banias (Ban-yas) or Caesarea Phillipi where they have ruins from a pagan temple to Pan {It used be called Panias, but Arabic doesn’t have a “p” sound so it became Banias} and explored. We walked around, had a nice time looking at the sites there and then we all congregated near the parking lot and decided we should go because we were going to go to Dan next.

Well, our fearless leader Stewart went to talk to Atta and Joseph { our guide} and came back looking a little sheepish. He told us that our bus wouldn’t start, but there was another bus, with just the right amount of seats on it for our group, and they were heading back to Tiberias right then. If we didn’t go with them and we waited for another bus to come, we wouldn’t get back til dark; we could’ve waited there for another mechanic, but we really wouldn’t get back til dark. Either way, we weren’t going to Dan anymore. How blessed we were to be in a place where Heavenly Father could bless us with people to help us.


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