North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Hallelujah Brother!" 8/20/12

"Hal-le-lujah brother! I am here to comfort the sinner and return the stray lamb back to the fold!"  (for those of you who don't recognize the quote, it is from the movie "Cat Ballou")

Well, here I am, in North Carolina! Some much to say, so little time! I'll do my best.

Mom, I got everything safe and sound. I have been using my bike, and I'll be using it a lot more, too, so don't worry about it.

First off, I really love that poster you sent to me, with the pictures. It nearly made me cry the first time I saw it. It was awesome.  (see attached - combined quotes from samuel fisher & danny)

Secondly, I've been thinking about our conversation at the airport. I remembered that, as time was running down, I had no idea what to say. All I could think of was saying "I love you" over and over. That experience made me think about what happened when we had to say goodbye to our Heavenly Father before we departed on our earthly mission. Were we reduced to tears then, capable only of saying "I love you?" What did He say to us before we left His presence? It was a strange connection for me. We can't give Heavenly Father a phone call, but we CAN talk to Him, and, unlike my parents, He can always see how I'm doing. I sure miss my family, but I know that He's watching them, just like me.

As for the mission itself...

I showed up in North Carolina on Monday. We stayed at the mission home the first night, getting to know President and Sister Craven. Great people! I headed off with real missionaries on Tuesday, Elders Greiner and Leon--it was the latter's last day in the mission! We taught a lady named Felicia, a referral from She just drank it all up, and committed to everything on the first go. Definite golden investigator, definite greenie's luck.

Wednesday was transfers. My trainer is Elder Molina, who is from Las Cruces! It has been a LONG time since I've met someone who knows who Dick Poe is. (our el paso friends will be familiar with this car dealership and it's irritating commercials!  We are in the Dobson area, which President Craven described as "the closest you can get to the Garden of Eden on Earth," and it certainly is. Looks a lot like Washington, but different kind of trees. Our apartment--duplex, actually--is MASSIVE. I feel so spoiled. I even discovered what appears to be the Sword of Laban hanging over the fireplace. I'll send you a picture of it sometime.

Dobson has a branch, just 10 members shy of being a ward, so Elder Molina and I have our work cut out. The members are EXTREMELY nice, and they feed us well. In our first few days, we've taught a lot of people, but never the same people twice, since apparently nobody answers their doors around here...There are tons of Baptists here, but that's to be expected. What surprised me, though, is that it's mostly a bunch of white people. Elder Molina has informed me that Dobson is where the Grand Dragon of the KKK is, so maybe we'll have to pay him a visit sometime.

On my first day in Dobson, filled with new missionary fire, I asked Elder Molina if we could bike around to our next appointment. I quickly remembered that I have not been biking for about two years. Elder Molina has the speed advantage, but I have the endurance, so it's quite an interesting spectacle to watch us make our way down the road, biking past verdent fields of "tabakka". (Again, I'll have to send you pictures of that.)

There are a few investigators that I want to share about. The first is Matt, a young man we met on Thursday. With a lump of aforementioned tabakka in his mouth, he listened to our first discussion. We read him a bit of the Book of Mormon, asked him to read it, and talked to him a bit. He had questions about if God could forgive him for his swearing and...relationships with girls (which we answered), and questions about scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, and polygamy (which we deflected). He said he could feel the Spirit when we talked to him, and wanted to be like us. The best part was, he expressed a desire that he wanted to go on a mission! He WANTS to change, and he wants to learn. All that we need now is for him to be home when we come visit...

We met an older lady named Lena on Saturday, who has a strong testimony of asking God about scripture. On segway later, she had committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. She also accepted the Restoration with no problems. She sounds willing to come to church, and she loves talking to anyone about God -- she just opened the door and sat down to talk, no questions asked. The one interesting thing was that she absolutely refused to pray with us at the end of the lesson. She said that she only says the Lord's Prayer -using the exact same words every time. The funny thing is, she says that prayer whenever she has a specific concern or question in mind. So she understands asking God questions, but just doesn't seem to grasp HOW. We're visiting her again tonight.

After we met Lena, we visited a man named Jerry on Saturday. He's a referral from that Elder Molina has visited before, and they taught him the first discussion, along with giving him a Book of Mormon. He's a definite born-againer. My experience with him went somewhat like this:
"So Jerry, have you prayed about the Book of Mormon, asking God if it is true?"
"Oh yes, I have. I got an answer. It's true. I study with it."
"Great! Do you believe in modern-day prophets?"
"Yes, I do! But God also told me to stay where I was, so I will."
...[Elder, did I miss something here?]"

Yeah. I was completely dumbfounded at this. I have no idea how someone could believe the Book of Mormon is true and just it. Elder Molina said to give him time.

We've gotten a freebie baptism in the form of Danica, a 12-year old girl who moved in with her father and his member family. We've been teaching her the lessons, and the only thing preventing her from getting baptized is that she wants her name changed. She's a bright girl, and she's really drinking it up.

Anyway, to finish up. It's been wonderful here. I'm having a great time, and learning a lot. Elder Molina is very patient with my eagerness. I have a great District Leader and a great Mission President. We're getting fed well, and I'm getting enough sleep. Dobson really is a beautiful place, and it has thankfully been perfect weather, even temperature wise.

David, that box of scripture cards you gave me has really come in handy. Thank you so much for all the work you put into that!

Augh! No time to proofread!

I want you to know that I love you, that I'm praying for you, and that I love hearing from you! Please keep me posted. I'll write more next week.

The Church is true. Heavenly Father and Jesus love us. That's why I'm here, after all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Fisher

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