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

Sunday, May 26, 2013

4/22/13 "Happy birthday to you!"

[A drunken Kid Shalleen walks into the room and sees the candles lit around the dead guy in the casket. Confused, he blows one out.]
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you..."

(paula's note:  this is from the movie "cat ballou."  if you'd like to see the funny 35-second clip, here is the link.)

This is, without a doubt, the best birthday I've ever had. I've felt a massive outpouring of love and support from family and friends from numerous different places in the world. I am so moved at how you are all helping me and cheering me on. I feel so blessed to be the person I am.

Well, here I am, at the big 2-0. That's either 1/4 of the way done through life or 1/5 of the way done, depending on how you look at it. Crazy. Absolutely crazy. Where has the time gone? I think I'll write me my own version Elder Packer's "I'm getting old" poems to celebrate the occasion.

Here's the update for this last week, briefly:

1) My new companion is Elder Fulton. He came out on the same plane with me, so we've both been out the same amount of time, but he wasn't in the same district as I was.  It is extremely unusual for something like this to happen; most of the time one member of the companionship is more experienced than the other, but in our case we're both nearing the 9-month mark.

2) I am serving in the Huntersville area. We share an apartment with the Lake Norman elders, Elder Parker and Elder Wilkinson. The funny thing is that we live outside of our area, so we have to bike two miles every day just to get to the place where we can actually start working.

As for Huntersville itself, it's a bit north of Charlotte. It's a nice balance between Dobson and Pineville, since Dobson was mostly farmland and Pineville was mostly the city. Huntersville looks like a transition between the two. I'm excited to work here.

3) Elder Molina, my trainer and first companion, is serving in the Mooresville area, which is in my district. It is so  much  fun to have him in my district. I love that elder.

4) On Friday, Elder Fulton and I got caught out in the rain. As always, I came prepared, but Elder Fulton was not, so the two of us huddled underneath one relatively small umbrella while standing underneath one relatively small tree in the pouring rain. Thankfully, a nice lady across the street saw us in the rain and let us come and stand under her porch. Nothing builds companionship unity like getting drenched in the rain together.

5) Of the four elders in the apartment, three of us love to sing. (Poor Elder Wilkinson.) I finally have a companion who's able to sing with me!

6) My address:
19135 Chandlers Land Drive #307
Charlotte, NC 28031

Well, I had at first wanted to share my testimony as today's thought, but for some reason I'm getting the feeling that that's not the right thing to do. I will instead share a story from this last week.

We had been out working in a particular neighborhood. We knocked on a lady's door, and she was not interested, but I asked her who she knew who could use a message about eternal families. She informed us that a family up the street had lost their 19-year old son not long ago and was having a very rough time. We thanked her for her help and went to go visit them.

When I saw the mother, I could tell that this was a woman who was totally distraught. They did not let us in the door at first, but apparently something in what we said or did softened their heart to the point where they were willing to let us in. What happened was one of the most thoughtful lessons for me that I had ever had.

In my many moments of self-reflection over the last few weeks, what with me leaving the teenage years behind and reaching the 1/3 mark of my mission, I was thinking over how I taught people. I determined in my head that I needed to listen really hard and try to teach to the family's needs.

Their son had gone off the deep end. He'd made a lot of mistakes. After a few months, he turned his life around and wanted to come back. His parents received him back gladly. Shortly afterward he was killed in an accident. A few weeks before this, however, his parents had discovered a note he'd written to God during the low point in his life, asking God to help him.

I was very touched by this story, and what followed was a lesson talking entirely about the Atonement and about eternal families. The whole time I was not particularly concerned about if these people ended up joining the Church or not; I wanted them to know that families are eternal and that death is not the end. I wanted to comfort them, and let them know that everything was going to be all right. It was a powerful experience for me, one that I needed to have and which I took as an answer to prayer.

I would share so much more about my thoughts if I had the time, but sadly, I don't. I want you all to know thatfamilies  are  eternal. We were with Heavenly Father before, and every single one of us is going to be able to live with Him again. There will be no empty chairs when we get to heaven. With all of eternity to look at, this life and its troubles is really but a small moment, and all the trials we must face will simply fade away. Maybe this particular family will get baptized. Maybe they won't. But years from now, I will remember teaching them, and I won't remember all the slammed doors beforehand.

I sure love all of you. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

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