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

4/8/13 "Catch a wave"

For a missionary, Conference time is better than Christmas in a lot of ways. We don't get to talk to our family, but we do get to just sit and listen for a little while. We talk so much on a mission, that it's really nice to sit back and hear people a lot more spiritual than you talk for a few hours. This Conference was particularly nice, with my most notable highlights being:

1) President Monson's sad face during his Sunday Morning talk. I will love forever the person who gets me a picture of that expression with a funny caption. Oh, and when he rolled his eyes shortly before that. There are just so many possibilities with a picture like that.

2) Dear Elder Enrique Falabella in the Sunday Afternoon session: "I need you to hug me!" (That means you, Dad!)

3) Elder Ballard's epic win line to President Packer. Sadly, I don't think dear President Packer's going to make it to the 98th edition of his poem...

4) That picture of a knight that Elder Hales' dad drew for him is good.
If my life on a mission was a book, and it was divided into chapters, then the title of this week's chapter would be "Lost Souls." During this last week, I biked up to a group of people and was hailed with:
     "Are you selling weed?"
     "No," said I, "I'm selling something better: eternal life."
In short, what ensued was an epic 5-for-all conversation on religion between the four drug dealers present and a woman who was nearby. I will label the participants as Rachel the Faithful, Teba the Confused, Jay the Uncaring, [Forgot] the Defiant, and Dante the Catholic. It was hilarious. I literally could have sat there for hours and watched them go. Sadly, I realized that I was on the Lord's time, so we moved on after a little while.

My favorite part of the whole conversation:
The Defiant, to Rachel the Faithful: "You say to pray about it? Who I'm prayin' to? God? Who made him? How'd he make the world? Look at that black pole there. How'd that get there? Did some guy just say 'Let there be light?'"
     "Well, it is a lightpole," I offered.

Later that day, we met all sorts of people. We met a young man with a few Word of Wisdom problems and many tattoos; we met a rather beaten-down young woman; we met a man who served in Iraq at the same time Dad did, and he really wants to know the truth. During pouring rain on Thursday, a Haitian man named Colbeat let us in the door because he could only see the top of my head through the window and thought I was his son. We've since taught him twice.

One of the people we've been teaching is Shane, a 21-year old man. We were knocking in his apartment complex one evening and a man came across the street, walking across a parking lot to get to us. He started shouting obscenities at us, and then all of a sudden we hear, "There's no reason to be so rude, man!"
We looked, and lo and behold, there was Shane, who had happened to be walking through the complex and had heard the shouting. What a stud! He came to the Sunday Morning session with us and has a baptismal date for May.

Brother Johnson came to Priesthood, and Brother Green came to all five sessions, by the way.
It seemed like we bumped into a ton of lost souls this week. With all this in mind, it seemed like President Uchtdorf's talk in Priesthood session stood out the most to me. He talked about four universal title that every priesthood holder has. The very first that he mentioned applies to all people: "Child of God."
The very first thing we teach as missionaries is that all of us are Children of God. He loves us, and wants us to be like Him. As President Uchtdorf said so eloquently, we rejoice in every step that a toddler makes. When the child falls down, we are not upset with him; we applaud him and congratulate him for making it so far. It is the same with our Heavenly Father: He rejoices in every single effort we make to come to Him. (This statement reminded me a lot of Carol Lynn Pearson's poem The Lesson.) (paula:  i've included that below)

I particularly loved Elder Christofferson's talk about redemption. I have always loved the scene in Les Miserableswhen Valjean is redeemed. All of us are imperfect, but thankfully, we do not have to be perfect all at once. I have come to love the song O, Divine Redeemer while on my mission, because it captures so well that sense of desperation that every one of us feels at some point in our life; the desperation of a lost soul with nowhere to turn.

However, there is good news. As Elder Ellis proclaimed, we are not spiritual orphans! No one is a lost soul.  That is the message we bring as missionaries. We have a Divine Redeemer who can never forget us, because He paid for every single one of us, quite personally. No one is lost; no one is not paid for. We are all redeemed, despite our imperfection, and we will all be brought home to our loving Father in Heaven. We may fall down at times, but Heavenly Father doesn't mind. It can be hard, at times, to learn the great lesson of Godhood.

I know this to be true. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ lives, Joseph Smith His prophet, this Church His Church. President Monson is a prophet, despite the fact that he played with matches when he was little. I love you all, I love my companion, and I love my mission.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

The Lesson

Yes, my fretting,
Frowning child,
I could cross
The room to you
More easily.

But I’ve already
Learned to walk,
So I make you
Come to me.

Let go now—
You see?

Oh, remember
This simple lesson,
And when
In later years
You cry out
With tight fists
And tears—
“Oh, help me,
Just listen
And you’ll hear
A silent voice:

I would, child,
I would.
But it’s you,
Not I,
Who needs to try

-- Carol Lynn Pearson

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