"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."
We had a surprise meeting in Charlotte this Monday. Elder Zwick of the Seventy came to visit Charlotte due to the death of Charlotte-native Elder Page in California, and after the funeral on Saturday he decided to stick around and speak to us. So this is why this email is a day late. Also coming down the pipe is a meeting with Elder Kopischke of the Seventy this Saturday, which I'm looking forward to seeing as he worked with my dad back in the 90's.
It is a beautiful fall here. The leaves have not yet started changing colors but the weather is lovely. This last week the sky has been pure gray from sunup to sundown every day. In the mornings, huge clouds fill up the valleys here, and whenever it finishes raining, mist rises from the ground.
A member shared with us that the LDS Church was on Jeopardy this week. This led me to come up with the should-have-been Final Jeopardy question:
Alex Trebek: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
Contestant: "What is 'the truth?' "
Alex Trebek: "That is correct!"
Here's a much harder question: Would the winner have to pay tithing on the money he'd won? (Remember, answers must be phrased in the form of a question.)
This last Saturday, at the end of a long day, with all other options exhausted, I felt prompted to try a former investigator family that I hadn't been able to get hold of for six weeks. We knocked on the door and when the husband opened up and saw me, his eyes went wide. We had achieved complete and total surprise.
We came in and talked with them and he told us that, quite honestly, he'd figured we'd forgotten about them. (Never.) We talked to him and his wife and invited them to church. The husband, who has always been the one holding the family back from baptism, again put up some resistance. "Every time we start getting involved in the church bad things start happening," he said. "I don't want that to happen again."
A thought immediately jumped into my head, so I took it. I leaned forward and said, "As a representative of Jesus Christ, I promise you that if you come to church tomorrow you will be at peace."
I can count on one hand the number of times in my mission that I have really pulled the "As a representative of Jesus Christ" card. It is not something that I feel comfortable throwing around casually. Preach My Gospel talks about remembering the authority of your calling, but I have usually reflected that in other ways. The thought came into my head, so I obeyed the prompting. It was not a premeditated thing.
The husband balked at this, and said that I didn't have authority to make a promise like that. I repeated it. He again balked at it. I didn't want to argue, but I replied that I was confident that what I had promised would come to pass. So Sunday he and his family came to church for the first time in over six months. We will see where it all goes.
It has been a growing experience for me, being on a mission, as you all have probably seen. I am grateful for the loving support of my mission president and my companions. I love being here, and I am honored that the Lord has chosen me to represent Him.
My call as a missionary came in response to my request. My assignment came because an Apostle of the Lord sat in a little room in the 5th floor of the Church offices, saw my face, and in fasting and prayer received a revelation on where I was supposed to go. That is an amazing thought.
By the way, Elder Zwick informs us that there are currently 81,000 missionaries serving, with 17,000 more with mission calls. I really would be honored if I got to be serving when the Lord's army hit 100,000. We'll see if it happens!
I love you all, and I love my mission!
Hurrah for Israel!