"I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents..."
- 1 Nephi 1:1.
(and probably the most frequently read verse of scripture among Latter-Day Saints. 2 Nephi is hard.)
Another fun fact that you should know about North Carolina is that we have psychics here. With the exception of Pineville, every area I have been in has had psychics, palm readers, tarot card and ouija board people, and all that sort of stuff. (Do I get bonus points for knowing how to spell ouija without having to look at a dictionary?) I have never seen this anywhere but North Carolina. And it's not just an isolated thing -- there's actually multiple of them in every area.
I was initially surprised that such a religious area would have superstitious stuff like psychics all over the place, but now I realize that there actually isn't much difference between what these sorts of kooks do compared to what goes on in some of the churches around here. Maybe we should go and get their opinion the next time we're trying to find new investigators.
On the subject of superstitious...
A few weeks ago I was in the library using my Facebook time. I generally try not to pay too much attention to what other people are doing on their computers, but I am still usually vaguely conscious of what they're up to. I was happily working along when suddenly I saw the lady next to me get on Google, type in "Mormon underwear," and click on the third link or so from the top, not a Church website.
Elder Fisher: "Excuse me, ma'am, I happened to notice that..."
And thus I was able to redirect this woman away from the presumably anti-Mormon site she was going to be looking at and onto mormon.org, where I was able to show her my profile, explain that I was a missionary, and start answering her questions about what we believed. Situation avoided. Whew!
We ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and a ton of other stuff when she asked us for it. It turned out that she had been living across from our street for years and had always wanted to know that we believed. Did we worship Joseph Smith? What was the Book of Mormon? Did we still read the Bible? A bunch of stuff like that.
To think that all of this happened because I am aware of what other people are doing...
The meeting with Elder Quentin L. Cook was very short, only two hours instead of the regular three or four or five. Having shaken hands with Elder Cook before, I had told all the missionaries in my district that he had a squishy hand. They didn't believe me, but this was later confirmed when he shook hands with all of us at that meeting.
He didn't really have that much counsel or direction to give us, but he did tell us some interesting things. He talked to us about his responsibility to assign missionaries. Some missionaries, he said, need a certain mission president; they need to be around his example to help them grow. Most assignments, Elder Cook said, are ultimately made for that reason. Some missionaries are assigned to a certain people; they have talents and abilities that allow them to really succeed in that place. Some missionaries are assigned to a mission because of some future experience they will have there.
Elder Cook also told us that the time will come when we will understand that our mission has blessed everyone near and dear to us -- not just our families, not just the people in the field, everyone in our life. He also said that some of the companions who have the least in common with you will have been the most important for you in the future.
I could expound more on what he said, but there isn't all that much time. I'll close with this: Upon seeing all the sister missionaries in our mission, which is the largest mission he's been to at around 250 missionaries,Elder Cook commented that perhaps the greatest effect of the age change will not necessarily be the people who will come into the church during the wave, but the effect a mission will have on all these sisters who will be mothers someday.
I thought that was cool. The Lord needs missionaries, but even more importantly, he needs good parents, and serving a mission is a great way for Him to prepare the youth of today for parenthood in an increasingly evil world. To quote Elder Cook from the meeting: "Being born of goodly parents is not as important asbeing goodly parents."
I am definitely grateful for my goodly parents and all the people in my life who are doing an awesome job at raising their family. The most important battlefield in the world is not out on the streets, where we the missionaries are, but in the home.
Love you all so much. Hurrah for Israel!