"O God...if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee..." - Alma 22:18
I was biking on the street this Sunday when I hit a crack in the road and crashed. My front wheel got bent into a lovely figure-8 due to the effect of 240 pounds of Elder Fisherlanding on it. I was surprisingly unharmed but the impact tore a hole right through my shirt. I guess God misinterpreted what I was asking for when I had been praying for Him to make me more...holy.
The crash wasn't really caused by a lack of skill on my part; I just hit a crack. So, when E. Dedrick asked me "What made you crash?" I could honestly reply, "It was the street'sfault."
But where to start about this last week? We spent several hours helping a nonmember stack wood on Wednesday and several more helping a member shovel mulch on Saturday.Elder Dedrick forgot his iPad at the post office last Monday, but the very postal worker we'd talked to on that day bumped into Spanish elders later on in the week and told them to inform us that the iPad was still at the office. The postal worker had figured that all Mormon elders know each other, and by golly, we do. Miracle? Oh yes.
What could I tell you about my mission? I could tell you about the helicopters that we always see flying around, searching for dope. Or how everyone smokes here and not one person has a full set of teeth, or how I'm getting really tired of the smell of marijuana.
Or how the little daughter of one of the people we're teaching stopped me after a lesson once and said, "You know who you remind me of?"
"Joey Gladstone from Full House."
Or when we were teaching a 50-year old man and his elderly aunt walked in the room and he started loudly cussing her out while she patiently ignored him. It was entirely unprovoked on her part -- he was just holding some ill feelings about something that had happened years ago. We took him outside and talked to him about it, then marched him back inside so that he could apologize. It was quite the sight, seeing this gigantic 50-year old man say that he was sorry, looking for all the world like a 5-year old who was being forced by his mother to apologize for calling someone a bad name.
In the middle of a lesson with our investigator Charles, as I was sitting in a lawn chair under the trees behind his beaten-down trailer, I was listening to his gentle, raspy voice talk about what he'd read in the Book of Mormon recently, regarding his beaten baseball cap and the Hitler-esque mustache on his wrinkled face, when all of a sudden the powerful thought came to me:
"The Savior died for this person."
I could only call it a revelation.
I find it both amazing and slightly worrisome that this idea had never really occurred to me before. But ever since, I have tried to recapture this thought for every person I see. For it's true, isn't it? Missionaries wear the mantle of Christ, which means that we represent Him, but also that we are entitled to receive any gift or quality we need to represent Him accurately. Included among that is receiving the vision of Christ: being able to see people as He sees them; being able to see them as who they can become.
The Savior died for Charles. And for Allen, the man we're meeting with who's worried about how his adult children are going down dark and painful paths despite all of his best efforts to raise them as Christians, and is torn with guilt, thinking that he's a bad father. To which I replied, "God's children disobey Him all the time. But we would never call Him a bad parent."
The Savior died for Allen. And for Joseph, the man we taught who is not sure if there really is a God, and who, when we invited him to pray, offered up a prayer remarkably similar to the one offered by Lamoni's father in the book of Alma. Or Cedric, the cool gangsta recent convert who taught me how to do a gangsta handshake -- which is, to this day, one of the greatest accomplishments of my mission -- and for countless other people that I do not have the time or the means to tell you about, people who I love with all my heart.
I do not have time to write out the rest of my thoughts, so I'll just save it for next week. What a precious time this is! How I love to be a missionary. This work is true.
Love you all! Hurrah for Israel!