May 30, 2016
Hi mom and Dad!
Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve already told you guys about a guy named FL. So, here’s how we met him: We were passing a potential investigator who seemed really cool, but every time we passed she would tell us to come by another day. Well, this time we knocked on her door and a man opened the door. We didn’t know who he was, but he ended up being this lady’s ex-husband. He was tending their son while the mom was working. We started talking a little to him and it turns out that he was a chef! We talked for quite a while about how to make various types of food, including how to cook rabbit (which is a some-what common specialty here.) He explained to us how to make it, more or less, and then we said goodbye and went on our way. I had been waiting for Elder S_ to ask if we could talk to him another day, and he had been expecting me to do it, so neither of us ended up talking about the gospel or making another appointment 😦
Well, we walked for a few minutes when we contacted someone and I went to introduce myself and I realized that I had lost my missionary name tag. We retraced our steps looking for it, all the way back to FL’s house. We stopped at his door and decided to ask him if he’d seen me with my name tag when we had talked earlier. He said that he wasn’t sure if I had had it either way. We then told him that we had realized that we probably weren’t skillful enough to make the rabbit by ourselves, so we asked him if we could buy a bunny and bring it to him to cook. He accepted. His house didn’t have a working stove, so we later told him that we’d love to talk to him even without cooking the rabbit. He let us come over this week and we taught him about the Restoration. He told us that he was virtually atheist and that he had lost his faith over the years. He loves to read and explained that he has trouble having blind faith. We showed him the Book of Mormon and I asked him if he knew what it was. He obviously didn’t, so he said he didn’t know. I told him that this was his key to find out for himself that our message was true. He didn’t have to have blind faith, but could truly read, study, ponder, and then pray, and he could discover the truth. He just LOVED that idea and promised to read. Now, back to the lost name tag: we did not find the name tag on the ground. Actually, I had left it back at the house, but I hadn’t realized it was missing until after we had talked with FL. If I had not left my name tag at the house, we would not have gone back past FL’s house and probably would have never talked to him again. Truly, God works in mysterious ways – like missing name tags. It was just a little miracle, but it means a lot to me.
Hind-Sight is 20/20
We also had a kind of funny experience this week while waiting for a bus. We were with the other 4 missionaries in our district and we were at the bus stop when a man just randomly showed up and asks in English if we had a Bible with us. He was very courageous, actually, to contact a group of 6 Mormon missionaries. Most people flee from us, haha! Anyway, he starts out reading a couple of scriptures about keeping God’s commandments and that kind of stuff. I knew he was a 7th-day Adventist before he even opened Exodus 20. But he told us he had been baptized a long time before in our church, and had also been baptized in other churches. I thought, “That’s cool” at the time, but I also felt kind of annoyed that he was trying to preach to us. So, we tried to convince him that we do keep the Sabbath Day holy and that the law had been fulfilled and all kinds of things. I’m not gonna lie, it didn’t go super well. We asked him why he had come to talk to us and he said he wanted to know why we didn’t keep the Sabbath Day holy. The conversation ended when we all had to get on the bus and go to Stake Conference. We did end up leaving a Book of Mormon with the man, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the way the conversation had gone. I thought and prayed about how I should have acted and spoken, instead of how I did act and speak. The answer I got was LOVE. When he explained that he had been baptized in our church before, I should have rejoiced with him, slapped him on the back and shook his hand, telling him how awesome it was that he had decided to be a member in our church. Certainly, he would have said that he had since changed religions, but I should have told him that it didn’t matter, we were still brothers in God, and that God wants us to respect everyone’s ideas and opinions and decisions. I should have showed that I loved him and NOT that I was right and he was wrong. Hind-sight is 20/20. For this reason the Savior taught that there are only 2 great commandments:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind… And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37, 39 & 40.
God wants us to love those that have different opinions than ours, not to show them how we are right and they are wrong. I’m convinced more people convert to the church because they see the sincerity and love of the missionaries and members, than because they are shown a scripture that convinces them of the error of their ways. My mission president teaches frequently that if we are to be successful, we need to BE the MESSAGE. We need to be “Living epistles” to all those we talk with. To repeat the phrase: “Hind-sight is 20/20.” I cannot relive the moment with that man, but I can promise to live my message from now on. I want everyone that I talk to to feel God’s love for them through me. That’s what I learned this week.
Go and LOVE everyone!!!