Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[9/2/2013] Week 25: Casey and Cody and Christian

They say that the first week of the transfer always goes slow, but this week was a flash!

Me & Elder O'Rullian
Elder O'Rullian and I get along really well. I am really grateful for the opportunity to work with him. There is a lot that he's teaching me that he learned from working in his last area. He's also a pretty big goofball, so we do well! He has alopecia ariata, but he is super positive about it. I must admit, I wasn't as charitable in my heart as I should have been when I first saw him, but now we're best buds, and I hardly notice! He's a crazy hard worker, and has a great outlook on missionary work.

This week wasn't super successful as far as numbers go. We're doing a lot of Area Book cleaning, trying to contact potentials and formers. I'll relate a few of the highlight experiences from the week:

While planning for Tuesday evening, the Spirit told me to visit a less-active part-member-family called the Copenhavers. I was hesitant because they're never awake, not home, etc. and I've never even spoken with anyone besides the young children. But I complied with the prompting and acted on it, and we caught Sister Copenhaver home and awake, were let in, shared a message, and set up a return appointment to begin teaching her twin sons, Joshua and Justin, who are unbaptized children of record. When we returned on Friday, they were again all home, we taught a simplified and visual lesson on the Restoration, using a Rubik's cube, and set up another return appointment. Sister Copenhaver knows she should be attending church, and wants to return; she just needed a couple of missionaries to nudge her forward!

Last night, as Elder O'Rullian and I sat down to begin our daily planning session, I realized I had left my planner out in the car. As we descended the stairs to the parking lot, we encountered two young men by the names of Cody, 15, and Casey, 19. Cody had a skateboard and I mentioned that I used to skate. We talked shortly about that, but it was quickly evident that Casey was not only heavily intoxicated, but in extreme emotional agony. Partially communicating with Casey through Cody, we discovered that he was struggling with molestation, addiction, intense guilt, lack of self worth, and a myriad of other dispiriting trials. We taught and testified fervently and with a level of serenity the gospel of Jesus Christ. We ensured him that he can become a person he is proud of by abiding by the teachings of Jesus Christ. By applying the principles of faith, repentance, baptism, and confirmation, he could overcome all that he was currently facing. He expressed that all he wanted was freedom from his addiction and guilt, to lead a normal life, to find a wife and have kids. We said a prayer with Casey and Cody and taught Cody a one-minute lesson on the Restoration. They both agreed to meet with missionaries, and we've sent the referrals on their way.

This is the email I just sent to Christian:

"So when I received the news of your decision not to serve a mission, I was way thrown off. It was surreal at first. We Martin Brothers Four were always going to serve missions. I was really looking forward to having you in the field at the same time as me and being able to swap mission stories in the future. So when I received the news of your decision not to serve a mission, I knew immediately that you were going to need my support in this. The news I received was that you had prayerfully decided not to serve a mission. If that was the case, I needed to know that this really was His will for you. So I did a lot of praying. A lot. And I fasted for you on Sunday. And this is what came to me during sacrament meeting: the whole purpose of serving a mission is to invite others to come unto Christ. And that is totally doable without a black nametag. Granted, you won't have the same awesome spiritual experiences, but often people are more willing to talk with regular Joe's about religion than with shirts and ties. If you really commit yourself to living the gospel and sharing it with everyone, I don't see any difference. In fact, I'd be interested to see what kind of success you can have in that route. But I mean, you've really got to make it part of who you are.

I say, if you make this decision, the best way to keep yourself from having to regret it in the future is to be a missionary anyway. Just do it without the nametag. 

I love you, dude. Stay classy.


I know it may not be what you expected, but it's what I felt as a result of lots of prayer and fasting.

I'm very happy to hear how things are going at home. It's cool that Brandon's assimilating back into normal life and that y'all have had an opportunity to celebrate his homecoming with family!

Pops, I was wondering: did you ever send that classical music? It'd be much appreciated, especially now that I'm in a car area. I also found out we're allowed to listen to Christian rock "as long as it doesn't teach false doctrine", says President Bonham. What a jokester, that guy. So whatever you've got, please send it. I love me some horn concertos.

Oh! I forgot to mention! We played golf last p-day. Like nine real holes at a real golf course. It was awesome! I think I'm gonna get into when I get home. So I can get good. And shmooze with rich people. Just kidding.

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