Sunday, May 25, 2014

[3/3/2014] Week 52: A Year Out

Howdy y'all!

Well, it was kind of a weird week.

I mean, I turned 20 and all. And I hit my year-mark. But for a lot of the week, I was in a funk. Like, I was floating in limbo.

Honestly, I think it might be from not taking the sacrament in three weeks now. Oh, yeah. We missed church again yesterday due to inclement weather (if you're wondering, we went to the United Church of Christ this time). Since church is the culmination of
everything we missionaries do in a week, it's felt weird not having that checkpoint three weeks in a row. It's like we're running on endlessly teaching people with no real point of reference. It's hard to feel like there's any progression going on in our area without seeing people come to church--even though there's nothing we can do about it. Maybe there's a life lesson here...

Christian, I did indeed receive the package! Thanks much. It was delicious. Just what we needed. Went perfectly with a 24-pack of something dark red, delicious, and Texan that I keep in our refrigerator. I also received your card on Saturday--it was thoughtful and delightful. You know me so well.

Here's the biggest miracle from the week (and what do you know but it happened on Thursday, the 27th):

Kevin (LA found on my birthday) and Elder Jones.
Imagine you're at Subway with a couple of good friends. In the middle of your meal, a man in his late 20's whom you've never met walks through the front door of the business, approaches you straightway, and exclaims that he has been looking for you nonstop since he moved to Washington just over a week ago. He proceeds to pull up a chair, tell you his life story, break down in tears, discuss his gripping meth addiction and fragile state of recovery, point out touching scriptures in the Book of Mormon you had laying on the table, testify of the peace he's found "both" times he's opened that book, and plead with you to meet again and take the missionary lessons. These are the things that happen to you when you're living the life of a missionary. Raised in Salt Lake City, and baptized two years ago, Kevin only found true conversion three months ago--about the time his girlfriend left on a mission to Tallahassee. His father introduced him to meth at the age of 15 as incentive to clean the garage, and his indulgence in it has torn his life apart since. He compared it to money: when you ask someone what they think of money, they tell you, "Well, you can't do anything without money. You just have to have it." For Kevin, this was meth. He could not do anything without it. He also struggled with a mother and sisters who encouraged his dangerously suicidal tendencies. With this background and no desire to return to Salt Lake City, he picked up and fled. He ended up in Blaine and was warmly accepted by this small town, finding two jobs shortly thereafter and painting walls and sleeping in garages aside space heaters each night. When he crossed the border from Canada into Blaine, it was cold, dark, and rainy. He carried a few clothes in a bag, a handmade CTR ring, and absolutely no cash. Yet he couldn't help but feel the happiest he's felt in his life--and he didn't know why. One of the jobs he found was at the Subway at which we ate--we almost went elsewhere. Kevin told us he had been popping into the library near daily in hopes of running into us. In the process of taking a lady's trash out, he spotted at the bottom of the garbage can, a card and jumped at it in hopes that it would bear the missionaries' phone number, but it was blank. We've met with him once so far, and he's going to be on the lookout for referrals. He has one of the strongest testimonies I've ever seen, and being from Utah, he was livid that church was cancelled for less than an inch of snow. He wanted to bear his testimony!

Well, I'm out of time.

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

So yeah, great birthday!

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