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Monday, July 20, 2015

Hide and Seek and Serendipity

It seems like you can't hide yourself in the church. No matter how far
you go, how distant you are from anyone that you know, there's going
to be someone that knows this guy or was your fathers bishop or the
second cousin to your dog. It may seem crazy, but even in Texas, a
state I've never been in, I don't know anyone who lives there,
somewhere perfect to hide, I am found.

I was doing an exchange with another greenie and one of my
ZL/companions, Elder Acor. The fellow newbie, Elder C, is also
from Idaho and did a year of BYU before he left to go serve the lord.
Personally, that was enough serendipity for the day to satisfy me.
Anything else would be a little weird. But, as we were sitting in the
living of our dinner appointment, a member family from Brazil,
something even more obscure, even closer to home, happened. The
Gutierrez family was pleasant. Talkative. And very smart. The father
said that he was only going to be in San Antonio for the summer, and
then he was back off to college.
"Oh really? What college"
"BYU. I am in the MBA program there."
... The lights in our mind slowly changed from a flicker to a blazing
brightness. Holy crap. This guy from Brazil knows my brother! Brother
Gutierrez is actually not only in the same MBA program, as Todd, but
he is also in the same section, supply chain management. He was in so
many classes with him that he probably is one of the few people that
saw my brother more than me in the past year. And here we are, about
to have some Brazilian dish in Texas. How could this ever happen?

The serendipity didn't end there. There is a youth in one of the wards
that i cover that is going out on a mission on Wednesday. For the many
lessons that we've worked together, I never even thought to ask where
he is going. Besides, what are the odds that we would be going
somewhere relevant to me?
Well, as it turns out, as he goes up to the pulpit to start his
farewell talk, he announces that he is going to the Calgary Canada
mission, speaking english. Not only is that where one of my closest
friends ever, Elder K T, is currently serving, but it is
also where my eldest brother Keith and his little family of four live.
Who the heck knows, this guy could be helping my brother drywall his
new house in a few months with my friend. Then they could go to a
Brazilian grill and have dinner with the G family. The
possibilities are endless.

And to put the icing on this coincidental cake, the family I was
eating with last night happen to be from California. Now that in
itself is not a big deal. Big whoop. Us And 38 million other people
are from The Golden State. But no. There son is flying out to Oakland
today, and when he gets there he is going to an A's game.
When they told me this, I had the same visible reaction as one would
have when they get shot in the gut. Out of pure nostalgia my face
collapsed to the dinner table and ran into a slab of butter as I
remembered the beautiful game of baseball. All the feelings of
watching the A's as a child and following them diligently through my
teenage life flooded over me, and I was too overwhelmed to think for a
few seconds. I love baseball so much. And I know that it'll be a
blessing to focus on the lord's work for two years, but come on, can
somebody send me a box score or two every once in a while?

I bring up these coincidences because it goes to show with such a
small and devout community as the lds church, you can't hide. And if
you believe in an omnipowerful, all loving God, you assuredly can't
hide. Being a missionary allows us to have the same experiences.
Searching for people to teach is sometimes like a game of hide and
seek. Sometimes your appointment is there, other times they want to
make you work for it. Sometimes the person on the street wants nothing
to do with religion, and other times missionaries are the exact two
people the person needs. As called to be a representative of Jesus
Christ for the San Antonio Texas mission, I am here giving everyone
that will allow us the chance to come unto Christ and to receive the
blessings of living in accordance to the God's will.

In the past week I have had a great many things happen to me. One day
I taught six lessons and had four people accept a date for baptism,
and the. Three days later six of our seven lessons fell through and
now only one of our investigators have a solid baptismal date.
Sometimes the blessings of heaven can't be more visible, and other
times you have to look for them. As much as joy is a real thing in the
mission field, so is discouragement, and disappointment. But I know
for sure that there is a God, and he loves us beyond our
comprehension, and that His word will bless the lives of all those
that will listen to it. I have felt the song if redeeming love spread
through me, and now I sing through the message of the gospel of Jesus
Christ. If there is anything that I have to give to the people on the
streets, the members of the church, my friends, my family, it is the
doctrine of Christ. I know it is true.
I pray that you enjoy these emails. It is now time to go out and serve.

Elder Richard Hall

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