Five more weeks in Suburbia! Yes, five, not six. In the mission, a
transfer usually lasts six weeks, and by the end of the time slot you
either move on to a different area or stay in the area you cover. I've
been in Northern San Antonio for 12 weeks now, and I get five more- if
this transfer was six weeks, then it would have ended on December
24th. That would be awful. Just think of the chaos of flying
missionaries home, flying new missionaries in, and jumping into a new
area the day before Christmas. It would be all sorts of crazy.
This transfer day was one to remember. Elder H and I were staying
in our area, but the Elders that live with us were splitting up. One
of the was getting transferred, and the other needed to go to Austin
to conduct the meeting being held up there. Since he was losing his
companion, he took Elder H and I along for the ride.
I finally got to go to Austin! The motto for the city is "Keep Austin
Weird", so you know that I'm going to enjoy my time there whenever I
get the chance. Elder M really wanted to get a haircut while we
were up there. We walk into this trendy salon where who was cutting
hair? Two men, one of them overweight and balding, the other looking
like he just got out of his semi to perm some lady's hair. The only
woman there was a member, who looked fine. But man, it was so weird to
see a guy with a toothpick in his mouth and a trucker cap on chewing
the fat with granny. How charming.
I also found out which ward a friend of mine lives in! We were in a
play at BYU together and when she found out that I was going to Texas
she said that she was from Austin. Now one of my best friends, Elder
Selu, is going to serve in her ward. How exciting! Yeah, but that girl
was crazy. Austin definitely is keeping her weird.
On Saturday we had lunch with a less active family. I felt like they
wanted to stuff us. The father is from Joppas, Mexico, and he made
some of his favorite meals from South of the Border for us. He made us
beans with pork skin and chicken feet, which I must say actually
tasted pretty dang good. He also pulled out some barbacoa and
Sangrias. The final part of the meal was fried plantains with creme.
It was so hard to get on the bike after that meal.
P got baptized! P referred himself to the missionaries about a
month ago, and now he is baptized. Talk about quick work. He loves
going to church and all the Book of Mormon from the time he got it to
the time he was baptized. That's really, really impressive. Some
people are just that prepared.
We've been working with some part member families lately. Three of
them are showing a lot of promise. One of them is the Gidish family.
Brother G is a recently reactivated member who really wants to
baptize his 10-year son, but is afraid of what his would think. He was
really hard to catch for quite some time. We would see him at church,
but he would never set a time we could meet with his family. Finally
his whole family came to church. I don't know why he was so afraid,
his wife loved coming to church! Later that night we dropped by on
them and now we're planning on meeting with them every Sunday for
dinner. I'm down with that! Honestly, I think that brother Gidish is
going to end up baptizing his wife as well as his son if things keep
going as they are.
Another part-member family we've been working with is the Ms.
They just moved into the ward two months ago, and they've been less
active for years, but they want to come back. Currently the only
member of the family is the mother, but her husband almost got
baptized ten years ago! He says that he already believes that the Book
of Mormon is true and that he has a copy of Doctrine and Covenants and
the Pearl of Great Price. The only thing that is holding him back from
being baptized is that he hasn't received a spiritual confirmation of
the truthfulness of the church. I don't know if he knows this, but if
you know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is the word of
chosen prophets and you still will not except baptism, then what is
holding you back is the commitment to be a part of the Kingdom of God,
because of it's separation from the world.
As much as being a member of God's church is a blessing, for those who
first enter, it is a sacrifice. Think about the divine distance that
separates the glories of the restored gospel to the things of this
world. It takes a while to live in the world and not of the world, but
my goodness it is worth it. You can see it on the faces of converts
when you talk to them about how they entered the church. The gospel of
Jesus Christ in its fulness will bring more happiness into a life than
The first steps on the path of discipleship may be scary. It's
something you've never done, it's different, and not everyone around
you is doing it. But you will never get to the end, which is full of
light, and greatness, and happiness, unless we take a step.
I love being a missionary! There is no greater gift of God than that
of salvation, and I am his open hand, reaching out to his beloved
children. L'chaim! He lives! Sing all praises to him!
Elder Richard Hall
A picture of P and Elder H and I. He is both the oldest and
shortest person I have baptized. He's great.