And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
- D&C 18:15
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Monday, December 7, 2015
It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Idaho in May
I have been wondering, when in page 8 of the Missionary Handbook is
says "Show respect for others by using appropriate language, including
correct forms of the word you in cultures where it is important," does
that imply to "Y'all" in Texas? It seems like a pretty signature part
of the culture here, but is it that important? The other day we were
teaching a man who is originally from India and has been here for
about a year, and I don't think I heard him say "you" once. It was all
y'alls. I don't know if this is a joke or a serious question.
I almost ran over two deer with my bike this week. Talk about crazy.
We were going down one of the main roads when a deer jumped in front
of me from a front yard. I almost crashed on my bike trying to avoid
it! There this deer was, in the middle of the suburbs.
The other deer popped out in front of me coming from a golf course. It
had a four point rack and looked like the size of an overweight basset
hound. It and about three doe just trotted in front of Elder Hill and
I. What an interesting experience.
The weeks have been flying by, which is in contrast to the weeks that
I had when I started my mission. Those first few weeks lasted much
longer than these past four and a half months have. I remember walking
around in a JCPenneys with one of my trainers, Elder Acor, when I
stopped and said, "It's P-day."
He turned around and said, "Yep."
"Wasn't it P-day just a few days ago?"
"Doesn't feel like it."
He smiled a bit, looked up from the suits, and said "you know, I've
been trying to find a way to make time stop. And nothing works."
I think I've shared that story before, but I don't think it has hit me
yet that for the past couple of months I've been trying to do the same
thing. How do I do everything, do all I can, with the time I've been
given? Missionary work is just too enjoyable to last for two years.
I've been serving in the Indian Springs and Evans Ranch area for four
months now! These wards have become my wards, these streets are my
streets, my neighbors are my friends, the dead deer on the side of
Bulverde Road is my dead deer on the side of the road. The giant hills
that we bike up and down every day are my hills. I wish that it didn't
take me so long to feel so at home in a ward. If I can figure out a
way to just slip into an area and feel at home in it right at the
start. Perhaps it is just a learning process. Transfers are in 10
days, and honestly, I haven't been counting.
Elder H and I have been using the Christmas initiative as much as
we can. The Christmas initiative is something the church uses during
this season that allows us to talk with more people. There's an
awesome little video and these beautiful cards that we get to share
with others, and whenever you share it there is such a special spirit
that is left behind. It's such a great opportunity to talk with
people. It is this time of year where everything gets shifted towards
other people that the sprit gets invited so much easier. Or, is it
that we have much more confidence in the message that we carry now
that the spirit of the season gives us much more support? Perhaps the
difference between the amount of miracles around this time of year is
no different than others, it is simply the recognition of the miracles
that gets enhanced. At any rate, we are simply having a wonderful
Christmas time in North San Antonio.
The other day we had a fantastic lesson with an investigator. He was
taught by missionaries for a whole year long ago when he lived in
California, but never got baptized. Perhaps his current investigation
will lead him to finally feel the spirit, and to get baptized. Now,
this guy is golden. I do not know if I'll ever meet with a person who
is quite like him. He is a behemoth. He got shot in the back in
Afghanistan, but that hasn't stopped him from getting big. He makes me
and Elder H look like elves. He also has a monstrous desire for
religious knowledge. Jeremiah grew up Jewish came to a knowledge that
Jesus Christ was his savior about the same time his cousin joined the
LDS church. Ever since, he has gained more and more information on
Christianity and has studied the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon
thoroughly. He is not afraid to ask questions though he already knows
more than most members. Our lessons together are thorough and
jam-packed with information. He actually prefers that we teach him
separately from his family of 7 (his wife is a less active member
herself) so he can learn more. Hey, if that works with him, works with
Elder H and I. And since he's started investigating, he hasn't
missed a week of church, a day of reading. However, it'll be a fun
lesson when we get to the Word of Wisdom.
During our Saturday lesson with him, we discussed how he feels the
spirit. He replied that he never had an occurrence with the spirit,
that angels have attended him, but never the spirit.
Of course this man has felt the spirit before. As our ward mission
leader said, "You can't have kids and not feel the spirit." Jeremiah
simply hasn't identified the spirit because he doesn't know how to
recognize it. We then spent a very heartfelt and yes, spiritual few
minutes describing the Holy Ghost, it's role, and it's fruit. It was
one of the most enjoyable experiences of my mission. This investigator
is searching for truth more deliberately and valiantly than any person
I have met while out in the field. What an exciting opportunity to
meet with him.
Just like Jeremiah and the spirit, we will only see as many miracles
as we know how to recognize. A member came to pick us up to go grocery
shopping this morning and showed up about thirty minutes after we
asked him to. My companion was upset, and I thought it was a miracle
that he accepted our invitation to give us a ride.
One day I wish to have the crystalline view of our life that Alma the
Younger had. He said with great power, "all things denote there is a
God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it,
yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their
regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Alma 30:44)
And that God is a God of miracles.
What an excellent time to be alive! What an excellent time to smile!
He lives! He loves!