Monday, September 8, 2014

Transfer 1, Week 2


It's been a great week.

It's been a lot of fun. I have some pretty good stories.

1) Investigator Drama

[Note: 'Investigator' is a term that we use to describe someone 'investigating' the church.]

There's this investigator, named Lamar*. We've met him once, taught him a single lesson, and then we set a return appointment. We passed him a day or so later on the sidewalk and said hello. That night, he canceled our return appointment for unspecified reasons.

A few days later, we get a call from Sister Palmer, the Church Public Affairs Agent in the area. She tells us that Lamar was threatening attorneys saying that we were bothering him.

Okay, then. Sorry for saying hello. We won't contact him again.

Later that night, the Mission President over all of the Canada Toronto Mission, President Clayton, texted us saying he wanted to see us. Wow. This must've been serious.

Well, his visit had nothing to do with Lamar. He just wanted to come work with us for the evening. That was a lot of fun, but that might have to be a story for another time. We laughed about Lamar.

2) The Stormy Friday Night

At about 7:30pm Friday, Elder Mangakahia and I were left without anything scheduled besides just finding potential investigators. We had just finished teaching a lesson. The sun was going down in a glorious sunset and it was nice and warm. However, about two or three minutes after we stepped outside, a strong, cold breeze blew. Thick, dark clouds rapidly covered the sky. The temperature dropped dramatically - we thought it might hail. Suddenly, it was pouring rain. This wasn't just a drizzle, it was the kind of weather you really shouldn't be outside in. It was the kind of weather that would break cheap umbrellas. That is, if we had any umbrellas with us.

There was nobody outside, so we decided to go tracting. In the rain. We knocked on a few doors in the immediate vicinity. No answer. We finally got someone to answer the door at a house down the road, but they weren't interested in our message at all. They, if anything, were irritated that we interrupted their 8pm dinner. We continued down the road. A few houses later, this man named Sam ran after us, waved us down, and gave us an umbrella. He then ran back to that one house that answered the door. We were a little discouraged by this point, but life was good - we now had an umbrella. 

I kept laughing - the whole situation of being off in Canada... in the pouring rain... and knocking on peoples doors with absolutely no success is still pretty absurd to me. Perhaps that's a normal experience for the veteran missionaries out there. Our approach clearly wasn't working. So, we did what any missionary would do and prayed for inspiration on where to go. 

Both Elder Mangakahia and I got this feeling that there was somewhere that we needed to be, but that we were in the wrong place. We played a game of warmer/colder directly to this one specific house several blocks away. We knocked, and a man named Ned answered. He was curious and we shared the entire story of the Restoration with him at his door, and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He has a close friend from our church that attends the chapel to the outside of our boundaries to the northeast. He wasn't interested in a return appointment, but he committed to praying about our message and said he'd talk to his friend about it. 

That story's cool, just because of the experience in finding Ned. The Spirit can really guide us.

3) The First Lesson on the Temple Grounds

We have this 16-year-old investigator, Gurpreet. He showed up to church after just a street contact, inviting him to church, and handing him a card with the chapel's address. He's this really bright, very independent kid. We weren't able to meet with him for a lesson last week, but this week he showed up to church again. He likes it a lot. However, the especially cool part is what happened afterwards. We offered to ride the bus home with him - he, like Elder Mangakahia and I, uses the bus system as his primary method of transportation. 

We were walking out of the chapel towards the bus stop when he asked us a few questions about the temple that we were walking past. The gate was open, so we suggested that we all walk around the temple grounds. He agreed to that suggestion. So, we walked around the temple and discussed our missionary work.

Somehow, the conversation led to baptism, and he was interested. He had no idea what baptism was, so we explained it to him. He liked the idea, and asked what he needed to do to be baptized. Elder Mangakahia and I looked at each other, somewhat in shock - this was perhaps the best investigator ever.

We handed him one of the calendars that we use to help people track their reading/praying - to visually see their progress in coming closer to God - and flipped it over to the back. The back has a little checklist of the things you need to do to prepare for baptism. Some of the items have some LDS jargon like "Word of Wisdom," but it's generally pretty understandable for investigators. We explained that a large part of our work as missionaries is to get people to understand all the items on the checklist. Gurpreet then asked about Joseph Smith. Elder Mangakahia and I looked at each other again. This was indeed the best investigator ever. 

Elder Mangakahia and I then taught the entire message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. We taught about how God is our loving Heavenly Father. How He loves families and blesses them. How He calls prophets on the earth to teach people how to get closer to God. How prophets have authority, much like how police officers have the authority to give you a traffic ticket and ice cream trucks don't. How you can ask God if prophets are actually called of God. How all the prophets taught about Jesus Christ. About how people gradually reject prophets and fall away from God. About how this is a pattern that's happened throughout history. About how Christ came to the earth. About Christ's Atonement - that sacrifice and subsequent resurrection - that Christ did out of love for us. About how Christ and his Apostles, and thus that authority, was lost from the earth. About how a new prophet was needed. And about Joseph Smith. Convincing evidence of what we've said is the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith uncovered it, and translated it by the power of God. It's another testament of Jesus Christ. You can find out, for yourself, if all these things are true by learning about them and then praying about it.

And so, we taught the entire first lesson on the temple grounds. That's the kind of story you can tell to your kids about how you converted.

Not just that, but he said he really wanted to be baptized. We told him to pray about it first, but that we were very excited for him.

4) Lesson from a Catholic

We met a guy on the street, inviting him to pray about the brief message that we shared. The thing I really like is something he shared with me - that he really appreciates the way we do what we do. We INVITE. We don't just tell people that things are true. We invite them to find out for themselves.

It's been a great week. Being a missionary is fun.

With love,
Elder Crye

*Names of people not directly affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been changed. I'm getting a little sick of putting this asterisk on each email I send home, so this is the last time it'll be here.

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