Well this week was very interesting. Lot’s of crazy things happened but there wasn’t a whole lot of change in the work here. It seems that Hurricane Irma scared everyone into their homes for the week, as any storm does here. We went to walmart mid week due to the hurricane warnings and almost all of the bread, milk, and water was gone. Walmart probably loves these storm scares.
Anyway, as far as things go here, we will be fine. In the beginning of the week it was looking like we were going to get hit pretty hard but it seems we are off the hook now. We probably will just get a lot of rain and wind. I must bring bad luck to SC because this is the second hurricane that I’ve been present for in my time here. Luckily this time we aren’t homeless.
Monday we just hung out with a bunch of missionaries from around the zone. We didn’t do too much but it was way fun and good to just relax. We played a lot of dice games and stuff like that. Afterward the Union Elders couldn’t get their car to start so they ended up staying the night with us which was kinda crazy. Everything else was pretty low key.
Tuesday was not so great. We had DDM in the morning which went fine. DDM’s in this district are always interesting because there are no sisters, and generally sisters keep things more on the serious side. Basically just imagine six twenty year old guys meeting up and voluntarily having a serious conversation. Hard to imagine? That’s because it’s pretty much impossible. Honestly, Elders complain all the time about sisters and how they always make things really difficult, but in reality they make my life so much easier as a DL. So yea, DDM went good, but it’s just hard keeping everyone focused on relevant subject matter.
After DDM, Elder N. and I went to McDonalds and had a very interesting experience. Some guy tried to bash with us and it was stupid. I will include the story at the end of this email because it is very long and I am not very proud of it.
Wednesday was a pretty normal day. I don’t really have much to report on cause it was pretty slow and uneventful.
Thursday we did service for Meals on Wheels where we packaged bread and dog food. After that we helped move stuff around in the church so they could replace the carpet, and then we went out and visited people for the rest of the day. Not very many people were home.
Friday we did service at the soup kitchen and then did weekly planning. After weekly planning we went out and proselyted. We were sitting in our car in a Lowes parking lot using their wifi so we could sync our areabooks when I saw this guy book it out of Lowes with a box and jump into a car. Clearly he was stealing something so I got out of the car and caught a glance of his license plate as he drove off and wrote the numbers down. He obviously wasn’t very good at stealing stuff cause he parked in a spot where he had to back out and was driving the car himself. The fact that I had enough time to comprehend what was happening, get out of the car, and look at his license plate should say something about the quality of this robbery. Naturally, Elder N. and I spent the next few minutes talking about how much better of a job we would do if we were criminals and then we went inside and gave them the plate numbers.
And that’s the story of how I fought crime and saved the day.
Saturday ended up not going to plan but it ended up good in the end. We helped our Elders Quorum President move out of their house and into an apartment, which happened to be in the same building as ours. It took WAY longer than we planned and we somehow afterward got roped into setting up a trampoline, which took an absurd amount of time. When all that was done, we had to rush to an appointment with Sister B. and C., our new investigator. The appointment went well, although we found out that C. was not going to be able to make it to church this week. The appointment took most of the evening and then we had to go to Walmart last thing in the evening and go shopping for the week (The mission had advised us to go shopping before P-Day this week, in case of the hurricane ripping us apart).
Sunday was pretty quiet. I had to give a talk again, which I don’t mind doing I guess. I talked on missionary work and how we can make it a more natural thing. We had a non member come to church. Sister B. has really been stepping it up and brought another non member friend to church. She really enjoyed it and we will be hopefully meeting with her this upcoming week! Good things are happening! The rest of the day was pretty slow. We spent a lot of time sorting records out and getting appointments set up.
I was reading in John 10 the other day and came across this scripture:
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
I was thinking a lot about how lots of other faiths, especially in the south, constantly talk about “getting saved,” and how once you are “saved,” you are always “saved.”
Looking at this scripture, I realized that clearly we all have need to be “saved” more than once. As members of the restored church, we “get saved” every week. If you look at the passage, Jesus says that once we enter in “the door” (representing his atoning sacrifice), we SHALL go in and out. If we are going in and out repeatedly, and the act of entering in the door is being saved, then clearly we are going to be “saved” more than once. With the blessing of the sacrament, we re-enter this door on a weekly basis, having sinned and metaphorically “walked out” of the door during the week. Christ knows that we will all sin and make mistakes, and therefore tells us that we “shall go in and out,” and “find pasture” in partaking of the sacrament each week and in being a part of His fold.
The perspective we gain through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is truly amazing. Having prophets and apostles, the Book of Mormon, and the true authority here on the earth grants us so many blessings that you cannot find anywhere else! It is truly incredible and we need others to see that as well!
Anyway, that is all I have to say for this week. Wish us luck as Irma sneezes on us. I’m more worried about the terrible drivers in this weather than I actually am about the weather, if that says anything.
Gotta go. Thanks for everything!
Elder Jeremiah Brown
P.S. As far as pictures go I don’t have my camera with me so they will have to wait until next week. Sorry…
Ok, so here is the McDonalds story, if you really want to hear it.
We were minding our own business, clogging our arteries and then throwing away our trash when a middle aged guy sitting at a table across from us asked us if we could come talk to him about Jesus. Red lights and sirens went off in my head because I have seen this ploy way too many times, but, being a missionary I gave him the benefit of the doubt and decided to take him seriously. We sit down and he starts asking us about how he can “get saved” (which phrase, mind you, I absolutely deplore but that’s a rant for another day). We asked him if he went to a church around here, to which he responded with no. From what I gathered though he definitely had a baptist like background. I tried translating what we believe from mormon speak into baptist-like terms and was doing a pretty good job when some lady walked up and basically threw a monkey wrench into our already shaky conversation by saying “sir, what these boys aren’t telling you is that you can be saved sitting right there on that bench.” He replied with “ma’m I know this, I am a member of (insert baptist church here) and I just wanted to get these boys here so I can witness to them of the dangerous path they are on.”
At the sound of this I pretty much had a rage aneurism on the inside. He turned to us and started ripping us apart about how we were wrong about this and that and how we were brainwashed and “yadda yadda yadda my preacher said yadda.”
Now let me just say this. I have had my fair share of baptistery bashing in my time in the south. In fact, I spent 6 months in the home of what is arguably the anti- equivalent to BYU (Bob Jones University). I have had a TON of people try to bible bash with me. I got really good at getting out of situations like these. Bashing with these people DOES NOT HELP any side.
Contrary to popular belief, missionaries actually do make mistakes. Well today, I will admit it. I done goofed today. And I done goofed bad.
Not only was this guy insulting our beliefs openly and loudly in front of everybody in McDonalds, but he was making us look like idiots and had literally lied to us so he could get us in this position of weakness.
This is the point where I messed up. NEVER DO WHAT I DID. It was stupid and I regret doing it.
The smart thing to do would have been to stand up and leave, or compliment his ideas or his hair or something and politely remove ourselves of the situation, but this guy didn’t have hair and I was not feeling polite.
I ripped him apart. Like literally I’ve never ripped someone so badly before. Some unseen force inside of me just pulled every ounce of wit I had and shattered this mans arguments and slandering. Then, I told him to be honest with us next time and actually tell us why he wanted to talk with us, and we walked out.
Like I said, it was a dumb, dumb, dumb decision. I immediately felt terrible and guilty all day. Bashing will never get you anywhere. Ever.
I may have “won” the argument but in reality nobody actually won. I didn’t change his mind, nobody was edified, it was a just a stupid thing altogether. Anyway, that’s the story. I don’t understand why people like doing stuff like that.