It was “Transfer week!” This was a memorable and crazy week because of transfers! And here in the Altadena Branch, two new missionaries arrived who are also new to the mission field! I am definitely no longer one of the new guys around and it feels wonderful!
Early in the week, right before transfers, my companion and I had to help a few sisters move out of their apartment and pack up all their belongings because this was their last transfer and they were heading home. So they gave us the keys and said that they had to go and needed all of their things moved to one side of the apartment and then they left. When we got in there and saw everything, we noticed that the furnishings in their apartment were much better than what we had in ours including the beds, tables, chairs, desks, absolutely everything! So to make a long story short, we ended our morning studies a little earlier that day and decided to remodel our apartment – ha! That was early on in the week.
At the very beginning of this week, I had a little bit of a stomach virus but was feeling better so my companion and I went to a dinner appointment we had set up. Now all I had eaten for several days was chicken noodle soup and 7-up so I was pretty hungry, but still very tentative as to what to eat. So I was praying that our hostess would prepare something basic. And I tell you what – the Lord works in mysterious ways because what she prepared was the absolute farthest thing from basic! I couldn’t tell you what it was that I ate because I have no idea, but I can describe to you what I saw on that plate when she brought it out. There was green mush surrounding some sort of meat that was spilling into a brown mush surrounding some sort of meat. I have eaten some funky things so far on my mission, but this by far takes the cake for looking the most peculiar. All I could do was mouth the words to my companion, “HELP ME!” But I ate it, and it was pretty good, actually! It was really spicy, but really good! And after that dinner appointment, I didn’t have any stomach problems for the rest of the week! The Lord works in mysterious ways!
Regarding the Lord working in mysterious ways, later on in the week we were tracting and not having any success with really anybody. Door after door was shut in our face and it was getting colder and later into the evening. Then we knocked on one door where a man opened it and responded with the typical warm Alabama greeting, “What do you want?!” We proceeded to tell him we were missionaries, sharing a message about Christmas and he said that he wasn’t interested and right when he was closing the door, he noticed the tie I was wearing through my sweater and said, “hey wait, are you the fellas that ride around on them bikes?” We said yes, and he swung the door open and said, “Well hey, that’s all you needed to say! Come on in!” We were confused at first, but as we went in and started talking to him, he explained to us that he had met with missionaries before and loved talking to them, but had moved and could never find them again! So we are really excited to go back and talk to him more because he is a really a funny guy!
I absolutely love the Christmas season in the mission field. What I get to do everyday is go out and talk with really interesting people about what has made me happy in this life. I get to learn about people and their successes and failures, strengths and shortcomings, and all sorts of amazing life stories, all while talking about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And I love it right now because it seems everybody is a little more inclined to talk with us, even if only for a few minutes. As I have talked with these people, I have come to respect a lot of the churches that they attend and what they teach, but I have also gained a much stronger testimony of my own because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored church of Jesus Christ and contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel. The invitation is extended to everyone – bring what you hold to be good and true and see if we cannot add to it. I love my experiences here in Alabama and I miss everybody back home and hope you are having a great time this Christmas season!