Monday, January 27, 2014
Just to make sure--you all get Carter's being sarcastic right?
Hello again from Chino, CA! The mission continues to be great and I continue to be the most handsome, successful, talented, and humble missionary in the mission field. Some days it's a burden to be this good but I bear it with ease.
This week was another good week. We received a referral from the Armenian elders (Apparently we have missionaries that speak Armenian. Who knew?) in the mission next door for a new investigator. His name is A and he's awesome. He understands English really well but he has a limited vocabulary, especially when it comes to Gospel terms. So we're now tag team teaching him with the Armenian elders since he lives in our boundaries and there's no Armenian ward nearby. We teach him the missionary lessons and the Armenian elders read the Book of Mormon with him. Apparently he reads it in Turkish, they read it in Armenian, and then they discuss it in English. It's quite the process, haha. It was hard to explain that in ward council.
Transfer doctrine came this Saturday. Elder Wagstaff and I will be staying in Walnut Park for another transfer. I'm excited about that. There's nine companionships in the zone and we were one of the three that didn't get touched by transfers this time around. There were a lot of change ups in the zone and mission this transfer so everyone was kind of freaking out, haha. A lot of people down here in Chino were going up to the desert for the first time and were really worried about it. I talked to a lot of them about the desert and what it was like and told them that they'd love it. Seriously, the desert's awesome.
I had Chick-Fil-A for the first time this week! It was delicious! I mean, seriously, why is this not in Washington? And the service was so fast! I was thoroughly impressed. In fact, just typing it makes me want it again. Maybe I'll hit it up after lunch...
I had an interesting opportunity this week. There's a large Christian church next to our ward building that a lot of people go to. Apparently there's a bit of anti-Mormon tendencies there so the relationship between their members and ours is a little sour. Anyways, I've always been interested in what they preach because it's such a fixture in our area. Well, this week we actually met a guy who's a member of Calvary Chapel and we made a deal with him that we'd go to his church if he went to ours. So this past Wednesday we found ourselves at the evening service of Calvary Chapel. It was quite the experience. Allow me to explain.
First off, I have never been to another church service besides my own. I have nothing against it, it's just that typically the local times of services in Vancouver conflicted with my regular Sunday meetings and I would've rather attended my own church. So all I've ever really known is an LDS church service. So a different church was quite the experience. For starters, the grounds of Calvary Chapel are HUGE. I felt more like I was at a school then a church. Their chapels are more like auditoriums and they had a gift shop and a coffee shop next to them. I'm not judging, to each their own, it was just different for this poor little Mormon boy, haha. The members of the church were very nice to us as we entered. We were greeted, they shook our hands, smiled, and pointed us to an open seat. We felt very welcome. The only thing was that we stuck out like sore thumbs in the service as the only people in white shirts and ties, haha. The rest were dressed in casual street clothes. The service began with some Christian rock which was tasteful but a little different from the organ music and hymns that I'm used to. After the music there were some casual prayers, we greeted those on our left and right, and we heard the sermon from the minister. He gave a good sermon with only one anti-Mormon comment. I was impressed. I swear he looked right at me as he said it though, haha. The sermon was on keeping a perspective on God amidst the travails of daily life. He knew his bible very well and I definitely learned from him.
Here was the strange thing, though. As I sat and listened to the minister preach for an hour, the Spirit bore witness of his message. Mormon's don't have a monopoly on the Spirit. The Spirit's job is to testify of truth no matter what source it comes from. But as he spoke it was the opposite of listening to a missionary or a bishop speak. His words didn't have any authority. I was reminded of the fifth Article of Faith (bear with me, I'm quoting from Primary memory) which states, "We believe that a man must be called of God and set apart by the laying on of hands to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances thereof." Even though this man was very smart and educated, it was apparent to me that he had not been called of God or set apart to preach the gospel. Us as missionaries have. We have the authority to preach because a prophet of God has called us to. It's the reason that the church's missionary effort is so successful. Not because we're super persuasive, that minister was much more persuasive than I, but because the Spirit gives authority to our words and people recognize that we are ministers of our Heavenly Father. Going to another church made me appreciate the blessing of having our Savior's true church on the earth where we can be taught by those called of God and feel His spirit in His house. What a blessing it is to know this truth!
I'm excited for the upcoming transfer. What exciting adventures await me in these next six weeks? Who knows? Only time will tell!
Elder Carter David Morgan