WEEK SIX August 12
We have been having problems with our cell phones, mine particularly, just chewing through the battery going from fully charged to zero in the red in about an hour with no use all the while burning up with heat. This has occasioned two previous visit to the Apple Store, wiping out all my memory and starting over twice now. Going there for the third time this week, this time we selected the Apple store in the Irvine Spectrum rather than Mission Viejo. While another interminable wait, even an appointment, a lady about our age came up, looked at my badge and announced I was a Mormon missionary. She proceeded to share her story: She told me first that whenever she is around the Mormon’s she always has such a wonderful feeling. No one has ever been pushy in any way. She is from Norway, has three sons, the oldest is LDS, even has a grandson on a mission in Argentina. In fact she pointed out her youngest son, about early 40s who was in the store meeting with the staff. She was in the store that day because she had fallen on the escalator at the airport and broken her left wrist. She asked if she could be candid to which I readily consented. Said she, “I just have some problems with the Book of Mormon. Some things just don’t sit right with me.” I asked if I could make a suggestion to which she agreed. Said I, “The problem really isn’t with those issues and how they sit with you, it’s whether or not the book is true. Let me ask you, If you knew the Book of Mormon was true would you be worried about those issues.” “Well, no,” she said, “I would not.” So I asked if I could make another suggestion to which she again agreed. “You remember those feelings you shared with me when you first came up to me?” She nodded. I said, “Read 3 Nephi, chapter 17 on your flight back to Norway and when you get a quiet time, ask the Lord in prayer if the Book of Mormon is true, and when you receive those same feelings, you set about taking care of what you need to do to get baptized.” She promised we she would give that a try and by then her youngest son was standing there to hear this commitment.
Well turns out the son asks me, “Where is your companion?” Turns out when I motioned to Jan that this was the door to the Apple store and went inside, she continued down the walkway and still hadn’t found us as I had turned off my phone while talking with this lady. Quite a companion am I. Well we finally got back together with the story being compelling enough that I got off the hook. Oh by the way after three visits they determined it must be a hardware problem and gave me a new telephone.
Tuesday we were supposed to be to a Zone meeting but our first visit with a primary care physician to so Jan can get to her eye doctor turned into a full blown session with blood work and all and we missed the meeting. But that also gave us the change to encounter the Norwegian lady at the Apple Store. She took my card as I had asked for her to share the rest of the story and we thought, “Wouldn’t’ that be something to have been involved in a Norway baptism.”
This week had our first Mission Conference with Sister Joyce Tan presenting her Windows of Heaven finding program. In a nutshell, set a time to open the windows of heaven some day and confirm with the Lord the place and time to be there. Watch everyone and talk to everyone. The elect you are seeking will be willing to receive a discussion right there on the spot.
That night we attended our first Bible Study group near Rimgate Park. The WML in the Aliso Creek ward conducts this normally on the third Thursday of each month to demonstrate we are Christians and to provide an easy introduction to the Church. Last month they discussed. We had a good turnout of 14, 8 of which were non-members or very recent converts. There was a good discussion. I shared that in forgiving others I improve my odds in standing before the Lord and further my personal happiness but not being burdened with all that bitterness. One fellow told of being abused by his father which ended up with him being hospitalized as his father broke a board over his head. He described how he had carried that bitterness and hate for over fifty years until finding the gospel and being able to leave it with the Lord. It was a powerful story filled with emotion and tenderness.
We participated in a gleaner project, like unto Ruth of old, with the Aliso Creek primary on Friday, picking tomatoes at the Incredible Edible farms which provides about 2 million pounds of produce to the poor in Orange County. We had a large turnout and almost immediately my back and several joints and muscles alerted me to the fact that I am no longer in my 50s. (It’s been 8 days now and I still have not fully recovered.) We picked 6,000 lbs. of tomatoes and received some tomatoes, eggplant and peppers to take home with us.
On Sunday we put in our normal 12 hour day, met with the Three family who agreed to be baptized but learned some things that will prohibit that from taking place. So it is! Also met with an older sister who shared some wonderful stories about her conversion and life. Finished the day with a fireside at the Irvine Stake Center with Elder Clayton Christensen who shared a number of stories from his Everyday Member Missionary book.
This relaxed method of Senior Missionaries has been tough for me to adapt to compared to the no holds barred, running at all costs I experienced as a young missionary. But two things are helping me to settle in on this method. First, on my earlier mission I had a number of companions call the MP and request a transfer because of their being run down and worries about health issues. It occurred to me I can’t afford to have my current companion seek a “transfer.” Second, the aches and pains of this past week, since the tomato picking, there just may be something to this reasonable approach as a Senior Missionary.
During the week I came across a quote by Shawn Achor that I liked: “Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.”