I’ll start from the beginning of the week, since beginnings are normally a good place to start.
Every three days or so, I get kind of annoyed and slightly depressed. It’s nothing big, but it’s like a cycle, and every time it ends in the same way: we actually teach a lesson. Then I get completely psyched and anxious to get into the field. I know I’m just teaching fake investigators, but it’s amazing. Even though my every day conversational-type Spanish isn’t very good, as soon as I start teaching, everything works better. My mind clears, my tongue loosens, ideas and phrases start popping into my head, and I feel like I’m a missionary. I love it.
A couple teachers here have also helped in getting me excited. About 6 days ago, we had a substitute (since Hma. De Leon is in Guatemala) named Hno. Koller. He served in Mexico as well, but further south. I forget the name of the emission, but Acapulco is in it. He spent a good amount of time telling us about it, after going over some grammar principles. He went over the culture, the people, the food, the incredibly hot weather, common religious conceptions, and pretty much anything about Mexico. It was great. I was so excited, along with the rest of the district.
A few days later, another teacher (Hno. Sparks) who actually served in Hermosillo talked to us. He seemed like he had a ton of things to say, but he didn’t know how to – he was too excited for us to think, it seemed like. But what he did say was that the people are incredible, the mission president (Presidente Velez) is great, there was nothing he ate that tasted bad, and it is the hottest place ever. Apparently it gets up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or so. He was sunburnt for 2 years, apparently, and all his white clothing slowly became more and more yellow as the time went on. Gah! I want to go! But I guess I have to wait a bit longer.
Yesterday, we also said goodbye to Hno. Anderson as a teacher. We’ll see him in our class building every once in a while, and talk to him, but he’s no longer our official teacher. I’ll miss being taught by him – and not just because he’s a very good teacher. He’s just a cool guy, and was easy to look up to, even if he is about 4 inches shorter than me.
The last day, though, he brought his laptop and showed us some mission pics, and some stories. Oh, and by the way, he went to Guatemala.
But personally, I think his best story wasn’t even about him teaching or anything that was exclusively his experience. No offense to him. But the best story he told was that of his mission president, named President Coleman, and his first gringo companion, Elder Pixtin. Apparently Pres. Coleman was a convert to the Church, and loved telling his story. He was a 9-year-old living in Montana when he was taught and baptized by two Elders, Elders Green & Tree. At his baptism, there were only 4 people there: the Elders, him, and the member that drove them to the Stake Center. He still had his original Book of Mormon, with the testimonies of the Elders written on the inside cover.
At this time, Elder Pixtin spoke up. He told Pres. Coleman that he knew the story – he had heard it from his grandpa, who was in fact the Elder Green that had baptized Pres. Coleman so many years ago. Elder Green had apparently only baptized 2 people on his entire mission: 9-year-old Pres. Coleman and another man. He had considered his mission a failure, Elder Pixtin said, since he had only baptized 2 people, one of which he thought would never stay active, since 9-year-olds don’t normally have the will power to stay in the Church. Elder Green had rarely talked about his mission, and was disappointed, and dwelt on it for his entire life.
President Coleman got the former Elder Green’s – now an old man – phone number from his grandson, Elder Pixtin, and them promptly called him. Among other things, President Coleman told of the effects that had been wrought by Elder Green’s baptism so long ago. Pres. Coleman had stayed active, gone on a mission, and married in the temple. He had 7 children, 6 of which served missions of their own (the 7th being a daughter). He was now serving as a mission president, helping better the missions of every Elder that was serving there. Elder Green hadn’t failed; he was more successful than he had ever imagined.
Isn’t that awesome? Changing one person’s life had a massive ripple effect, possibly changing thousands.
Hey! David S. Baxter is speaking tonight! Awesome!
. . . So that was great. Remember in Stake Conference when he talked about temple work and everything for . . . what was it? An hour or so? And the entire thing was completely full of knowledge that just came word after word, paragraph after paragraph? Yeah, it was about the same. From the second he stood up to the second he sat down he was saying gospel knowledge at a depth I don’t think I’ll ever attain. It was incredible.
As for his content, he mostly addressed the widely held and falsely assumed belief that Mormons are not Christian. He cited three major reasons: our belief in the Godhead, and not the Trinity; the addition of scripture (Book of Mormon); and how we do not use the cross.
I unfortunately don’t have enough time to go over them all, but I’ll say one major thing that he reminded me of.
He said in certain words (I can’t remember the exact quote) that if we as a people don’t believe in the Gospel, it is not the Gospel’s fault. It is true no matter how many people do or don’t believe in it. For example, Brok Humbert never could have believed in Christ and gone on a mission, but that wouldn’t have changed the validity of it. It would have been a problem with me, not the Church. God’s kingdom will succeed no matter who does or doesn’t believe.
Of course, I do believe, which is good, and fortunately, there are many who do believe.
But, I’m out of time – Adios.
Elder Brok Humbert