In approximately three hours i will officially be 69 days away from leaving this beautiful city of St. George for the Provo MTC, and from there to Washington DC. Yup, the big capital of this Country! GO USA.
I'm so excited.
Mostly excited though.
Okay so this past weekend i was getting really nervous. Ya know. Because seriously i'm going to be in a "random place with random people teaching random people with random leaders...."
And I was getting super nervous right? Well lemme teach ya a little something I learned this weekend.
First stop Ross. Just buying some mission gems. And this, very kind, security guard striked up a conversation with me. And it turned into a total missionary experience. Which is funny because... its supposed to be the other way around. But God knows me. And Gods timing is perfect. We talked about the gloves i was buying, which led to why i was buying them, which led to his historic childhood memories in washington dc. His face lit up when i told him i would be spending the next eighteen months where he cherished so many memories!! And he wanted to know why it was i was going there. So i told him "oh a mission!" Expecting him to just 'know' what that meant. But no he had no idea! At first i was like Common dude you live in Utah, i know you know that i know you know what this is man...common........................
Nope. No idea. So i explained to him briefly what i would be doing while we walked up to the checkout. Yes, this guy followed me to the checkout. And we chatted. And it was good. I feel like i left a very good impression of the church. The only thing i was lacking was a stinking pass along card so he could learn more about the church. But i do remember him saying as i left 'Goodluck on your Mission!" as if he knew all about the mormon church. It was a unique experience that really boosted my confidence about this whole preaching the gospel thing. Which led to the next days adventure....
I met this boy. He asked me if i was attending college and i said no. Follow up question: Oh just hangin' out? layin low?
HAHAHAHAHA YEAH MAN.
So i told him, i was going on a mission, but this time i decided to be more specific because EARTH TO MADI most people think of james bond not mormons when you bring up the topic of 'missions.'
He too asked whats a mission? and what i would be doing. So i gave him a brief summary, thinking, eighteen year olds don't care about this, he probably thinks i'm stupid. And to my surprise... he answered "Wow. Thats really cool. I love learning about religion, i think it is so interesting."
WAIT WHAT?!?! COLLEGE KIDS FIND RELIGION INTERESTING??
K. Can i take a minute to rewind and tell you again. GODS TIMING IS PERFECT.
Right then and there, it hit me. My mission, my companions, the people i'll be teaching, the people teaching me, it is not random. Gods timing is perfect. We are all going to be at that place, that time, for a reason unknown to me right now. But it is most definitely not random. And this wasn't either.
I asked him if he belonged to any specific religion, to which he replied something about being "sort of catholic but not really." But he had read parts of the bible and found it quite interesting. He was concerned though, because some of the verses scared him. He said....and i apologize in advance for the profanity, but he seriously said this. He said it freaked him out that Christ was going to come down to earth, a second time, on a chariot, with a serpent tongue and f shiz up. MY FACE. If i could have gotten my face on camera at that moment, man. Million dollar photo right there. My jaw dropped. But i pulled it together and listened to the rest of what he had to say. He continued to tell me that he was even more terrified of the scriptures about lucifer! Because if their is a God there MUST be a devil as well! And started telling me about some belief about satan coming to earth for three days and capturing people and.....................................that was a tangent. He paused for a second and waited for me to add to this three days of tourment thing going on....
And i started up the plan of salvation conversation. It was Perfect.
I told him my church believed that before we were born, we were spirits in heaven. God needed somebody to atone for all of our sins, have you ever been taught about the atonement? (he said no) Jesus Christ came to earth, he was crucified and suffered for all the sins of the world, and if we believe in his name, follow the commandments and endure to the end, we can repent and become like him (he mentioned something about how he had learned about this before and nodded to go on) I told him, Jesus Christ and Lucifer both offered to come to earth and had a plan, Christs plan was that we would have agency, Lucifer wanted us to be forced to do what was right *He screamed PLOT TWIST, apparently he was blown away by this thought of Lucifer being in on the whole plan thang* Yes yes plot twist exactly. But God presented Christs plan. And Lucifer was angry so, he fell away and took followers with him. (This freaked him out he wanted to know who the followers were!) No no, the followers fell away too. Us being on earth, shows our commitment to this plan. We chose this willingly thats why we are here, to be tested and tried, we were given agency for this purpose, it was Christs plan. And he has given us a way back to him.
This conversation went on for a solid half hour before it was interupted. He was fascinated that he had made his own choice to come to earth, and by the talk of the atonement providing a way for us to go back to heaven and live with our families again.
I can honestly say i've never had such an in depth talk with the church with a nonmember my age. It was amazing! And has boosted my confidence immensly, i am so excited to have conversations like this all the time on my mission. I don't know what will come of that conversation, i haven't talked to him since! But if anything, it really prepared me in many ways.
One being, i always worry about what i'm going to say to people I am no biblical genious. But at that moment, the casual conversation just flowed. I just KNEW what to say. Its just the simple gospel teachings and docterine that fascinate people. I think as members sometiems we take for granted some of the simple blessings of the church, that mean so much to people who have never heard these things. Watching his face light up and these new teachings made my heart melt and my testimoney grow beyond anything i can describe. It was so simple, but i can see how it can change a life around.
The gospel is amazing and i cannot wait to teach it everyday for the next eighteen months.
From the famous words of my amazing stake president topham "You don't have to be a drone, have fun."
Seriously! Don't look at the mission rules and down on them. Don't look at them as rules! Look at them as guidelines coming from God to make your mission experience the best it can be. Look at them as goals and challenges. Make it fun, make it enjoyable.