Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013

This past week was a real mixture of ups and downs.

Wednesday was transfer meeting, as I mentioned in my previous letter, and it was pretty awesome. My new companion is Elder Fesuiai (picture below). He's Samoan, but born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. Apparently he was converted when he was 12, and before that was involved in gangs and all sorts of other stuff, so he's got some pretty gnarly scars from stab wounds. It'll be interesting to see what the Lord wants me to learn from him. I love him already though; he's hard working and motivated, and we actually have conversations, so, so far so good.

The speakers for transfer meeting included a few area authorities, as well as Elder Rasband (senior president of the seventy?), and Elder Dallin H. Oaks. It was so awesome! I was instructed on missionary work for over an hour by Elder Oaks, after 2 hours of instruction from Elder Rasband and others. Believe it or not, I heard Elder Oaks laugh. A lot. He's a surprisingly funny man, and whenever he laughed, his shoulders would shake up and down and it just made everything even funnier. It was amazing though being able to listen to him. Especially after having read just that morning the part in Jesus the Christ where it talks about what an apostle is. Every once in a while, he would lean on the pulpit, point his finger, and I swear he was looking and pointing directly at me. Especially since in those moments, what was being said was directly applicable to me, and unequivocally answered questions that I had. Another cool thing that he did was compliment us. Before it all started, he had had all of the leaders in attendance line up, and had every missionary go through and shake hands with each person. He complimented us, and said how proud he was that every missionary that went through had looked him in the eyes. Apparently, a lot of the times he does that, missionaries will look away. So that was pretty cool. On a side note, I have no idea what kind of numbskull would look away when shaking his hand. What better way to appear suspicious than to do that?

That was the highlight of the week. The low point happened Friday night. We had a baptism scheduled for Saturday for the Campbell family. Friday night we had the interviews for Sam (13), Zane (10), and Tommy (9). Everyone was excited and ready for the baptism the next morning. Friday night we get a call from Wendy's (the mother) ex-husband, saying that he didn't give permission for the baptism, and that it couldn't happen. He was even planning on coming to the baptism, then out of the blue, he wanted no more of it. Oh how the adversary works in mysterious ways. After speaking with Wendy on Saturday, it appears as though her ex is very controlling, and doesn't like anything done unless it is done his way. He kept telling us how he's a strong member and all this stuff, and all I could think was, "If you were really a strong member, you wouldn't be stopping your children from being baptized." What's really crazy too, is that Brian (step-dad / non-member) was excited about the baptism. In fact, he's been completely supportive throughout the entire thing, even sitting in on lessons. Who knows, maybe having to postpone like this just means that Brian will be getting baptized as well. That's what I'm hoping for.

I had my first encounter with a bible basher yesterday night. All I could think of was the story of Korihor. He even told us his "testimony," and it bore striking resemblance to what Korihor admitted after he was struck dumb. Never been in a more spiritually dead place in my life, than in that man's house.

Well. That'll about do it for this week.

Elder O'Neal

Elder Fesuiai, my new companion

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