Hiya my friends!
This week was another good one! We met many new people and taught many lessons. But as a missionary in England, if you don’t have one weird thing happen to you throughout an entire week then something is wrong. So of course I have a good story for you all back home! Anyways, my companions and I were walking to an appointment and were talking to everyone we saw in the streets on the way. One man passed me and I tried talking to him. He quickly got angry and tried to run away. As he started to run, however, he dropped his brand new box of beer and it smashed on the ground. I’m sure you can guess what happened next- He blamed it on me. As he made sure I knew how he felt about losing his precious new beer, I spoke to him about why I tried speaking to him in the first place. The more I talked about why, the calmer and more collected he became. now fast forward 10 minutes later to the end of the conversation when I am shaking his hand as we leave. he grabs my hand, thanks me, says “Respect brother,” then KISSES my hand. Hm. Quite a humbling experience. Weird, yes. But he is a good man who just needed someone to talk to.
Good story right? Yes but it doesn’t quite compare to what happened the very next day. 3 days ago (Sept 14th) as my companions and I passed a local park, we saw a family that we stopped and talked to. The kids continued playing, but the parents were very nice and interesting to talk to… The entire time we talked and shared spiritual experiences however, there was this one 16 year old kid who was picking on every other kid in the park. He was smoking, cussing, throwing lighted cigarettes at passing pedestrians, and harassing EVERYONE. He even screamed out to us some pretty blasphemous things. Like usual, we ignored him. The parents we were talking to even expressed their concerns about the fact that he kept bullying their children. We would have loved to tell him to relax, but felt that we should just leave before we got too bothered. As we left the park, he screamed out one final thing to us. He said, “Are you from Africa?!?!” At this point, my companions and I decided that maybe we should talk to him. So, we turned back and asked him what he said. Shocked that we actually came back, he acted like he didn’t say anything. So we told him to check out Mormon.org and left again. As we left, he screamed out another comment. This time, a very ugly comment aimed at Elder Taotua, my big samoan companion. Before I even realized what was said completely, Elder Taotua who is 25 and not one to let a boy speak to him that way was calling across the fence to the boy. He said “Hey, young man. Come here.”
Now, it gets good. The young boy was instantly afraid. You could tell he was shocked and didn’t know what to do. As Elder Taotua continued to call out to him he started saying it wasn’t him and blaming it on the other kids that were around. What happens next was like a dream. Elder Taotua called all the kids in the park to him. There were probably about 15 of them between the ages of 12 and 16. He proceeded to explain to all the kids that this one bully was nothing more than a coward who wouldn’t take responsibility for his actions. He really did make the young man look so humiliated all while speaking so kindly and dignified. While they were all listening, we took the opportunity to explain why he acts the way he does and then provided the Book of Mormon as a possible solution. It was very clear that this young man was suddenly not feeling so tough. The kids that were being bullied looked so cheerful though and were so glad that finally the bully was getting some of his own medicine. Just before we left, Elder Taotua told the young bully to grow up, to find God, and that he never wants to see him bullying anyone ever again. I know that that young man was humbled at that moment and I don’t believe that he will be bullying in that park anymore. I also know that the children there were very grateful!
This brings me to my scripture of the week from the Book of Mormon! It comes from Helaman 5:41-42. In this chapter, a group of wicked people are surrounded in a “cloud of darkness.” They can’t see anything and are very afraid. Not only can they not see anything, but they can hear a powerful voice that strikes fear in their hearts. The voice is telling them to change their ways, or to repent.
Just as they are beginning to lose all hope, a man amongst the wicked named Aminadab counsel them and says “You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ… and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.” Though these people do not believe in Christ, they are so desperate at that moment that they follow the man’s counsel and cry unto the Lord, “even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.” I like this scripture so much because I can easily apply it to my life. There have been many times when I am really scared or in a situation that is really bad. In those times, I always say a prayer in my heart, asking for help, but what I now realize is that just like this group of people, my faith is stronger in moments of fear or when I am desperate. Why is that? I think it is human nature to have a stronger faith when we have lost faith in all else. Realizing this, I now understand that I need to get to a point where my faith is ALWAYS as strong as it is in those moments. I know that if I can do that, then I will never forget that God is always there and willing to help; we just have to ask!
Well that’s it for this week! It has been so nice to hear from so many of you! It always brightens my day so thanks! I hope that you are all doing well! Until next Monday!