So this week was full of awesome experiences. So get ready.
On Sunday Elder Christensen and I wanted to go into the church right next to our apartment. It is a Pentecostal church and we have been trying to meet with other pastors to look for service opportunities with their churches in the community. Well we walked in and the smell of delicious coffee met our nose. We asked for the pastor and a very tall and large man walked through the door named Jason Huckabee. He looked me square in the eyes which is not a common occurrence. He had a southern drawl as if he was from Mississippi or something. We asked if we could meet with him at another time and he invited us back on Tuesday.
Monday night we started exchanges with Elder Slesk and Elder Bowser. (side note: there is also a Elder Kirby in the zone) Elder Slesk and I were talking before we fell asleep and it turns out that his dad served in the Charlotte, North Carolina Mission the same years as you Dad! I had just finished telling a story from your mission and he told me his dad had some crazy stories from his mission. One of which was about a football game where an elder's arm got messed up! Sounds familiar! Haha that's when I asked what mission he had served in and what years he had served. His name is... Tim Slesk and was married in 91 so could have been serving during the same time.
Well me and Elder Slesk went together the next morning to visit Jason Huckabee. We sat down in his study in the back of the church building. He asked a little about who we are and we explained our purpose as missionaries and where we are from. He seemed genuinely impressed by our efforts and was so kind to us. He explained some of his walls he can't get over in relation to the Book of Mormon which we were able to clarify. Things like the idea that Joseph Smith wrote it. etc. He then asked.... "So we see by statistical studies that the slowest rate for building membership in a church is through street contacting and door to door with random strangers. In fact the fastest way is what is called "Personal Evangelizing". It is when you are at work and you see that your co-worker is struggling and he needs help. Well you invite him to church. He comes to church, feels the Lord and realizes he has found what he needs in his life. That is how we bring people in." This nonmember just explained to me, member missionary work and seems to understand it better than many active members. We were blown away. We explained our desire to bring further unity to the faiths in the area via service and he liked that a lot. He then explained some of his beliefs using the New Testament. Specifically Acts 2, 10, and 19. They believe speaking in tongues is required to know you have received the Holy Ghost. I won't lie if I had not grown up knowing that this was the church of Christ and was seeking truth I would of ate everything up he said in a heart beat. The power that came just from using the scriptures in his teaching made me seriously marvel. We closed with a prayer by putting our hands on each other shoulders and after he invited us out to lunch after he gets back from a trip. Over this week I have reflected time and time again on our meeting. It has built my testimony of the power and authority of my calling as a missionary and the influence we can have on others by the Spirit we bring.
As I was reading the Book of Mormon this week I saw an example of how we can't force the Spirit into ones heart but can only bring it unto. Alma 10:6 "Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart.." I was struck by the phrase "therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know" I have reflected time and time again about what things I am not fully allowing into my heart. I have also thought a lot concerning the fact that if Alma had disobeyed the angel then Amulek would still go on unbelieving not to mention the many converts that followed.
Love you guys!!