Wed, Sept 23, 2015
Last week I went to the Inwood Chapel in northern Manhattan. I dropped off my companion Elder Wallace, and received my new companion Elder Buckley. Elder Buckley is from Ogden, Utah. He is a cross country runner and is going to run for Weber State when he gets back. He is a powerhouse missionary. He is incredibly smart. He was called to speak Spanish but transferred over to the English program to my companion. He knows English, Spanish, and he has self taught himself enough Greek and Hebrew to read and understand it. He is honestly the most doctrinally sound missionary I've ever served with. Anytime we have super tough questions posed to us he can fire off an answer that you know is completely true.
For example we had two Jehovas Witnesses approach us while we were waiting for the bus and one of them went off trying to bash us. She only spoke Spanish so I had no clue what was going on, but luckily Elder Buckley knows Spanish. I couldn't understand exactly what he was saying but it appeared that the Spanish woman was trying to convince us how their religion was the right one because they knew that God’s name was Jehovah. Then Elder Buckley politely, but boldly told her and showed her in the scriptures, then testified. The lady got super mad not because of the way Elder Buckley talked to her but because she seemed flustered and embarrassed. We have had a bunch of tough questions posed to us lately and so I just turn and look to Elder Buckley haha. I'm grateful for him. Even though I have been here in this area for 6 months already he has helped me feel like I just got here. He has helped me get out of "going through the motions" and has brought passion back to the way I work.
We started teaching a new guy by the name of Joseph. We just met him this last week and we have already had 3 solid lessons with him, and he came to church. He is an old but active Vietnam Veteran. He hates the war but loves to tell war stories. He comes from a family of Italian mafia and growing up he quickly realized that he didn't want to be a part of that so he became heavily involved in the Catholic Church, becoming a deacon. Long story short he was offended from some of the things that happened when he was in the Catholic Church and has been searching for the true church ever since.
This Sunday was his first time ever attending out church. He was nervous but very excited to see how it all works. He was kind of dreading the 3 hour services but he took it like a champ. He really enjoyed church and felt overwhelmingly welcomed. He absolutely loved it and is planning on coming this Sunday. Monday when we went over to his house he told us that he had been feeling very bad that day. We asked him why and he began to tell us something that had happened after he left church on Sunday. He said that on his way over from the church to his bus stop he saw three hooligans harassing an old man. They were trying to steal his cane from him. Joseph told them that they needed to knock it off. Instead of walking away and leaving the man alone they fired back some degrading and explicit remarks. Joseph didn't like that. Joseph didn't like that at all.
He proceeded to take off his suit jacket like a gentleman and then with one punch knocked the guy who talked back to him out cold on the Bronx floor. The other two punks ran off. Joseph began to cry because he felt so bad that he had decked this guy in the face. He called the police. The police arrived and told him that the guy he KO'd was actually wanted for multiple muggings. They thanked him for defending the even older man and let him go. Is Joseph not the sickest? Also we extended a baptismal invitation for October 24th and he accepted!
I was reading a talk by Daniel H. Ludlow and something I read blew my mind: "When we lived with our Father in heaven, we did not need to exercise a fullness of faith in whether or not he existed. We knew that he lived because we saw him; we walked and talked with him. We knew he existed and were convinced of his existence, but we were not necessarily converted to him and to his great principles because our knowledge of him had come from external sources without virtually any effort on our part." When I read those words I couldn't help but feel how true they were. Sometimes people think that if they can figure out if there is a God or not that is enough. That's all they have to do. With this quote we learn that it's much more than figuring out if there is a God. We aren't exercising faith just to find out if he exists. We are doing all of this to become converted to our Heavenly Father. It's cool.
Basically: The work is good, the companion is good, life is good. I almost got hit by a truck this week that went through a stop sign. Everything's good.