This has been a very long week. A lot of our appointments cancelled, but I guess that’s the life of being a missionary. We’ve gotten the opportunity to go “finding” a lot this week, and have actually had a couple of good experiences.
We also decided to try to contact a few former investigators this week, and that’s how we met “Tavern Guy.” As we approached this house, he came outside to meet us, and after talking on the doorstep for a while, he invited us in. Now, why do Sister Allred and I call him “Tavern Guy?” Well, it’s because as we were talking with him and his friends, we came to the conclusion that they remind us of people sitting in an 18th century tavern, talking politics, smoking, just down to earth. Tavern Guy has a very strong Jersey accent, if that helps you picture the situation better. He told us how he has studied the Bible and gone to a lot of different churches, but doesn’t feel like he knows which one is true. So as any missionary would, we tried to explain a little bit about the restoration of the gospel. Tavern Guy asked us a few questions and after a while, it just became contentious, almost borderline argumentative. I’ve had my fill of bashers on the mission, but for some reason, this guy was making me really angry. Suddenly I hear myself burst out “Don’t you tell me what I believe!” I was a little surprised at myself, but even more surprised at their response. Tavern Guy said, “I like this one! She’s cool!” Still, I apologized for being out of line. I don’t get upset with people very often, but when I tried to apologize, all three of them turned their heads almost in unison and said “Don’t Apologize!” Instantly, I had gained their respect, and the environment changed from one of hostility to one of respect. Not very often does abrasiveness gain that kind of response, but I guess my instinctive remark to defend my beliefs must have been so unexpected that it was taken well. Towards the end of our conversation, I went to apologize once again, and Tavern Guy had had enough of it. “Did Jesus Christ ever apologize for who he was? Did He? Hmm? No. Did he apologize for what He believed? See? So don’t go there.” Fair enough.
We also met another guy when we were tracting that I can’t decide if he was cool, or really off the rocker. He has studied the Bible for 37 years and knew it very well. He talked to us for about an hour, getting very metaphysical, and deep, yet at the same time telling us that he had died before, and that he had gotten the chance to re-live life. That he had met us before and that this conversation had all happened before, but that he had been given the chance to be more polite and respectful this time than last time. He showed us another passage from the Bible that he said, explained Déjàvu. He reminded me of some character out of a book written by someone like Earnest Hemingway, “Old and Lonely”. We must live life, and enjoy it! Studying the Bible is good, but I think there is a truth in that staying cooped up can make one go crazy.
As we were knocking doors on Saturday, we came across a house with HUGE mean dogs. We could see them through the window, so I thought we were safe and I went to approach the door. Suddenly we hear a woman yelling, “Get out! Get out!” My companion looks at me and says, "We’ve got to go!” So we both start running. I’m not sure if the woman was yelling at us, or if she was yelling at her dogs, and trying to send them out the back door to come and get us. But as we go to the next house, we hear the door open and the woman scream, “I’m Atheist!!!!” Wow, I think she must have felt stupid when there was no one there. We didn’t even knock on her door or anything. People are so crazy.
But for the most part, people have been very good and kind. At church yesterday, we heard the line “when evil is made invisible to you.” I wouldn’t be surprised if that is a blessing we’ve received as missionaries, because this was really one of the first few mean people we’ve come across. Knocking on random people’s doors every day, you would think you’d run into more rotten people, but really I feel like I will come home and say there is more good in the world than bad.
Well, Sister Allred and I have had enough of being lazy on Preparation Day, so today we’re going to Bernalillo, another little town in our stake boundaries, and hopefully we’ll find something cool to do. We might look into visiting a few local attractions.
Hope all is going well back home. I love you all and miss you tons.