Friends and family I have SO MUCH that I wish to tell you about in this email and so little time. I just want to start off by telling you about an experience that I had last week. As you know, I got to fly out to San Francisco on Thursday to make a personal appearance at the French Consulate and do fingerprints. This was a really nice break from the MTC schedule and it was a ton of fun spending the day with fellow Lyoners in Babylon. Haha. It was different. We got a lot of great looks and great smiles. But what I wish to tell you about is an experience I had on the flight out to California. All of the other Elders in the group were assigned a temporary companion for the flight, but since there was an odd number of missionaries, it just happened that I would be the one who would sit with a stranger. I ended up sitting next to a man named Tom. He sat there on his iPhone, and once the lady on the microphone asked for all electronic devices to be turned off, he started doing Sudoku. I felt so creepy watching his every move as I pretended to read the words of Paul. I knew that I was supposed to talk to him, but I didn't know how. At one point, I asked him how he was doing. I don't think he heard me and he continued what he was doing. Then I asked him super loud, enough for half the flight to hear, if he was going home or away. He turned to me and said neither. We started to have a conversation, he told me about how he was from Cincinnati and he had just finished some business in Salt Lake and was off to meet his family for a 10 day vacation in Southern California. This budded into a way cool conversation about his life, his family, etc. Eventually he asked me what I was doing, so I told him. I told him that I was spending two years to be a missionary for my church. I asked him what he knew about my church, and about the Mormons. He said he didn't really know a whole lot, but he seemed interested in what I was doing, and in what I believed. Our conversation naturally involved into a discussion about religion. He told me his conversations story (he's a practicing Protestant Christian) after he had his first son. It was incredible, he just seemed like the most humble, down to earth, disciple of Christ. I don't know how it happened. friends and family (just kidding, it was all by the Spirit) but I was able to teach this man SO MUCH about my religion. We talked for at least an hour and a half. I explained the basic teachings and foundations of our religion (the Resoration) and introduced the Book of Mormon to him. We read the introduction. He was way interested. He was so interested that he went on and read the testimonies of the witnesses (he was a patent lawyer, MIT and Harvard Law grad, so he was pretty interested in the witnesses and the logic behind it all, etc.) He had a really good understanding of the Bible and wanted to know more. I taught him about "other sheep I have which are not of this fold" and we read most of 3 Nephi 15 together. I'm going to have time to tell about everything we talked about, but I got to fit in all the material from the first 3 preach my gospel lessons and more. And it was all in the context of a natural and interesting conversation. He had lots of questions and with the help of the scriptures and the Spirit, I was able to answer them all to the best of my ability. He took lots of notes, and at the end (knowing that he would want to know more) gave him a passalong card and wrote down how he could get his own copy of the Book of Mormon. I was able to bear my testimony many times throughout the conversation. All in all, it was my first missionary experience as a true representive of Jesus Christ and all the keys and powers which that entails. And I felt it. I felt the power of my calling and I know that it was real. I know that I wouldn't have been able to answer the questions and communicate what was needed to be said to this man who had a much deeper thoughts than I do. I don't know if this man will continue to be a truth seeker, but I have hopes. I am just so grateful for the opportunity that I was able to have.
Well, I used up all the time telling that story... Sorrz. I just want to say that I love you all so much. The Lord has great things in mind for each of his children. If we will allow our wills to be swallowed up in his will, this life will have so much more meaning. Look forward with an eye of hope! View this mortality raised to immortality! Christ invites us to a higher plane of thought and he is willing to help us along our journey! Allow love to swallow up the trivial things of everyday life. I love you, and wish the best for you all.
PS. Happy 4th of July! I get to watch fireworks from the Stadium of Fire tomorrow night. Should be kewl. Eat an extra hot dog and otter pop for me, wouldya?