This past weekend in my current area was Stake Conference. My Mission President spoke and shared a cool story about his family vacation that he took last year since Mission Presidents can take family vacations every so often. He, his wife, and their children and the grandchildren went to the beach to spend some time together and there was a cliff side where the water currents were hitting up against it very hard. Some of his Grandchildren were trying to surf and they had been progressively getting closer and closer to the cliff side which was very dangerous. Eventually as they got too close, they disappeared behind the cliff and my Mission President thought that they were gone and that they had possible been smashed up against the cliff side. Now with the whole family beginning to panic they rushed over to the cliff side and were only able to find one of the 2 grandchildren that had gone behind the cliff. He was fine but the other one was gone and now missing. Growing more and more anxious they all began to search and got the rest of the people on the beach to search as well and they even had a helicopter fly out to help them search, but in the end they were unable to find him. The whole family by this point now felt as though they were going to be going home with 1 less member and most of everyone was either in tears or on the brink of being in tears since they were under the impression that the boy’s body was also lost in the ocean. Moments later, a man that no one recognized came walking towards them with the boy by his side who was smiling. He saw everyone and was confused with why everyone looked so sad since he hadn’t realized all the commotion that had taken place over the past few hours. When the 2 boys had disappeared behind the cliff, this man had been surfing in a safer area located farther behind the cliff which none of President Taylor or his family knew about. When the man had seen the young boy being pulled into the more dangerous waters, he paddled over on his board grabbed the boy just before he was smashed and began surfing with him over the next few hours. While the boy had been having the time of his life, everyone else had been fearing for his life.
The point of this story, though heavily shortened by me, was to explain something about how we do not always know how to deal with the trials placed before us often time because of a lack of experience or knowledge. And yet that is why we have the Savior Jesus Christ who knows all and has experienced all forms of trials through his Atonement. In this case, the experienced surfer was compared to the Savior since because of his knowledge and experience as a surfer he was able to save to boy from dying against the cliff side rocks. I thought it was a cool story and an accurate similitude. It was my favorite Talk at Stake Conference.
There were also some other interesting experiences I had this week. At a large intersection here in Portland, Elder Stevens and I were just sitting in our car at the light with the window rolled down on the Driver’s side when a large car full of Tongans pulled up next to us, looked at us, and immediately assumed we were Elder since we were 2 young guys dressing in white shirts and ties. One of the Tongans then proceeded to try and hand us $20.00 through his window to ours even though he couldn’t reach our door window. We declined and told him to keep his money, and he then proceeded to get out of his car in this intersection and walk to ours and he just threw the money into our car then ran back to his before we could give it back. Then they drove off. I already loved Polynesians before this, but this just made me love them more. The stories that I hear about the Tongan Ward and the things that the Tongan Elder see and experience are hilarious. Everything that goes on involving the Tongans is entertaining in some form or way. And it is just their culture to be the way they are. Everything to them is about the Family, the Church, helping the Missionaries (often by forcefully giving them money), and Food.
We met a homeless Hispanic just before going to Stake Conference as well. We had just knocked a door when this man called us out and asked if we were the Mormon Missionaries, then told us what had just happened to him a 2 days earlier about how someone had stolen his wallet which had all of his information allowing him to be the States, and work, and drive, and his money. He was crying when he told us this while also explaining how he wasn’t able to support his family anymore either and that he himself had not had any food for 2 days so far and was beginning to starve. His eyes were red and his skin on his body was tightened around him with his stomach receding in. He was obviously telling the truth which was made even more apparent through the spirit. I gave him $5.00 since that was the only cash I had on me and told him that I hoped it would at least help him get some food. He then humbly took the money, cried harder but silently, looked up to God, praised him silently, then humbly gave thanks to us. We then said a prayer with him and left. Out of ever person I have had any contact with on the Mission so far, this man was by far the humblest. His intentions were pure, his gratitude was sincere, and his Faith in God was apparent. It was a cool experience for Elder Stevens and I.
I am going to the Temple tomorrow and looking forward to it. I hope everyone else who can is attending the Temple regularly as well since unlike everyone else, I only get to go once every 3 months.
Elder Adam R. F. Scoville