Week 20 – Eventful
So I’m in the center of Portland, Oregon now and I really do not like it here. Almost the entire area I am working in now is basically like the Strip and about a mile around it from Las Vegas. Driving through the city and proselyting on the streets is really giving me a stronger more potent perspective of how much power and how strong the grasp of the Devil is in certain parts of the world. Portland can be compared to a “Devil’s Nest” with many of the things I am seeing here on the daily. It is a miserable and depressing city and since Missionaries usually have the spirit more powerfully on a minute by minute bases, seeing all of this negativity and being so close to it pains my soul much more than it normally would. . .
On the bright side though, since the people here have and are experiencing so much depression and misery in their lives, their capacity for joy that they now have or will gain will be far greater than those around them that are not dealing with similar trials. I don’t know if anyone back home has seen the more recent Mormon Message titled “Refiner’s Fire,” but the analogy used in that video comparing people’s capacity of happiness to Newton’s Law of every action having an equal and opposite reaction is really cool to me. It is probably one of the coolest similitudes between the Gospel and Science I have learned.
Aside from all that, I got to do something very cool that I probably won’t have the opportunity to do again this past week. On Monday last week, my 2 companions finishing their missions left for the mission home and I was left behind and put into a companionship with my Zone Leaders until Wednesday when I would get my new companion. In between that time, I had the option of either just giving up on my own area for those few days since I wasn’t exactly able to work an area alone without a companion(s), or of finding a way to still get some work done. So for Tuesday, I had an appointment scheduled at the Institute building in my area with one of our stronger more promising investigators which I did not want to miss, mainly for her sake. I made some calls, set some things up and was able to make it to the building in time for the scheduled lesson with her. While I was there at the building, I had Zone Leaders with me from a different part of my mission since my actual Zone Leaders were currently in a meeting somewhere else in the city. The unique part of this whole situations was how the lesson went. I ended up teaching a solo lesson with the girl and her friend who is a member while the other Elders that were with me continued with their business at the Institute building with all of the YSAs. And even though I taught the lesson on my own, I wasn’t left alone. The other Elders were about 5 feet away from me just doing something else while I taught in the same room as them. I just thought it was kind of cool having complete control over a lesson and being able to take the lesson in any direction I so chose to as the spirit directed me without having to consciously focus on being in sync with another Elder. It was a super spiritual lesson too. All of the noise and other things going on around that was coming from all of the YSAs was silenced out and non-distracting to the Spirit that was felt between the 3 of us in the lesson.
As I was preparing to leave my previous area as well, and since I was really nervous of what was going to happen to the area since it was being White-Washed (Pink-Washed) with Hermanas and having its Elders taken out, I had a prompting to type up a very detailed report on many of the people that had been being focused on the most throughout the past 6 weeks for the 2 new Hermanas coming in. On Wednesday when transfers took place, and I was able to meet with the 2 new Hermanas taking over the area, I explained everything that I had left behind for them in the Areabook. The Senior Sister who I found out was also going to be training this transfer for the first time asked me in confusion why I had done all of this since she was under the impression that I was going to be staying and that she would have the help of Elders. Apparently she had not been told everything that was going on, and she went on to begin having an anxiety attack, crying, and feeling like she was going to vomit on the spot. (This area she was being left with is the “Promise Land” of my mission and probably holds the highest amount of responsibility. It has over 500+ investigators and people that are worked with not even including the members and RCLAs) It is a very stressful area to deal with. When I walked her through all of the things I had left for her and her new trainee on the Areabook, it appeared to me as if half of her stress and anxiety just melted away on the spot with comfort and peace.
So although I was sad that I had to leave this area so soon, I was also brought to peace knowing that the area would be watched over well, and was also happy that I had gotten to be the answer to someone’s Pray. I am unsure exactly who’s prayer I was an answer to in doing this, but it was probably the Hermana’s or my Mission President’s since he knew exactly what he was putting these 2 Hermanas into, 1 of which is an Hermana who just arrived to the mission field last week.
One of my first experiences in my new area by the way was getting to meet and teach a current Gang member here in Portland. This man was covered in scars, had been shot in the head and lived, and had just lived a very rugged life style. My new companion and I talked to him 3 separate times while knocking through a neighbor that he lived in. We basically had 3 mini lesson with him that were all centered on Jesus Christ and the power of prayer. He is the one who came up to us all 3 times. We said 4 prayers with him which were all spread out between the times that we spoke with him. I and apparently my companion as well also received a promoting to give the man a hug (he was my height). I felt the urge to, but right before I did, my companion gave him a hug first, so I decided to back off on it, because this man was extremely confused with why he was even caring to talk with us. At one point he came out of his home yelling at all of the kids playing around the neighborhood because 1 of them had sprayed a bunch of red liquid over his car. To help calm him down since he seemed like he could potentially get violent, I offered to help clean his car with him. He didn’t know how to take this I guess and told me that me offering to help him sounded fake, weird, and “gay.” He asked why I would even say something like that and I just explained to him that as Missionaries, we try to emulate the attributes of Christ which includes helping people and doing service for people when ever they appear as though they may need it. He told us that that was strange and so we walked away. As we walked away, he called us back apologizing and asking us to say a pray with him and for him. Obviously this entire situation was just weird to this man. He has probably lived such a miserable life style that when someone comes along and attempts to show kindness, he just doesn’t and didn’t know how to react properly. Either way though, he was left with a very good and solid impression of the LDS Church and of Mormon Missionaries meaning that our time spent around this man was not wasteful.
I also get to do service now every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm helping homeless people or people who can’t afford food select food items from a location that donates food 2 times a week. It is an interesting way of doing service since I have to walk with these people to make sure they don’t take more than they have permission to take. Many of these people don’t speak English or Spanish. They speak Russian or different Asian dialects. It is interesting and different. I do not enjoy it really at all, but it is a productive and Christlike way to spend time.
This is how things have been going. It was a busy and eventful week. I hope things are going well for everyone else. Congratulations to the new Bishop of my home Ward, Bishop Berges. Thank you to Bishop Norr for everything you did in the Cactus Ward over the past many years.
Elder Adam R. F. Scoville