I came to a realization this past week. I suck at finding. So I am very thankful that I have a companion right now who excels at Finding. Whenever we go street contacting, I am always able to back him up with my knowledge about a lot of things in the Gospel and can generally keep a smile up, but I feel so awkward talking to random people still even after 6 months of being on the mission (tomorrow, May 26th, is my 6 month mark from when I left home). Something about knowing that the people on the streets really do Not want to talk to the missionaries makes it very difficult for me to approach them for some reason, even though I know how important our message is for their Salvation. I’m working on getting over that so that I can more easily approach people without concern for annoying them with Salvation to put it frankly.
Jehovah’s Witnesses I have discovered are ridiculously stubborn people as well. I have gotten to meet and speak to 2 far and both of my experiences have gone well and relatively positive without flat out Bible Bashing, but it is extremely apparent that that is all they really want to do with us as Missionaries. . . One of the first things they always bring up is what they know the name of God to be because of the scripture Psalms 83:17. I wouldn’t necessarily love to, but I would So Easily be able to destroy every ounce of foundation that they think they have on their beliefs. If missionaries were not told to bash, I would probably end up doing it so often. The problems with JWs is that when ever spiritual clarity or even just plain logic is brought up about the contents of the scriptures that contradict their own beliefs, they immediately begin bashing. As Missionaries, all that we can do with them is do our best to leave a good impression so that when they eventually meet a normal Member who is not currently serving a mission, that Member will have a good chance of creating a good solid relationship with that JW. It’s frustrating and take a lot of patience for someone like me.
I’ve been studying the scriptures very intently. My companion and I are usually driving in our car for at least 2 hours every day in my current area, sometimes more, and I’ve always hated just sitting back and doing nothing so I’ve just began using all of the void free time for extra personal study time. I’ve been developing a stronger love for the scriptures recently and have been having a hard time putting them down. I read them basically throughout every point of the day that I am not out walking or in someone’s home teaching. I’ve even started reading them sometimes during member meals which I know I need to stop. It is crazy how many things I’ve missed in the past as I’ve read the scriptures. So far on the Mission I’ve finished the Book Of Mormon once, the Pearl Of Great Price twice, Genesis through Exodus 4 times, Isaiah once, with the rest of my reading having just been scattered. So many things are being made So much clearer now, especially with the help of the Institute Manuals on Gospel Library. Right now I’m re-reading through Isaiah accompanied by 2 Nephi and am actually understanding much more of the content than usually.
Does anyone remember that one phrase in the primary song, “Scripture Power. . . Keeps me safe from sin”? It is very true. My thoughts are so focused and pure right now. More so than they have been since I was a little kid, and this is even while living in Portland which, like I said before, is a comparable to a Devil’s Nest. It is like the scriptures have developed a wall of Spiritual Diamond around my senses. Although I can still perceive all that is around me, like someone could do through a transparent wall, nothing can physically break through it and anything else that passes through whether it be sound or visuals becomes distorted and blotted out. Whereas light (Spirituality) that passes through it is amplified.
Since I’ve been here in Portland and since I spend so much time out street contacting since this area hasn’t been doing as well as my first 2 areas, I meet and see a lot of different and or strange people. I am pretty sure that this city is where I will be getting some of my more unique or radical mission experiences. Just today on the way home from working, my companion and I passed by a gas station that had a man walking in who was wearing all black with a hood and a skeleton mask completing covering his face. He was also caring a sports style bag, similar in appearance to the kinds of bags that banks robbers in movies, for example, carry when going to rob a bank. As he walked into the store he reached into his pocket as he was facing the store clerk and that is the last thing my companion and I saw since we were driving passed the place. We don’t know what happened but we both thought that the man was probably going into that gas station to rob it. This is all just based on logical observation though. He could of just been a strongly dressed person having some other objective at the gas station? I don’t know. This is a weird city. My companion told me that he has seen stranger things over the past 3 months he has been here.
This Saturday, I will also be having the opportunity to hear from Elder Brent H. Nielson of the 1st Quorum of the 70 again. He spoke in the Mission Conference to my mission about 2 months ago and he also just spoke in this last General Conference, And he was just made the Head of the Missionary Department for the church. I am very excited to hear him speak on Saturday, especially since he will probably reveal some more news regarding the implementation of technology into Missionary work.
Happy Memorial Day also.
Elder Adam R. F. Scoville
PS – Also, almost no one out here every thinks I am Black. Hispanics think I am Cuban all the time. And everyone else thinks I am Polynesian. Tongans think I look Tongan and that I have an accent, which I obviously to everyone else don’t.