This is a long one in response to the fact that I received so many emails for my Birthday.
My companion and I had a solid week. We taught a huge number of lessons and talked to a lot of different people. We also began contacting and organizing many of the 70+ referrals that we had. Until this current transfer that I am on, I had forgotten how much I actually enjoy record keeping. During my 1st transfer out here in the Mission field with my trainer Elder Carpenter, I was an extremely detailed record keeper and I developed a reputation very quickly for being extremely efficient with my records and basically any form of information that I wrote down, typed down, or vocally shared with anyone around me. The writing and typing aspects of this slowly degraded over the next few transfers as many Elders (just Elders) told me to be a little more casual in how I recorded everything’s in order to not give too much information on every single thing that was happening among the people with which I was working. As of now though, I have picked up the pace again on my record keeping and my current Area-book is by far one of the nicest I have seen out here in the Mission Field now. And that is not an arrogant pride that I have in my companionship’s Area-book, but a satisfaction of the diligence that I have put forth in turning it into such a organized looking piece of work. Diligence is also one of the Christ Like Attributes that any of us can develop, and it is one that I completely see the benefits and joys of but often put aside for some of the other attributes that can easily appear more important such as Humility, Obedience, or especially the pure love of Christ being Charity. I literally have been looking forward to updating my Area-book every evening now for the past 2 weeks. I also have the convenience of being able to utilize a digital Area-book which makes things far more comfortable for myself since I do not like writing at all.
On other matters regarding all of the people we talked to this week, I obtained a realization of how much I really do love to be questioned on my beliefs of the Gospel. While walking through the Columbia Park here in Portland, my companion, Elder Flynn, and I came across some young adults, probably around ages 24-28 who appeared to be on a double date. The people were friendly to us but one of them started questioning us about some of our beliefs regarding the Bible. In nearly all cases when someone has tried to question any companionship I have been in, I usually take the lead in answering any and all of the questions since I always have confidence that the spirit will guide my answers, and I know that by having confidence in the spirit guiding my answers, it will only strengthen my confidence for the next time a similar situation comes up again. I love it when things like that happen because it gives me, as a missionary, a chance to speak by the spirit, which I always look forward to, and it allows me to expound upon the things that I have studied that I usually wouldn’t be able to normally share with Less-Actives, Recent-Converts (RCLAs), or investigators in a normal lesson. It lets me prove to random people on the streets and around the areas I serve in, that the members of our church actually study their religion and their standard works instead of just listening to whatever someone else feeds us through their own sermons every Sunday or religious meetings. The man we talked to sounded like Zeezrom from Alma 11 against Amulek or the Pharisees against Jesus in the New Testament. He asked his questions while surrounded by his 3 friends (1 male, 2 females, hence why probably a double date) politely without any obvious aggressive intent and yet he sounded as though he was trying to find some sort of mistake in my words to cross me, in order to make myself and Elder Flynn appear as though we knew not and understood not what we were talking about. He asked us about our favorite stories in the Bible followed up with details about the Apocrypha, and why it was mainly just the Jews who had the Gospel given to them throughout the Bible, and why we ourselves don’t just become Jewish since, as he said, those people seem to be the only ones that God cares about throughout most of the scriptures in the Bible. All of the answers I gave him were well excepted, especially by his pears around him. And when he realized he wasn’t going to get anywhere by questioning me, he didn’t even bother to ask Elder Flynn anything and just decided to ride off on his bike ahead of his friends while they stayed behind to say goodbye to us and express appreciation for our responses as they rode off on their bikes as well. I love being questioned about our beliefs as a missionary since relying on the spirit becomes so much more necessary and easy. I am starting to gain a minuscule understanding of how Jesus and many other Prophets from throughout the scriptures felt when they would be questioned by the people around them. I don’t know if they necessarily enjoyed it the way that I do now, but there is literally no reason to fear or be nervous when being questioned by people about our beliefs. If your testimony of what you believe in is sure and strong, the Spirit of the Holy Ghost Will Not Leave You to deal with those kinds of situations alone. It will always have your side, especially even more so when your actions at other times are constantly inviting its presence to be with you even more powerfully. I have not once been left to deal with a situation like that alone on the mission without the aid of the Holy Ghost, and that is the sole primary reason why nobody has been able to cross me. I cannot believe how much I did not fully comprehend the power and aid that the Spirit could bring before the Mission. I know that it helped, comforted, and many other things, but I did not understand the gravity of its power. The adversary can do nothing when it’s opponent is an individual wielding the testifying power of the Holy Ghost by his side.
On even more other matters, the Portland East Stake that I have been serving in for the past 9 weeks under-went such a massive change, by which it was disbanded as of Sunday July 12th 2015 by the 1st Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles. All individuals holding Stake callings were released in this massive meeting and many many many boundary changes occurred. There were a lot of unhappy members at the end of the meeting and even a few crying members. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen to my area yet, so at the meeting, I asked my Mission President, who was in attendance, and have been given permission to basically leave my new Stake into the other Stakes to continue working with and teaching everyone as if nothing changed until further notice. I am not looking forward to the ‘further notice’ which could cause me to lose some of my area’s most productive individuals. The Portland East Stake was merged into 3 other surrounding Stakes because of the huge amount of inactivity throughout it, and the lack of full benefits that a normal Stake is supposed to yield to its members. It was unfortunate but did need to happen.
I also got to go to IKEA this past week for dinner, twice. Last transfer I found out that there was an IKEA in my area boundaries (still is) and decided that no matter what my companionship would be going there to eat at some point. Elder Flynn had never been there, or even heard of IKEA, and didn’t mind going; so we went and we just ate a ton of Meatballs and walked around for a bit throughout the building so that he could see what the place was like. Then we went again on Saturday for my birthday dinner with money that members gave us and I bought myself a feast of food consisting of Meatballs and gravy, a Salmon Filet with a large spinach roll, 4 bread rolls, Pasta and more Meatballs, french fries, Chocolate cake, a Swedish chocolate bar, and water. It was phenomenal meal that I greatly enjoyed for my birthday meal. If my birthday hadn’t been on a Sunday then we would have done it on my actual birthday instead.
I also translated my first talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday at Church. The Bishop of my Ward needed someone to translate his talk into Spanish, “live,” while he was giving it, so I did that. It is the hardest language related thing I have done so far on the mission. I pulled it off, but it was not well enjoyed. The Bishop free-flowed a lot through his talk, making it difficult to repeat what he would say to the congregation in Spanish. I got through it though, thankfully.
My Birthday was a good day. I definitely did enjoy it, especially with it being my 1st on the Mission. I was surprised with how many emails I received from family and even more so from friends all around. There were many people around the my ward also who wished me a Happy Birthday even though I hadn’t told anyone. There were even many random people that I hardly knew who just walked up to me saying Happy Birthday which I am assuming means that something must have been posted on Facebook that made it all the way up to my Mission as well. Thank you everyone who sent me Birthday emails yesterday. They were much appreciated. Have a great week.
Elder Adam R. F. Scoville