It’s transfer week again for my Mission and I am leaving Portland. I have been called back to Gresham again where I served for 6 weeks 2 transfers ago. I am looking forward to going back for a lot of reasons. One being that this is still the only area in the mission that has a Spanish Ward instead of just a branch or a group, and the other being because I get to go back to working with an additional set of Spanish Missionaries again like I did back in Longview which made so many things so much easier and more productive. My new companion’s name is Elder Grasinger. He has a skin disorder that makes him always look as though he has a sunburn. In others words, his entire body is just red. He is a funny guy and makes up a crazy story every time someone comments on or asks about his red skin. This next transfer could be a really fun one since he is a goofy guy and since I will be working with 2 Hermanas again.
My last week in Portland was kind of satisfying in an interesting way. I left my Mission boundaries by accident last week on Tuesday for about 20 minutes. I was driving down a street all the way across my area to cut up north when I found that the street I needed to get on had turned into a One Way and it was too late and impossible to get into the turn lane from where I was which forced me onto a massive bridge heading towards downtown Portland, which isn’t inside of my mission. I’ve heard of other missionaries who have gotten stuck on streets or bridges that lead to downtown, but I honestly never expected to be one of them, since there are so few that do. Elder Flynn and I just contacted our mission office and told them where we were while we were trapped in the horrible street systems of downtown Portland. It was a crazy ride through there. I ended up in a bus lane while trying to turn back towards the bridges and I almost drove straight into a train head-on since there are passenger trains that drive through the streets in Portland. . . It was a fun and memorable experience since we almost got into 3 different car accidents while on those streets down there. I’m convinced now that the streets here were designed by someone that was high because they are horrific.
After getting off the bridge on the way back, I got stuck on another One Way street since all of the streets in the more Urban parts of the city are One Ways and was unable to switch lanes again this time because of a bunch of bikers that pushed me onto the highway which moves at about 5 miles an hour almost all day when heading North. We were stuck there for another 30 minutes and by the end of all of this, 2 hours of our day had gone down the drain and we were just sick of everything for the day. But in the end we were still thankful that we were fine since I hadn’t crashed nor hit anything or anyone else, and there were a lot of extremely close calls. Just more memories to look back on later in life and laugh about. We also took some cool pictures downtown that we will never have the chance to take again unless we leave the mission by accident again.
Elder Flynn and I also had the opportunity to talk with some extra-rude people this week. I don’t know what was so special about this week but the adversary was really trying hard to put us down. We just met some nasty, unkind, and unpleasant people that literally just wanted to give us a horrible time. After many of them, we just walked away expressing our frustration for the large amount of time from our life that had just been wasted listening to some of them try their very hardest to tear down our beliefs and testimonies with lies, false information, and vulgar slander. It flat out just sucked. And as Missionaries, all we could really do was listen, walk away, or be polite and diplomatic to them since almost anything else wouldn’t have been Christlike. Patience is a virtue while stupidity must really be a form of bliss, because those people sure did seem content with their lives, as miserable as they really seemed from mine and Elder Flynn’s perspective. . . My use of language in this paragraph must really seem negative and frustrated but some of the things I heard this week just did not need to be uttered by intelligent human beings who have been endowed with free agency and the ability to make their own judgements on matters.
The 1 good thing that I definitely gained from all of the nasty experiences I had this week was that my Testimony literally could not be dented. There were some things said that may have been able to create doubts in my mind before my mission, though they would have been puny weak ones, but nothing worth being nervous of. My confidence in the knowledge that I have gained in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and in the scriptures and in the Gospel is becoming uncompromisable. It may be easy to say that now while out here serving when I’m so much closer to the influence of the Spirit on a constant basis, but I really can’t see my Testimony ever seriously faltering in the future at this point. I had a stalwart confidence in my Testimony before the mission but wow! it has gotten stronger since I left.
I was reading in the Book of Job in the bible a few days ago along side the Institute manual of it and found something that really stuck out to me concerning the Plan Of Salvation. So there aren’t a lot of scriptural references in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, that heavily support certain aspects of the Plan Of Salvation in the same obvious manner that the other Standard Works do. But in Job 42:10-13 something clicked into understanding for me regarding those versus that pertained to the principle of “Families can be Together Forever”. We can learn from those versus that the original blessings that Job had in the beginning were all doubled in the end after Job overcame all of the trials that Satan threw at him throughout the entire Book of Job. Now there are 2 categories of blessings that job received, Temporal/Worldly and Spiritual/Eternal. The temporal/worldly being the doubled abundance of livestock that he had had originally before it was all taken away from him and the 10 additional children that he was given after his first 10 were killed by massive winds in chapter 1 of Job. Mathematically, the livestock were correctly doubled in the end, but the children were not. Job was just given another 10 children instead of a doubled amount of 20. This can be the interpretation by anyone who does not know of, or more fully understand the Plan Of Salvation. These 4 versus testify of the Plan Of Salvation because we know that Job’s amount of children really were doubled in the end since he will see the original 10 again along with the new 10 in Heaven causing him to have 20 children instead of just 10 from an eternal perspective. I had never made that connection before in the past when I’ve read through Job before and I just thought that that was really cool that when looked at closely there are other scriptures all scattered around that really do all testify of the mercy and justice of God through his great Plan Of Salvation.
I’ve also started developing an interesting problem out here. I was and still am a horrible procrastinator with most things, such as making lesson plans for example, which I have a very hard time doing out here, and it is becoming even more apparent now to myself. I was taught very well how to rely on the influence of the spirit in lessons at the beginning of my Mission back in Longview by Elder Carpenter and I have just been very comfortable with that since. Less than half of the lessons that I teach are planned even to the point of at least selecting a specific topic before a set appointment. Elder Flynn and I planned a full lesson last week for a member that we have been working with and it was an excellent lesson plan. I knew exactly what I needed to say beforehand and everything, and yet when I went into that lesson, I felt far more nervous than usual. The fact that I was nervous was already more than usual since I never get nervous of teaching anymore since that is my favorite thing to do. I realized I was just nervous because I was going into a lesson with mine and my companion’s own plan instead of just teaching by the Spirit 100% which meant that we were going to be working primarily off of our own abilities and talents in order to invite the Spirit into the lesson. I have absolutely no idea why my mind sees it that way, nor do I understand why I get nervous from planning out lessons, but I do feel that way, and I don’t understand it. Relying on the Spirit is just so much easier since the Spirit is the perfect teacher and being a worthy instrument of its influence is literally just way easier, at least for me. A lot of other missionaries around me will sweat when they go into a lesson with no plan beyond just going off of the Spirit. Everyone is different and does things their own way I guess. Their way is successful, and my way is successful, so which way we teach doesn’t really matter I guess as long as the individual(s) being taught, learn and feel the influence of the Spirit.
I didn’t have many positive notable things to share this week. Just a few experiences and thoughts and concerns. Have a fine week everyone.
Elder Adam R. F. Scoville