Saturday, July 31, 2010

Travels and Meeting Interesting Man

26 July 2010

Dear Dad:

I hope your trip to Missouri is fun and productive. I kind of wish that I was able to go. But that's alright.

I am glad that work is keeping you busy, and I pray that you can continue to find more clients to help keep you busy. Thanks for mailing me the book, I am looking forward to getting it this week.

Not a lot is going on right now. We went up to Salmon and Challis this past week. Well, Elder Meredith and I drove up to Challis for a district meeting. We had to drive through the Arco desert. You want to talk about the land of desolation! That's where "the Sight" is. The Nuclear research center that a ton of people work at. I think it was the place where the first nuclear submarines were tested. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to drive all the way to Challis from Idaho Falls. We left at about 7:15 Tuesday morning to get there by 10:00 for the meeting. Then I stayed with the Challis elders the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Elder Meredith rode up to Salmon with the Salmon elders. That is an hour north of Challis. Challis is very pretty nestled in a valley. It is extremely secluded from absolutely everything. That whole area (Arco, Challis, and Salmon) are the outskirts of our mission. We drove back to IF in the early afternoon.

So transfers are coming up on Wednesday. This transfer absolutely flew by. I can't believe it has gone so quickly. Probably because of all the crazy stuff that has gone on the last few weeks, we have just been flying all over the place. We actually forgot that transfers were coming and Saturday night Elder Meredith was talking with another elder on the phone and he mentioned that transfers were Wednesday. Then we remembered, and right then President Colton called us. Elder Meredith was asked to train a new elder in Menan. So they will be white-washing that area. It was Elder Meredith's first area and will most likely be his last. He goes home in October.

President Colton hadn't called the elder that is going to be my companion yet, so he wouldn't tell us who it is. I will just have to wait until Wednesday at transfers.

It sounds like you guys are staying way busy also. Everyone is going all over the place. Summer is always a busy time I guess. I hope that you guys all enjoy everything that is going on. I know Mom will really like being with Rachel and Rebecca.

That is way sad about Ryan. I will pray for him that he can do what the Lord wants him to do. That is really good that his whole family has come to church the last couple of weeks. I hope they can stick with it. I know that he can make it back out. I really love that family. They have been such great friends to me. I can't even describe how good they have been to me. I will always remember the Sarver family.

Saturday we met an interesting man named John. He is part of "The True Gnostic Church of Azrael Ondi-Ahman." That just makes me laugh every time I think of that name. He was a member of the Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and served a mission and was ordained a seventy (we are assuming a stake seventy) about eight months after he got home. He says he was excommunicated for asking too many questions. The last time he went to the temple is in 1993. He says that "we" were (we are not sure who the "we" were) looking to see when the LDS Church wasn't true anymore (they believed it had become corrupted) so they started researching in the library down in Salt Lake. We don't know what happened after that, but now he doesn't even believe in Christ. It is so strange he has some very true dead-on beliefs, but others are just completely wacked. You can see where they took LDS Doctrine and it has become perverted.

Elder Meredith actually met him a year ago, but didn't recognize him right away. He told him then that Azrael Ondi-Ahman was a stake president, but he went into the mountains and talked with God. Then he wrote a book called the "Song of God" and started this church. He gave him then (a year ago) a paper with their beliefs and disbeliefs (their own statements contradict each other). This all started in the 1970s.

Anyways I could tell you all about it, but it was just so crazy. We sat down at a park bench (he was really nice) and he started talking...and talked...and talked... We didn't say really anything, he talked for an hour. We just sat there. I looked into his eyes the entire time, I just felt sad for the guy. His eyes were bright blue with the smallest pin-prick pupils I have ever seen, they darted back and forth the entire time. Rarely would he hold a steady gaze for more than a couple seconds. Every once in a while he would call our doctrine a not very nice word. But we didn't say anything.

After near an hour I told him something like, "John, I can tell you have a sincere desire for eternal life (I think he really does)" He corrected me and said "exaltation." I continued with something like, "There have been some events in your life that you do not want to confront, things that need to change."

"Really, what are those?"

"I don't know. But you need to repent."

He then said a few things and I said something else. He then cut me off and said, "I know where you are going with this. You are going to bear your testimony, that's a cop-out." He then continued to try to speak.

I said, "Hold on, John (at this point he began to look scared). I represent God. I do not appreciate that. For nearly an hour we have listened to you and we have not said one negative thing about you or what you believe."

"I haven't said anything bad to you."

"Yes you have."

"What did I say?"

"You told me my testimony is a cop-out."

"Oh, I did say that, didn't I."

"Yes you did. And don't you ever say that again."

Elder Meredith then went on to testify and reminded him about meeting once before and some of the things Elder Meredith told him a year ago to think about. We told him we had to leave. He was surprised that we had stayed that long. (He had talked at us from 4:00 to 5:00, and we had something at 5.) He tried to keep talking, but we just stood up and told him we had to leave.

I have met a few interesting people like that on the mission, but John has got them beat a thousand times over. People can say whatever they want, but when they begin to attack like he did--it's over, and I will have none of that. Elder Meredith told me later he thought I was going to throw the table over on John. I keep my cool, remember that I represent Jesus Christ and speak with His authority. All power in heaven and earth is given to Christ, and we need to speak in His authority.

I thought the whole thing was kind of fun. Definitely a mission story I will remember.

I know that was a long one, but it was a good experience.

I will continue to pray for you.

Elder Call

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