April 10, 2017
Man. My dang big brother's gettin' married tomorrow. What the heck. HAHAHAHA!!! That's a good "What the heck?" I just can't really believe it's happening! Being on a mission, it doesn't really feel like real life. Conrad said one time that it is like the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z, and while I haven't come out of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber yet, I feel like it's a pretty good description. I'm pumped for them though. :)
Anyways, this week was way stinking cool, mostly because of the amazing people that we are teaching! First,
Christopher, is an American, and is a theology professor here in Albania. He's like 37ish, or something like that. To explain his religious background, he was born a protestant I think, then when he was in High School, he became a Calvinist, and then he started studying in a university somewhere in Europe, I think, and he had a time when he was Atheist! Then he said that at a time in his life, he sincerely prayed to God to know the truth, and to find original Christianity. (When he told us this, I got really excited, because that's totally what Joseph Smith did!) Anyways, he prayed to God, and he said he felt that God led him to the Greek Orthodox church. And he now is Orthodox. Anyways, we met him about 3 weeks ago. We were doing street contacting, and I walk up to him, and he was in a hurry, and I say, "Mirëdita! Si jeni?" And he says something like, "I don't have time right now, I'm in a rush." And hearing English always throws us off a little bit, so I was like, "Where are you from?" And he says something like, "I know who you are, you're the Mormons, I'm a theology professor, I've studied your religion, I probably know more about your religion than you do, and if you would like, we can meet and I can tell you all the reasons about why religion is wrong! If you'd like, we can meet, and I can give you my number!" And then I said something like, "... Yeah! I'll take your number!" Hahaha! So we get his number, and he tells us that several members of his extended have been LDS, but now are not, and then I got his number, and he left! Anyways, we set up a lesson with him on Sunday, and we sit on this bench and have a lesson, kind of. We decide we wanted to do the Restoration but a short version. So before we start, we do some small talk, and he was kind of closed, and kept saying, "but you don't want to know that" or "but that's not why you came." I want to interrupt here and say that we did and do want to know the people we teach. These are our brothers and sisters that we have met in the Pre-mortal life, that we are now re-meeting, and giving them what they need to return with us to our Heavenly Father. So yeah, I love Christopher. I want so much that he will accept what we teach. Anyways, we ask if it would be alright if we start with a prayer, and he said we can start, but that he didn't think we pray to the same God. Anyways, we start, and start into the Restoration! We explain that God is our Heavenly Father, the Gospel Blesses Families, Prophets, Jesus Christ, and up until here, he mostly agrees with what we said. Then we start talking about the Apostasy, and Joseph Smith, and I'm saying the First Vision, and he cuts me off in the middle of the First Vision. Dangit. Here we go. He then tells us his objections and why he believes the Church can't be true. His objections were centered on these three:
1.) God's Transcendence. God can't have a body because if He has a body, that means that He is dependent on the body, that someone created His body, and if someone created His body, then we should worship that God that created God's body, because He's the real God. Augh. Vjell.
2.) God has always revealed His gospel to people through a long period of time, through a community of people through scriptures, through people, etc. And with Joseph Smith, it was not like this.
3.) Why Joseph Smith? What is his significance?
Whew. So we try to answer some of the questions, but then we gotta go, and we leave. We met him the week after, and we mostly just asked him to restate his questions/objections so we could study it better, so he did, and we wrote them down. Then. Meeting number 3. :) We met him on Saturday at about 4 or something. We realized as we were preparing for our lesson with him that he is still an investigator like anyone else that we teach, and while it may require more preparation to teach him, the principles are the same. If we just try to answer his questions without preparing, without using the scriptures, without studying, without the Spirit, there will not be progress. So last week, we asked him to study and pray about 2 Nephi 27 to know if it is true. We as well study this, and we come to the lesson prepared to finish the Restoration and to help him understand the events of the Restoration better. We use 2 Nephi 27, and explain how the Restoration unfolded, or rather, began to unfold. While we did this, we testified sincerely of what we taught. The difference in the lesson was drastically better. There is a reason we should use God's word rather than our word to address concerns and objections. I felt that I had always had Charity for Christopher, but we weren't properly preparing to teach him. After we taught him, he seemed to have a little different complexion. He also asked us what are those plain and simple truths that were lost from the Bible, and what is now restored from original Christianity that other churches are missing, so we're looking forward to answering that! Whew! I love him, and I love teaching him. I hope I can see him accept these things.
Yevgen, I'll tell y'all more next week, but he's a Ukranian Refugee! Crazy story!
Dan, I love you to death. I miss the snot out of you also! I'm going to print out your email, and I'll respond next week!
I love you all! Woot! Wedding tomorrow! Woot! Woot!