Also this week we did a big service project for the Community of Christ (break-off of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints back in the early history of the church) that was a lot of fun. We helped them build some grow boxes and prepare some space for planting. Most of our zone was in attendance and we had a great time serving them.
Dang...this may be the shortest letter I write yet (which maybe some of you would appreciate! ha!). The family we found and had an amazing first lesson with keeps canceling our appointments :( But whenever we go over there we have really pleasant conversations with the children (and once the father) but for some reason they are starting to be resistant to meet with us. Probably some form of "anti" -we're not Christians, we worship Joseph Smith, have 12 wives...the usual false information. It's sad that people will allow the things they hear scare them from finding out from themselves, from our Heavenly Father. But we haven't given up on them yet! We might go by tonight and try to address any concerns they have.
Tonight we should be having dinner with Angel at our Relief Society President's house - we're excited for that! Angel is doing awesome and we enjoy teaching her (and a few of her neighbors that we've founded as we've tracted her neighborhood).
But nothing else is really too new or exciting. Just doing the "same old" missionary work. I read a talk this morning as I was studying charity and I liked this story, so I guess I'll close with that...
On the first day of school, Jean Thompson told her students, “Boys and girls, I love you all the same.” Teachers lie. Little Teddy Stollard was a boy Jean Thompson did not like. He slouched in his chair, didn’t pay attention, his mouth hung open in a stupor, his eyes were always unfocused, his clothes were mussed, his hair unkempt, and he smelled. He was an unattractive boy and Jean Thompson didn’t like him.
Teachers have records. And Jean Thompson had Teddy’s. First grade: “Teddy’s a good boy. He shows promise in his work and attitude. But he has a poor home situation.” Second grade:“Teddy is a good boy. He does what he is told. But he is too serious. His mother is terminally ill.” Third grade: “Teddy is falling behind in his work; he needs help. His mother died this year. His father shows no interest.” Fourth grade: “Teddy is in deep waters; he is in need of psychiatric help. He is totally withdrawn.”
Christmas came, and the boys and girls brought their presents and piled them on her desk. They were all in brightly colored paper except for Teddy’s. His was wrapped in brown paper and held together with scotch tape. And on it, scribbled in crayon, were the words, “For Miss Thompson from Teddy.” She tore open the brown paper and out fell a rhinestone bracelet with most of the stones missing and a bottle of cheap perfume that was almost empty. When the other boys and girls began to giggle she had enough sense to put some of the perfume on her wrist, put on the bracelet, hold her wrist up to the children and say, “Doesn’t it smell lovely? Isn’t the bracelet pretty?” And taking their cue from the teacher, they all agreed.
At the end of the day, when all the children had left, Teddy lingered, came over to her desk and said, “Miss Thompson, all day long, you smelled just like my mother. And her bracelet, that’s her bracelet, it looks real nice on you, too. I’m really glad you like my presents.” And when he left, she got down on her knees and buried her head in her chair and she begged God to forgive her.
The next day when the children came, she was a different teacher. She was a teacher with a heart. And she cared for all the children, but especially those who needed help. Especially Teddy. She tutored him and put herself out for him. By the end of the year, Teddy had caught up with a lot of the children and was even ahead of some. Several years later, Jean Thompson got this note:
Dear Miss Thompson: I’m graduating and I’m second in my high school class. I wanted you to be the first to know. Love, Teddy.
Four years later she got another note: Dear Miss Thompson: I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I like it. Love, Teddy Stollard.
Four years later, there was another note: Dear Miss Thompson: As of today, I am Theodore J. Stollard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I’m going to be married in July. I want you to come and sit where my mother would have sat, because you’re the only family I have. Dad died last year.
And she went and she sat where his mother should have sat because she deserved to be there.
I like this because it illustrates the importance of losing ourselves in service to others. Not judging others for things that we do not understand nor have no right to evaluate. We must love and forgive all those around us and continue to life those in our life. This is what missionary work is all about, and that's why missionaries always say these were the "best two years." You find yourself submitting your will to do that of the Father's - bring eternal life into the picture. You get to forget about everything the world tries to offer you in order to show people how much more they can really have. I have loved my mission, and have found that as I have set aside my wants and my needs to fulfil that of which others need, I have grown more than ever before in my life and have been happier than ever before in my life. I feel spoiled for how fulfilling this work truly is. I stole that story from a devotional given at BYU in 1995 called "A Man After God's Own Heart" by Vaughn J. Featherstone who was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Here's another quote that I really liked:
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the king’s horses And all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again. But the king could, and the king can, and the king will if we will but come unto him."
May we all come unto him as we are invited in 2 Nephi 31:10, "And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?" Christ will help us, if we let him.
Love, Elder Dransfield