"Come on, Elder Stirland...I know it sounds like a dumb idea, but...think of the ramifications if it succeeds. We could find a new investigator. Someone to BAPTIZE!"
"I don't know, man...it's just..."
"What? Weird? Unorthodox? I feel like it's what we should do. Would you be down to go with me and we try it and if it doesn't work, then we high-tail it out of there?"
Elder Stirland sighed, realizing that his companion was super weird, but that they were unified, so they would go in together. "Let's do it..." he said, finally.
The car doors closed and Elder Stock slipped on his MEC shoulder bag equipped with the words of Christ and a camera. Elder Stirland followed suit, and they started walking down the long street in downtown Nanaimo. Lights were flashing and people were blasting loud music in contemporary restaurants.
"Man. This is going to be...legit!" exclaimed Elder Stock, obviously nerding out at the prospect of what was going to go down.
They walked past stores and herds of people in small alleyways partaking of some BC grown herbs...Finally, they came to a small building consisting of one room on the side of downtown Nanaimo. Paintings of Jesus Christ and the three wise men covered the grimy windows. People with e-cigs crowded the doors.
"Is this place a church?" inquired Elder Stirland.
"No. It's a gathering site for people to bear their testimonies. Now let's go 'Dan Jones' it!" (had to look up Dan Jones.....He was a very influential missionary in the early days of the church)
The two representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ walked into the building. People were crowded onto tables, listening to the latest person brave enough to walk up and start reading poetry about Jesus. They were singing songs and drinking cranberry juice and "worshipping" as best as they knew how. But we had something that would help all of them know more about the Savior than they could ever imagine.
"Would you like to say something?" one of the regulars at the gathering sneered at Elder Stock.
"Oh, would I." He grabbed the microphone and stared down the barrel at about thirty people. Elder Stirland stood beside him. Companions go together.
"Tonight we would love to share the message of the Restoration, which we have come to know to be true. It is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is only through Him that we may be saved. He is God's Son, and came here to save us from our sins. I know that to be true. Everything we teach is motivated out of God's love for us. He is our Heavenly Father, and we are His literal children. He loves us, and wants us to be happy and successful in this life. To teach us how, He calls men as prophets to help us understand His plan for us, the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has always chosen to work through this pattern, calling prophets to guide us throughout time. These prophets have always pointed to Christ, whose earthly ministry changed the world. He taught His gospel, and established a church so that we could all learn of it. He called twelve men to be His Apostles to help lead this Church. Sadly, even He and His Apostles, like the prophets of old, were rejected and killed. The truth that they taught and the church that they established was destroyed. Corrupted. Changed. Altered. The authority that they held to lead it was taken from the earth, and there were no prophets of God upon the earth. But our Heavenly Father loves us. And in the year 1820, chose again to reach out to us in love by calling another prophet to restore His plan and Church. His name was Joseph Smith--"
"Get out of here, you cult!"
"Hey! Go away!"
"You can't talk about him! Only Jesus!"
"I think they're Mormons!!!"
And just like that, Elder Stock's "great idea" was exposed for the weird, ham-fisted concept that it was. He and Elder Stirland were kicked out of the gathering. But as soon as they were, the Lord seemed to show His approval of their testifying and blessed them to be placed in the path of a man who just moved to Nanaimo and has been looking for a church to join. His name is W, and we'll be meeting with him soon.
I thought I'd share that story with you all. Just to illustrate that we may not know all of the reasons why we are doing certain things in our lives, but the Lord is leading us. Don't every lose sight of that.
Similarly, later on this last week, Elder Stirland and I were prompted to go to a street and knock on some doors there. We had never been over to this part of Nanaimo, but we decided to go and follow the Spirit. On the third door there, we met a man named L.
Fifteen minutes before we showed up, he was praying and thinking about his life. He had been a member for about 30 years, but ever since he moved to Nanaimo, he stopped going to church. He was thinking about becoming a Jehovah's Witness, because he thought they were nice people and they had come to his house more than his home teachers and missionaries combined. So he finally decided to throw in the towel. He called his mom, and told her that she and him were going to go to a Kingdom Hall this Sunday. Flash forward to us. Heavenly Father loves all of His children. So He called His two representatives in Nanaimo through the Spirit. We showed up at L's house, and he immediately recognized it as an assignment from God. He was so grateful that we came, and we went back and taught him and his mom, who is a nonmember. She is interested in learning more. God will not leave us abandoned. He will help us, even in our times of despair.
And if Les's home teachers had been more on the ball, who knows...maybe he would have never had to go through this. So do you home teaching!!!
We have been privileged to see so many miracles this week. I am grateful to be in Nanaimo. I am actually in Courtenay - kind of north Vancouver Island area - with another missionary, Elder Persson right now for a fun exchange. We have had a blast and got to play capture the flag with a member family this preparation day. But I know this week more than ever that we are on the Lord's errand, and that this Work is His Work. I know He lives, and I know that we are all children of God with divine potential.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Capture the Flag in Courtenay with the DeMarco family!!!
A recent convert named Akshay...Great guy!
Godzilla gingerale...it was pretty awful....but the bottle wins the prize!!