We had a good pday. We were able to have some extra time to check out the New River Gorge Bridge. They call it the "Grand Canyon of the East" It's not nearly as big as the grand canyon, but it sure is pretty. We thought we were just going to take some pictures and leave, but it turned out that we ended up going for a little hike up in the woods. We must have looked pretty strange to the other hikers as we still had our full proselyting gear on...
We had an unexpected lesson with an investigator that evening. We were just planning to contact some members of the ward, and our investigator also showed up. We taught him about scripture study, and set up on his phone so that he could listen to the Book of Mormon as he drove to work. I love technology.
First thing in the morning, we totally busted a drug deal.... well sorta. We went to go visit a less active member, and when we walked up to his place, there were a bunch of people outside (thankfully they weren't affiliated with our member). As we walked up, one of them said something about "the christian boys". It looked kinda sketchy, and they got really quiet when we started asking questions.
We also tracted into a lesson with an older gentleman. He was so chill about everything. I don't know if he understood half of what we taught about, but he was ok with it all.
We went back to S's house again, this time his wife was there as well. E. Warner got his first taste of good ol' southern baptist. Now don't get me wrong, they were very nice, and friendly.
We had zone meetings up in Charleston. It was cool to be with the other missionaries. President Pitt was actually there as well. He talked to me a little about how Beckley was doing and then made the comment, "It's kinda nice to be back in the trenches, isn't it?" Yes president it kinda is. :) It's a lot less stressful than being in leadership.
Also, when we finished up with the meetings, we got a call from the assistants. They informed us that we would be getting a new car today. So we traded our '09 chevy malibu with almost 60,000 miles on it for '13 chevy cruze with only 36 miles on it. (not 36,000. just 36 total) That's been really nice. The church puts a lot of money into the mission field
Later that evening we gave one of our investigators a blessing before his surgery the next day. It was the first blessing E. Warner gave, so it was a pretty cool experience for us.
A goodly portion of the day was spent looking for a map. The maps when we got to Beckley were just not adequate for our purposes. We needed to make things more organized, and a good map would help out with that. We tried everywhere. Would you believe that people actually use things like computers and GPS's instead? Crazy! It's like the world uses technology or something. It's really hard to find a good map anymore. We did end up finding a good one at a Go-Mart gas station.
We were able to go to the Tamarack (the main West Virginian tourist center), and although we didn't get a map there, we were able to give a Book of Mormon to a really cool guy there. He actually had been drafted to the Falcons football team and played with them for a while. You meet all sorts out here.
We had a good walk n' talk day. We were able to talk to tons of people. We picked up a new investigator. At first, I have to say I was pretty judgemental. She was dirty and down looking, she was smoking, and lived in a very poor part of town. Even when we first started talking to her, I was just thinking about all the problems and ways she wouldn't be able to be baptized.
Well, the spirit smacked me upside the head and said, "listen up bud. I sent you walking down this way so you could help this lady, so quit complaining and shape up. She's a daughter of God, every bit as much as you are a son of God.".
When I started looking at her from God's perspective, I realized that maybe the only reason she was where she is now is because nobody ever told her how great she really is. I think too often we judge people and appearances, but never truly look at a person the way God does.
Later that day we listened to a talk with another investigator. The name of the talk was "Charity Never Faileth" from Pres. Monson. The whole talk is great, but I thought I'd share the part that hit me hardest:
A woman by the name of Mary Bartels had a home directly across the street from the entrance to a hospital clinic. Her family lived on the main floor and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic.
One evening a truly awful-looking old man came to the door asking if there was room for him to stay the night. He was stooped and shriveled, and his face was lopsided from swelling—red and raw. He said he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success. “I guess it’s my face,” he said. “I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says it could possibly improve after more treatments.” He indicated he’d be happy to sleep in the rocking chair on the porch. As she talked with him, Mary realized this little old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. Although her rooms were filled, she told him to wait in the chair and she’d find him a place to sleep.
At bedtime Mary’s husband set up a camp cot for the man. When she checked in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and he was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, he asked if he could return the next time he had a treatment. “I won’t put you out a bit,” he promised. “I can sleep fine in a chair.” Mary assured him he was welcome to come again.
In the several years he went for treatments and stayed in Mary’s home, the old man, who was a fisherman by trade, always had gifts of seafood or vegetables from his garden. Other times he sent packages in the mail.
When Mary received these thoughtful gifts, she often thought of a comment her next-door neighbor made after the disfigured, stooped old man had left Mary’s home that first morning. “Did you keep that awful-looking man last night? I turned him away. You can lose customers by putting up such people.”
Mary knew that maybe they had lost customers once or twice, but she thought, “Oh, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.”
After the man passed away, Mary was visiting with a friend who had a greenhouse. As she looked at her friend’s flowers, she noticed a beautiful golden chrysanthemum but was puzzled that it was growing in a dented, old, rusty bucket. Her friend explained, “I ran short of pots, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, until I can put it out in the garden.”
Mary smiled as she imagined just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when He came to the soul of the little old man. “He won’t mind starting in this small, misshapen body.” But that was long ago, and in God’s garden how tall this lovely soul must stand! 3
Appearances can be so deceiving, such a poor measure of a person. Admonished the Savior, “Judge not according to the appearance.” 4
It was a good lesson learned.
Sunday was great! We had a Stake Conference broadcast from salt lake. It was for 64 stakes and 1 district. Elder Robert C. Gay, Sister Rosemary Wixom, Elder Robert D. Hales, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf all spoke to us. It was a wonderful conference. I greatly enjoyed it.