“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Oliver Wendall Holmes
As I read Nathan’s email this week, I was reminded of this quote. So often as we go about our lives, we do not see what others see in us – and more importantly what God sees. Although it is difficult to know that Nathan has hard times I realize that it is those hard times that makes us who we are. Each of us has great potential within us, if only we could develop it. I have wrestled with what to include from Nathan’s email, but finally decided to “let the Nathan come out.”
I definitely felt the discouraging side of a mission this week. I am starting to understand that the best 2 years doesn’t mean 2 years of fun. My street contacting is a work in progress, because I get pretty nervous, but I think I just need to keep doing it until I get more comfortable with it. I have a lot of work to do with my teaching skills as well. Both of these have really been frustrating me but yesterday I remembered something my old man told me while I was in the process of writing a talk: let the Nathan come out. I have yet to apply it, but I think that just being more myself will be helpful by making me feel more comfortable and making whoever I am talking to feel more comfortable and like they aren’t talking to a Mormon robot. An example of one of the Lord’s tender mercies is that last Monday, we were walking down the street and we saw a very large black man taking an empty case of beer to the trash can, without a shirt, with a 9 mil (gun) tucked into his pants. Elder Barker told me I was doing this one. I went up to him and my mind went totally blank. I started blabbing about how we were missionaries from the church and we had a message about Jesus Christ, doing about all of the things I have been told not to do. As I was talking, I realized, ‘wow, I am really butchering this’ but words just kept coming out. It was awful. I eventually asked him if we could come back and share more about our message, not expecting anything good to come of it. He unhesitatingly said, ‘yea sure, come on back on Wednesday’. It definitely wasn’t anything I did that had him invite us back – I was just lucky to have the spirit with me for that one. I was on exchanges Wednesday so I didn’t get to teach him but it sounds like it went fairly well. We stopped a 15-year-old boy walking his dog, same day as Richard (guy with the gun), named Zach. He is really into skateboarding so we gave him a Mormon.org card and told him to look at the pro skateboarders Mormon Message profile thing. One recent convert we went to visit is Jak from the Sudan. Tall skinny black guy who is VERY hard of hearing. We basically yell at him the scriptures we are sharing and everything else we say and it is so funny because he still can’t hear us sometimes. The Dwight Schrute guy is a less active member we visited, he started showing us all of his swords and showed us a card he got when he got knighted at a sword fighting contest thing. Super funny how into it he is. Also, he is into that martial arts for old people and women for self-defense so he told us to attack him in different ways. We had fun with that for like half an hour. ‘Well what if I did… THIS!’ it was so funny. Didn’t see him at church though. Oh, and another part member family had 2 Great Danes and a Mastiff. It was like 350 pounds of dogs inside, plus there 3 Basset Hounds outside. Got hair EVERYWHERE but it was pretty fun playing with those monstrous dogs. Time has run out again, got to go play some ball, thanks for your letters and emails, it gives me something to look forward to! Glad to hear from both Grandparents, and good to hear that Mckenna and Jaden are doing well (besides the cold).