Monday, 29 October 2012

Giving Away My First Book of Mormon

Austin sent a great email today about his Romanian missionary adventures.  We are always grateful to hear from him and know that he is doing well.

"We finished watching conference the other day. The missionary age announcement was cool. Our mission president said it could potentially double the amount of missionaries in our mission over the next year. So that will be interesting to see how it plays out. I also saw that the applications have increased 400 percent. It's crazy. They are getting 4000 applications per week now. There are going to be a lot of missionaries. I dunno how they are going to do it, because the MTC only can hold about 3000 at a time, hopefully they have a plan that includes that sort of stuff. I'm sure they do. The elders behind me came into the country last week as I finished my first transfer in the field. Time flies when you're having fun I guess.

The weather here decided to cool off finally. It rained all day yesterday. Pretty heavy rain too and it was freezing. We had daylight savings time here too so it gets dark at like 5 PM now, that's kind of annoying because people think it's dark they can't leave their houses and meet and talk and stuff. Oh well. It's pretty cold today too, I wore a sweater and gloves today. The cold here is a bit different than the cold in Utah, it's a little more humid here so it feels colder. All the leaves are falling off the trees and winter is showing up finally. I'll take cold over hot any day of the week. The heaters in our house are super annoying too. We have no way to control them. The government just turns them on and off as they please. They work by running hot water through coils of pipe. Super inefficient, they could save a ton of money if they didn't do it like that, but then again, all the blocs were built during the communist era, and I guess that's how they did things. But basically our house gets either super hot or super cold, kind of annoying. Anyways.

So we will start another round of English classes on Saturday. We've been trying to get some more students to come. The first attached picture is our poster. We paid the government here to let us put them up at all the government owned advertising pillars and boards across the city. And we stuck some at the university here and at the library. And we hand out our little flyers to people too. (OK, so I am not as techno savvy and this blog won't let me insert the copy of the poster because it's a PDF file and not a JPEG---go figure! If anyone has any suggestions that could help this "old" mother, it would be appreciated -- haha!)

But yeah, here's the interesting story about how I gave away my first Book of Mormon to finish it all up:
We were on the tram on Wednesday on our way home for the night and this guy comes up to us and says "My name is..." and then kind of went off and looked out the window. About a minute later he came back and said, "My name is...." (trying to speak English with a puzzled look on his face). I said "My name is Elder Phelps." Then he pointed at my companion's name tag and asked us where the church was. We told him where and then he said it doesn't exist. And we said it does. He said no. And then he proceeded to tell us how we were the anti-Christ and how we were all trying to be greater than God. We said no, of course. He then said he had been called by God (we were beginning to think he was a little crazy by now) and received power through prayer and he could touch people and heal them and command sticks to turn them into serpents, stuff like that. By this time in the conversation 3 other teenagers on the tram are listening in. The crazy guy asked us if we had a book, so I pulled out my Book of Mormon (my companion gave his away earlier that day) and gave it to him. He started flipping through it and said it was anti-Christ.
And we asked how. He pointed at the cover and said it again. Then, one of the teenagers, I'll call him curly haired kid, asked what the book was. We told him and he said he'd heard about it before. And then, he told the crazy guy that the Book of Mormon talks about Jesus, just like the Book of Isaiah, the Book of Job, and the other books in the scriptures.

While he was saying this, my companion took the Book of Mormon and opened to 2 Nephi 25:26 and told the guy to read verse 26. The curly haired kid chimed in and said "verse 26!" The crazy guy took the book, and pointed. Then, the curly haired kid stood up and came over. The crazy guy started to read a different verse, and then curly haired kid took the book, said, "no, verse 26," and proceeded to read verse 26 out loud which says:
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
While he was reading he emphasized the word "Christ" each time he said it. The tram stopped at our stop right as he was finishing up, but not all the way done reading the verse. The crazy guy tried to get off the train quickly but the curly haired kid stepped in front of him to make sure he heard the whole thing. As we were getting off the tram, the curly haired kid went to give us back the book and we said he could keep it if he wanted and he said, "Please! Thank you very much!" and he kept it and we got off the tram. As we were walking the guy was kind of walking behind us, he said he was just going home and he's not following us to our house and that he was sorry and it's good to be preaching of God and Jesus and then we gave him a card and said to call us if he wanted to learn more.

Pretty cool experience. A Romanian (probably Orthodox) basically made our point for us, even though he had only heard about the Book of Mormon, recognizing that it taught of Christ just like the other books of scripture. And I gave out my first Book of Mormon, so that was a plus. It's not every day that a random person on the tram will back you up on what you're saying when someone is accusing you of being an anti-Christ."

Isn't that a great story! Wow...a testament to how the Lord guides the work of His servants!

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