Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trains aren't just for transportation

This past weekend I had the lovely privilege to go to Provo to visit my friend Emily!

we went to the BYU vs. Utah game (BYU lost...)

 Walked around the provo temple 

And the beautiful SLC temple
Special thanks to these wonderful ladies for letting me crash their weekend!
      I flew into Salt Lake City Airport on Friday night, and to save Emily the trip and the gas, I took a light rail from the airport to downtown Salt Lake. There I sat and waited for the train that would take me from SLC to Provo. and waited. and waited. And then a train came, and it was retiring for the night so I waited even more again. And then waited some more. Anyways, I sit down on this bench (yes it's downtown at night, but there was plenty of good people there, so I was safe. no worries), and start writing a letter to a friend and this guy comes and sits down next to me. I'm thinking, okayyyyy either he is a creep and will start hitting on me in 2 microseconds or he is just really tired and needs to sit down. I keep writing.When people start asking me about my life, especially people I don't know, I like to put up a wall and give them as little information about myself as possible. But he kept asking questions. And I would give him more and more information slowly. Somehow we start chatting and I find out he is Russian, studying at UVU for his LSAT, and I share that I am going to ASU and leaving on a mission in January. My guess is that he is 24 ish.
      Soon enough I found out that he "has never heard of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons". Literally out loud I say, "There is noooooo way you live here in Utah, and go to UVU and have never heard of Mormons." He just laughs. So my inner missionary is screaming, MISSIONARY OPPORTUNITY. But this guy is 7 thousand steps ahead of me and starts asking questions about my church and what I believe/why I'm going on a mission. WOW. Special thanks to my mission prep teacher for stressing the importance of studying Preach My Gospel, because there is no way I would know answers if I hadn't made a regular habit of studying. The train finally comes. And I'm like-- okayyyyy is he going to kill me and bury me.. or does he really want to know about the church?
     When we get on the train he asks if he can sit by me and ask more questions. So we sit down.. and he drillllllssss me. Hard core. I mean he asks every single question in the book. The 2 questions he keeps coming back to is how I know God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are real if I have never seen them and why I'm serving a mission when there's 10,000 other things I could be doing. I answered them, I taught about the spirit--the Holy Ghost-- I told him that I wanted other people to know Christ lived and that eternal happiness can be found through his church. The list goes on and on. This was an hour long train ride, keep in mind.
I testified over and over again of the principles he was asking. He asked me about chastity and other standards, the scriptures, prophets, and a billion other things I can't remember. At one point, I start with the restoration, mostly focused on Joseph Smith and the First Vision and I quote the "I saw a pillar of light..." reference from heart. There's no way he hasn't felt the spirit right? I was bearing my testimony with everything I had in me. I almost was emotional at one point (hard to believe from miss dry eyes over here). Pretty soon a return missionary sitting across from us is chiming in too. But my Russian friend didn't really like how complex this guy was putting everything. He wanted short and simple answers. I was slightly discouraged as I felt that I wasn't making a difference, wasn't helping him feel the spirit, wasn't answering his questions. He seemed close minded and unable to comprehend what I was saying to the fullest.
     Long story... That I attempted to make short.... He is getting ready to get off at the train stop right before mine, and as we slow to a stop and he stands up he holds up his hand, and turns a ring around that was hidden. GUESS WHAT THE RING SAID. yeah. "CTR". This dude was already a Mormon. I mean endowed, served a mission, active, temple attending Mormon. He was hard to understand completely because of a slight language barrier, but he explained that he was curious to see if I was going on a mission for the right reasons, so he decided to test me and faked it the whole time. He asked for my number and invited me to the temple with him and his roommate the next morning. I gave it to him, and gave me his... Then he got off the train and I haven't heard from him! And for the life of me I cannot remember his name.

Okay. So if you read all that. PROPS TO YOU. But the point of me writing it all down is because I learned a couple valuable lessons. 
Lesson #1: Prepare. Prepare to be asked questions. Prepare if you are going on a mission. Prepare if you aren't going to serve a mission. Because we will be tested, and we will be asked questions. The spirit cannot draw water from an empty well.
Lesson #2: Don't be afraid. If you have the desire, the spirit will accompany you when you teach. The spirit does the testifying!
Lesson #3: We teach people. Not lessons. If we see people as who they are, who they can become then the power of our testimonies will be so much stronger. 

Lesson #4: If this man wasn't LDS and we had just parted with his mind and heart still closed, my confidence level would have been at an all time low. But a couple days later as I was studying PMG, I read:
"You can know you have been a successful missionary when you: 
1) feel the spirit testify to people through you, 2) Love people and desire their salvation,
 3) Obey with exactness, and 4) Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say."

So yeah, maybe he didn't commit to baptism (hypothetically speaking), but I did what Heavenly Father asked me to do. I testified of Him and His son. And that's nothing to be confidence shot about!

1 comment:

  1. Tori! This is such a great experience! You are going to be such a great missionary! I haven't known you as well as I should have! but I wish you the best of luck on your journey! God Speed!