This week individual days were boring so I will share a stories, with names changed for the protection of their Identity, and call out to all people to rethink their past thoughts and notions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.
Tuesday Elder Kummerman and I were doing service in New Beginnings, a local thrift store that donates money to some charities. We were up on the second floor trying to get all the donations that we had hauled up looking nicer and organized, and put things to a less cluttered state. Well some customers were coming up and there were some white men (I say that as generally I have only seen Hispanic men at that time of the day). I began a simple conversation with them and asking where they worked in Crete. They were not from Crete, they said they were staying at a cabin not to far away though. We chatted and they asked if I worked there. I said, "I do not, I am just volunteering." The man who asked, I will call him John Doe, got an uncomfortable look on his face. I then left it at that. deciding not to purse "religious talk" with him unless he brought it up. Then I asked him, since he wasn't from Crete, what he did for a living. John told me he was an artist and that he painted and taught, and kind of did everything. He went downstairs and then came back up. I asked his name and if his artwork was online, and how I could look it up. John seemed to get very uncomfortable and came and pulled out his phone. He was about to show me his artwork and then he said, "You know I will humor you but I know what you are really trying to do. I can see an ulterior motive from a mile away in any person. You are no better than a used cars salesman." Now that isn't the most exact quote but he did say all those things. I was very taken back and I didn't know what I was to do. I tried saying I don't have an ulterior motive, but he kept raising his voice and getting and closer to my face, The anger the venom of his words struck me and I was not willing to back down when I knew I wasn't wrong. Elder Kummerman stepped in and told him, with force but calmness, that he was acting out and we are genuine and that he, or I, only wanted to see his art. he refused to listen and he stormed out.
As you can see there was a lack of communication and what was genuine was perceived to be false and fake, and a scheme to ensnare people. I have had lots of time to reflect on what happened and what were my own motives. I have come to the one conclusion that I can reach: we are genuine, there is nothing but sincerity that makes this work go forward.
If this work were about numbers more missionaries would be baptizing and those that wouldn't progress quickly would be dropped. We wouldn't be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. We wouldn't be disciples of Christ. We would lack charity, the pure love of Christ, and our church would fail at its core.
Yet we are still here and trying because we care, and we care because we are all family and we all matter. No one is a lost cause no matter who we are, where we've been, or what we've done. If you don't believe me get down on your knees and ask the one who knows all, and then check out Helives.mormon.org
Well moving on from that we had some good lessons this week. We have had people take some real sincere interest in what we have had to share. I am so grateful, personally, that I know that I have a loving Heavenly Father and a loving Savior who are doing everything they can to help us live happy and fulfilling lives, and make us the best people we can be.
Well back to the event end of things. We had some of our English members, who live just outside of Crete, come into Crete to go visit a woman with us and to share a little bit with her. Well she lives in government assisted housing and her neighbor, as we were waiting for her to get back from the store, started talking to us, I will call her Jane Doe. Well Jane told us she didn't think her neighbor was fit enough, mentally, to make decisions and that we shouldn't be taking advantage of her, and we are being evil and deceiving for deceiving her. We told her, simply, we are here to be her friends and to invite her and beyond that we are not here to convince her of anything. She needs to understand we are not here to prey on her. Well the member we brought with us, she stood and rebuked the woman saying,"All those "mental problems" you say your neighbor has, I have them too. And I like the missionaries, I like the church, and I have never felt anything but secure with them. I know this church is true and no one but God could convince me of that."
God worked in mysterious ways. I had doubted that the woman would have good enough health to come out with us but she did, and to our great benefit. The lesson was a roaring, rocking success! The woman we taught felt secure, peaceful, and happy to see us. She was reassured by our sister. Only God could have granted her the strength necessary to come that day. I know that this gospel is true and it is not found by wisdom of men, but by revelation from God. I love the beauty and simplicity of His message. I hope that I can have the strength and power to stand up for and declare what I know to be true with boldness not overbear. I thank you for your time in reading my letter.
Love your Son, Brother, grandson, Nephew, cousin, friend, and for the animals pillow or play buddy,Love Logan Joseph Draper
Elder Logan Joseph Draper