I love holidays. I also love asking Hindus if they would like to watch a movie about Jesus on Easter.
Easter church was terrific. Before Sacrament Meeting, Ken Smith, a mild-mannered member of the ward told me that he had brought a friend to church he met while running at the Stanford track. I was informed that this 33 year old friend, whose name was J.R. would be sitting in the front right pew. We walked into the chapel and sat down near the back just as the meeting began.
It took little time to spot J.R. in the congregation. While the Brother and Sister Bennett each spoke about Christ's Atonement, about every 4 or 5 sentences or so there came an enthusiastic "Amen!" from his direction. Brother Bennett opened his talk with a joke about if he should thank the choir for singing even though he had been in it. J.R. found this hilarious, laughing hard, and clapping his hands loudly. I remembered that Ken Smith told me that J.R. would be coming to our small gospel principles class too. Yes!
In class, we found J.R. to be the most positive man in the world. Very talkative, and 90% of the time he was giving someone a thumbs up. If someone came into the room without shaking his hand, he would scold them and then give them a big hug. I especially liked it when this happened to an old high counsellor who definitely was not comfortable with being touched.
We decided to teach the 1st lesson (The Restoration) for J.R. in class. It was going well until I made the mistake of asking J.R. a question.
"J.R., how has learning about the Bible helped you to be so happy?"
He spoke until the end of class on that and other various subjects. But we didn't mind because in the process he made several new friends in the class. He told us that many people think he is on some sort of drug which makes him so energetic and happy (that's what I was thinking), but then he shouted "The air I breathe is MY drug!" And then he took a big breath through his nostrils.
He came to Elders Quorum with us and, as can be expected, he participated heavily in the lesson. Most of the Elders loved him - inviting him to choir, more activities and church next week. J.R. happily agreed. As everyone was getting up after Elders Quorum, J.R. yelled out to everyone his phone number. He lives in Palo Alto, so teaching him may be difficult, but he's really what made church exciting.
We had two dinners on Easter, which was heaven. We also checked up on a media referral for a man in his twenties named Jay, who asked for a Book of Mormon delivered to him after looking at mormon.org. We visited him with Jeff Merrick, our assistant ward mission leader, and found Jay to be very pleasant, even allowing us to teach him a first lesson. He has a Mormon friend who goes to BYU now, and took him on a tour of the temple grounds in Salt Lake City, which is really what made him curious about Mormons. While we were there, he took a picture of us on his iPhone and sent it to her. That must have been a pleasant surprise for her.
I'm glad you all had a good Easter. I just finished one of the big solid-chocolate bunnies given to us yesterday, so I'll definitely need a nap in the next 10 minutes. Have a great week!
P.S. Happy Birthday Joe!