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Monday, January 11, 2010

Thanksgiving 11/30/09

Dear Family,

On two occasions this week we were knocking doors and people let us in right then and there to teach a lesson. Just so you know, this very rarely happens. Usually we just try to get a return appointment. Awesome.

The day before Thanksgiving, we met a lady who immediately started crying in front of us. She was having a really hard time getting Thanksgiving dinner together for her family. She has 2 mentally challenged sons in their twenties, and was exhausted trying to take care of them.

We came back the day after Thanksgiving to see how they were holding up. Her solution to the trouble was alcohol. We got there, and sat down at the table with her, her brother, and one of her sons. Without warning, her son got up, ran out the door and down the street. She got up and started yelling. We walked outside to get him.

"Missionaries! Run!" she shouted.

We finally caught up to him and convinced him to come back to the house. Sitting with them all at the table again, he was next to Elder Smith, and was constantly hugging him, or getting Elder Smith in a head lock.

I asked her brother how his Thanksgiving was.

"Great," he said, "I gave out cookies to the homeless."

"Well, that's really nice of you," I said.

His sister cut in, "Tell them the truth! Tell them the rest of it!"

"What? I gave them cookies," he replied.

She shouted back, "There was marijuana in those cookies!"

As we were leaving, she tried to give us money to go get them some more beer. I thought it would be funny to use it to buy non-alcoholic beer for them, but in the end we just refused.

Later that night, we found ourselves eating dinner at McDonald's. McDonald's is one of Elder Smith's favorite places to go, and he finally convinced me to go there. As we were eating, I saw this guy nearby tapping his fingers to the music playing, like he was playing a piano. I started talking to him and found out his name was Jack and he is a songwriter. I told him that I was a songwriter too, but said it in a way that would make someone think I had real talent.
Of course the gospel came up. I began teaching him about all the teachings of Jesus Christ restored through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He stopped me and said, "Wait, I think my brother knows more about this." He pulled out his phone, called his brother Slim and put it on speaker phone. I gave Slim a brief overview of what I had just taught. Just as a mentioned the Book of Mormon, Slim cut in and rattled off a list of anti-Mormon junk. He wouldn't give me time to respond to any of his objections before starting up on another one.

I remember at the beginning of my mission I never thought I'd have a problem with being tempted to Bible bash. This was because I figured I didn't know the scriptures well enough to do it. Well, on that night, I had my first Bible bash, and it was over the phone with Slim. I didn't even realize it until an hour later when my voice was raised reading verses from the Bible into the phone, and all the workers and customers were looking at us. The Spirit of God was not there. Instead there was anger, impatience and frustration on both sides.

Lesson learned. Arguing, even if you can back it up with scripture, will not help anyone follow Jesus Christ. The Spirit that I lost did not return in full until church on Sunday.

Thanksgiving was great. They made it our Preparation Day. Turkey Bowl in the morning. Napping and eating the rest of the day. We purposely limited ourselves to only two dinners. Our first was at the Gordons. The food there was cooked a lot like Mom cooks, so that was nice. The only downer was the absence of banana cream pie.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for many things from all of you - your prayers, your emails, and Christmas packages (wink, wink).

Have a great week everyone. And remember, although it may be tempting to weld skis to a bicycle when the snow comes, don't do it. That path will only lead to pain, injury, and sorrow.


Elder Karlsven

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