On Monday night we celebrated the wonderful day of our nations independence. Famous rebels such as John Hancock collaborated together to write a "we're going to do what we want" letter to King George III. We as missionaries, celebrate this rebellious holiday by obediently returning to our apartment at 7:00pm, before major festivities commence. From our four-story apartment just outside of downtown we could see impressive firework shows in a 360 degree panorama that kept us occupied for about an hour. I would have taken a picture but it just does not capture the splendor of the moment, and sloppy attempts to do so would be attempting to describe the indescribable. Watching safely from our building we did see some firework accidents though, and bottle rockets being shot at sheds and not the sky. It was probably better that we stayed inside then, because I heard that 60 people were shot in Chicago.
There was a member from a nearby ward who wanted to go on visits with us since he is preparing to serve a mission in a few months. We meet him at our church building and he had a few contacts he wanted to go to. We said heck yeah and rode our bicycles to the address. Before we knocked on the first door he told us that the grandmother of the person who we would visit is nice enough but will tell us straight off the bat that she is not interested. We knocked the door, and the grandmother answered anf let us in. She ended up being the only one there and we started to talk to her a little bit.
It turns out that a good portion of her family are members of the church and have been talking to her a while. However, she knows little to nothing concerning our doctrine, and it amazes me the things people think about the Book of Mormon. Her assumption was that it was a biography of the life of Joseph Smith. We left her with it, and invited her to read some passages in it. Speaking a little bit more about the Book of Mormon is also ceases to amaze me how disinterested people are in the Book of Mormon. Our claim that there were Christians on the American continent 3,000 years ago who wrote a book that we can read, understand, and be edified by should in my mind peak more interest than a response that all religion is the same and nothing matters.
Speaking of the power of the Book of Mormon I would like to share a story of a man who's life has been changes by faith derived from this piece of holy writ. Two months ago Elders Phillips and Erekson were walking in the park and a man ran up to them and started to yell at them. He screamed a bunch of horrible things about Joseph Smith and said that he was a pervert, and then walked away. Three days later when they were walking down that street they see the man again. He walked up to the pair of wary Elder's and apologized for what he said. He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and they parted ways. A few days following that they found him siting in a park. He was exited to
share with the Elder's what he read in the Book of Mormon. He was reading in the first chapters and was confused how Laban was in possession of the brass plates, and then embarked in research to find
out how he received them. He found out how Laban (I am unaware of any historical background to that personally, though) was in possession of the plates at that time. He has been reading the book consistently ever since that point, as well. A little background on this man, to make this story a little cooler. He is a really intelligent man who was formally quite wealthy and successful. However, due to a drinking problem he has been unable to work, and has been roaming the streets. He has no telephone, and he does not want to meet at his impoverished apartment. All the contacts that the Elder's have had with the man have been random encounters in the parks and streets. A week later
during a District Finding Activity that we held in another park he came up to us, and told us that he gave his Book of Mormon away. A friend of his saw that he was reading the book, and asked him about it. The friend, being wary of it, asked how the book can actually help him. Not really knowing how to answer his question, he just decided to share how it has helped him, and gave his Book of Mormon to his friend. We gave him another and since then his life has really been changing. Even though he has not completely quit drinking yet, he has gotten sober enough to start working again. His anger towards Joseph Smith has been replaced with faith in him, as a prophet of God.
Other than that our investigators are doing well. We have a baptism in two weeks, and this week put another one of our investigators on date to be baptized the following week. Marco, an investigator who has been meeting with missionaries for the last two years is finally ready to take the step of baptism. After fighting with alcoholism for a long time, and fear of his employer to give him Sundays off halted it for a while, he is ready to take that small step for man, and big step for mankind. If anyone would like to do some praying for investigators that we are teaching pray for the Muñoz family.