Blown Away (by more than the wind)

Family, (2/1/90)

UK News article I included in the letter: "At least 34 people died yesterday as southern Britain was reduced to chaos by ferocious winds gusting to 100 mph. Thousands of homes and offices were damaged, motorways ground to a halt amid the litter of overturned lorries, and tens of thousands of commuters were stranded as mainline stations closed. Even Parliament was disrupted as rain came through the roof and masonry fell in the central lobby. "London is virtually at a standstill," Scotland Yard said last night."

Wow, what a week. Started out learning a lot about what it’s like to really work a full day hard (on exchange with the Zone Leader) and have fun doing it. Amazing what you can learn from different Elders. Elder B was great and I’m really sorry to see him go, but there were of course some things he could have done better. For example, I never though it really possible to place Books (of Mormon) on the street – just stopping people and asking them questions. With the ZL, I placed 2 in half an hour. The confidence level of people around you have a profound impact on your performance. Had an excellent (as usual) Zone Conference. ‘Course it takes all day – and then some – to get there and back, but it’s worth it.

Then the winds hit. You may have heard about them. 75-80 mph with gusts to 90. They were clocked at 97 in London, 130+ on the coast. Terribly fun getting blown of your bike, covered in mud and drenched like a drowned rat. Keeps ya humble.

At this point, a local member grabs my letter to add some of his own thoughts…

Hiya Sister S, How’s ya diddling? Good I hope, well it’s that time of the month that the missionaries look forward to: TRANSFERS. We’re just waiting on Slempybabe’s comp so we can play such a lovely joke on [him]. It was great talking to you on the phone, it sure was a neat experience. This time I hope you had a great Christmas. I forgot while I was talking that there was just a couple of seconds time difference. I asked Slempybabes if I could come and visit you next week for a couple of years and he said sure (it’s just so I can get out of going on a mission) 🙂 ha-ha I’m supposed to write to the bottom [of the page] but I can’t. So here’s your beloved son back. Take care and God bless always.

Generous of him to leave me some space. Well, Elder B is gone. Transferred to Newcastle-under-Lyme to be a District leader there. They’ve made me senior companion (I assume because I know the area). My new comp is Elder P from Utah. That’s all I know so far. I’ll leave descriptions and that until I meet him and spend some time with him. We’re getting 5 American elders here. There’s plusses and minuses to that. (We’ll all get along better, probably, but will the English get on with all us Yanks?)

Gotta run ’cause today’s pretty hectic. But things are real good, the Spirit is high, I wanna work hard. I just pray I can be organized enough to get these 6 elders headed in the right directions with a plan in hand. Pray for me.

Love you all, Elder Chris

Family, (2/6/90)

My new comp is Elder P. He’s been out 10 months. He’s a nice guy, sense of humor (C and I switched roles as a joke when he got here. Took him a couple hours to figure it out. Pretty funny.), great music taste (though I wish he’d leave the tapes at home), and a great tracter. It certainly is different having an American comp. Americans are harder working, it seems, but more obnoxious, more friendly, not as witty. Ah well, I take plusses with minuses. I’m easy.

This assessment is after just 4 months with one English companion. Just a slight rush to judgement 🙂 As you’ll see, it turns out that Elder P was one of the biggest slackers I served with. But not the most obnoxious…

The Iron Rod Squad are a great bunch of guys (not to be modest or anything). We’re working hard and having some great experiences. Got railed on by a "born-again" preacher Saturday night for over an hour on his door step. Good fun. My comp did all the "discussing," really. I want no part in those things. I don’t feel it’s my job. Towards the end, I just bore testimony that the Book of Mormon was NOT rubbish, but true, and etc. and shut up. That, I feel, is my job. Then it’s his responsibility to respond. Was funny, though, to listen to him justify his inability to answer some biblical questions. For ex: what happens to those who never hear the gospel? His answer: that’s God’s problem. (That’s a direct quote.) I’m sorry, but I only have one word to describe that sort of belief: daft. Ah well. If he wants to believe in a God that predestinates X# of beings to "make it" and worship him, and X# to go to Hell, that’s his prerogative. It’s people like him that make the plan complete.

I do remember this preacher we tracted into. Man, what a chip on his shoulder. I’m pretty sure I’ll get to meet him at Judgement Day. "Hi, remember me?"

Went to a phenomenal fireside last night. Daniel Rona – the only LDS tour guide in Israel who happens to be Jewish – spoke about the Holy Land. Blew me away. He laid out what I would call multi-millenial chiasms just left me flabbergasted:

Old Testament Meridan of Time Latter-Days
Joseph saves his brothers in Egypt Christ saves mankind Joseph (& all LDS) will save tribes (incl. Judah), prophesized by Jews: will be Joseph-ben-Joseph ("ben" = son)
David made king out of obscurity son of Joseph of Davidic descent, King of kings from obscurity son of Joseph leads a people, comes from obscurity
Numbers 19: sacrifice red heifer, sprinkled on Mt. of Olives Gethsemane (Mt of Olives), blood makes his clothes red 2nd Coming, Christ will appear in red clothes on Mt of Olives (Isa 63:2, Rev 19:13)

Whoa! And all the similarities between Jewish and LDS temples and garments! They’re just waiting for the priesthood is all. I am very seriously considering a study abroad in Israel.

Oh and how’s this: the brothers of Israel went to Joseph seeking for an aide. Israel is still seeking foreign aid from Joseph (USA) and don’t recognize it now any more than they did then. Cool, huh?

OK, Israel not recognizing prophecy isn’t "cool" but my realization of these things was to me at the time. I think every missionary at one point or another thinks "wow, the scriptures are actually COOL! maybe I should [do study abroad in Israel / become an LDS institute instructor / be a General Authority by age 40]…" Then we get home and 99% don’t follow through with it, choosing some other noble career that actually supports a family. And we still envy the other 1% that do follow through with it.

Things are a-happenin! Biggest demonstration in USSR since 1917?! Mandela released within 2 weeks?! Argh! If Jenny’s going on a mission, perhaps she should be studying Russian. That’s not a joke anymore.

Speaking of Jenny – Thanks for the letter. You did better than Mom this week. I saw the video for "Roam" on MTV the other night (at an American’s house) and I died. For a moment, the flesh was weak and I was ever so homesick. I’ve done fine until the B-52’s. Glad they’re finally seeing some real success. They deserve it. And speaking of Enya – that and George Winston and the like are approved. That’s a hint. Bach and Tchaikovsky’s great, but variety is the spice of life.

Probably little chance of a tape from me for at least a month. Things will be downright frenetic for a bit. Tell Emily that T can only marry her if he takes her to the temple.

Not much else has happened since Wednesday (it’s only Monday) except lots of tracting in cold rain. Good fun!! I’ll be sending a box within the month. Come time to move, I know I won’t be able to fit everything. Gotta go…

Love, Elder Chris

1 Comment

  1. How exciting to be in Europe at that time!  I\’m excited to hear about this much-anticipated Iron Rod Squad.

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