Monday, 15 December 2014

One Year and Counting

Exactly one year ago, as of 08:22 CAT this morning (15 December 2014), I was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One year, exactly, and what a year it’s been.

I’ve been to the Temple (baptisms only) and distribution centre, completed this year’s Institute modules, done Home Teaching, received both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, given talks, taught lessons, blessed and passed the Sacrament, given blessings, gone out teaching with the missionaries, been called as a Ward Missionary, attended PEC and coordination meetings, handed in my mission papers, completed tithing settlement, attended firesides (spoke to Elder Hamilton) and went to activities (ward, stake and multi-stake), participated in Helping Hands projects and the Stake Fair, and even experienced mission life as a Priest through a coordinated Centurion Stake activity.

And to think, just over a year ago I tried to prove the Church wrong.

This is my life now. I have people waiting to talk to me in places almost too far to schedule, daily conversations over WhatsApp and Facebook and intense discussions with friends and family – all because, “I want to hear Jonothan’s explanation first.”

It can be frustrating at times, though. Often, I find that me teaching them goes well, but the moment I involve missionaries everything seems to go awry. They talk to me, but not to them (and this goes both ways – missionaries and informal investigators).

I have a friend who asks me, and only me, questions about the scriptures and gospel doctrine and principles. I have an inactive member just hanging on a thread, making excuses every time I mention the word missionary, but openly discusses with me and constantly requests that I visit. I have a family friend waiting for me to tell him about the Church, but won’t see the missionaries, listen to anyone else or read anything related until such time as I find a chance to visit (which may very well be good with regards to Anti-Mormon literature).

I’ve had had positive and enthusiastic referrals who simply fell off the radar after meeting with (or trying to meet with) missionaries. I’ve had missionaries stand up investigators and investigators stand up missionaries. I’ve had cancelled appointments and wrong addresses and all no-shows.

But the change I see in my friends and family since I joined the Church has been remarkable. My immediate family sees the missionaries every other Sunday. My friends are constantly on my case about when I leave for mission and my best friend (who happens to be agnostic) witnessed my ordination to Elder out of his own free will; seriously, he asked me if he could come.

Beyond that, I’ve made friends trying to preach the gospel and planted seeds wherever I could.

As bad as the response often is, beauty almost always shines through.

It feels like a decade has passed, but it’s only been a year. And I am grateful for all the people who came into my life to make a difference. I’m grateful for the missionaries from the start, even though I often complain. It is thanks to them that I am on the path I am on; for they guided me towards truth and, in all their patience, I finally accepted.

So I felt like making a list of all the people who helped make me the Latter-day Saint I am today.
  • Kevin Farquharson, who I knew before the world was.
  • Shan Farquharson, who sussed me out from the start.
  • Dylan Farquharson, who invited me over the night I met the missionaries.
  • Elder Beenfield (Daniel Beenfield), the first missionary I ever met.
  • Elder Black (Jordan Black), who lied about not being American.
  • Elder Dalton (Dakota Dalton), who owes me a photo – now that I think about it.
  • Elder Baker (Alex Baker), who I taught about John’s tarrying.
  • Elder Zulu (Siyabonga Armstrong Zulu), the first non-American missionary I ever met.
  • Elder Tew (David Tew), who I saw as an older brother.
  • Elder Mukarati (Alphaa Alphanum Mukarati), the first foreign, non-American missionary I met.
  • Elder Day (Brandon Day), who I’ll meet at Tribulation.
  • Elder Deichman, my first unofficial companion (Priest's mission experience).
  • Elder Carpenter, who made me shake my head more than twice.
  • Elder Pulley, who sang me a generic song I swear he plagiarised.
  • Elder McAllister, who took me teaching everywhere (most of the time).
  • Elder Martin, who loves Diablo III – as well.
  • Elder Broadhead, who hugged me without my permission.

So this is my journey thus far. Missionary work seems to be the focus, but soon I’ll be doing my dad’s work and have my chaotic family tree up and running on the genealogy site. Then comes my endowments and then I’m off to mission. I hope I at least get to experience a couple of Institute lessons – it is Doctrine & Covenants, after all.

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