Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Effective Immediately

A strange thing happened at the office today….(a letter to my sister)

(for those of you who have already seen this, check the updates at the end.)

Ellen, the Lord blessed us with a little miracle, thanks to your “missionary package.” In a unique circumstance, the boss from the other shop picked up the mail and brought it to our shop. Usually we pick it up at the LSA or living quarters.

All the guys are just sitting around because there is no work lately. Since it is 105 degrees out and we have an little air-conditioned room, we hang out in there. We had a blackjack tournament earlier in the day (it’s better than watching multiple R-rated movies so I played the dealer) and then they were bored. So your package was special delivered and I opened it in front of them and started reading the titles as I pulled everything out.

One black guy there doesn’t swear or drink or smoke and he is very polite, which is amazing considering popular black culture and rap etc. But since I mention my religious activities and thoughts regularly because they are part of my life, he asked one day what we believe and how are we different from the Jehovah’s witnesses, for example. I told him I’ll get back to him on that. Well, when I got to the 1st discussion brochure you included, I looked through it and handed it to him and said, “here is that info you wanted.”

Then I pulled out the Arabic books of Mormon and we all looked at the funny letters. Got out the other booklets and read aloud “The Meaning of Life.“ One of the other guys Rob said “Hey! Let me see that” and started reading it. I got out the Dickens’ book and started pretending to read through it, but I was too bemused to concentrate. I saw out of the corner of my eye that “L”, the black guy, finished the brochure and instead of setting it down or giving it back, he tucked it in his shirt pocket. So I said, “do you want to see the video?” He said “Yeah, that’d be great” so I handed that to him.

Well, he went out for a breather and Rob “borrowed” the video, opened the plastic and stuck it into his laptop and started watching the First Vision DvD. 2 other guys slide over and started watching it with him. Another guy Jason had already watched it twice because I gave him one already. The last guy was married to an ex-mormon and his best friend had the missionaries over for dinner all the time. He, Jeremy, said, “We already have that one (at the house).”

But the clock signaled the end of the day, right when Joseph was going into the woods. Nothing stops these guys from going home from work and I told Rob he just got to the exciting part. He said “yeah, it was just about to get interesting, I’ll have to finish it tomorrow.”

A girl in Italy that had served a mission with a friend of mine started chatting to me online. I asked her if she wanted to hear something funny and told her what was going on. She said something about the power of the gospel. I said something about the power of boredom. We agreed that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

I did not read out loud the title of the new “Preach the Gospel” handbook as I took it out, since I didn’t want them to know I was using Mormon brain-washing techniques on them. In fact, I didn’t even know I was doing it, but apparently it was working. I carefully set it aside. But not before laughing inside once again. At any rate, Ellen, just wanted you to know that you were inspired both in content and the timing of the box. Thanks for making it all possible,


Update 1

Ha ha ha, just a little follow-up on yesterday’s story. This morning Rob finished the First Vision Dvd and he says, “Whoa.” Then he says, “how did that book get in the ground?” I says to him (he’s a country boy so I’m using his lingo) so I says to him, laughing, “you will just have to read it to find out” I thought that was the end of it but darn if I didn’t look over and he had pulled up on his laptop. That country boy had gotten the church website off of the video and ordered a FREE book of Mormon. “Hey” he said, “It’s free! Plus, I want to know how that book got in the ground!” I told him the answer was at the end of the book and he said, “then I guess I’ll have to read the whole thing.” At this point I am laughing too hard to continue the conversation…

Update 2

Well, Rob got frustrated waiting trying to order the Book of Mormon online because the church website was not set up to send to APO (military) addresses. So the next day I noticed he had found and was reading the B of M online! He is still reading it right now. He says he found the Moroni guy (in a "premonition" to Joseph Smith) was the one that put the book in the hill by going through the intro. Now he tells me that he looked up Zedekiah at because he was Nephi’s king. I said, wait until you see how Nephi's brothers Lamen and Lemuel beat up on him and then an angel comes and sets them straight! His immediate response? “What about Sam?” You know about Sam??? He says “Yeah, I’m trying to remember who everyone is in this story." I am incredulous. This 25yr old diesel mechanic tobacco-chewin’ foul-mouthed but good guy is really getting into this! This is better than a church video...

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