This week went well. Elder Clarke and I are finally starting to settle in to the new area and the work is progressing. My cold streak is over. We committed a family of three to be baptized on May 17th last night. I'm pretty stoked about that. We had been teaching them for a few weeks and it all came down to the wife to decide what was right for her. We asked her to keep reading and praying about the Book of Mormon so that she could get an answer to that question. Sunday night we got a text that read, "We are to be baptized! What's next brothers!" It was a pretty sweet surprise that helped my day out a lot.
Sunday afternoon we were out at the Genoa Lakes apartments when one of the people we were teaching there came cruising towards us in his power chair. He informed us that another man we had been teaching was found dead outside his apartment earlier that afternoon. Luckily, they found him in time to revive him and get him to the nearest hospital. Apparently he had been hurt pretty badly a few months ago so a doctor prescribed him pain killers. He used them and it eventually got to the point where he found himself addicted to them. This then led to cocaine and meth addictions as well. On Sunday he overdosed and his wife found home laying lifeless on the concrete. We got to the hospital that night to find that he had pretty much completely recovered and was to be released the next day. It was kind of a shock to find the man that had been found dead earlier that day completely healthy, watching family guy in his hospital bed, and ready to be released the next day. Hopefully this will help us to help him turn his life around.
The Easter Pageant started this week. The Mesa Easter Pageant is the largest Easter Pageant in the world with close to 100,000 people attending each year. It's a great missionary opportunity. We were able to bring people twice last week and we are planning on taking three more this week. It's an amazing event. There's this huge stage that they build each year, right in front of the temple. Then there is an hour long play on the life of Jesus Christ. I love it. The only bad thing about this is that every person in Arizona who hates the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints comes and pickets the play every night it shows. It's disgusting. They hand out pamphlets as to why the church is of the devil, they get in your face with their signs, they yell at you, sometimes they even throw things into the crowd. It hurt as I watched two twelve year old boys have their testimonies of Jesus Christ ripped to shreds as they tried to defend themselves against some of these picketers. It was terrible.
As I walk around our area everyday and talk to people it is easy to understand how this much hate came to be. I believe the roots derive from simple misunderstanding with a side of ignorance. I talk to people who won't go to this Easter Pageant because, "I'm not a member of your church and it's your version of the story". These people, who have never been to the Easter Pageant before, have a misunderstanding of the complete, biblical accuracy of the play which could be solved by simply finding out for themselves. As much as that bothers me, I feel as though that's exactly where the people who picket the story of Jesus Christ started out. It's like the Pharisees in the bible. It started out with a misunderstanding of the the law of Moses and next thing you know, Jesus Christ has been nailed to a cross, sentenced to death.
Something a woman said to me this week applies to the situation extremely well. She said that her dad used to tell her, "Don't worry about what people say about you. Worry when people stop saying things about you. That's when you know that you have stopped having an impact on people. What they say is pointless. The truth will come out in the wash." When I watch the play and read about Jesus that saying now comes to mind. People have yet to stop talking about Christ. What they said about Him when he was on the earth is now irrelevant. The truth came out in the wash and has been impacting people's lives for the better ever since. He did what He knew was right. People said what they perceived to be true based off of misunderstanding with a side of ignorance. They acted on what they perceived to be right. Yet still, the truth came out in the wash.
Sincerely, Elder Earl