One of the last things we got to do at the MTC was we got to go through the Provo Temple. That was a pretty cool experience, and the interior of the temple is very cool. The temple itself was awesome and the Celestial room was really, really cool.
Also the last Sunday at the MTC, it actually snowed. Yeah, that’s really weird. It just started snowing outside out of nowhere. I took a picture of it outside the window, but it’s a little hard to see.
So April 29th, we all woke up at 3:30 AM so we could grab all our bags and catch the bus by 4:30 AM. The bus drove us to the airport where we would fly to Arizona. It was kind of weird when I was thinking about it, because that airplane ride back to Arizona is really the only “airplane experience” I’ll ever get in the mission.
So we get to Arizona and of course President and Sister Nattress and the assistants are there to greet us. And everyone was saying “Welcome back, Elder Foxx.” The rest of the MTC group was a little confused because I didn’t tell them I served a mini-mission before coming to the MTC. All I told them was that I waited since June for my mission call and that I come from Goodyear, Arizona. So the truth came out that I had been out for 5 and a half months and it all made sense to the rest of the MTC group why I talked about certain things and subjects about missionary work that would make it sound like I have served a mission before lol. So the next day was Transfer Day where all the missionaries come in and left-and-right, I’m hearing, “Welcome back, Elder Foxx” and the rest of the MTC group is going, “Jeesh, everyone knows you.” That was kind of funny.
So on Transfer day, I get put with my new companion Elder Peery. He’s from Orem, Utah and he and I actually came out together in the Gilbert Mission on November 12th (although he’s two weeks older than me because he has gone to the MTC before that and I only just barely came back from the MTC).
I am now in the Temple View zone and for the first time in my mission, I am staying at an apartment. But this is the coolest apartment ever because it is literally right across from the Gilbert Temple. Seriously, we look outside our bedroom window and we have a perfect view of the temple. And we have a padio outside and again, the Temple is right there. So that’s pretty cool. Another first-time is that we actually live in the same apartment room as the zone leaders Elder Carrol and Elder Hall.
On May 1, Elder Peery told me that we were stopping by a potential investigator named John. So we stop by and come in and John starts showing us a drawing of a cross with the word “Gethsemane” floating above the cross. And he’s saying that he’s going to branch off and make his own version of the Mormon church that would have crosses with the word Gethsemane floating. So it could cover Gethsamne, the crucifixion, and the “rising” of Christ is like the rising Gethsemane. He was talking about how they were trying to build their own temples with crosses on them and then change tithing from 10% to 30% so that the church could grow faster. Also, he was to get rid of the Word of Wisdom so that more people would be willing to join. And he’d change the title from “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” to the “Church of Jesus Christ of All Saints,” so that it doesn’t “exclude” anyone. I had no idea what to say throughout this entire thing and it looked like neither did Elder Peery. Except Elder Peery would have long periods of silence as John was talking and would agree a lot with what John was saying. And at one point even said, “Yeah, that actually sounds like it would be a better church than ours.” In my mind, I couldn’t tell if he was either so stuck on what to say that all he could do was agree just to make sure John didn’t get ticked and kick us out or if Elder Peery was going apostate.
We eventually leave the house because we said we didn’t have much time.
Now the rest of the story…
Elder Peery had been talking about this recent-convert named Mark who has been a very strong active member of the church and loves the church a lot, but has some interesting questions and concerns. And he’s trying to get his grandson, Jake, to take the lessons.
Well, at about 5:00 PM, we had a lesson set up with Jake with Mark there… and I find out that Mark and John are the exact same person and that I was played for fools. Elder Peery and Mark set up this entire prank! I was pretty impressed that they pulled it off as well as they did. They got me good, I was pretty darn scared of what was happening that morning!
And throughout the rest of that day and throughout the rest of this week, I found out how different this area is compared to the last two areas I have been in. Namely this: We taught the Restoration of the Gospel with a 15-year old investigator at 4PM, at 5PM we taught Mark and Jake about the Apostasy and Restoration, and at 6PM ended up going over the baptismal interview questions with an investigator that has been difficult to get a hold of and he wants to be baptized. All in that one day.
For the first time ever in my mission, I am now in an area where I actually have people to teach. Honestly, it was weird, it was like culture shock. There was only one point in my mission where I ever had an investigator and that was during my last two weeks of the second transfer. And now I’m in this area and we have about 12 investigators and we have been teaching every single day. It is AWESOME! There are so many blessings coming this transfer, I can’t believe it. It is so alien to me that this much work is happening. The statistics we have been getting in this past week alone (as far as teaching investigators go) is infinitely better than any that I have gotten in my entire mission. I don’t know what it is, but somehow this area is just thriving. It’s incredible! And all of the people we teach have good fellowships and all the lessons thus far have gone really well. I don’t know what it is, but it is fantastic!
So thus far, I am absolutely loving it here. Things are going really great and I am really grateful to be blessed with this work after going through four transfers of very little going on, teaching-wise.
Hope you all have a great week! Love you all!