Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ups and Downs but never Backwards

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: November 30, 2014 at 5:33:00 PM MST

Well there are ups and downs but never backwards. As my companion
Elder Macfarlane says, "There is nothing useless. You can always use
it as a bad example.”

This week I had two very special experiences. We
went to the train station on Tuesday to try and talk to people. While
my companion was in the bathroom I was sitting on a bench as a young
guy walked past. I said, "How ya going?" and he smiled really big and
kept on walking to the next bench about 20 feet away and sat down. I
sat there for a while and then decided I needed to go talk to him.

He was wearing a "newsies hat" so I walked over and began talking with him
about his hat. Then I asked him what we was doing. He told me he was
fundraising for his youth group for his church. Then he asked me what
I did and I told him I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints. "Is that Mormon?" He asked. "Yeah, do you know
many Mormons?". He paused and smiled and paused again and smiled again
and said, "There is this man who wrote a book I read. Do you know who
Stephen Covey is?" I laughed out loud! How would some random guy in
Australia know about Stephen Covey? He continued, "He wrote that book
'7 Habits for Highly Effective People'. I read that book when I was 15
years old and it kind of changed my life. I've always thought that
someone who wrote a book like that and who lives their life that way,
if they had a church it would be worthwhile to learn about it.”

Then we talked to this guy for over an hour and he asked us questions that
he had and we answered them. It ended up that he lives in downtown
Sydney which is in the North Mission, but we got his phone number and
referred him on to them. His name was Kenmai Kobayashi. He is actually
half Japanese and half French but is in Australia for a gap year. He's
part of the Unification Church.. haha interesting marriage ceremonies,
but it was an awesome experience.

On my mission I've learned what faith means. Faith means trying to do
what's right. Even if you get it wrong your desire to do right is
re-affirmed which is the important thing. So the next day we are in
the train station talking to people when I see this lady running
trying to catch the train. As she got to the train the doors had just
closed and the train began to roll away. Exhausted and out of breath,
she took a seat on the bench close by. I went over and said to her,
"You just missed your train didn't you?" She looked back breathing
heavily and nodded and turned away again. I asked if she was Persian
and she looked away.

She pulled her phone out to make a phone call.
While she spoke on the phone I felt a bit awkward sitting there on the
bench waiting for her to finish when it seemed she didn't want to talk
anyways. When she hung up, she hunched over and rested her chin on the
top of the backpack that was on her lap. She began to touch her eyes
with her fingers like they were itchy but eventually I saw the
complexion (expression) on her face turned to sadness and frustration. Little
tears started to make streakes on her cheeks. I said to her, "You are
a long way from home aren't you?". She ignored me and continued wiping
her eyes underneath her glasses. I didn't know what to do but I knew
that if I had faith that God would help me, I should keep trying.

“You love your family very much don't you? You probably came here to help
them. You are a very brave person." She continued ignoring me but I
couldn't just let her continue crying like she was. I asked if there
was anything that we could do. She shook her head side to side. After
several moments of silence I said to her, "God is our Heavenly Father and
that makes us brothers and sisters. I'm your brother and you are my
sister so if you need help we really will help you."

She started to breath a little easier and she said, "Nobody talks like
that anymore." "Like what?" I asked. "We should all treat each other
like brothers and sisters". "People are a lot nicer where you come from
hey?" I asked already knowing what they answer was. She said she was
from Nepal and that she was all alone here in Australia and that it
gets hard.

Her train started coming so I pulled out a "He is the Gift"
pass along card and said "this is Jesus Christ and He is our Big
Brother. He came to earth to experience what we feel so that He can
help us." She smiled and walked over to her train. As she left I said,
"See ya big sis!".

I'll never see her again but I'll never forget the opportunity to give
someone comfort in their moment of need in the name of Jesus Christ
our Savior. The Keeper of the Gate. Our Mediator. I know He is real. I
testify in His name.

Love, Elder Weiss

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