Wednesday, March 30, 2016

a young man and an old man

This week I got to meet a Texan with a crazy backstory. Our plans fell
through on Easter, so we decided to stop by the M*, a semi-active
family in our branch.
When we got their we met L*, Sister M*'s nineteen-year-old
grandson. He's from Texas, but he's been traveling around the U.S. For
the last nine months or so. Sister M*'s daughter (L*'s aunt) was
in North Carolina, and happened to bump into him, so she stole him
away so he could spend a few weeks with his grandmother who he's only
met once over a decade ago. Crazy how things happened to work out just
right so we could meet him there, but crazier is why exactly he only
has met his grandmother once. His father, Sister M*'s son, went
and joined a cult down in Texas called the House of Yahweh. He had
three wives and over twenty children. L*, who falls somewhere in the
middle of that twenty, grew up doing subsistence farming, hunting, and
fishing to survive. He wasn't allowed to go to school or interact with
the outside world until his dad was arrested and sentenced to thirty
years in prison (apparently one of his wives was a minor). So L*
first went to school in the sixth grade, bounced around in foster
homes until he was eighteen, and has been on his own since. He is
currently working for a friend's contracting company in North
Carolina. We got to have a good conversation with him. He's so
surprisingly normal considering what he's been through. He seems like
just a good, down-to-earth kid. We're going to teach him for the next
few weeks until he goes back to North Carolina, then we're going to
get him in touch with the Elders down there.

Also, I got to meet J* K*. He's an old local here who's been
investigating the church for years. He loves it. He tells us all a
bout how much he loves the people and the story of Joseph Smith. He
believes it all too, but he feels like he needs some kind of
miraculous manifestation from God telling him he's supposed to be
baptized into the church before he'll commit to it. He owns a mechanic
shop and is still working though he's well past retirement age.  He
specializes in antique cars, particularly Volvos. Elders haven't met
with him in a while, so we're going to give it another go now.

We got a less active ten year old to come back to church for the first
time in forever. His mother and sister go most weeks, but he hasn't
been in over eight months. Apparently he doesn't feel like he has any
friends in the church and he's also had some negative influences about
the church from his father.  When we were at their house in Saturday I
told him he ought to come to church the next day. He just kinda
shrugged his shoulders, but then he came!

So that covers the most exciting activities this week. It's been a
good one. I'm looking forward to conference this weekend. Until next

-Elder Samuel Burton

1-2. The Walkway over the Hudson (last week's p-day activity)
3-4. Me in Jack's antique Volvo as he tells me about it.

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