Monday, July 11, 2016

It's a Small World After All! - Clarksville, Tennessee

Hello, hello my friends

This has been a pretty fantastic week! Transfers were Tuesday and Elder McKown went home to Mesa, Arizona. Bishop gave us exactly one instruction: don't bring back another missionary from Arizona. Unfortunately, we failed his assignment. My new companion is Elder Weight is from Chandler! They say you love all of your companions but that doesn't mean you like all of them. Well, I definitely like Elder Weight and am super glad he lives only 15 minutes away from home. And sorry I forgot to attach a picture or Elder Weight. He has spent the first year of his mission in the McMinnville are. That is on the eastern boundary of the mission out in the wild country of the Appalachian hills. You would never guess he is from Chandler anymore. He now talks like a complete Hillbilly. Clarksville is the biggest town he has seen in a long time and he is struggling to understand the way people speak. This is pretty funny. He has an awesome lightsaber too, so he can help Nick and me kill each other. How funny is it that my last two companions have been from Mesa and Chandler! That reminds me of a song... :)

Which transitions perfectly into one of my favorite stories from this week. I was driving (I really have no idea why anyone thought that was a good idea) and took a corner too fast. I had to use the brakes and we fortunately did not tip over, but it was still exciting. In reaction to this, I said one short line: "Hello, Hello my friends!" Now this of course was an allusion to the Disneyland ride Indian Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. However, I imagine most people would not know that. In fact, if anyone besides myself understood what I was talking about, I would be very surprised. Surprised is exactly how I felt when elder Weight knew exactly what I had said and finished with "The brakes may be needing a little adjusting. Easy on the curves." Yep that's right. I found someone else who has all of Disneyland memorized. 

We then spent a good hour talking about Disneyland and pretty much every random detail. He has even been on the storybook land ride, a sign of a true Disneyland fan. His family has a name for every animatronic. My favorite was Uncle Tom from Pirates of the Caribbean. He is the one with the banjo on the bayou, making the little swamp house Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is crazy how much dialogue from the rides is in our heads. When you start quoting the narrator from the train, you begin to think, "maybe I've been to Disneyland enough times," or much more appropriately, "maybe I need to go to Disneyland again soon."

This has been a pretty fun week, but my favorite part is the amazing amount of work we have been able to get done. I am so grateful to have a companion who loves the mission and is willing to work. It feels so great to study, pray, and teach in unity. We are making great strides to turn this zone and area in the right direction and get the work moving forward again and I love it. 

I would like to share a small portion of a story with you all. The story comes from something known as the Ricciardi letter. If you have time, I would encourage you to look it up because it is truly an amazing read. It changed my view of missionary work and life in general because of the profound truths contained therein. Here is a short section that has become important to me recently. 

I warned him “Elder Ricciardi, I don’t want to talk about the
discussion”.  He said “I don’t either”.  So I sat up.  “What do you
want?” I said.  Ricciardi replied “I want nothing…….but to ask you one
quick question”.  What he said next I was not expecting.  He said
“Elder Humphrey, there are two reasons missionaries get along as a
companionship.  1)  When they are working together to be humble,
obedient, and loving the people as a companionship.  In other words,
they are doing what is right together.  HOWEVER, the second reason
Missionaries will also get along is if they are both doing the wrong
things together, as a companionship.  Not getting up on time, not
studying, breaking mission rules.”  I remember thinking “where is the
question in all this?”  Ricciardi then lowered his tone of voice and
said “I believe when missionaries do not get along, when they fight
and argue, it is because one missionary wants to do what is right, and
the other doesn’t care”.  He then asked me the deadly question.  “We
do not get along Elder, so I ask you tonight; please tell me which
missionary you are, the one who wants to do right, or the one who does
not care?  Because if you believe that you are trying to do what is
right, then I am the one choosing what is wrong, and I need to change
so we can be one…goodnight Elder.”

I was floored.  Normally that kind of talk from Ricciardi would set me
off into a rage, but I felt the spirit.  In fact, I laid there and
tears came to my eyes.  I had mocked Ricciardi for so many of his
“methods”. Here are some examples:  when we would reach a neighborhood
he would pull out the street map and we would pray right there in the
middle of the street for guidance, I thought that was silly.
Sometimes he would stop our bike ride to a previously designated
neighborhood and pray, right there in traffic with people staring at
us.  He would ask the Lord “are we going to the right neighborhood?”
Then we would turn around to another destination and I would be so mad
about backtracking 4 miles.  I found these and many other of his habits
so annoying and over the top.  But I knew that night, that the answer
to his question was that I was the missionary not caring enough.

That conversation actually transformed me as a companion, because I
was embarrassed that I had been so disrespectful to him.  In the
deepest part of my heart, I knew he truly meant well in all his
endeavors.  I resented his spirituality and boldness because I was not
sufficiently humble enough to acknowledge that I was nowhere near this
guy in the spirituality department.  Not close in terms of dedication,
or his love for the people of England.  Big moment for me…very big.  I
woke up the next morning and became kind, and stopped making what was
already hard work so much harder for a companion who cared so much.  I
wanted us to get along for the right reasons.  You know what?  I
almost immediately became happier.  The work was still hard, the
disappointment still came, but I stopped fighting Elder Ricciardi, and
I began to feel myself becoming better.

Whenever you are not getting along with your companion, ask
yourself “who of us wants to do right in this companionship.”  If you
get along great with your companion, ask yourself “are we getting
along for the wrong reasons (mutual lack of obedience, work ethic,
dedication, spirituality etc) or for the right reasons.

This has profound importance not only in missionary work and companionships. These principles are far more important when applied to families. Family is the most important unit in time and eternity. It is in families that we experience all of the joys of the gospel. Are we getting along as families? Are we getting along for the right reasons? Are we experiencing all of the joy our father in heaven intends for us there? I bear my witness of the reality of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I know that He intends the greatest happiness through us as we obey His commandments. Most importantly, He is there to pick us up when we fall short. We all need to make changes each day and He is there to help us every step of the way. I love Him and I Know He lives. In his sacred name. Amen. 

I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Basham

I thought I would be done with all of this stuff when I left Nashville. However, this has not proven to be true. To be honest, I'm not entirely disappointed.

There is only one way to decorate your four-wheel
drive, lifted mudding truck.

When you think Tim McGraw...

1 comment:

  1. Elder Humphrey was my large group teacher at the MTC (back in '92). I remember him telling stories about Elder Ricciardi. He was a great teacher.