Utah: Home of the Latter Day Saints (4)

It never ceases to amaze me how liberating it is to be done with midterms. Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke are all growing fainter in the rear view mirror, and it looks like smooth sailing through finals. So…let me launch back into Utah.

It has been very profitable to return to my journals after the post-missions trip spiritual high has faded. As I reflect back upon the trip, I see the grace and sovereignty of God ringing forth with clarity. This trip forced me to go beyond all my doctrine, all my methodology, all my judgmental presuppositions and actually live out what I truly believed.

1) I believe only God has the power to transform human souls, and that He actually possesses the power to transform. 

Evangelism reminds me of all my limitations and inability to perfectly articulate the infinite God in a finite way. But it also reminds me that God is working through the words I say. Though I did not see anyone accept Christ, I saw some individuals begin to think about Him in a new way.

2) God’s love far outstrips the love I give Him credit for.

God has specifically called me out from sin. He chose me, came to earth for me, died for me, assumed the punishment for my sin, and broke the power of sin for me. What I have to offer Him in return only flows from His presence within me. Nothing within me caused me to be elected by Him. “Thank You” doesn’t seem quite sufficient.

3) How I want to serve matters little.

Here I’ll begin my journal entry for Tuesday, March 13th.

Today was not much fun. After the incredible high of witnessing in Temple Square, today was a definite low of remodeling a bathroom. I’m not sure if “remodel” is the right word to describe what we did to it. “Destroy” seems more appropriate. This bathroom is a relic of days gone by. It has no ventilation, and the fixtures look like they’re the originals.

Keenan, Cameron, and I started by ripping up the old, sodden linoleum with shovels, mallets, butter knives, and crowbars. We quickly learned that enthusiasm does not make up for proper tools and training. Our repair job quickly deteriorated into living proof of Murphy’s Law: Everything which possibly could have gone wrong did. We had to rip out the toilet, the paint was the consistency of cottage cheese, we cut the linoleum wrong, and we had all the wrong tools. It took us ten hours to rip out the old linoleum, dismantle the toilet, paint one coat, lay new linoleum, and reassemble the toilet. It was absolutely disgusting. But very manly. There is something about replacing a toilet which builds masculine community.

So its the end of the day, and I’m not sure as to how much longer our team will be able to stand each other. Not that we aren’t getting along, things couldn’t be better. But the guys don’t have a functioning shower.  The shower upstairs does its best Niagara Falls imitation through the downstairs ceiling whenever it is used. Yeah, we don’t look too good right now. What a bizarre day! Meeker split his pants, I have serious tile-bonding adhesive running through my hair, and we don’t have a functioning shower anymore. Ah well. Such is life on the road—an adventure.

I’m learning to serve. I’m not going to lie, it is hard to rise above a very childish “I drove 750 miles to replace a toilet?” attitude. But that is what service is, doing what is necessary regardless how glamorous the act of service is. What I am doing is so much less important than the fact that I am doing what is necessary. Going on a missions trip is going and being a servant. It often isn’t very comfortable being a true servant. But replacing a toilet is what I am called to do right now, and by the grace of God, that toilet won’t leak!

Rod, Rebecca, Bri, Russ (UPFC Director), and Cameron hovering like vultures around my car.

Brian, Bible student extrordonaire.

We packaged 3,000 Jesus Christ:Joseph Smith DVDs for distribution. On March 25th, 600,000 of these DVDs were given away across the western United States. The DVD is very well done, made out of a spirit of kindness and not enmity. 

Me cleaning up a massive paint spill (don’t ask…) 

Keenan and Cameron and the bathroom of death.

The scenery was breathtaking.

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