So I want to send home an experience that Elder Anderson and I had about a month ago. It is going to be one of my favorite mission stories I am sure. I hope you like it!
It was in the middle of the week, around 7:50 or so. Our plans had fallen through, and it was dark, so no one we wanted to visit would answer their door. We got a call from one of our ward missionaries, Tony.
"Hey Missionaries, I'm over at Starbucks with my friend Adam, if you aren't doing anything, you should come over. bye brothers!"
I looked to Elder Anderson for direction of whether or not we would walk down the street to where Starbucks and Tony were, or if we would stay and aimlessly walk and knock doors at our apartment complex until 9 o'clock.
"I think that it would be good to see Adam, especially since he is with Tony tonight." said my trainer.
So we made our way through the gates of the Alicia Plaza, trying to speak with the few people who came across our path. "no halba ingles" the majority declared. We then came to the street that would lead us to Starbucks. It was a well lit road, on a fairly quiet night.
About 70 yards in front of us was a figure dressed in all black, walking with sort of a limp. He seemed to have a sort a swagger that made me assume that he was listening to music. I realized that at the speed of his step, we would eventually walk past him.
As we approached him, we decided that we would say "excuse us" and step in front of him, and that we would try not to startle him in the dark. But when we got about 2 car lengths from him, he looked back at us, and then dodged away from the road and went behind a street light, out of view from us. Elder Anderson and I were concerned, thinking that he might be trying to get behind us to attack or rob us. So I decided that we would keep walking and as we walked past him, we would try to talk to him, so he would be sure that we were aware of him.
As we walked past the pole, we turned the corner and said something like:
"Hey, how are you?"
The man slowly looked to the left, and then to the right and said, "who ya'll with?"
"We are Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." we boldly stated, cautiously awaiting his response.
"Ya'll Mormons?" the man said. "Where ya'll from?"
I told him, "I am Elder Strong, and I am from Utah"
He laughed and said, "Course you're from Utah" he looked at Elder Anderson and said "you're from Utah too"
Elder Anderson said, proudly, "NO, I am from Alabama!"
He was surprised to here this and said "hmm, I am from Louisiana"
We asked him for his name, "Marcus" he answered.
"Well Marcus, we are out here sharing a message about Jesus Christ, do you have faith in Jesus Christ?" one of us said, I don't really remember who started it.
He told us he was christian, and asked us where we were walking too, we then walked with him down the street towards Starbucks. We told him about the Book of Mormon, and that it was another testament of Jesus Christ.
He asked us to give him one of the books, we handed a copy to him, he flipped through it, and read a scripture (I wish I remembered the reference) the scripture that he read said something about wicked men, who would do evil things for gold and riches.
"wow!", he slammed the book and pushed it back to Elder Anderson.
He told us that he knew that we were "God's Soldiers" and that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. He was very afraid of what he had read. Curious, he tried again, opened the book, and read a similar, but different verse. "yeah, thats fa sho"
He told us a recap of the past 10 minutes or so. "So I get dressed up in all black, in the night, to go do some 'evil deeds', and then two SOLDIERS, of GOD come and get in my face and show me a book that tells me that exactly what I am doing is wrong." he was very perplexed, and said "yo I gotta go back to my place, I will see ya'll around"
We gave Marcus a Book of Mormon to keep. We see him around the complex a lot. He is like 6'4 and fairly built, all tatted up and kind of looks like a tall, rough P-Diddy he has told the story to all of the guys around the complex, and they all tell us that he is a pretty sketchy guy, has been around southern OC a lot, been to prison(or something) and was involved in a shooting and thats why he limps. Whenever he sees us, he yells across the complex "ELDER ANDERSON!!!" and when we see him closer, he always shakes our hand. He wont tell us where he lives, and he told us he doesn't want us to be a part of his "business" but will never deny the things that he felt and experienced with us that night. He told us he was planning on robbing the gas station on the corner, and that he probably would have stuck us up if he thought we had money.
Marcus is a really funny guy, someday, probably far away, he will let the Missionaries teach him more.
Wow, that took a long time, hope you like it!