This blog chronicles Matthew Staib's progress as he serves an LDS mission over the course of twenty-four months.

You can also read his personal blog at different, defined.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Happy

This week was bike week. Probably the worst time to have a bike week, given that it rained in the mornings or the afternoons, making the air intensly humid. On a couple days, mist crawled across the concrete from the evaporating puddles.

On the hottest day of the week, Wednesday, the heat index peaked at 115 degrees. I had the brilliant idea of doing yard work for a woman that lives by herself and isn't in the best health. We pulled in a friend with us, Gene, and got to work. I've never sweat so much in my life. My forehead was dripping, and it makes me tear up to think of the sweat that fell into my eyes, and stung. I experienced true Southern heat as I pushed the lawnmower.

But I smiled the whole time I was there.

We had a zone meeting this week. President Petersen told of a story about a man who visited another stake for stake conference. As the man introduced himself to the stake president, he asked, "How are you?" 

"I'm happy," the stake president responded. 

The man later noticed that every time the stake president was asked how he was doing, he always shared that same response. 

"I'm happy." 

The man finally asked the stake president why he was so happy. The stake president then relayed this story. (To make things easier, I'll give the stake president the name of Jim Johnson.)

Jim Johnson decided to go on a mission, but after his few weeks in the MTC and getting settled into his new apartment in the mission field, he wanted to go home. He asked the mission president over and over again, for days and weeks, to let him go home. The mission president kept giving the same response, saying that he just needed to read and pray about it. 

Nothing changed. Elder Johnson still kept asking to go home. Finally, the mission president said, "Ok, Elder, you can go home." Elder Johnson quickly packed his things, threw them into the back of president's car, and drove off. That was that. He was going home.

Elder Johnson kept talking excitedly about the things he was going to do when he got home, and thanked president for finally listening to him. 

"Oh no, Elder, you're not going back to your home. You're going to the mission home!" 

The Elder didn't want that! He wanted HIS home! The mission president said that Elder Johnson had to meet someone: the mission president's wife. 

As they pulled up and got out of the car, the mission president's wife asked, "Hello Elder, how are you?" 

"I'm miserable and I wanna go home." 

"Wrong answer. You're supposed to say, I'm happy. Now, let's try again. How are you Elder?" 

"I'm miserable and I wanna go home." 

This happened four times before he finally said, "Ok. I'm happy." 


As they passed in the halls of the mission home, the mission president's wife would always ask, "How are you?" 

And Elder Johnson would always say, "I'm miserable and I wanna go home." 

After a couple weeks, he decided to throw her for a loop and respond correctly. "I'm happy." 

"Glad to hear it!"

One day, the Elder kept on pestering the mission president that he wanted to go home. The wife finally called Elder Johnson into the dining room to have a talk. Over the course of that talk, the mission president's wife told Elder Johnson how he'd been blessed to know the gospel, that he had a wonderful family that loved him, and Christ's message is one that blesses the lives of countless people. 

Finally, at the end of their discussion, the mission president's wife asked, "How are you, Elder?" 

Through his tears, Elder Johnson replied, "I'm happy."

He went on to serve the full two years, and had a successful mission.

This past week, I've gotten letters from Levi, Micah, Mom, Dad, Uncle Rus and Aunt Marcia. I realized how many people could be reading this blog each week; how many people are watching me grow and work. I don't know how many are there, but I feel a lot of love from each of them. 

I'm grateful for all my friends and family. I'm grateful for the work I get to do. I might not see the results now, but they'll come as I continue at it. I'm grateful for this past bike week. It was hard, but I endured it. I think I even lost some stomach flub, which would be awesome! I'm thankful for my companion, for pushing me to work harder. I'm thankful for my mission president, who pushes our mission to be better always. 

I'm grateful for prayer, and that I can go to my Heavenly Father whenever I can.

The recent convert's mother wants to wait a bit before being baptized, and the uncle has apparently converted to being a baptist. We had one investigator at church on Sunday. We're praying for people to see the light. We're praying that people will understand that our church is the only church with the Holy Ghost there to bring the peace they love.

But no matter where they stand in life, I still love them.

I'm happy.

-Elder Staib

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