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, November 5, 2012


Let's do some therapeutic reflecting today. Anyone that knows me knows I'm a naturalist, or can at least look at nature and think, "Hey, that's pretty neat." I had some pretty neat experiences this week.

As I was studying one morning, a fly that had been buzzing around our apartment for the last like... gosh, three long days, got caught behind the blinds of the window that was RIGHT BEHIND ME. I do not suggest listening to a fly throw itself against a window, then blinds, then window, then blinds for more than 20 minutes. Your brain might ooze.

As I was finishing up reading a chapter in Alma, I resolved that I would soon get the vacuum and send the insect into a black pit of dust and filth, where it belonged. Suddenly, the fly's wings made a constant buzz. It sounded frantic, but motionless. It seemed like it was stuck on or in something. I pulled up the blinds to find my greatest ally.
The Jumping Spider.

Ahhh, I love these little things. This particular comrade had managed to pounce on and stick his fangs into the nuisance that plagued me. The fly slowly got more quiet and less mobile.

The jumping spider looked at me, as if to say, "Just doing my job. Ain't nothing to see. Move along."

Elder Bigelow came over and wanted to kill it, but I told him to stand down and let the bug do his work. The fly was no more, and the jumping spider has since left his little nook in the window. Thank you, jumping spider.

Ok. More nature. This Friday, our branch had a hayride. I had never been on a hayride before, so I'll explain how it works: A bunch of people get in a big trailer full of hay for chairs and a big John Deere tractor pulls you around through the country to look at the stars in the sky.

The evening began with a nice hot dog roast as we waited for people to arrive. One of our recent converts brought a friend, and he asked lots of good questions about how the church runs. He enjoyed himself. It was fun to be with everyone, but as we loaded into the trailer and began out to the farmlands, I didn't talk or text or do much of anything. The only place my head was directed was up.

I've only seen the Milky Way a few times in my life, and this was one of them. It was also different to be in the country, where the horizon is not blocked by mountains or large trees. I was looking at a full sky. Nothing was hid from me. I got lost in it; sometimes it felt like there was a canopy of glitter above me, and other times I felt like I was stretching out forever, seeing the spiral galaxy that we revolve in. It was a good evening that I spent alone in my thoughts.

One of the young women said I should have been more social, at which I replied, "Yeah, but I saw 6 shooting stars." She then wished she was doing what I did.

So I've got some news.

On November 14, I'm leaving West Memphis. President told me himself, so I'm pretty sure that means I'm leaving. This will be my last full week here. Yesterday was Stake Conference. Next week will be Fast and Testimony meeting for the branch, so I'm glad I'll be able to take that moment to thank the branch for all they've done for me.

There was a Seventy that came to our stake conference. I don't know his name... he has a lot of gray hair and his first name is Heath. That's all I know. I'll look it up later. But we heard from him, the Stake President (Pres. Zorbell), President and Sister Petersen (my mission president and his wife, if you haven't known that by now), a newly called Relief Society president and a couple other folks. It was a good meeting. I've been in a branch for too long, though. I forgot how noisy young families are. I forgot how noisy 40 young families are. I did my best to concentrate.

One thing President Petersen said, though, was awesome. (Speaking to the members) "These aren't my missionaries. These are YOUR missionaries."

Nothing gets done in a branch or a ward without utilizing us as teaching tools to spread the gospel. I mean, people usually hate being used, but... That's why we came out in the first place! To be used by God! What better use can we have than to share the gospel? So, I ask, if you do not know your ward missionaries, get to know them. They need you. I need the members to help me to grow on my mission, and they have certainly helped me.

Help the missionaries in your area grow. Help the missionaries about to leave on missions grow. Or if you see a young man that's sitting on the fence, let him know you want to prepare him to go. If I may say, The Missionaries are nothing without the Members, and the Members are nothing without the Missionaries. I know my Dad has seen the effects of missionaries in a ward since he's been ward mission leader a few times.

Anyway, I'll work hard this last week. Thankfully, we get the car tomorrow. The weather is chilling down. They're saying it'll be a cold and wet winter here. It had better be.

-Elder Staib

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