Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Baptism, Snow, and Feeding the homeless

Look what we woke up to on Tuesday!

This week was stressful but it all was worth it in the end! The reason for all of the stress was that we had a baptism! A young man we have been teaching for a while, decided he wanted to be baptized. His name was D and he is 13. We were excited but we also knew that we were now undertaking a huge logistical behemoth. After countless phone calls, 3 key exchanges, 49 texts, a broken phone, and 3 drives into the springs we finally made it happen! 
It truly was a great experience. I was so proud of D for making this decision on his own. He is very shy but he is also very astute. He hangs onto not only the principles we taught him in the living room but also the messages and feelings he has in his heart. There was no question in my mind that he was ready to take this step. At the service, I was able to speak to him about baptism. I told him a story of how my Coach, Coach Clifford, told me how much of a responsibility he was putting on my shoulders when he gave me #22. Now, I told D, he was putting on the jersey so to speak for Jesus Christ. When you are baptized you take the name of Jesus Christ upon you and show him you are willing to do as he did, and be a light for him. Now just like in football when you first put on your jersey it will be fresh and clean. But wait just a few plays into the game and it will start to get rough. I have played against some of the biggest and strongest players in SC but none come close to the adversary himself. Satan will try to tackle you and take you down but there is one stark difference between Beaufort High and The Lord's team. We lost plenty of games back in high school but Jesus Christ is undefeated. As long as you stay true to him and stick out the hard days, you will have nothing to fear. 

Walking down into the water was an experience I will never forget. It reminded me of the day I was baptized 10 years ago! After I said the prayer I eased him in and out of the water. It was an amazing experience. As we embraced I felt the Savior's influence smiling over D. I cannot explain how much it meant to ME to even be a part of that special day.  Our closing song was "I am a child of God" and it's simplicity exacerbated the special meaning it has. As D's grandmother wiped her tears away she told me that we are children of God and she wished everyone would remember that. I couldn't agree more.

Click on the link SAME JERSEY below to see a great Mormon Message video which reminded me of Tyler's story up above:

One with Elder LaRose (he came out with me) is at the breakfast event 
Earlier in the week we were able to take part in a service project in Downtown Springs. It was hosted by a Methodist church downtown and it was for the homeless. We gave out clothes, blankets, and a breakfast. The pastor of the church also gave a sermon. It was a great event and probably over 70 homeless families showed up. It reminded me a lot of HELP of Beaufort where I volunteered right before my mission and did my eagle project as well.  I was the designated pancake guy and tried to make everyone laugh as I gave them the hotcakes. After all was said and done I had about 20 extra pancakes (this is after everyone had gone through as many times as they pleased.) A man I had talked to earlier came up to me very humbly and asked in a broken voice if he could have an extra plate for his friend who woke up late. Naturally I said of course! have two why don't ya. After he thanked me he began to hobble away (he had one leg) but before he could take 3 steps the woman next to me looked at me with a face that should have turned me to stone. Dripping with condescension, she said "you know that man probably doesn't have any friends and will just eat those by himself"... I was taken aback by the so called altruistic saint who was volunteering to help the homeless... not judge them (or so I believed). I kindly told her that wasn't my call to make and I would probably ask for more if I was in his situation as well!! Before we had time to clean up the rest of the food- The man's friend arrived...with a family of 4 following behind. He gave them both plates and they at every last morsel. As the lady next to me amble doff surely in shame, I wondered to myself, what kind of judgments do we make on a daily basis? I am not just talking about the panhandler on the side of the road that we drive by everyday, but maybe the coworker that always seems to have a chip on her shoulder. Maybe the Customer service rep that is just a little to sharp with his voice to you. How about the waitress who gets your simple order wrong. Maybe all of these people are truly and sincerely malignant forces who desire to thwart your lunch hour by nefariously and purposely putting mayonnaise on your sandwich and your customer service rep has been brainwashed by the evil corporate gods into ripping you off when your washer breaks down...However I would like to believe that these are all good people who are just going through tough times. Possibly your coworker is going through a rough divorce and the only way he can cope is to keep a fa├žade of toughness on. Most likely the customer service rep you are talking to has been reamed all day long and just wants someone to give him a break. The waitress can't remember your order because she was up all night counting receipts, bills, and meager paychecks - deciding if she wants to keep the electricity or the water or for this month. If we were able to look past our righteous indignation for just a day I wonder how many lives we could better. How many smiles would be converted from frowns. 

This week I was informed of the tragic atrocities committed in Paris. My heart aches for the families and friends of the victims. No matter how hard I try I can never understand what would compel another human being to destroy and unravel the life one has labored for so long and so hard to sloppily create. Why do people not understand we all breathe the same air on this small earth? So many questions riddle and harrow my soul when senseless murders like this take place. The one thing I hate most about these types of killings is the paradox of the human soul. For the killers and the aloof viewers on television these poor men and women are faceless, nameless, and without smiles or laughter. For the families and loved ones of the ones killed they are brothers sisters wives mothers fathers friends & soul mates. The joy & bliss that was brought to their hearts by the folks that now lie in body bags is immeasurable. How can you heal a heart when the one they love most was ripped from them in their prime? The holes and voids created by these mindless heartless acts cannot be quantified. What troubles me most is that there is a double standard of toleration when it comes to killing. In Syria and Iraq death tolls similar to this weekend in Paris are a daily occurrence. In South Sudan if 129 people were killed in a day most of us wouldn't know and we most likely wouldn't have a #PrayforSudan handle on twitter and in our other social media outlets. Boko Haram & ISIS kill hundreds weekly in Africa and in the middle east but it takes some of our elected officials an attack on a European country to truly and candidly acknowledge the great moral threat of violence. 

In no means do I intend to downplay the tragedy in Paris I only wish to bring to light the others who have no global support when times get tough. In our society I believe that we glorify bravado, swagger, and violence too much more than reason, restitution, and meekness. Games like grand theft auto are glorified and praised by critics and the media but yet we wonder why 15 year old kids are involved in murders. We need not wonder why young men are afraid to express their true feelings, for if they do they will surely be called names and Not only as American citizens but as global citizens we need an honest triage of where this sickness in our soul begins. It is unacceptable to tolerate any violence - of any kind - towards any people whether they are Muslim or Mormon, Black or White. I truly believe our indifference and selective outrage when it comes to killing is another type of violence and in my opinion just as insidious. Although I love the song by John Lennon "Imagine" I don't think it really is a pertinent song for healing. Imagining there is no Heaven seems to me as a bitter pill to swallow for one who just lost their true love. I actually believe quite the opposite. In fact that is why I am on a mission. I believe that true healing and true peace will come through the healing message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. As a missionary it is my full time prerogative to share that with others but if you are reading this right now I would exhort you to always take advantage of an opportunity to mend spiritual wounds. 
Love and prayers to all,
Elder Tyler James Clancy

Click on this link to see a video of the BYU Women's Chorus singing this amazing hymn:

Where Can I Turn for Peace BYU Women's Chorus

Where Can I Turn for Peace?

31243, Hymns, Where Can I Turn for Peace?, no. 129
1. Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?
2. Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
3. He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.

Text: Emma Lou Thayne, b. 1924. © 1973 IRI
Music: Joleen G. Meredith, b. 1935. © 1973 IRI
John 14:27
John 16:33
Hebrews 4:14-16

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