So this has been kinda a crazy adventure...
My first flight from Cleveland was delayed for a couple hours, so I just hung out in the airport. I was sitting there, reading my scriptures, thinking about potential ways I could start a conversation with someone, when a man came up to me and asked if I was a missionary. I responded something like "yeah! did my scriptures give it away?"
Turns out, he was a return missionary from Madrid, Spain as of 10 years ago. He was on the same flight to Newark, NJ as me, and was then flying to Brazil. He was the one who sent you a picture of me! So we talked for a while. He's working for Sherwin Williams, and is travelling to Sao Paolo I believe to do some stuff with Oracle Software. So I got to know him pretty well.
Then a young guy who I thought was younger than me (turns out he's 19 and finished his sophomore year at OSU), who asked a question about the flight, and then I offered the seat next to me. So He (Ross), Brother Mars, and I talked for a while (Brother Mars and I talking more then he, but anyways). It was his first international flight (to Germany) and he was by himself, so he was a little nervous. He's doing something with Technology research over there. At college I think he kept to himself a lot, worked hard, focusing really mainly on schoolwork. Which is good :) He seems very bright. So we talked for a while, I got to know him a little bit, and told him a little about my mission, just that I was traveling to England for a couple years to teach people my beliefs and serve. After a while, I felt like I should ask him how familiar he was with our missions. Knowing I was from BYU, and that it was related with the church, he said he didn't know much about Mormon Missions. Really his only exposure was a friend that went to BYU and joined the church. So I said after a little hesitation, "Fun fact, did you know 'Mormon' is actually a nickname for our church?" This prompted some discussion, I talked about the Book of Mormon and how it is a testament of Jesus Christ, like the Bible. And that it's purpose is to bring people to Christ! I told him, after his asking, that it was a record of the people in ancient America, and like the prophets in the bible, records God's dealings with his people. After a little bit, expressing some curiosity, he asked what was different about our church than other churches. I talked to him about Joseph Smith, and how he prayed to God after reading James 1:5, wanting an answer to know which of all the churches was true. I talked to him about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost being seperate, distinct beings, one in purpose, not in body. I talked about the Plan of Happiness, where we lived before we came to this earth, where we go after this life, and Baptism by Immersion. Brother Mars just listened the whole time, and after we kinda wrapped up talking, gave Ross a sheet of paper with "mormon.org" on it. We then talked for a while about lotsa stuff. Brother Mars said "make sure he gets a pass-along card before you go." So I gave him one! It was the one with Christ on the front.
Then I was reading in the Book of Mormon on my flight in 2 Nephi 29:6-14 which talks about how God would remember people all over the world. Why should we or anyone else "murmur" because we "shall receive more of my word?". "Wherefore I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. and when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also... Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have caused more to be written.."
It goes on, but basically the Book of Mormon is great. :)
So after getting on my flight, and parting with Brother Mars, we arrived in New Jersey, to find my flight was delayed. I met up with 3 other Missionaries (Elder Henry, Elder Jensen, and Sister Fitts). A few other missionaries came, to total 4 Elders and 4 Sisters. We got to know each other, and then sure enough, Elder Mars came to our gate! I think he looked up my gate and came over to say hi. Our flight was originally delayed until 10:20 (from 7:20). Later, he bought us all pizza! Which was super nice.
Long story short, our flight kept getting later and later, and then I believe after 12:15, they finally cancelled our flight... So we waited to get our plane reassigned and got sent to a hotel. I slept on couch cushions on the floor. We got to the hotel at around "late o'clock." I went to bed I think at around 5 A.M.... it was a late night!
We missed breakfast this morning at the hotel, but the worker at the front desk was so kind, she asked the chef if he could make us pizzas. She accepted our meal vouchers from the hotel. So she brought out 3 pizzas, and soda cans for each of us. We've been blessed with pizza for two days in a row :)
So today, our flight leaves later tonight at 7:10 PM (as long as it doesn't get delayed). We're safe, and happy. I love the Elders and Sisters, it's kinda fun adventure. We had some really neat opportunities to just talk to people in the airport about what we're doing, and why we're all dressed up. There were lots of kind Englanders (with fantastic accents). So that was fun.
We're getting picked up by a shuttle at about 1:30.
Oh we called the church travel office to make sure it was ok that we emailed. So this email is totally fine and within rules :)
My camera won't let me connect to the computer because there's no spot for an SD card, so I can't send pictures (I got this one from a friend, and I'm not sure if it's too big or not to send).
I'm excited to serve and learn, and am grateful for the scriptures. I've read more recently than I have in the past and that's been a comfort for me. I'm going to try and improve my prayers too, to get better at listening for Heavenly Father and the ways he'll answer me.
Hope all is well in Ohio!
P.S. I think I'm getting used to being called Elder now
P.S.S. I knew Elder Jensen at BYU, he's great. And I met Elder Ammermon at BYU too. Great group of guys.