September 24, 2009

Fireside and goodbyes


Tonight we had the most wonderful night of sharing at our musical fireside. Joe always talks about how here in Utah we are really experiencing the fullness of what it is to be in fellowship with people of all religions. You have no choice in the matter here.

We hosted tonight's fireside completely because our LDS missionary, Elder Mitchell, whom we have grown to love so very dearly, is slated to leave town for the next leg of his mission while we are out of town and he requested that we have some sort of Baha'i event before he leaves. The only way to fit it in was to have it on a weeknight, which is unusual for this community, but people rallied around and came anyway. We also had our friends Gail and Ned from the University, and a new friend, Susan, who had been spending lots of time with the Baha'i community in Ohio before moving here to Logan. All in all, thanks to Elder Mitchell's departure, we had a really well rounded group tonight.

Everyone came for dinner and stayed long after the formal presentation was over. Such beautiful back and forth. Each person present was so complimentary of everyone else's faith, being very generous with their comments and showing such respect for the differences in the room.

After all of our guests were gone, the elders stayed for quite a while. Well past their curfew, I'm sure. We talked about obscure Bible stories about she-bears and Lilith, 80's movies, the passing of Patrick Swayze. All sorts of random stuff. All the time avoiding the obvious- that after tonight we may not see our much loved Elder Mitchell again. He is such an insightful, well spoken, and thoughtful young man. Exactly the person you want out in the world representing your faith. I hope his family had an idea of what an amazing young man he is. Joe said, after they left, "What a bright future he has ahead of him. Where are all of these young people that are out ruining the world that we're always hearing about? All I am meeting are the amazing young people who are only making the world better."

We all three (both elders and our family) brought out the cameras and snapped group photos. And then said the dreaded goodbyes. Joe's eyes filled with tears as we walked back to the house. Never, in our time here in Utah have we been treated with such kindness and respect despite our obvious differences, nor have we met someone so honest and diligent in their search for truth. This fella would read and read until he came up with an answer to our every question. You could tell he really enjoys what he is doing, and is truly inspired by his religion.

Anyway, it's a good thing we have Disney Land tomorrow or Joe and I would probably spend the day moping around at the thought of our loss. So, here's to Elder Mitchell! We'll miss him and the perspectives that he brought into our home. I can't wait to see who they send to us next time!

2 comments:

  1. I also served a mission for the lds church 20 years ago. In January I stopped attending the church meetings and started studying other religions. Islam took a lot of my attention but since a few weeks now I am studying the Baha'i Faith and I love it.
    Here in Belgium I don't know any Baha'is, but I hope to be able to meet them in a very near future. The Baha'i Faith is the most beautiful thing I ever read on Faith and religion.

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  2. Miguel, I am glad you find the Baha'i Faith to be so beautiful. That's how I felt, and still feel, every time I read the writings. I know young woman who was raised in a Baha'i family who is an exchange student in Belgium right now. Small world. Feel free to ask any questions you have about the faith. I don't have all of the answers, but I love religious discussions!

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