Wednesday, May 04, 2005


i woke up this morning, and for some reason i was thinking about mayrose...

i met mayrose in the pauoa valley during the first week of my mission. she was old, obese, and depressed. the combination of these, along with a pair of weak knees made it difficult for her to leave her home. two years previous to my meeting her, mayrose lost her husband. he must have meant the world to her, because she just hadn’t recovered from losing him. i don’t know how long the missionaries had been meeting with her, probably not too long.

mayrose wouldn’t let us teach her the discussions. not ready, she’d tell us. i doubted she ever would be. each wednesday we’d visit her. we’d read a few verses from the book of mormon, and what seemed like a couple hours later, my companion and i would leave sipping from a couple cold cans of juice through bending plastic straws.

like i said, mayrose was depressed. this made it difficult for her to read. very difficult. she told that after her husband died, she struggled with reading. it's not that she went illiterate suddenly, she could read the words, could string them into sentences, they just didn’t make much sense to her. magazines, books, newspapers, nothing made much sense. that’s why it would take forever just to read a few verses with her. we’d have to go line by line, word by word. she’d eventually say she understood, but i think she was lying.

each week we would go. each week she would not understood. each week we’d leave with cans of juice and bending straws. i’m not sure why we kept going. maybe we felt sorry for her. maybe we felt there was some hope. maybe we saw her as a surrogate grandmother. maybe we just liked sipping free juice from plastic bending straws.

after three months, my companion got transferred and i got a new one. following our second visit with mayrose, he thought it was a waste of time and wanted to bail. i’m not sure why, but i wanted to keep visiting her. maybe it really was the juice and bendy straws. we prayed about it and decided to give it one last shot. instead of reading random thoughtful verses with her, we’d ask her to begin reading the book of mormon from the beginning. first nephi, chapter one, verse one. the place where we all begin our failed ventures to read the whole thing. we stopping by one morning, read the first few verses with her, asked her to try to read the next chapter before our next visit which we set for a couple days later. she agreed to give it a try and gave us some juice and those wonderful bending plastic straws.

two days later we went back to visit mayrose to see how far she was able to get through the first chapter.

“how did the reading go?”

“wonderful. i finally understand why they call jesus the lamb of god.”

ok. time out. something wasn’t right. ‘lamb of god’ isn’t in the first chapter. it’s not until the eighth or so chapter. it turns out that mayrose didn’t just read and comprehend the first chapter, she read the first dozen or so chapters… and almost understood every bit of it. needless to say, my companion and i were floored. we discussed those chapters and asked her to keep reading and that we’d stop by the next day to discuss them. she gave us some juice and straws... this time though, i could care less that they bended.

our next visit was quite the same, she read another seven or so chapters. after discussing them with her, mayrose told us that she wanted to take the lessons. she had a bright smile on her face.

we taught her the first and second lessons. she said she wanted to get baptized, but wasn’t ready for it. she prayed for the first time with us. every visit was wonderful. i don’t remember if we got juices and those meaningless plastic straws. i couldn’t have cared less.

we taught mayrose the third discussion. mayrose said she wanted to come to church. her knees were terrible, and being overweight didn’t help her at all. she didn’t care though. she’d walk if she had to. she constantly smiled and was excited with everything we had taught her.

after the fourth discussion, mayrose told us of a reoccurring dream that she has been having since the death of her husband. in the dream her husband and other deceased family members are on one side of the mountains. she is on the other. they are calling out to her and want her to come see them, to be united with them. the only way to them is through the mountain, but she doesn’t know how to get through. mayrose smiled at us and said, now i know what the mountain is and how to get through.

my companion and i got home beaming with joy. what an incredible time. that night the mission called. i got transferred two days later…

for a month i had no idea what had ever happened with mayrose. finally, i got our mission news letter. on the list of named of people who had been baptized, there was her name. i was so excited that i jumped up, threw my fist into the air, and got it slammed by the ceiling fan. it hurt and left a nice bruise, but i didn’t care.

i later heard that following her baptism, mayrose went to the laie temple to do baptisms for the dead. i haven’t heard anything of her sense.

i wonder if she still gives missionaries those bending plastic straws.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome story! Being a missionary really is the most unforgettable experience you can have, isn't it? :) ~~


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