Yesterday at about ten o'clock in the morning, my house gets a call from an 801-number. When I answer the phone, I hear a young man's nervous voice on the other end saying, "Hey, is this Bishop Johnson's residence? Your church meets at one o'clock, right?" I answer in the affirmative, and then he says, "Well, I'm at the Mall of America, visiting for the day. Do you know the best way to get down to your chapel from here?"
By then I hand my mom the phone, knowing nothing about Minnesota transportation myself. Mom didn't have much more to say either. "That's far beyond our ward boundaries. I don't think there's anyone who could give you a ride. I'm sorry."
Later, after attending a stunning sacrament meeting, I walked into my Sunday School room and sat next to a boy I did not recognize. Sister Duncan, our Sunday School teacher, walked up and introduced herself to him, as she does with all the visitors. He said his name was Brett, and he's visiting from Orem on a band trip.
"Are you the guy who called us this morning?" My mom turned and intruded on their introductions.
"Yeah," he said. "Sorry about that..."
"No, it's fine." She continued, "How did you get here??"
"Took a taxi."
A taxi? Wow. This guy really wanted to get to church. For some reason, I recognized him. I didn't know why. But I had seen him somewhere before. Right before the lesson started, I asked where he went to school. He said BYU. Then, without asking him anything, I just assumed he was a music ed major. I don't know what planted that idea into my head. Maybe I had seen him at the HFAC preparing for a choral conducting test. Or maybe it was just the way he carried himself. Or maybe I just made a wild guess. But for some reason or another, I knew that he and I had the same major. So later, when I had the chance, I asked him what he was studying. "Music education, instrumental emphasis." It cheered me to hear this.
Well my mom, being the bishop's wife, of course invited him and his younger brother over for dinner. I was willing to drive them out to the Mall of America, since I had to visit a friend out in Mendota Heights anyway. They played our piano and sang with us, and we had spirited conversation at the dinner table. Within a few hours, we already seemed like good friends. I promised I'd try to find Brett somewhere when I went back out to BYU, and when he went on his mission, I'd keep in touch. He's a nice guy.
But the punch line here is that they paid 30 dollars -- THIRTY. DOLLARS. -- to pay for a taxi ride down to the Burnsville meetinghouse. Thirty dollars just to go to church. Man alive. That's some serious commitment. But with that thirty dollars, they also got a free home-cooked meal and they made some new friends, thanks to my mother. Moral of the story: Keep your eye open for people like Brett and his brother. Often you will have more in common than you think. Never skip out on a service opportunity. It's a chance to make a friend.
Listening to: Nothing
Things Going On Today: Not sure. It's Monday. I have two days left in Minnesota. I probably should start gathering up my clothes and stuff...
Blessings: A mom who cooks. Old friends.
Learned: There are four instances mentioned in the New Testament of Jesus visiting his disciples after his resurrection.