Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Mormons


So yesterday I was late for work so I decided to hop on the bus in hopes that it would get me there faster than my own two feet. I got on and sat down, pulled out my phone and texted one of my students. These four guys walked on the bus all in white shirts and ties. I chuckled to myself thinking, “These guys look like Mormons.” Of course, I’m in Kazakhstan so I didn’t think they really were Mormons, but then the bus started moving. I gave up my seat to an old Diadushka (Grandpa) (this is strict custom here) and was standing near where they were sitting. Soon two of the guys got off the bus and I heard them speaking English. Not only did I hear them speaking English, I heard them speaking English with an American accent! So I stood there, but I knew I had to go talk to them. I mean it’s not every day you meet other Americans on the bus in Almaty. So I went over and asked if I heard them speaking English. They said yes and I asked where they were from. One of the guys, he looked about my age, said he was from Utah. Of course the thought popped in my head, “My goodness, they are Mormons!” But we kept talking introduced ourselves and talked about our business in Almaty. I told him I’m a volunteer English teacher and he told me that he was doing service with his church. Knowing the answer, I thought I would ask anyways, “Oh really! What church are you with?” Sure enough—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He immediately asked if I had heard about them taking the opportunity to share his good news and I told him that I study theology. We were both interested and the conversation would have probably gone on but my bus stop came up and I was already late.

It didn’t matter who they were, it was nice to get that reassurance that I’m not the only crazy American in this crazy city. I have always admired Mormons. While I think their beliefs are a little off, they show incredible determination in all aspects of life, but especially in mission. They believe in their message and it affects the totality of their lives. They are family-oriented and other than polygamy from a few bad apples, you never hear of many Mormons involved in scandals. So I was excited to meet them. We had been in Almaty for around the same amount of time, but I was getting ready to leave and I knew this kid had another year and a half if he was like other Mormons I’d met. I would have loved to talk more with them; I probably should have gotten their phone number or something. But, regardless, it made for a pretty cool day.

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