Friday, January 11, 2008

Contention with Other Missionaries

A. Lavar Thornock shares how being doctrinally superior to other missionaries is a source of contention: "Sometimes we create contention in the Church by being insensitive to other people’s feelings. While serving as a missionary I was called to work in the mission home. Each morning it was my duty to teach a class in theology to all the missionaries there. One morning an elderly sister, just arrived in the mission, joined us for the class. During the discussion she took issue with a concept I was teaching and even wanted to argue her point. I was able to quickly put her down and prove her wrong. Then the Spirit of the Lord touched my soul and I noticed the hurt expression on her face. A question rushed through my mind: “What right did I have to be a missionary when I was so insensitive and unthoughtful to one of my sisters?”

At the end of the class I hurried to the mission library. For 1 1/2 hours I searched to find something to agree with what this sister had said. Finally I found a statement that supported her view. Delighted with my find, I now faced the challenge of my life. I had embarrassed her in front of all the missionaries; I now needed to repent in front of all the missionaries.

As we knelt at the breakfast table I asked President Bunker if I could take a few minutes before prayer was offered. I then turned to this dear sister, apologized for what I had done, and read the statement by Elder Whitney. With a slight smile she thanked me. Then an overwhelming feeling of love came into my bosom. I had just learned a great lesson: if we let pride stop us from doing what is right, we can miss some of life’s greatest joys."

An unusual place where contention tends to creep in on a mission involves missionaries playing P-Day basketball. Stan Daniel Sisco who is currently serving down in Brazil on his The One-Stop, All-Access Sisco Missionary Blog says "I've been playing basketball 3 times a week with my district. Somehow, I actually manage to enjoy it. My companion was like the Josh Jones of Bountiful High (in UT) so playing with him is intimidating, but I'm usually on his team so we win. Always. At least, I think we do. Keeping score is against the rules because it breeds contention. So I guess I just assume that we always win. I have gotten better than I was in 8th grade." In playing basketball be careful you don't pivot back and forth under the basket or come down with an elbow in another guys face,I know of a few cases where someone got their nose busted through such carelessness.

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