|Elder Chan Staheli with his Buddhist friend, Denver Smith|
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Letter from Chan:
We are currently trying to convert a Buddhist guy. We tracted into him, and he seemed very excited to meet with us, but he was sick at the time. So he told us to come back the same time, same day next week, so we did.
We were excited, but didn’t know what to expect. He seemed too easy in our first meeting with him. We found out he was Buddhist as we visited with him for three hours. Mostly he was talking with us about Buddhism to kind of know where this guy was coming from.
Turns out their way of thinking is way different from our teachings, in fact, way different to the whole Christian belief system. So Dad, did you convert any Buddhists? (Mike served his mission in Japan, and met many Buddhists.) If you did, then tell me your secrets because, Holy Smokes, this way of thinking is like from a whole different planet! An Eastern point of view, I suppose. We believe there is a heaven and we need to get there. They believe this is heaven and that we are living it right now! And depending on how you live in this world, it will determine what you are when you are reincarnated.
Besides that part their way about things are not bad, in fact, this guy is more dedicated to this than I see most Christians! From what I see at least, he is being true to himself and his belief. Now we just got to get him on our side. The funny thing is he’s trying to convert us while we are trying to convert him. He’s a white guy, about 60 years old. Man I wish he was a full blown Asian with a long fu man-chu and the monk robes, but nope.
At the end of our three hour debacle we tried closing things up with a prayer, as you always should. He said, “Pray? What kind of pray?” Then he brings out some chairs, setting them up in from of what I think was a shrine, a Japanese shrine. It was closed up like a chest of drawers, then he opened it up and there was a scroll hung up inside with Japanese writing on it that had the words saying a prayer phrase and he repeated it three times. It was in Japanese. Then he had me do the same thing (Chan took Japanese in high school, so I guess he recognized the words.) I put my hands together, not balled up, but flat together, then said the prayer three times in a row. It’s like praying to yourself, empowering yourself. I didn’t feel bad or afraid of doing it. It was, “Hey. I respect you and your religion. I’m not above you, this prayer, this way of doing it. I’m not above it.” It felt like doing the same things in Japan when we participated in those spiritual-type places to take in the culture, but also for the utmost respect. (Chan, Tommy and Mike went to Japan in a school trip three summers ago.) So I prayed with him.
Elder Black, who doesn’t have the same background as me, was scared and confused, which is understandable. He thought we were praying to an idol, so he kind of said the prayer, but not really. I could tell he was really uncomfortable and slurred his words and did it quietly. But I understood where he was coming from.
So Dad, what do you suggest? I’ve sure you’ve converted people like him on your mission? He said he wouldn’t be a Buddhist if he didn’t try to convert us, so not only are we trying to convert him, he’s trying to convert us!
(Chan might find it easier to convert this statue of Abe Lincoln, than his Buddhist contact, but at least he’s trying. ;-)
Posted by Lu Ann Brobst Staheli at 12:26 PM