Monday, March 31, 2014

Missionary experience at Safeway

I had a neat and unexpected missionary experience today and want to document it before I forget it.

Upon picking up Ryan from school, he immediately asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A.  It's a mile or less from his school, and being that he's out at 11:10, we will sometimes stop there for lunch.  While I am virtually always up for a spicy chicken sandwich, I just felt like it wasn't right today, so I told Ryan no and we drove on.  I then suggested that Ryan get a cookie instead since we needed to stop at Safeway on our way home.  Ryan, who normally is as easy and mellow as they come, burst into tears and threw himself a little tantrum.  He wanted Chick-Fil-A, NOT a cookie!  This is honestly not like him at all, but it further confirmed that I'd made the right decision.  I explained that with this kind of attitude, he wasn't going to get either.  Sadly, he continued to pout and when we arrived to Safeway and he sheepishly asked if he could get a cookie, I told him no.

We got into Safeway and went straight to the bakery for rolls, only to discover they were out.  After standing at the bakery counter for four solid minutes, a lady appeared from behind the counter and asked if she could help me.  She checked in the back for rolls only to find none there, then referred me to the front of the store where I could grab individual rolls out of the bin.  Thankfully the rolls were there and after grabbing the few other items on my life, we headed to the self-checkout stand.  Upon scanning my first item, I immediately noticed just feet from us the missionaries from our ward putting change into one of those money machines to get bills back.  I pointed them out to Ryan and told him to go say hello.  He was being shy for some reason and refused.  Maybe it had something to do with no Chick-Fil-A or cookie?  Either way, the next thing we knew, the lady working the self-checkout lanes walked over and said hello.  She asked Ryan's name, then introduced herself as "Dinah."  At this point Ryan decided to put his happy face back on and while pointing to the missionaries, said, "Those are the missionaries!  They go to our church!"  Dinah then said, "I know!  My sister sometimes feeds the missionaries!"  Well that was random!  Then Dinah mentioned how she would love to feed the missionaries herself but recently got rid of her table and isn't sure she could accommodate them.  She even asked, "Do you have to be Mormon to feed the missionaries?"  It was so cool to be having such an open and friendly conversation out in public with a complete stranger.  Finally I told her that we were actually planning to feed them Saturday and that she was welcome to join us if she'd like!  I offered to write down my name and phone number and told her she was welcome to call me if she'd like to come, or if she had any questions or wanted to get in touch with the missionaries.  Another customer happened by and Dinah seemed to be a bit distracted and ended up walking away.  At that point I thought that perhaps that was the end of it and that I'd been too bold in offering her my number.  But the next thing I know she was walking back towards me with a piece of paper and a pen!  I wrote down my name and number and reemphasized our desire to have her in our home on Saturday.  She was very gracious and kind, and thanked me.  She then told me she'd try and call me after work, and as we were leaving, she said, "Goodbye Ryan!"

She also mentioned during our conversation that her mom in Louisianna (or maybe it was her aunt) cooked for the missionaries sometimes too.  I told her about our connections to Louisianna.  Super friendly lady.

I was so amazed by the experience and the simple ease of it.  And then I remembered the feeling I'd had as Ryan asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A, and how I had a feeling today wasn't the day to go.  And that thought led to the frustration I'd felt standing at the bakery counter waiting and waiting for someone to happen by.  Had we gone to Chick-Fil-A, or had Safeway had the rolls I needed to begin with, we may have missed Dinah.  Or perhaps the missionaries, who never even saw us at all, would not have been standing 15 feet away.  This is a direct answer to prayer.  We as a family have been praying for missionary opportunities, and I just had one!  Perhaps nothing will come of it.  Perhaps Dinah will decide after work that she doesn't want to call me or accept my invitation after all.  But I'd like to think if nothing else, that Ryan's eagerness to share with Dinah that the missionaries from his church were standing over there just might plant a seed.  I am really happy I listened to the Spirit today.