Right after I checked out of my motel on Monday, I drove to the St. George LDS temple to do an early-morning session. Their temple is so beautiful! Afterwards, I dashed back to my car, grabbed my camera, and walked the temple grounds to get some photos. I saw a visitors center on the street corner and decided to take a peak inside.
"Good morning! Welcome to the visitors center!" I was immediately greeted by the center’s director, an older white fellow with thinning gray hair. He wore in a dark suit with a prominent service missionary name tag.
I smiled. “I just paid a visit to the temple here and I thought I’d look at the visitors center too.”
"That’s great!" he said. "You look like you’re preparing to serve a mission."
I paused, slightly grimacing but still smiling.
"…or did you just come back from serving one?"
"I’ve actually been home for seven and a half years." I said, rendering an upbeat thumbs up.
"Oh…really?" The director was noticeably surprised. "Well congratulations on aging slowly!" I guess I should feel flattered by his assumption that I’m 18-21 years old. I’ve finally reached the age at which such comments can be considered compliments.
We went on to discuss my mission in Uruguay, and my 4-day visit in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.
While the director and I chatted, an older tourist couple entered the visitors center. We turned and offered a regular salutation, but they didn’t respond. In broken English, the Husband explained they were from Madrid and touring the American Southwest. He barely spoke any English, and his wife didn’t speak a word.
I got excited. “¿Ustedes hablan español?”
"Sí." They nodded.
"Pues yo también." I went on to explain that I was a missionary in Uruguay, and that I too was in St. George on vacation. I explained to them a little about our church and its beliefs. He asked me about polygamy, temples, and Mitt Romney. He was surprised when I told him we had abandoned that practice of plural marriage over a century ago. Some misconceptions die hard. Anyways, it was fun explaining the Gospel in Spanish, as it reminded me of my old mission days.