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Posted 16 Apr 2001   For week ended April 13, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 09Apr01

By Kent Larsen

Missionary Lifestyle in Oklahoma

EDMOND, OKLAHOMA -- The lifestyle of a missionary threesome in Edmond, Oklahoma was the focus of an article in the Oklahoman on Saturday. The article looks at the missionary's schedule, dress and rules, as well as giving background on the LDS Church.

The three missionaries interviewed for the article were Elder Trevor Alvord, 20, from Ogden, Utah, Elder Joel Crawford, 20. from Cypress, California and Elder Dallas Hartle, 19, of Richfield, Utah. According to the article, the three were working together the day they were interviewed because Elder Alvord was waiting for a new companion to arrive.

While talking to the Elders, Oklahoman religion editor Bobby Ross, Jr., observes a car honk at the three companions and "the drive yells an indecipherable insult." "I don't think we really want to know what he said," Elder Alvord tells Ross. He observes that "Get spit at, cursed at and have doors slammed in your face" is part of the normal schedule for the missionaries, something you might put in a job description.

But the missionaries make clear that they accepted this challenge, in spite of the negative reactions and tough schedule. "We are out here on our own free wills, and the way we look at it, we're serving Jesus Christ," said Elder Hartle. "A tough schedule isn't really much, when you look at it that way, after all that He's done for us." Elder Alvord even admits that he initially tried to avoid serving a mission. "It was really the last thing I wanted to do." But a talk from an older brother, who had served a mission, helped change Elder Alvord's mind. "I just prayed about it," Alvord said of serving as a missionary, "and after I prayed about it, that's when I knew I had to do it."

While the Elders have a car, they also ride bicycles, and say they try to ride bikes at least two days a week in order to keep within the 800 mile per month allotment given them by their mission. That restriction is meant to make them more efficient, making the cars last about five years before they are sold.

The article says that 75 percent of the 60,000 missionaries are young men like Elders Alvord, Hartle and Crawford. Another 18 percent are single women, while the remaining 7 percent are older couples. The article also says that Oklahoma now has about 34,000 Church members in 75 congregations throughout the state.

At the end of the article, Ross asks each missionary about his future plans. Elder Alvord plans to become an Air Force chaplain or get a job in sports management while Elder Crawford wants to go to art school and become a cartoonist. Elder Hartle says he will finish college and may revive his relationship with a girlfriend he turned loose before coming on a mission.

In the meantime, they have a lot of work to do. "We're just basic guys with a calling from God to be here," Elder Alvord said. "We're still 20-year-olds, and we still make a lot of ... wrong choices, bad decisions." But, he adds later, "It's totally changed my life," Elder Alvord said. "I now know what it's like to live, what it's like to actually be alive. Before, I was just kind of drifting around. I guess the main thing is, we know what it's like to be a servant of Jesus Christ." Elder Crawford agrees, "This is the training for the rest of your life -- how you can become as close to Christ as you can."


Toting Bibles and bike tools
Oklahoma City OK Oklahoman 7Apr01 N1
By Bobby Ross, Jr.: Religion Editor


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