The weeks are getting faster, I think?
It was a tougher week in Searcy, but life's still grand, God's still good, and tummies are still full.
On Monday, we had our Zone P Day, in which I got pwned at Volleyball. But it was fun!
The next day, we had exchanges with the now combined Brinkley-Lonoke area. They've decided to go with "Bronoke" which is pretty good. Although the other option was "Loneley" (which, as the ironic choice seeing as there is a trio there now, would have been my choice.)
We went to their district meeting, and to the Taco Bell/KFC combo that's almost the only restaurant in that tiny town. I, uncharacteristically, chose KFC over Tacos, and was actually low key impressed. (Shhhhh)
Then I drove the hour drive back to Searcy with Elder Ramage, where we raked leaves for like 2 hours, did some missionary work, had dinner, and then met with this guy from Cameroon.
He! Is! So! Cool! He is a Bible major at the Church of Christ school here in Searcy, and the missionaries had knocked on his door months ago. He had been impressed by them, and by the Book of Mormon's bold claims. "This is a large volume," he told us. "Nobody would write this without a good reason." He's right! He has been telling the missionaries that once he graduates in a few months, he will dedicate all his time to reading it.
His story is so amazing. His dad was a shaman in Cameroon, which is someone who would defend a group of people from witchcraft and evil spirits, and so on. "Eventually," he said, "the people began to realize that shamanism didn't work. There was still evil. But they discovered something that did work - Jesus Christ." So he had gone into ministry work, and then come to Searcy, Arkansas to learn more and gain tools to use to help people back home.
What he said next was SOOO fascinating to me! "Here in America, people believe in Jesus Christ so they can go to heaven. Back home, we believe in Jesus Christ because we want protection. We want to be safe. Getting into heaven for us is an added bonus."
Anyway. That was so cool to me. We ended up talking about baptism and stuff, and left feeling like I'd gained a friend. I couldn't help but daydream about how awesome it would be if he read the Book of Mormon in like 3 days and knew that it was true, and was baptized before he went back home to Cameroon, and then he started up a branch of the church there. I'd have to visit, I think. :)
The next morning, we drove back to Lonoke to exchange back, and then back to Searcy. So there went 2 hours of our day haha. We did a lot of zone leader stuff preparing for our meeting with the local Stake President and President Hansen to discuss how the congregations are helping with missionary work. That meeting went well, and then we went to a lesson. This lady is awesome! But she's stuck in a catch 22. She wants to come to church, but she won't come unless her family does, so that she doesn't feel like she is betraying them. But her family won't come until she takes the lead and makes the stand. It's a tough situation.
We had another great Book of Mormon class this week. We were a little late cause we were hurrying to finish eating our re-creation of a Zaxbys Kickin' Chicken sandwich. For our first try, I have to say... We nailed it. It was so good hahaha. Maybe even better than the original.
Raked some leaves for a lady in a trailer park. She told us she was worried about snakes burrowing in them, cause that had happened last year. Thankfully we managed to take them all without getting bit by any snakes. (Or even seeing any, don't worry haha)
Raked some more leaves for another lady. She hadn't put her dog inside when she left for work like she had the last time when we started her yard, and so that thing barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked & barked for the whole hour + we were there. But we finished the yard!
That night, the sisters were having dinner with an investigator couple of theirs. I dunno how much they are actually investigating, but they are really kind, awesome, Christian people with an adorable little family. They had told the sisters they could invite friends to the dinner they were planning, so... We were kinda "plus ones" but not really. But hey, we like being fed! :)
Speaking of being fed.
This has been alluded to, but I've been trying to add stuff to my repertoire/mental cookbook. I've got a couple really tasty things down. I made one of those for lunch on Saturday. Taco-sized corn tortilla quesadillas, topped w a fried egg, diced potatoes, and guacamole salsa. Really good.
And then for dinner we had american tacos with one of our home teaching families. Plus two slices of really really yummy apple pie.
And then we went over to the family whose husband/father we are teaching, and they made tacos, too. It was late enough we were coming thinking it would just be a lesson, but... one bowl of Mexican ham and bean soup and like 4 more authentic delicious tacos later... I was so full. I'd never been so full of tacos in my life. It was glorious.
On Sunday, we had church as usual, and then we were picked up in the transfer van and driven to Jonesboro, Arkansas, about an hour and change away. The mission's first Easter Missionary Musical Tribute was last night and it was awesome. The whole gym of chairs was empty which was sad, and there were some kinks we need to work out, but it was really good! I'm excited for the next one on the 8th in Jacksonville, AR. If I stay with Elder Ogaard one more transfer, I will get to go to all of them across the mission, back on the Memphis side! I'm kinda crossing my fingers for that.
So that's the week, really! Things are goin' in Searcy. Lots of awesome people. Lots of potential! And Searcy is the place where I am becoming the best person I've ever been. (Not just eating lots of tacos haha.)
Hope y'all have a stupendous week full of tacos and cool people and Jesus and the Book of Mormon! Happy Easter! Love y'all!
909 Holmes Rd, apt. 209
Searcy, Arkansas, 72143
There have been several times this week that I have felt like weeping. Don't worry, it's been one of the best weeks ever.
On Tuesday, we had exchanges with the APs. I got to stay in Searcy, and Elder Smalling (the Elder I replaced in Searcy) came down with me. We had a dang good day.
We started out raking a huge pile of leaves for someone, and then had a lesson with a recent convert. Taught him about Baptisms for the Dead and he's planning on going to the St. Louis Temple this weekend! Exciting! He also teaches our Book of Mormon class and is just awesome. He was going to school to be a Church of Christ pastor, but just fell in love with the Book of Mormon. Its the word of God, y'all!
That appointment went long, and so our planned hour and a half of finding was cut to just a half an hour, and we had our dinner appointment right afterward. I figured it would take us long enough to drive there and then to our dinner appointment that I seriously almost considered not going. But... We also had set a goal that morning to find 2 new investigators. We had picked a former in the neighborhood we planned on going and decided to just go and try the former investigator.
We got there, knocked on the door, and the former had moved, but the lady who answered the door had sat in on a missionary discussion before, and was willing to have us back and read something before our next visit, so within like 2 minutes we had 1 of our 2. We saw there was another former investigator around the corner, and we had like 10 minutes left, so we gave it a shot and bam! She let us right in. It seemed like the missionaries had just stopped coming by in the past, and she was willing to have us back over!
So... wow. The Lord magnified our time to accomplish our goals and led us right where we needed to be. How cool is that??
Well the day went even better, cause we set a baptismal date with the father of a wonderful family this week! Bro. Aguilar. I hadn't set a baptismal date since like... August. It felt really good. We've got a lot to teach him before April 14th, but we are excited!
The next day, the Lord made us work a little harder to get our goal of 1 investigator. Okay... a lot harder. But it was awesome!
We had our goal of one new investigator, and we picked a street. We walked in with 4 Books of Mormon, 2 Bibles, 7 passalong cards, and 4 pamphlets between the two of us. We determined that we wouldn't leave without our one new investigator, and that we would return to the truck with nothing but our tablets left.
Well... We talked with every person we saw. We found a couple nice people, but nobody too willing to hear us out. We were down to 1 bible, and 2 pamphlets. We were 45 minutes into our planned dinner hour, and finally found the one! Gave her two pamphlets to read, and set up a time to come back. Walked away with misty eyes. Wow wow. God is good.
We still had a bible, though, so we quickly gave that to somebody and were totally empty handed. But that didn't stop us from talking with one more person. Who, as it turned out, had met with the sisters before, and said she was open to having them back.
Dadgum. Got back to the apartment totally exhausted. But still made a late dinner, started planning for district meeting the next morning, and had a MLC Skype group meeting thing.
We were sooooo tired going to bed that night. But it was an awesome feeling.
On Thursday, we had our district meeting, and then we had to head out so Elder Ogaard could make his Urologist appointment. Which sounded fun. A member who works at the place passed us in the hall and volunteered to take us out for lunch, so that was awesome!
That evening, we had a lesson with a guy who had just lost his wife and grandmother. He was pretty distraught and was visibly comforted by what we shared with him in the chapel. He was so promising! But we got a text from him last night saying he was going to just keep going to his grandpa's church. Dang. He probably got some anti-mormon stuff fed to him. :(
We had our Book of Mormon class right after that, which was awesome, and then we left to have dinner with a bunch of members of the ward who were getting together at one of their [extremely] nice houses. I've literally never seen a nicer back yard in my life. Palm trees, a 2 story tree house, a pool with a waterslide, a tennis court, swing set, full kitchen, large patio, and string lights hung up. It was like a resort. It's fascinating to see that and trailer parks in the same day.
On Friday, we started our weekly planning session and didn't get too far. We got a phone call from one of our district leaders letting us know an elder in our Zone is going home, and that his companion will be joining them in a trio. We had no idea about any of that. So... We made some calls. Said some prayers, and decided to keep that trio as is. Called the Elder going home and just told him we were super proud of him for putting repentence and living the Gospel of Christ before serving his mission. Still so hard, though. He'll be back out this fall. There were more than misty eyes this time, over this whole situation. We have some awesome missionaries.
That afternoon, we did an exchange with Cabot. So I added another apartment I've been in to my long-growing list haha. Walked around to a bunch of less active members homes, but nobody was home so that was a bummer.
The next day, we exchanged back. It felt good to be back in Searcy. We met with a referral we received a few weeks ago again and wow, she is awesome! Her family is kinda wayward and going through a hard time, but when we arrived, she had a notebook full of notes from reading the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, and had even done the "extra study" questions at the end of the pamphlet. (Nobody ever does those. The last person that did was Caroline, and... she got baptized. So we are stoked!)
We then went to the Aguilars for dinner (the family whose father we had set the baptismal date with). They made the BEST tacos I have ever had in my entire life. Grilled beef, chicken, and pork, with homemade salsa, onion/habanero stuff, rice, and cactus, and it was SOO good.
Afterward, we watched the Restoration DVD, and had a really good lesson. Felt the Spirit really strongly and there were more misty eyes. Idk if I've cared for an investigator/family as much as I have like this before. They are so wonderful.
On Sunday, church was good. A less active member came for the first time in over 5 years. He handed me his tithes before heading out so that was awkward and funny haha. We got a ride from a priest preparing for his mission to the tiny town of Augusta, AR. Which like really made me want to come back and do a ton of photoshoots there. Its kinda run down and a little sketch but also stuck in time and kinda cute.
We visited a referral out there, and in so doing reached our week goal of 5 New Investigators. Just in time. The lord provides a way!
So you can say it's been an awesome week. Idk if I've ever worked harder. And I like this. Miracles are everywhere. And this week I have definitely fallen in love with Searcy. There are so many awesome people here and the ward is amazing and the work is going well... life is good here!
I hope life is good in y'alls corner of the vineyard, too. Work hard, have fun, pray lots. Love y'all!
I like emails
I like letters
909 Holmes Rd, apt. 209
Searcy, Arkansas, 72143
This week was one of those that seemed to go fast, but when I think about Tuesday it also feels like forever ago. Ya know? It's been an awesome, fulfilling, week, though!
On Tuesday, we had our Mission Leadership Council meeting, which was really good. Got me HYPED. Searcy Arkansas isn't ready for what's about to hit it.
Afterward, we had our personal interviews with President Hansen. Man, I love that guy. He asked how I was doing and I said good, and he told me, "I can tell! You look good." Which wasn't a compliment to my looks or anything haha. And it's not that I didn't look "good" or "happy" before, but it was just good to hear that the changes I've been making are showing and that the happiness is, too. Yay! The gospel is for real, y'all! Living it works!
We were the last ones to leave, and after helping clean the church a little bit, we went to Wendy's for dinner (4 for $4 ayooo) and my free frosty card gave me a full size rather than a mini frosty that time. #TenderMercies
After that, we drove to Jacksonville (Arkansas, not Florida) and met up with the elders there at their ward Volleyball night. Changed and exchanged. Elder Carter and I stayed in j-ville with Elder Seastrand. Played (and lost, yikes) some volleyball and then headed to their apartment for the night. (It was a nice, 2 story apartment. 2 bed, 2.5 bath, full kitchen... it used to be a sisters apartment, I guess. Definiteky one of the nicer apartments in the mission. Got to experience both sides of that this week, but that's for later.)
The next day, we biked out to a food pantry/thrift store place and I got to presort clothes like back in my Uptown Cheapskate days. Checking if the zippers work, if there's stains, etc. Difference was, step 1 at this place was to just smell the bag in case it smelled like... well...anything bad. 4 bags did, so that's fun.
We biked back, had lunch, and then walked around a bunch. Visited a recent convert who had some good lines. "I love the guy, but he's a low down snake. I wouldn't touch that guy with a long-handled spoon." And "oh, no, that's a whole other bag of snakes." Things like that help me love the south hahaha.
We walked to the Air Force base up there, and a member picked us up and took us to Larry's Pizza buffet. I hadn't been too impressed last time, but maybe this location was better. They've got all kinds of cool, weird flavors of pizza haha.
Elder Carter got a call letting him know he would be Emergency Transfered from our trio. :/ so we exchanged back that night so he would have time to pack.
The next day was zone conference, which made me EVEN MORE HYPED about missionary work. I'm so glad to be getting this instruction and motivation this early in my mission still. I've got a long time still to put it all in practice!
After Zone Conference, we had our 2nd exchange of the week. I went to Brinkley, Arkansas, a tiny little podunk town in between Little Rock and Memphis kinda. We chatted with this nice old baptist lady for a while, who still kinda adamantly disagreed with us on some stuff (like how everybody is going to be resurrected, and how we have to actually do stuff to accept Christ's grace. Stuff other than claiming you're saved, anyway.) But she was super nice, and ended up accepting a Book of Mormon and our challenge for her to read it!
Driving back to their apartment, the headlights glared in the eyes of the occasional racoon, and frogs hopped off the two lane road here and there. We passed like 2 other cars the whole ride. It started feeling a little more real that I'm not in Collierville, TN, anymore haha.
I was a little nervous for this exchange, mostly because of the Brinkley apartment. I'd heard [literal] horror stories about their last apartment. Their last apartment had been haunted. And I guess all they did was move them next door, basically. I won't go into details here, but I'll just say that I didn't believe in ghosts/etc. until my mission.
It didn't help that their apartment was kinda old. It was also 2 stories, but not in the same nice way as the Jacksonville apartment haha. They hadn't gotten blinds for downstairs yet, so all the windows there were uncovered. That night, Elder Albertson showed me how to play Magic: The Gathering. (Which I lost drastically. I guess you have 20 lives, but he cleared my defenses and hit me with 31 level attack. Or something like that haha. I don't think I'll play again lol.)
When we went to bed, he locked the bedroom door. And... He kinda snored a lot so I kept waking up and having a hard time falling back asleep. But we survived, and nothing came of the occasional thump coming from downstairs. But the apartment did kinda smell like crack in some places.
Elder Woodland and Ogaard came up the next day to exchange back and help with their weekly planning session. Afterward, Elder Ogaard and I went back to Searcy. We drove on some fun back roads. It started out reminding me of Idaho. This was a different side of Arkansas than I'd seen before. Wide open fields, letting you see for miles. I miss the mountains, though.
After half an hour or so, the open fields turned kinda marshy, with dead looking trees on either side of the road, submerged in flood water. From time to time, the trees would give way to more open fields, flooded enough to make the road look like we were driving through a lake. Hopefully they are rice fields that need to be flooded, to contribute to Arkansas being the number one exporter of rice in the world, apparently? (Even beating China, as the fun fact goes, but I don't have Google so I can't fact check these hooligans and prove them wrong. Can someone get back to me on that?)
We were both kinda nodding off on the drive back, but I at least managed to keep my eyes open often enough for us to get back to Searcy safely.
We had a good rest of our afternoon! We visited a referral we received who has met with the missionaries before, and even read a bunch of the Book of Mormon. She recognized the peace it brings into her life, and wants to share that with all 4 of her kinda wayward kids. So we are excited to keep working with her.
And then that night, we had an awesome lesson with the nonmember dad of an adorable little family. He asked lots of good questions, and his wife kept teasing him about getting baptized. We are excited for him and his family!
We spent the majority of the next day doing our own weekly planning. We got kinda burnt out and haven't finished everything for it just yet, but I feel like I know Searcy better, and I'm way more pumped to be here, now. [Deep cleaning the kitchen and bathroom this week also helped! We found a dead mouse under thr kitchen sink ayooo]
We went to do service for a member, who said we could plan on staying afterwards for dinner. Well... when we got there, dinner was ready and they said we didn't have to do service for them that day. They tricked us haha. But it was a nice surprise. They had ~homemade mashed potatoes~ which us 2 Idaho boys had been talking about just earlier that day. #TenderMercies
It got even better than food, though, when their 10 year old grandson said that he wanted to be baptized after the spiritual thought we shared with them! He has to get permission from his dad, though. So keep that in your prayers! Got my picture taken over there to be added to their wall-sized collection of all the missionaries that have been in their home.
It was raining when we left, and we had scheduled time to try and meet some members and former investigators, but by the time we made it to where we needed to be, there was lightning and thunder and rain coming down, so we couldn't have seen the address numbers if they even had them up. (That's a problem in Arkansas I've noticed. People sometimes don't have their address numbers up on the house, mailbox, sidewalk, anything, really. Which is annoying.)
Daylights savings felt real good Sunday morning. :-)
Church was good. Afterward, we went to the bishops house and Elder Ogaard made the bishop's family and the sister missionaries who joined us fried chicken. (And did a really good job. He's improving! ) It was a fun evening. Bishop Webb an his family are really awesome.
This week, Elder Ogaard and I are going to try to find 5 New Investigstors. Finding has been a struggle in our Zone for a while, now, so we need to lead by example! Also pray for us to reach that goal, and find those people this week!
I'm excited for this week! Got some good stuff lined up, and some big goals to shoot for. Let's do this!
Have a great week!
I could use some quick, cheap, few-ingredient recipes!
Or maybe a Blue Apron subscription idk
909 Holmes Rd, apt. 209
Searcy, Arkansas, 72143
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I hit my 9 month mark this week! So that's crazy. Even if it's not a notable milestone or anything. And now we are pretty much a week through March!
Last week, I was writing you from Conway, Arkansas. And now I'm just one county over to the east, in Searcy. The Conway Zone no longer exists, and I am currently a Zone Leader over the Searcy Zone, which has 10 companionships total. My companion is Elder Ogaard, from Mountain Home, Idaho. And Elder Carter from Prescott, Arizona! Yup. I'm in a trio again. Elder Ogaard is my fellow ZL. I replaced Elder Smalling here, who is now our new Assistant to the President.
Searcy is about a third of the size of Conway. It's an older town, and in that sense has an equal share of charming and run down. I guess the factory where they make pop tarts is here in town, and it employs a lot of people. It's also known for--according to the sign as you drive in--Harding University. Which is like the Church of Christ's equivalent to our BYU. Only a lot more expensive.
The actual area we cover is actually several times bigger than Conway, though, because it encompasses several smaller towns over an hour drive away. We share the ward with the STLs. Our apartment is the longest running lease in the mission, having housed missionaries for the last 15 years. ...yeah. [As a fun fact, apparently the next-longest-running-lease is only 5 years.]
The apartment is still standing. And it works. And it has quirks. It's not too gross until you open a closet, cupboard, or drawer and just see 15 years of missionary clutter in there. There are 2 bathrooms, which I was very happy about! Buuut only one of them has a shower. And there's 3 of us. And because it's a rule that we have to sleep in the same room, there are 3 twin mattresses almost side to side in the bedroom.
So... I'm not super stoked about the apartment, but I've got some good companions, and the work here in Searcy seems like it has a ton of potential. So I'm excited about that!
Last week, I had my last David's burger in Conway. The next closest one is in Cabot, which fortunately is in our Zone. Finished packing up, and went to Umami's one last time with the Routt's for Evan's Birthday. Gonna miss that family!
The next day we got up early and drove to North Little Rock for exchanges. Gonna miss Elder Evans a lot, too! He's in Oxford, Mississippi, now. About as far away as you can get from Searcy. I guess we had too much fun.
Got picked up there by my new companions. And oh what joy, I'm the designated driver. [Sarcasm is difficult to express in written form, but suffice it to say I'm not a huge fan of driving, especially in new places and when people don't give great directions.] I guess Elder Ogaard got into an accident on his mission so he's not allowed to, and I was just assigned to be the driver. And not of a Corolla anymore. No sirree. We're in small town Arkansas, now, so we drive a truck.
I drive a truck, now.
[A chunky white Nissan Frontier, aw yeah.] Say goodbye to making tight turns and having a short turning radius. Oh, and Searcy doesn't believe in having shoulders on the road, so that's fun, too.
But it beats biking, and I drive a truck, now, so I don't complain!!! We actually fit in, now.
My first morning in Searcy, the painful morning alarm went off. We said prayers and started exercising. I stood up for a second and checked the time. Wait a minute... that can't be right. 6:14?!
The missionary handbook instructs us to get up at 6:30 every morning. And I treasure every minute of sleep that I can get. At first, I was a little miffed, but when it was 7:40 and I had caught up on journaling, showered, shaved, exercised, and had breakfast, and had time to spare for extra studies... I realized that this was gonna be one of those hard things that makes me better. So 6AM mornings it is.
Our bishop went out with us to visit some people, and took us to... Tacos 4 Life for dinner! Ayooo. I think I can like Searcy.
We spent a lot of time this week revamping our whiteboards with investigstor and zone info. It was kind of a mess before, too, and now it at least makes a little bit of sense to me. I'm still trying to figure out what areas and people are in our Zone, let alone their investigators. But I'm learning!
I also spent about 2-3 hours organizing our pantry, which we use as a library for all the cards, pamphlets, and books we hand out. It looked like a tornado hit in there. And now it looks better! I haven't had the courage to do the same to the bathroom or kitchen yet. But it's coming. (Gulp)
Had a leadership meeting with the Stake President, and scavenged some spaghetti from the Cub Scout blue and gold banquet that was happening. So that was a good break from the "new people and area etc." information firehose.
The next day was gorgeous. Like textbook definition of a beautiful sunshiney day. Saw a couple kids playing in the street on their bikes and thought that was weird when we realized it was like 11:00AM. We soon found out that because of the rain the day before, school had been canceled. Not a snow day, but a flood day. Some parts of the towns outside of Searcy I guess had pretty badly flooded roads. Interesting!
Chatted w 3 Pentecostal ladies for a while, and that was awesome. They're going through hard times, and want to quit smoking, and just "amen" and "yes, Jesus,"'ed through our whole prayer with them.
Went to visit a less active guy who lives out in a trailer next to an abandoned house with his grandmother and 29 cats. Hoo boy. Maybe this was the Lord telling me to be more grateful for our apartment. Of all the gross things in my mission I've seen, this takes the cake. The trailer was dark and there was furniture scattered everywhere. The guy was barefoot and had flecks of cat poop between his toes, and cat hair matted to his heel. You could smell the place walking up to it. I had to try to hold back my gag reflex a couple times. The abandoned house with the sunken in roof would have been an upgrade.
We had an awesome end of the day, though! We have a Book of Mormon class followed by board games afterward every thursday night. An 18 year old recent convert named Braxton [who was baptized like... last week] actually taught the class and did it phenomenally. He goes to that CoC Harding University, and hadn't told his parents yet that he had joined the Church. [We heard just yesterday though that his dad was supportive, yay!]
There was us, the sisters, 3 members, and 2 girls who came, too. They were also raised Church of Christ and were just kinda checking our church out. They stayed for board games and we played a pretty fun game of "would you rather?"
After some time, we just stopped playing the game to answer their questions. They had noticed a lot of hypocrisy in their growing up years, and didn't like how there were questions you didn't ask in their church. They were obviously impressed by our candor and openness about some of the difficult questions they asked. It was really awesome. I left feeling like they were friends, and hopefully they left feeling something different and good about us and the restoration of the gospel.
The next morning, we called bingo at a retirement/assisted living home. I got to sit by Dale & Marvin. Marvin was 94 and a WWII Navy veteran, who had essentially circumnavigated the globe on an aircraft carrier, and celebrated his birthday the day the peace treaty had been signed. The two of them cracked me up. My job was to "keep them honest" and help them if they missed anything. Dale won 2 bingos in a row, winning a tub of tootsie rolls each time. When he saw what was inside after i opened one for him, he realized, "Oh, im not supposed to eat these, I have diabetes." Which is maybe more sad than it is funny, but I thought it was funny.
That afternoon, we had our first exchange of the transfer with Beebe, a small town south of us about 20 minutes. Both Elder Carter & I stayed down there with Elder Riley, who had been in my Conway Zone for a couple weeks before getting moved out. It was weird being the senior companion again, over the 3 of us. There are 5 or 6 other areas in our Zone, where I've been out longer than both companions there. And that's WEIRD. I still feel new!
We did a lot of finding, and chatted w some interesting folks. Met someone who worked at taco bell, and that being one of the few restaurants there in Beebe, we decided to have dinner there. We then went to a less active family's house and read the Book of Mormon with them and chatted for a while.
They told us the story of this old guy who lived up in the boonies of Arkansas and rode a little scooter thing all over town. He carried his cane with him and would wack a dent into any car that came too close to him. The way the story ended was that one day he got hit by a car and died. The end.
The next day we exchanged back and raked a lady's yard. Had some of Elder Ogaard's self-proclaimed "world famous" fried chicken that was "mediocre at best," as my joke went. [It was actually pretty good, don't worry. Not too raw to have killed me, anyway. 🤣] Started our weekly planning and made some cookies for some folks who committed to come to church, to remind them. Only 1 of the 3 actually came, so I guess the cookies weren't as good as his fried chicken.
Sunday was my 1st Sunday in Searcy, and it was Fast & Testimony meeting so I could introduce myself, too. We had a guy come to church after having felt a prompting to talk to the missionaries from Quitman, AR the day before. We arranged him a ride and he actually came!
Spiritual thought of the day/revelation I received from testimony meeting:
I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. I understand the concept of His sacrifice and death for me. The drops of his blood that fell as he shouldered my pains and the consequences of my mistakes. I have felt His love and peace flow within me more strongly than I can describe. I know I am eternally indebted to him. And that through him is my happiness possible.
I can begin to comprehend only with an earthly level of understanding and gratitude, His sacrifice, and the pain he has spared me from, and the energy with which He invested Himself in my life.
When I stand at the judgement bar, I suspect that the level of gratitude I attain in this life will be meager in comparison to what surely will be a humbling, painful, and joyful experience as I realize just how much He went through, just how much He did, and just how much He loves me.
I don't know if mistakes will hurt afresh, or if, in reality, through His cleansing power they won't even be remembered. But surely, standing in His glory and knowing that it is because of Him that our purity is possible will our current levels of gratitude seem insignificant in comparison to what we will then feel.
That day, we also secretly requested everyone in the zone fast for the Beebe area. They called us that night to share the news that a member had given them a pretty solid referral! Then we shared the news that the whole zone had been fasting for them that day. Cool cool stuff. [Bonus, this morning we also got a referral from a member! Blessings all over the place!]
After church, we gave a blessing to a lady who fell before church started, and as we were leaving, another lady, clearly with some kind of mental illness, asked for us to "lay hands on her," too. She was a character and very absorbed in her can of Pringles and her diet coke. So we gave 2 blessings that day.
We gave another one this morning, and I dunno if I've ever felt the spirit as strongly while giving a blessing before. It was a blessing of comfort to a kid my younger brother's age, whose aunt had just committed suicide. His mom, the woman's sister, also received one, but E. Ogaard gave that one. While those blessings were happening, I definitely felt like the love of the Savior was being channeled through me, and I was allowed to feel just a portion of the love He has for them. I could feel how much He understood their pain. What a sacred privilege. I had a hard time saying amen and holding the tears back.
So it's been a good week. Busy, and full of adjusting. I'm going to be gone 3 or 4 nights next week on exchanges. Gah. Sometimes I just wanna work in my own area. I wanna be able to know our ward and investigators. But it is what it is I guess.
I'm determined to let my time in Searcy build me to be the best me that I have ever been. I can confidently say after this week, so far so good. That's a good feeling.
My invitation to y'all: think about your gratitude for your Savior. Go out of your way to call or visit someone you either haven't in a while or don't usually. Don't take the time we have to improve as people and share existence with those around us for granted.
I love y'all! The gospel is so undeniably true. Searcy is awesome. I'm happy!
909 Holmes Rd, apt. 209
Searcy, Arkansas, 72143
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Serving A Mission!
What's all this about? As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is expected of me that I will serve a two-year mission. (And yeah, the "riding bikes and wearing nametags and knocking on doors" kind of mission.) But this isn't something I'm doing because it's expected of me... I'm doing this because the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life SO much, in SO many ways. I can't think of a greater honor or responsibility than being able to play a part in someone's story of finding and enjoying these blessings, too.
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(After June 20, 2017)
Elder Oliver Wrigley Dahl
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr
North Little Rock AR 72116