I worked long and hard on this subject line. How's that for an attention grabber?
Kind of a long email, cause that's how I roll. *ironically dabs*
It's been a fun week, full of highs and lows. The highs have been pretty high and the lows pretty low, but still a top notch, memorable week in Collierville, TN in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission!
Last P Day, we did service behind this guy's restored Civil War Era home. You cross this bridge-to-terabithia into a thickly wooded forest, with a giant tree and a an old farm he uses as a shed. We rode a four wheeler an acre or two into the trees, so not that far, but it felt like the middle of nowhere with as thick as the trees are. The member used a chainsaw to cut some fallen trees into logs, and we picked them up and put them in a pile. Not too bad. (We aren't allowed to use power tools.) A fly the size of a quarter (before wings) landed on the members back and wouldn't stop leaving him alone. He swatted at it and finally hit it. The forest floor shook as the behemoth fly collided into the dirt like a crashed plane. The thing had been sucking the members blood, and there were large red spots all over his white shirt. We escaped unscathed, and found a turtle. We got chiggers bites doing service another day, though. I'd rather have those than mosquito bites though, I think.
So yeah, the south. Fun stuff!
The first part of this week was ridiculously hot. The car thermometer read 110, not accounting for humidity. Which isn't exactly accurate but that's what it felt like. But these last few days have felt like paradise, especially mornings and evenings.
One of our member friends broke the door handle off her grandparents house while house-sitting, so urgently called us to see if we could help her fix it, cause the house is technically for sale right now. It's super nice, gorgeously decorated, and apparently has an elevator! We got into the garage and found a pair of pliers and a screwdriver and were able to twist the door open to get inside and repair the handle! So thats the "breaking into the mansion" story haha.
Had 2 of our other new investigators drop us. One because her pastor told us the book of Mormon is evil and there's only one bible and we're a cult. I don't understand, like if we are claiming we have more words of Jesus Christ, what about that is evil exactly? Weird.
Our golden investigator is doing so well, though! She was a referral from the stake president's son. When we first met with her, she had read through 2 Nephi 25 on her own already and had a notebook full of notes. (Whaa?? We haven't been able to have an investigator read the 1st chapter by themselves yet. So this is awesome)
We had the stake presidents wife come over with us on the 2nd lesson. Which was interesting. The girl's mom even came to sit in on the lesson, but then the stake presidents wife started out diving right into the word of wisdom and all the "rules" of Mormonism. -.- the lesson was /supposed/ to be the Plan of Salvation, or God's plan for us, which we eventually got around to after many an irrelevant tangent. Man, that was awkward.
We ended up having a good lesson afterward, and invited the investigator to say the prayer. She was hesitant at first, but did good! "I'm thankful for what the missionaries have taught me today... it's so awesome!! And... please help these boys travel safely to the other people they are teaching, and... that's about it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." So hearing that was a huge relief!
[She and her family live in Mike Conley's neighborhood, ($$ zone) but across a bridge down the street. They joked that the people on their side of the street were in the slums or projects comparatively to Mike Conley's street. Which is crazy, cause like... million dollar homes, man.]
We invited her to come to church, she said she was excited to go with us! Then over the next few days, the stake presidents wife and family invited her to go to the Young Single Adults ward, which we werent a fan of. We couldnt be there with her, and if she came to the ward we are over, then it would be easier to invite her parents along too, down the road. And then Sunday happened and it was like the church meetings that day were meant for her to be there. But she wasn't cause she was at the Young Single Adults ward. (Better there than not at all, though! And being with her own age group was good. She just missed out on some awesome youth testimonies of the book of Mormon, and her absence triggered the following painful moment.) Since going to church, she has been working on meeting with us again ASAP! She's so prepared and loves the gospel already, it's so awesome!
We had a less-active family come, which was awesome, but then the Sunday school lesson which was going to be a generic Plan of Salvation lesson became targeted at the less active family's struggles and weaknesses, and I'm afraid that scared them away. It was incredibly awkward and we didn't know what to do our how to intervene. We visited with them later that evening and they had a good attitude about it, but I was hurting for them.
I think as members of the church, we have a tendency to overcomplicate the gospel. What's up with that? And it's awful when that overcomplicating affects the spiritual growth of others. We need to focus on the simple parts of the gospel first, and quite frankly forget everything else until a good foundatiom of faith is there.
Oh yeah and then there's the thing about killing my dad.
So in missionary slang, your first area is where you were "born" and your trainer is your "dad." "Killing" someone is being their final companion before they head home. So this was Elder Johnson's last week! Lots of goodbyes were had, which oddly enough made me glad I was staying cause I'm already kinda attached to the people in Collierville. I'm gonna miss Elder Johnson!
Brother Boggs, a known-mission-wide member of the church here, is famous for treating the missionaries really well. He took Elder Johnson wherever he wanted for dinner, and Elder Johnson decided on Commissary BBQ. It was so freaking good. The plate came with a whole thing of ribs, about half a bbq chicken, slaw, rolls, baked beans, and a deviled egg. Plus we got pie. I had a lot of leftovers, and that was after eating a lot more than I should have haha.
So anyway, as I write this, I'm sitting in the Memphis side church building hub of the mission. Elder Johnson is doing a session at the temple next door, and then is headed off to return home tomorrow! My new companion is Elder Henderson from Blackfoot, Idaho. And this will be his last transfer, too. I'm hearing all kinds of fun things about him. :-) Should be a fun transfer!
Something fun I've realized in my pondering: the south is a dump.
Just kidding. (Mostly, anyway.) What I realized is...
If God loves all of His children, then naturally the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is His church. That's all it takes to know this is His church. The Book of Mormon shows that He doesn't limit the spread of His gospel to one people or continent or time, but wants all people to come to know it and be blessed by it! Yesterday, today, and forever. Super cool.
Think and teach simply!! Read the Book of Mormon! It's so cool and testifies of Christ and will increase your faith in him!
Love you all!
Is it even a weekly missionary letter if you don't say something about how fast the last week went?
Last p day was pretty fun! Got a haircut, checked out >$80,000 cars at some of the shmancy car dealerships in Collierville, went to an awesome army surplus store, and had a dinner appointment with a great family hosting three foreign exchange students from Brazil on soccer scholarships. We ended up teaching them about the Book of Mormon!
The one lady we had that awesome experience with weeks ago answered the door again finally! She admitted to us that she felt better after our first visit and that it had been God who had led us to her door that day. Life is still hard but she told us she had signed up for rehab in Nashville. We asked if we could come in and teach her and see what we could do to help. She told us in an hour. So we walked around the neighborhood.
There's a less active member who we had knocked on his door a couple times, and the last time had seen his finger through the blinds and then proceed to not answer the door. Well, I saw him park and go inside so we figured we would try him again. He answered the door this time, apologized for not answering last time, and gave us two Gatorades each. He grabbed our number and said he'd take us out to lunch sometime. What a change!
We returned to the first lady's house after an hour and she proceeded to not open the door. Ugh.
The next day, the less active guy called us and invited us to lunch the following day! Our ward mission leader advised we take along another ward member to be his friend. We called to make sure that was ok and he said it was, but then a few hours later called to cancel because his wife didn't feel comfortable with the other member coming over. I guess years ago some member had offended her so bad that she had her name removed from the records of the church. (Which shows the importance of having a strong testimony, a forgiving attitude, and of taking each success as it comes... lesson learned)
So both of those fell through.
Tuesday night we we were having dinner with this family, and got talking about member missionary work. The mom had come to lessons with investigators before with countless sets of missionaries, and had done her own missionary work but had never had success with it. We kinda got talking about what a struggle it is, and then bam... her son's boss came over, and the son invited in her in to join us for the spiritual thought at the close of dinner. Then we ended up spending a good 20-30 minutes on the book of mormon and our church, it was really cool! God has a sense of humor.
We had another investigator drop us but we helped our remaining ones quite a bit this week. We had interviews with our new Mission President, and that was good. I went last out of our district so I sat in the foyer with the mission presidents wife, sister Hansen for a while. She's pretty awesome.
At our district meeting, we learned how the parable of the good Samaritan in the bible is an allegory for the plan of salvation. My mind was BLOWN. In 5 verses, Jesus teaches an incredible lesson on loving and serving everyone. While at the same time providing a discourse in metaphor for everything from Adam to modern day prophets. (Check out "The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols", from the February 2007 Ensign Magazine, p.40)
Elder Johnson's flight information home came this week! He heads home one week from today. I'm gonna miss him!
After a particularly hot day, we had dinner with an awesome couple in the ward. Their less active daughter and her family came, and one of the Brazilian exchange students was there, too! So we were teaching like 3 different people at once again, it was cool.
We had exchanges this week. I stayed in Collierville and elder Johnson went to Southaven, I think his first area that he served in. So he got to see some old member and investigator friends again. We kept busy here, knocking doors with little success. One potential though, and next door to her a KOOKY guy who kept going on about the Clinton scandals and then having a short term memory lapse and saying it again. He then called us and shared his thoughts on the Clintons AGAIN over the phone. It was pretty hilarious, but the guy is out of his mind, so it's also a little sad.
Had dinner at this Indian family's house. They made authentic chicken in sauce and bread from scratch... it was way good. I don't think I've really had Indian food before then, so it was something new. Killer Indian food was not one of the things I expected to be eating in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission but I'm glad it was!
We also had some killer sushi one night... the recent convert and his girlfriend we are teaching the post-baptism lessons to took us out to dinner. I've liked sushi in the past but really haven't had it more than a couple times, so this was way good.
While on exchanges the next day, we volunteered to help a less active and his family weed their yard at 10AM. There was a tiny little garden box along one side of the fence, not more than 12 feet long. And two smaller square garden boxes just barely big enough to surround a tree. So not a lot to weed. It only took us an hour to pull all the nasty viny grass out. (The grass here is different from back west... it's like a weed. You pull up on one strand and the root comes up and pulls out another food of grass, its weird.) So... not too bad right? An hour of casual weeding at 10AM? I've literally never sweat so much before in my life. I was dripping everywhere, constantly. It was so hot at 10AMalready. As we were leaving the guy told us he would see us tomorrow at church!
Got home and showered again haha. It was a good way to spend the morning, I felt really good after that. Exchanged back and reuniting with elder Johnson felt like seeing an old friend again. We spent most of the rest of the day in a car driving with a ward member out to the boonies to try more less active members with not a lot of luck, but it was fun.
Guess what? That guy came to church! And he dragged his whole family along, too. He told me "everybody always asks if there's anything they can do for us, but y'all are the first ones to actually do anything." So to hear that and then see he and his family at church the next day was awesome. I felt like I'd actually made a difference, even if just for one Sunday. I was also able to give another priesthood blessing for a lady seeking guidance on how to help her less active husband want to come back to church and be a good example to her kids. What a tough situation. The priesthood is so cool, though. I think it really helped her already.
Had an awesome lightning storm last night. Didn't really get rained on, but the sky couldn't go for longer than 5 seconds without some epic lightning strike. (I counted.)
So anyway, this is running long but it has been a good week! We've had some pretty big disappointments, but also some really good surprises and little miracles. I'm getting used to the whole waking up at 6:30AM thing a little more. The heat has been tough, but every night--and now most mornings :)--I am just full of gratitude for all that I've been blessed to have, do, feel, and experience. Life is good. Hard but good, and better with the gospel!
Hope y'all have a great week!
Fun quick stories for the week: talked with a lady who just moved from Nigeria, received a crash course in Hinduism, built a fence, had a guy complain to us that Jesus was black, met a WW2 AND Viet Nam veteran, and a guy with a swastika tattoo on the same day.
Oh yeah, and I went to Mississippi.
But first, I helped put a fence together, set a baptismal date with our one consistent investigator, and got to give my first priesthood blessing, which was really neat. It was cool to see how the words and promises came to mind as I blessed this guy with health and an increased desire and ability to quit smoking. The spirit was there, no doubt.
On Wednesday, we had a district meeting and then I traded places with one of my MTC buddies, Elder Barney, and got to spend the next day in Oxford, Mississippi on "exchanges." It's about an hour and a half drive away, and a pretty different feel. It was really fun. In the first neighborhood we went to knock doors in, we got like 5/7 people to open the door and give us a return appointment, which... is kinda unheard of?
I haven't heard how those appointments went but I hope they went well! The rest of the day, we had less success tracting, but did interupt somebodys weed smoking party in an apartment complex, and have this Indian guy invite us in to teach us about Hinduism and learn more about Christianity. That was pretty interesting, especially to see some of the commonalities. (33 million ["give or take about a million," the guy said] gods not being one of those haha)
The next day we drove back to Collierville and then that evening had the chance to have a member drive us to Moscow, a super tiny town about 30 mins away, to visit some less active members. It was around then that I started realizing I had a cold.
The next day the cold got worse, and in the evening it finally poured rain on us while we were out. We had umbrellas, but the back of my pants from the knees down were soaked. It cooled down the air, thankfully, cause it had been hellishly hot and humid earlier in the day, so it actually felt really good. The rain came down the hardest I've seen it here so far. Thunder on the umbrella, rivers in the street and gutters especially. Socks got wet, and then the back of my shirt... a nice lady pulled over and gave us a ride back to our car but I had to put the umbrella away before getting in, and in the 2 seconds between doing that and jumping into her back seat, I feel like I might as well have dumped a gallon of water in her back seat haha. It was awesome. There was thunder and lightning, the whole shebang. That late in the day, and with as wet as we already were, it almost didn't even matter after that how wet we got cause we were on our way home anyway. Thankfully the cold only lasted about 3 days. If it were up to me I'd have slept for 55/62 of those hours but I kept to the schedule, and endured going out anyway. Wasn't easy but Heavenly Father didn't want the work to slow down, and he wanted me to know that I could do it.
Last fun story, in one of the wards Elder Johnson and I are over, there is a Dahl family! Only the dad is here for now, since he's working, but yesterday I learned that we are related! (Our grandpa's are cousins, so whatever that relation is!) So that's cool!
We had another kinda bible bash this week (it was very polite haha) and no one could win because that's how bible "bashes" work. Learned a couple awesome lessons from this one, though.
1. If there is a verse in the bible that the Book of Mormon supposedly "contradicts," there are 2 options.
Option 1: that contradiction is based solely on interpretation and personal opinion
Or, more commonly, Option 2: there is another verse in the bible that also contradicts the verse in question. Which doesn't help the bible's case for being "perfect and the only word of God you need."
2. Which is why I'm thankful for the Book of Mormon. It clarifies and answers so many questions, and helps us understand which interpretation is correct. It adds so much incredible doctrine that has been lost. It provides a single source to which everything we believe can lean on. We don't have to rely on just the Bible. That'd be exhausting, and millions of people have had to, and continue to so in such different and frequently opposing ways.
3. Furthermore, if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, (Which witness I have received by the Holy Ghost) then Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who restored Christ's original church back to the earth, and received the authority and power of God like prophets of old. And if that is true, then we have a living prophet on the earth today, and all modern revelation is of equal value to the scriptures. How cool is that?
So arguments over the Bible "vs." The Book of Mormon aren't fun, but I'm always left with a stronger testimony than before. The two books don't contradict, but as I've read more of the bible in my personal studies, my love for it has grown. There's so much evidence and support for modern revelation, it's awesome.
Anyway, another week has come and gone! It was fast, and as I was thinking about it, it didn't really seem like a lot happened. But as I'm reading over this, it actually was kinda eventful. Hope y'all are doing well and enjoying your summer! I'd love to hear all about it! Have a great week!
Address: 866 Schilling Rd. Collierville, TN. Apt. #103, 38017
I know they said the weeks fly by on your mission but wow! This was a quick one.
The mini version w highlights: (but not all the good stories cause I need to keep y'alls interest to read the whole thing somehow!)
Continued feeling the hand of the Lord in my life, had 4th of july steaks, saw Mike Conley and a Lamborghini Alventador, I gave away my first Book of Mormon, discovered the world of Cashew Milk Ice Cream, (thanks again to Brother Boggs) played a fun board game called "Forbidden Island," passed a whole pickup truck full of watermelon, had our old black lady investigator cackle about the word "stiffnecked" ("it's when you don't have no clothes on!") And then had a good ol traditional oreo fry in our apartment that left Elder Johnson and I feeling the need to repent afterward. (Although they were very very good, we ate.... a lot of them haha.)
It's definitely warmed up. The high so far has been 91, which isn't too bad... Boise gets over 100 quite a few times every summer. But it's the humidity, man. Allow me to explain. You know that feeling you get, when about 2 hours ago you sat in something kinda wet but you can still feel it even though it's been 2 hours and there's nothing you can do about it really? So imagine that but all over your body and the air is heavy and there's no clear cool air to be found. But it's not too bad. :)
Read in 2 Nephi 8:15-16 and felt that it has definitely applied to me already. "I am the Lord thy God... And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion: Behold, thou art my people."
I've definitely felt like the Lord has been shading me and taking good care of me as I'm trying to "plant the heavens." He has done this really well through the ward members here. There are some awesome people, and they treat us so well. Another way is through my companion, Elder Johnson. He is one stellar dude. So good at talking with everyone and just being friendly and having cool conversations with them. Learning lots from his example. He's going home after this transfer, though so I'll miss him! He told me I'm one of 3 companions he's had out of 13 that he's really liked. (Awww.) (And not [necessarily] because his other companions had been bad, but not like best friends or anything.) So that felt good and boosted my confidence, which I've needed!
I've been talking more, or trying to, and knocking on doors doesn't really scare me anymore. I've discovered I actually really like teaching. Problem is... we don't have a lot of people TO teach. We lost one of our 2 or 3 regulars, and probably have 3 or 4 others that have put us on hold or are out of town or so on. So the remainder of our time has been spent knocking door to door.
We have better success talking with people in their yards than knocking doors. Most people still aren't interested, but this week we did get a couple people tell us we could come back.
We've felt prompted to wait for the one lady with the addiction and whose mother passed away as she goes through this hard time. We're trying to ride this balance between "thinking about and being there for her" and "not scaring her away." So we will try again this week and see what we can do. Our first meeting was the coolest thing to happen in my mission so far, so I hope we can keep that up.
On the 3rd of July we did some service and then ate at "Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken" which is a fried chicken chain down here and is... amazing. Wowza. The member who took us let us get dessert so I tried their chocolate chess pie. Imagine everything you love about pie crust, rich and gooey brownie batter, and crispy brownie corner pieces all on one desert. It was legit one of the best things I've ever tasted.
We get fed really well here. Every night I go to bed feeling pretty darn happy and tired and full. (Still on the last belt loop hole, we'll see how long that lasts though haha. Thank goodness for a fast metabolism.)
Collierville did their fireworks show on the night of the 3rd, to avoid competing with the neighboring town Germantown, who had their fireworks show scheduled for the 4th. We didn't get to watch either, but we heard it was really really good and included a jet flyby!
On the 4th of July we reacted as usual but no one was really home or willing to listen (surprise surprise) but at the end of the day, we had killer steaks and guacamole at Brother Bogg's house. He's an especially awesome member who apparently really enjoys feeding and hanging out with the missionaries. He's such an awesome guy. It also rained pretty hard on the 4th, but only when we were inside.
It has rained pretty hard a few times since I've been here, but while we're outside we've never been hit with more than a pleasant sprinkle. Another way the Lord is shading us.
Elder Johnson has made it his final transfer goal to give Mike Conley a book of Mormon. He is the point guard for the Memphis Grizlies. (This is all news to me.) I guess that entails being super wealthy and famous because he lives in s gated community in a mansion w a Tesla and some other way nice cars. Well, a member of the ward lives in the same neighborhood so we have the key code. We tried him last week, but no one answered so we tried again, and no one answered. As we were driving out of the neighborhood, though, he drives in! Elder Johnson waved at him and he waved back with a lil nod. So that was fun.
As we were driving to our next appointment, the excitement from that wasnt even over before we drove past a Lamborghini Alventador in someones driveway. Elder Johnson parked in a nearby neighborhood and we walked over to take a picture. It's like a $450,000 car. Yeah. So that's Collierville for ya. (Ok the extreme of it, anyway.)
On the other side of things, there's a trailer park about 15 minutes away, and 20 minutes away into another town, smaller houses, garbage in the streets, and literally fried chicken remnants under people's doors. The range of wealth makes this such an interesting area. But the vast majority is a lot more wealthy, which makes finding good, humble, truth seeking people difficult, and the poorer areas have already been tracted to death by past missionaries.
We met our new mission President and his wife on Thursday! President Hansen is kind of a goob but in an endearing way. He's excited about the work, I can feel his love, and I like his way of thinking about baptisms. No monthly goal or quota except that we will baptize "every single person the Lord has prepared each month, whether that's one or two hundred." His thing is "Hurrah for Israel" which is super cheesy but it's ok
A returned missionary from the France Leon mission spoke in church yesterday and I guess one of their mission songs was "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," the Christmas song. Apparently the lyrics in French pack a bigger punch. Essentially the 2nd verse in English carries the same idea, but it's asking what the glad tidings are that all this rejoicing and all these singing angels are celebrating. That good news is the birth of Christ and we get the chance to rejoice and share those glad tidings with people today, too! As we sung that as our closing hymn, it wasn't weird at all, singing a Christmas song in July, but actually really cool. Music brings the spirit to me more consistently than anything else. (Speaking of which, I've missed playing the piano and listening to "normal" music. Just about every morning I've had a new favorite song stuck in my head like an itch I can scratch. But spiritual music is good, too.)
One more story!
On P day last week, I went to Wal-Mart to get a new electric razor since my old one was on its decline. Got one, brought it back to the apartment and upon closer inspection came to discover that the charging cable didn't fit in it, and... it had been used... there was hair all over it. Someone had opened the package, taken the new razor out and put their old one back in. (Joke is on them, their charging cable won't fit it) So we had to run back to Wal-Mart to return and replace it. Gross. But the new one was unused! :')
The work is hard but life is good! Life is hard, not the gospel. I so appreciate your prayers and support!
PS. I can get and read emails any day of the week. I can only respond on Mondays, though. (I can technically write draft responses in free time and send them on p day though, so...) if you wanna give me something fun to read during the week, email me anytime!
Before I start this email I realized after p day last week that I forgot to tell one last MTC story! Donny Osmond gave our last Sunday devotional and did a really good job. Funny guy, sang his "let's get down to business" line from mulan and another song he's working on for us, so that was cool.
Ok. Now this week.
After my email last week, we went tracting (door knocking) in the evening. There was a cool graveyard at the end of the street and Elder Johnson and I decided to check it out. Pretty cool, beautiful, and even some confederate soldiers--including an unknown--were buried there. Fireflies were starting to come out, it was cooling down a bit... it was awesome.
The next day we had a district meeting in Oxford, Mississippi. We drove down there and enjoyed a place called cook out. Basically 5$ for a ton of food, and $2 for any of like 40 different shake flavors.
On the drive back to Collierville, our promising investigator from China (with whom we'd scheduled a baptismal date my first day here) dropped us. I guess her parents had talked her out of meeting with us again for a while. Ugh. That was no fun.
We continued teaching this lady, who, bless her heart, is just very... slow. She has a very hard time reading but over this week has seemed to start remembering what exactly Joseph Smith did. We also taught this other lady and that's been going well, but she has a hard time finding time to read the book of Mormon. We keep telling her that's the only way to know if what we're teaching her is true, but for her and a lot of others it's just not a priority for them.
So those 2 plus another lady in the next town over have really been our teaching pool this week. So we've been trying to find new people. Members don't have referrals for us, so a-knocking we go. Probably 80% of the time no one answers the door. Probably 20% of those are people just ignoring us, peeking out the blinds or even going as far as to lock the door while we're waiting for them to open it. (That one was funny.) Of the remaining 20% of people who do answer it, not one has been rude us. They're kind, patient, and tell us they have their own religion already. Of those people that answer, maybe 1 in 40 say that we can come back. 1 in 100 let us in. Had an amazing experience with that this week.
We dont knock on every door. I was thinking to myself "we should knock on this one" when elder Johnson said we should try it. Sweet, we're on the same page.
We knock and this lady answers, she doesn't look to happy. We ask how her day is going, she says not good. Well, a message about Jesus Christ can help improve your day! Surprisingly enough, she lets us in. Within maybe 2 minutes she is crying. She tells us about a serious addiction and other issues she is struggling with. She admits right then that God sent us to her for a reason and I could feel the spirit nodding along to that inside of me. We talked about the atonement and about the love of her heavenly father for her. Elder Johnson shared an awesome video on addiction recovery, and as i shared my testimony of how I came to know my Heavenly Father loved me, the spirit came into that room so strong I was choking up a bit. (I'll admit it!) Long story short, we got her to say her first prayer in over a year and as we left, she seemed brighter. We walked quietly back to the car and just talked about how much this lady needs the gospel in her life. We knew we had been led to her and that she knew that too. I hope she could feel the holy ghost as strong as I could.
For that one experience this week, we spent literally hours every day knocking doors in humid hot and in pleasant evenings alike. Nothing quite like that had happened before, or since, but I'm okay with that because I know how much that meant to her.
Before I move on from this story, I want to add that we checked in on her yesterday. She looked rougher than before and told us her mother had died of a heart attack after having been in an argument with her. Life isn't treating her super well, and we just feel so much for her and want her to come around and open back up to us again because between the plan of salvation and the atonement of Jesus Christ, everything she's going through can be made easier. Don't pray for me this week, pray for her.
We helped a ward member move out this week. He had something like 40,000 rounds of ammunition stacked almost floor to ceiling in the backseat of his pickup truck. That was fun.
Bamboo grows a lot here, surprisingly and we came across some big pieces laying on the sidewalk so we did the only sane thing and grabbed some for our apartment.
Rather than canceling on us, a less active member invited us over to where he was working. (He was painting another ward members gorgeous home. The owner is a tax attorney for FedEx, which is headquartered here, and he does really well.) Visited with him for a while and then got to help clean up the tape and everything so that was also fun.
Ok and there are these really yummy chocolate pomegranate snack things that are amazing by themselves. But we put them in pancakes one afternoon and that blew my mind. Please try it and either tell me I'm 100% right or just totally crazy.
Brother Boggs, a member here who spoils a lot took us out to Cajun Catfish Co. We had sausage, fried catfish on rice, gumbo, and hush puppies. Boy I tell you, that blew my mind it was sooooo goood. He took us out to one of those grill your own meat at your table Korean barbecue places the next night and that was also yummy. We talked about our Italy trips for a while and that was fun to reminisce on.
While tracting, a guy showed us his gorgeous 65 (replica?) Cobra racing car in his garage. He told us about it for probably like 20 straight minutes, that was pretty cool haha. Lots of fancy cars here, and even more fancy houses.
Not ALL of the area is super rich, but most of it is at least upper middle class. There are some legit mansions here, though. Super gorgeous neighborhoods with enormous 2 story homes, but also like legit warehouse sized mansions. We don't have a ton of success tracting those. :)
It's been getting warmer. Into the 90s and humid. It's hurts a lil to be outside but I'm so grateful for our car. Usually we park somewhere and walk around the neighborhood in a circle, but it's still so nice to be able to come back to air conditioning after that.
Funny story of the week: while walking around we walked past this black guy sweeping branches out of the gutter. I had such a hard time understanding him. He introduced himself like so: "I'm Willy L. Mason, I'm not sure what the L. Stands for."
"Well, Willy, I think that's for your middle name."
"Yeah but I can't 'member it."
"Can we make one up for you? Give you a new middle name?"
"Hmm... how about Leonard? Willy Leonard Mason? That has a good ring to it."
He nodded and we said goodbye. So that was funny hahaha.
The ward members here are awesome, some really great, very generous people. Not a lot of progression with our investigators or with finding new people yet, but as we keep trying our best and teaching people a bit at a time, things are gonna start blossoming.
Have a good 4th of July everyone! Your prayers and support mean so much and are definitely felt here. Until next week!
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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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Elder Oliver Wrigley Dahl
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr
North Little Rock AR 72116