It's been a miracle filled week if your eyes are open to the miracles!
On Monday night, we had an appointment fall through, and so we went down a street and drove around to kinda scope out the area we were planning on knocking doors in. On a whim, we decided to drive a little further. As we crested a hill, a beautiful little sunset-lit valley of freshly harvested hay bales was on the other side. Being the hopeless romantics we are, we pulled over to take a quick picture, and in doing so, noticed a gorgeous little yellow 50s-something classic car.
Well, we said to ourselves, we had already pulled over, and we were supposed to be knocking doors anyway, so we walked down the gravel driveway. The two pitbulls fortunately left us alone. We ended up talking to an older guy named Henry. He asked what we were selling, and we explained we were missionaries. "Oh." He replied. "I think I probably have more devil in me than God." We asked if we could check out his car, and he waved for us to go ahead. It didn't take long before he strolled over to join us, letting us start the thing and saying that if he had the back wheels on he would take us for a ride.
"I'll sell it to ya," he said, trying to convince us that it ran on water, and saying "back in the day, we used to fit ten women in them things." He looked like kind of a grouchy grubby guy, but when jokes were flying he got a good little twinkle in his eye haha.
The next day in District Council, we planned out more for the watermelon festival coming up. We later made the biggest media order I've ever done, and checked out the spot we apparently will have. It's perfect! It's coming up fast and I'm excited! Of course, none of this was done until after having lunch at Allen's BBQ there in Arkadelphia. Aw man. Have I mentioned I love barbecue? What am I gonna do back in Idaho??
After a new member lesson with Debbie, (who is planning on going to the temple this weekend to do baptisms for her son who passed away, and other relatives!!) we were driving back to Hope when Elder Lim saw a four wheeler full of cantaloupe off the side of the road. We turned around and saw that there was a guy selling them. He got 2, and asked if we could share a quick message. He said we could, when his wife is home. That's exactly what we want haha. So we'll see where cantaloupe man goes.
As we were coming into town, Sister Lim remembered that Elder Peterson had judt hsd a birthday, and so we stopped for banana splits.
We met a cool guy in Prescott, and went back the next day to see him again, and to have another appointment we were really excited about! Neither worked out. We had 5 appointments lined up that day. Like 1 and a half of those happened. Which is better odds than I've had before haha. But it was still kinda disappointing. We did stop by the chamber of commerce there, and visited with a really nice lady.
The next day we helped out Bob at his old building again. This time stripping up tile. But like the rubbery plastic stuff just glued down on wood or plaster. So that was fun. We got back that afternoon worn out.
We had more people miss appointments, and nobody seemed to be home. That, in addition to how tired we were, made me kinda grumpy. On our way back home for the night, we decided to try one more person, a guy we had met months ago but hadn't seen since. We stopped by his house, hoping for a miracle, but lights were off, cars were gone, and nobody was home. As soon as I wrote a note on a card and put it in the door, he pulled up, said hi, and was still willing to meet with us. Yay!
That night I was still kinda feeling down, and journaled, and said my nightly prayer. I was kinda gently scolded and rebuked by the Spirit haha. I was basically compared to Laman and Lemuel, who saw miracle after miracle but still complained. And then I was compared to the later Nephi of the Book of Mormon who was reminded by the Savior to write a story about another prophet that he hadn't recorded. I realized I hadn't journaled about that that miracle at all! So I quickly mended that.
We went to help out Bob again the next day, and on our way into town passed by a booth set up by the Christian Motorcyclist Association. We were in service clothes, but when we parked, I was kinda like: "uuhh we have to check that out" haha. So we did. One of the guys in his leather jacket asked us, "when did they slacken your dress code?" We hadn't introduced ourselves as missionaries, but we were wearing our name tags. We explained we did service for people, and another lady perked up. Apparently she had just been talking about needing some help around the house. So we exchanged info, and even shared Mosiah 2:17 with them before a guy came around, and asked if what we had was the Book of Mormon. He then loudly announced himself as a Baptist preacher, and said, "I'll argue with you about the Book of Mormon."
That obviously wasn't what we were there to do, and we just shrugged it off, put on our "extra nice" hats, and testified of Jesus Christ. He was still confrontational after that, but our new biker friends kinda backed us up and even offered to buy us a soda. (He later admitted his sister was Mormon and that he thought our conference center was the most beautiful building he's set foot in haha.)
We watched the Restoration DVD with one of our investigators that afternoon. Getting it to play was a struggle, and she got a phone call or 2 during the 20 minute video. Funny how the adversary tries to district us. By the end of it, though, she said she felt the spirit and knew Joseph Smith was called of God. Well. That worked out!
We stopped at a gas station to use the restroom after that lesson. When I got out, Elder Peterson was talking to a kid our age who then said he was a Baptist preacher. We exchanged info with him and he was open to meeting with us. We will see where that goes. He was a lot nicer than the other Baptist preacher we met earlier that day haha.
Before Elder Peterson could have his turn in the restroom, another guy stopped us in the gas station and uh with a good level of confidence I can say that he was the weirdest person I've ever met. He asked if we believed in the Book of Mormon and we said yes! "Good," he said, and it piqued our interest. "I believe Jesus Christ visited the Americas, too. And I also believe that there were Jews that traveled here. But I don't think they came on a boat, I believe they dug a tunnel under the ocean and popped up somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico." I started to laugh a little bit but saw that this guy was being serious. He said some other wild stuff, and I was kinda shook hahaha. What the actual heck.
We had a slightly better encounter with a guy back in Hope. He's a super funny, somewhat crippled 70-something year old black guy with a mouth like a sailor. We tried explaining the premortal life to him and he interrupted to ask if that was in the time of the dinosaurs. "Mmhmm them things will bite yo a**." I was dead. He just went on talking about all these different things that would "bite yo a**," including the dog barking outside the door and it took me a second to get my composure back. Then talking about the resurrection, he started talking about cemeteries. "Man, when there gets lightnin' and thunder around them cemeteries, that's some spooky s***" which... idk, was also just hilarious coming from this little old black man.
I love the south hahaha. It is entertaining if nothing else.
The branch got a new piano/organ this week. They don't like change too much haha. I was the "branch organist" for the day just cause I was experimenting with it when people started coming in. Nobody else really wanted to touch it haha.
It rained like crazy after church, and again as soon as we got into Wal-Mart to do our shopping this morning. We ran to our car not that far away but got all kinds of soaked in the short distance.
Last night we had a good visit with a member who hasn't been to church in a long time. Another older black guy. He told us some of his life story of growing up in the house he still lives in today. He was the first black quarterback and first black boy scout in Hope, Arkansas back in the 60s. It was cool hearing his stories and that he'd be willing to come back to church!
Lots of crazy, funny, and wonderful people this week. God lets us be as happy as we let ourselves be over the blessings and miracles he gives us.
Try sending a package over email, see what happens
Try sending an email through the mail, see what happens
303 West 23rd Street, Apt. 9C
Hope, AR 71801
Matthew 7:7 ("Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you") unfortunately only applies when we are asking, seeking, and knocking through prayer with God. Cause we've done a lot of seeking, and a lot of knocking, but not many doors were opened unto us.
But that's ok cause it was a good week anyway!
When we called to set up an appointment with our lady who is preparing to be baptized... she became our lady who was preparing to be baptized. She told us she knew what we were teaching her was true, but that she was just going to go back to her church.
I could write more than an essay about how much that wrecks ya, but I'll spare us both of that haha. Keep her in your prayers, we are hoping she comes back around.
We did a lot of trying to find new people to teach this week. In large part due to the fact that most of those who we have been teaching haven't been home. Our car thermometer read 111 on 2 different days this week, and was at least in the triple digits during most of the rest of the days. That made knocking doors interesting, cause with as sweaty as we were... I probably wouldn't let me in, either haha. But we found a couple people who said we could come back, so we will take what we can get.
We did get to visit our bible referral couple again. They invited us inside this time. (But before going in, we were asked, "Are you good with dogs?" and before we had a chance to really respond, we were just told, "Okay, just don't panic," which... after this month's dog bite didn't exactly put me at ease.)
A lone, bare purple bulb illuminated the room, (or was supposed to, I guess, but idk how they were able to read). They had a handful of little dogs walking around in there, a thick smell of cigarette smoke, and a large clock built into a painting of Elvis Presley. We took the introduction of the Book of Mormon and made it as simple as we possibly could. They're good people, and were looking forward to reading by the time we left, but they sure make me grateful for all that I know, have, and am.
We also visited another bible referral this week, who apparently skipped her dialysis treatment so she could be home when we came over?? So that was concerning. But she seemed to be ok, and asked if we believed in modern prophets before we even got there, so that was cool. ("Why yes we do!")
We also had our interviews with President Hansen this week, and did a kind of double exchange, where one of our zone leaders went with me to one of the companionships in my district in Camden, and we blitzed with them and that was a lot of fun. ("Blitzing" is just missionary slang for more than one companionship working in an area at a time trying to find people who are interested, not blitzing like the Germans did, don't worry.)
Elder Shelley and I were able to visit with this lady who was a member of the church, but had been kinda dragged out of it by family circumstances. She was so nice. We invited her and her kids to the mutual activity that night, and they came! Plus they gave the Camden elders some pretty promising sounding referrals, so that was a success.
While the Camden elders were at the youth activity, Elder Turner and I stopped for a smoothie at McDonald's. We had been thinking about going to Sonic, but I figured we might be able to talk with more people at Micky D's. Well, that turned out to be a prompting cause both of the ladies at the registers happened to be people who the missionaries had visited and taught years ago, and both of them were open to having them back!
So, while it was with some chagrin that I realized we had more success grabbing a smoothie at McDonald's than we did in 4 hours of knocking doors, it was worth it I guess.
The next day we went to Taco Bell, and didn't have the same luck, but did get a kick out of their sign advertising the return of nacho fries. (Which, I never realized had gone away haha) "THEY BACK / NACHO FRIES"
Ahh Arkansas. What a place.
We were invited to a community meeting Thursday night, and we figured we could go see what it was all about and hopefully see what else is happening in town that we could help out with. Hope was awarded something that made them an official member of the "Main Street Arkansas" organization. So that's cool. Way to go, Hope! Afterward, a bunch of people came up and thanked us again for our help at the fish fry weeks ago haha. We met the chief of police and he was super nice, too. He said we could come by to rant or tattle on people any time we wanted haha.
We were invited cause we've been helping out this guy named Bob in his 100 year old building downtown. He kinda got to know us from the fish fry, and he gave us a tour of the building last week. We just showed up in work clothes one day and asked what we could do, and he gratefully put us to work! We've been working on the floor, mostly screwing boards in and whatnot. It's been really fun, and we just about finished what needed to get done this week. It looks good. I mean, it's all gonna get covered up by actual flooring later. But it'll still be cool to come back and say I helped put the floor in that place. One of the days we helped, Bob took us down the street to a little restaurant and we had a good ole southern catfish plate. Between that, how cool Bob is, and being able to do service in a pretty well-air-conditioned building, I'd say we found ourselves a pretty sweet gig.
Today was Elder Petersons birthday, so I found some leftover birthday decorations from past missionaries that never got used, and put them up while he was in the shower haha. And then this afternoon we checked out Old Washington, a small civil war era town that became the confederate army HQ after Little Rock was taken by the Union. So that was pretty interesting. History is cool!
That's pretty much the highlights from this week! Hope y'all have a good week and stay cooler than I'll be! God bless ya, now.
Elder Dahl, your new resident flooring expert*
Tell me something good
303 West 23rd Street, Apt. 9C
Hope, AR 71801
(1 Corinthians 9:10) - "...that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope."
(I didn't use a plow this week.) But... we kept planting our seeds and nourishing the vineyard. We didn't have to worry too much about irrigating this week, cause we got a good rain on Tuesday.
More plainly, I guess, it's been a good week where I've been blessed to see some of the first fruits of following the spirit. A few tiny promptings that at the time just seemed like good ideas led to some awesome little miracles. (That will hopefully continue to bring more and more miracles!)
Monday night was great, we were able to have two lessons. The latter of which was with a lady who hasn't progressed too much. We've asked and asked her to read the Book of Mormon, and she hasn't. And we've invited her to church a bunch of times, but she hadn't ever come. We just visited really quick and shared a short spiritual thought, and then I had the idea to explain the sacrament to her. She thought it was neat that we had it (also known to some as "communion") weekly, and liked the symbolism we shared for it. She said she would come and that we could call her Saturday night! We did, and she just kinda said, "okay, yeah," etc. without saying "I'll be there," so I admittedly didn't expect much. But come 9:57 AM on Sunday, she came just in time for sacrament meeting and seemed to enjoy it.
Tuesday was interesting cause we didn't get to see a single person we drove up to Prescott to see. Nobody was home. Or at least that's what they would have us think. And it rained really hard while we were walking around. But, we were able to check out a bunch of old cars just parked in a yard off the street before it did start raining, and we were able to take cover under a shallow roof protruding from a CME church. So it ended up being a pretty fun time, anyway.
Especially cause as we were walking to find a referral we had been sent (whose address we never did end up finding) I had one of those thoughts to go out of our direct path a little bit and try a few houses. The first one we did try had two big yellow rocking chairs, and one tiny one. I figured I'd ask whoever opens the door about the tiny one, thinking of it as just a good conversation topic, not really a prompting of the spirit or anything. But when I did bring it up, the kind lady that answered ended up sharing that her husband had passed away 3 weeks ago, and she asked several times for us to be sure to come back. We are planning to try visiting her tonight. Walked away with chills, cause that's what it's all about. God using us to reach out to His children to comfort them and invite them to Him.
We also got a text from the sisters who moved into Elder Peterson's old area of Germantown, TN. They were working with one of the people he had been teaching when he was there, and happened to mention that the first person I baptized had gone with them to that lesson. Anyway, it was just good to hear she's doing well and doing good!
Wednesday was another up and down day. We were only really able to see one or two of the people we'd hoped to see, but it was a great day. We talked with Carmelita about temples, and the spirit was there really strong. She said she could feel what the temple feels like inside as we shared our testimony of it, and you could tell there was a lot of good in the room helping her to understand and recognize truth. She is amazing.
From there, we drove up through Washington, a little civil war era looking town/state park thing? We stopped for lunch at the tavern there, which has been open since the 1830s or something. My red beans and rice were delicious. We asked the waitress, who shared that she was from Nashville, AR, if there was anyone we could see in Nashville while we were up there, and she told us about her dad, Bubba, who was in a nursing home. So after that yummy lunch, checking out the tree out front of the place that had been struck by lightning (!!) and a discussion with another lady who's been investigating the church, we went to the nursing home and asked for "Bubba." They knew exactly who we were talking about and led us right there, and he just loved our visit. Talkative good ole southern boy. As we left, he said he'd never forget us haha.
Elder Lim stopped to grab some peaches from a roadside fruit tent. Those are starting to pop up everywhere. Mostly with watermelon. But the locals keep telling us to wait until the signs say "Hope Watermelon" before getting any of them. I guess we've got another few weeks til those start hitting the streets like an influx of freshly imported cocaine.
We weren't able to teach anyone else back in Hope that night, but a guy did recommend the taco truck I keep meaning to try, and we had some time, so we stopped and got tacos. They were pretty dang good. Although I learned the hard way (by dumping a lot of it on my taco) that the orange salsa they gave wasn't quite like Valentina's, but more like pureed habanero peppers haha. Youch.
On Thursday, we had our zone conference (missionary meeting) in Little Rock. There wasn't really a lot that was said that stood out to me, too much. But I definitely came away from it with some awesome understandings.
1. I LOVE the doctrine of Christ. I am reminded of a quote by Neal A Maxwell. "The restored gospel is buoyant, wide, and deep--beyond our comprehension. It edifies, whether concerning divine design in the universe stressing the importance of personal chastity and fidelity. Only meek disciples can safely handle such a bold theology."
There are people who know every last little detail about Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, even going as far as to learn the languages of these fictional universes. I feel like I am getting to that level with the restored gospel. The difference is, this is real! This has lasting, eternal consequences. This brings joy into my life and into the lives of all those I share it with. Joy that inexplicably can't be found any other way or place than from God. And there is no end to it! There is no limit to our understanding or what we can learn before we have to start "writing fanfiction." No, we can learn forever. To draw a line in the sand where the limit is is to deny the fact that there is no limit to what we can learn about a God who is limitless in His love and wisdom. He wants us to know it all, but it's like a puzzle you can only put together one piece at a time. And there aren't any edge pieces. :)
2. We had the opportunity to share our testimonies at the end of zone conference. I occasionally do, and decided to this time. There was kind of a theme of going through hard times on your mission, and well... I could relate. Afterwards, a sister stopped me and thanked me for something I said: "maybe the joy we are looking for comes later" and I was like "dang, where'd that come from, I gotta write that down, too haha." On our 2 hour drive home (with a stop at David's Burgers, ayoo) I thought about that a lot and came to a cool conclusion.
If I were the show you a map of Mount Everest, where would you feel the most joy to be as a hiker? The top! Does that mean you won't feel joy at other places, after difficult days and at the top of certain peaks leading up to it? No, of course not. You'll experience successes that will bring you relief and joy. But will it be the same as the joy on top? Not quite, nothing matches that. And you will still have absolutely miserable days where your toes are frozen and you slide back into the snow, etc. But if you think in those instances, (or even in the times when you are feeling pretty good) that you are somehow entitled to the joy that is only yours at the top of the mountain, or at the end of the hard time, or even in heaven... you're gonna be disappointed all the time. So accept and enjoy the portions of joy you are given. Remember you are still climbing. Enjoy the view.
Another quote I found this week essentially encouraged you to be disappointed. Search for disappointment. That means we had high expectations and did everything we could to make something happen. Sure, it means that it didn't happen in the end, but as long as we are disappointed - and not discouraged or disappointed in ourselves - then we are doing pretty dang good! So I loved that thought. Go out and search for disappointment. You may just find success when you do.
We had a lesson on our way back into town with a bible referral and her husband. We couldn't find their house, so we asked a neighbor, who pointed us across the street and warned us, "I wouldn't go over there if I were you." That piqued my curiosity. I asked why not. "They've got five dogs. And they bite." the guy replied, hiking up his basketball shorts up over his knee, revealing a full set of teethmarks on the back of his leg behind the knee--covering the top of his calf and the bottom of his thigh. Wow. I made some feeble joke like "Well, I just got bit by a dog last week, what's one more?" So we drove across the street and a guy was standing on the corner. He ended up being her husband. He pulled some coolers out in the yard for us to sit on and we had a good, simple, restoration lesson with them haha. (The dogs were behind another fence) It was about the kind of thing I expected coming to Arkansas haha.
There was a little more to the end of the week, but not too much to write about. I gotta have some stories to tell when I get back home that y'all haven't heard before haha. And this email is long enough. So you'll hear from me again next week!
If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, do it. (And if you have, read it again. Always be reading it!) It's not really like a beach read, but it could be. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, just pick up the dang thing. The ebook is free, you can get it delivered for free, you've got no excuses. It will add as much light and truth and joy into your life as you let it.
Have some extra attention you wanna give away?
Have some extra foodstuffs you have the urge to mail away?
303 West 23rd Street, Apt. 9C
Hope, AR 71801
videos from the week: https://youtu.be/pO--Gl3o0TE
Passing judgement on this week based on title of this email might lead one to believe that it was something short of "great" but it was really pretty good haha. We're in the dog days, but things are going well!
Started off the week with transfers. Got up at 3:30AM so Elder Anderson could finish packing everything up. Including his big ole breadmaker haha. I ugly-slept most of the 2 hour drive to North Little Rock. A few hours later, Elder Peterson arrived from the Memphis caravan. He had been serving in Germantown, TN, another wealthy neighboring town to Collierville! Glad to have him in Hope! He's from Malad, Idaho.
That pretty much took our whole day, but we hit the ground running on Wednesday.
We had an appointment with our lady at the museum in town, and studied a little bit with her. She's read a lot of the Book of Mormon, and later this week even prayed about it and said she feels good, but... I don't know how much of it she understands cause she doesn't see what she needs to do or change because of that yet. Which is tricky.
We had our first new member lesson with Debbie, which went well, and then we introduced Elder Peterson to Gypsy and Devin, Sister Martin's monkeys haha. We did some finding in Prescott and gave a Book of Mormon to a Baptist minister. And then a less-active couple and their family had us over for a 4th of July cookout with hamburgers and brats. Man, brats are good.
As we pulled back into our apartment complex, there were cars parked all along the road on either side of the entrance. Turns out the Methodist church across the street was having a firework show. So we stayed outside a little longer and enjoyed a pretty doggone well-choreographed 15 minute firework show. Way to go, Methodists haha.
Did some walking around Thursday morning, sweating like a dog and met with another less active couple. One was pretty drunk which was too bad, and not just cause it was only like 4:00PM. :(
We had a good lesson that evening, though, with an investigator couple. I was way more bold than I ever would have been at the start of my mission. But they ate it up and enjoyed it, and said that they feel the spirit when we come over. When people recognize that, good things tend to happen. (Although they did cancel our appointment for yesterday...)
On Friday I introduced Elder Peterson to some of our favorite people around town, who we've helped out between chipping plaster off of walls and the community fish fry thing. We've gotten to build a really good relationship with them all, and they're as close to me as any of the members here are. One of them owns an antique shop that's actually super cool. We chatted with him and the ladies working at the store for a while, and then he gave us a tour of the building he's renovating and fixing to move into. It is dang cool!! It used to be an old department store, and looks like it hasn't been touched much since the 50s or 60s. (So uh... #vibes) It made me want to do a photoshoot in there. But it'll be all fixed up and painted over by the time I could. Rip.
We met with the lady at the chamber of commerce again, and got ourselves signed up to have a booth at the watermelon festival! I'm super excited for that even though I might get heatstroke and die. It'll be fun, though, and an awesome grand finale to the transfer. President Hansen even approved my request to bring members of my district down to join us. So that'll be fun!!
That evening was our branch Independence Day cookout. We arrived early and it was like 98 degrees in the car. Other people started showing up, and then the grill came, and then as soon as we got hot dogs and burgers on the grill, it got dark and crazy windy. Everyone had to hold onto their stuff. By the time we were serving up, it was sprinkling, and once everyone was eating, a lightning bolt struck close and LOUD! It was pretty sweet. We just kept enjoying our little barbecue in the storm and it all worked out. We were under a shelter fortunately, so we stayed pretty dry haha.
We were busy again on Saturday, but our time in Prescott went to the dogs. We had no luck whatsoever. We had a great lesson with Carmelita on the Word of Wisdom. She's living it already and it's just amazing how receptive and in tune to the spirit she is. She's amazing. (And even sang a few lines of some gospel hymn for us in her excitement about the Iron Rod in 1 Nephi 8. Dang, that lady can sing!)
Walked around Hope some more that night, walking around parts of this little town I had never seen before. Met some cool people that I'll hopefully be able to write more about next week! :) while walking, we passed this little shop in a sketchier part of town that we pass through on our way to church. Since I got here, there's been this little table sitting out front and I was sure it was a record player just sitting out there. Sure enough. A little note inside says that they got it at a yard sale but never ended up using if and that it works great. FREE.
So... if any of you wanna come pick that up and hold onto it for me... it'd be much appreciated.
Sunday was good! Carmelita came and we had pot luck afterward. We went out to find some new people in easily one of the nicer neighborhoods I've been in since leaving Collierville. Funny that the nice neighborhood is where I get bit by a dog.
We walk up to the first house. There are two cars in the driveway. Two pretty big, kinda intimidating dogs are leashed up and napping under the car on the left. We stepped onto the driveway and one barked but didn't move from the car. So we go around the other side of the car on the right, around towards their front door. Well I didn't get very far before the one dog that barked turned the corner around the car on the right and kinda ran toward me. I took a step back out of surprise, but still just expected it to circle me and bark and maybe nudge my legs like most people's loose dogs do. (I've gotten a lot more bold around dogs since the start of my mission, too. I'd never had a problem other than being annoyed by their barks. Big ones, little ones, cute ones, scary ones, they've all been ok. Until then.)
But nope. That sucker turned it's head and went for my left leg. I stepped back quickly, losing my pant leg from off its tooth, and let the adrenaline try to fade down. The owners had magically appeared out of nowhere and pulled back on the leash. I gave the shakiest "we're the missionaries" spiel of my life. The guy ended up being nice and kinda apologetic, but not even a sympathetic return appointment was to be had. As we walked away, I could see a tiny hole in my pants where a tooth had gone through, and a little bit of pain under it. Walked and talked around for another hour or so, meeting a prison chaplain biker guy who was pretty cool and said he had been on the run from the FBI for 2 years before turning his life over to Christ haha.
We got back to the car and for the heck of it, I hiked up my pant leg, expecting maybe a little scratch. But no, there was a good sized little scab already, a little smaller than an m&m. I didn't realize he drew blood but yup. I got off easy, but it still freaked me out a bit and gave me something to make my weekly email exciting. To add insult to injury, the dog's name was "Goofy," smh. Last I checked, Goofy didn't go around nibbling on the legs of the Lord's servants.
So uh... that's been the week. Cool people, sketchy people, hot days, rainy days, one fish, two fish, red fish, mean dog. Wait--?
Hope y'all have a blessed week. The people (and dogs) down here could use your prayers.
It might be funny if you sent pictures of puppies but at least say hi, too
Plz don't send a puppy, it's against the white handbook and probably the law
303 West 23rd Street, Apt. 9C
Hope, AR 71801
video collage: https://youtu.be/q7tzPlp7HsU
This weekly email brought to you by:
- Germantown, TN
- Goofy, the beloved animated Disney character
- NOT the dog that bit me
- just so that's clear
- Your local pound
- Frozen Oreos
- The 1960s
Happy July!? Did June even happen??
I've given up on expecting a thoroughly "good" or "bad" week. Every week is just a mixed bag of both haha. This one definitely had more of the "good," though.
The week started off with some barbecue. Monday evening we went up to Prescott, AR to visit some people there who have been tricky to get ahold of. We got to the first guy we wanted to try, (someone who had met with the missionaries a few years ago) got out of the car, the same dog started yipping at us as always, but there were people getting into a car.
"Is John here?" we asked. Two kids walked into the back yard, saying, "Dad, the white guys are here."
John came around the corner and warmly said hello, and then asked the golden question: "Do yall want some barbecue? Come back in an hour and I'll have some ready!
Didn't need to tell us twice! We tried making a few other visits, and then circled back around. He handed us a plate with an incredible piece of meat - glazed in now-crispy barbecue sauce after being slow smoked over charcoal and apple wood. If my words do it half justice, that's pretty good.
We chatted with him, and went over with him to the house of the member of the branch who catches chickens, and had a fun visit with the two of them before having to head back to Hope.
On Tuesday, we had our last district meeting of the transfer. Er, I mean... District Council. (They changed the name of the meeting on us with the update to Preach My Gospel.) That was good, and the Lims took us out to El Rinconcito, a Mexican restaurant in town, and that was also good.
That afternoon, we had great visits with Debbie and Carmelita, and later with a couple going through some stuff with some interesting ideas about how God and religion work. One of them just kind of expects that God will put His answer right in her lap without her having to do anything. Boy, wouldn't that be nice?
The next day was cool. We've made a few trips out to Nashville, AR, and sometimes we are able to see a lot of people, other times, not so much. Lately it's been more along the lines of "not so much." As I prayed that morning, I said we were going up to Nashville, and this is kind of our one shot to see a lot of the people we have there this week, so... please just let us see them! Well, not everybody we tried was home, but we were able to talk with all of the main people we had hoped to--Even if it was only in passing. And gave out a Book of Mormon. We also finally saw a referral we had received and met within my first week of being in Hope again! She has been reading, yay!
Things went downhill a little bit on Thursday as we realized:
1. We had like 20 miles left on our car for the month. (We are given a limit.)
2. The Lim's car, (affectionately nicknamed by yours truly, the "Lim-ousine") is in the body shop
3. The heat index was like 104-115!
4. Our cell phone no longer has cell service in Hope. Apparently T Mobile decided to drop coverage for this area. Yippee. (Today by some miracle it's working again? But I don't expect it will for long.)
A fun combination of things!
When we went to drop off Elder Lim to the body shop to pick up their car, our next door neighbor was heading out, too, and asked if we would want some dishes, cause he was moving out. So... We got some new dishes.
On our way back from the body shop, I also could no longer handle the length of my hair. It wasn't bad, just annoying. And hot. And I'd been trying to get a haircut for the last month. But no barbershop is open on Monday here, apparently. And Saturdays they're closed, too, we found out. So we went to one of the 2 hair cutting places. The first one was pretty foofy, and they said they were busy. Dang it. But I had had enough, and so we backtracked and sacrificed the miles to try the 2nd one, a tiny little barbershop off the main street in Hope.
We walked in and there were 2 stations, each with a slushy aqua green retro chair, and big mirrors. A handful of taxidermied deer hung on the limited wall space in there. A couple other guys were sitting around, and the one barber made quick work of each of them until it was my turn. We got talking a little bit and it turns out he had done a mission trip cutting hair to the Dominican Republic with his church. He's been cutting hair since he got out of high school, and had some cool stories. 2 more people walked in while I was getting my haircut, and while Elder Anderson was getting his done, the whole room got talking about the missionaries. What we do, all the missionaries who had come in in the past, and some genuine questions about the logistics side of a mission for us.
One of the guys that walked in said we had a "pretty great boss," and that he appreciated what we were doing and said the world needed more of it. He then proceeded to pay for both of our $12 haircuts. I prayed to thank God for Jerry that night. What a nice guy. As it turns out, I wasn't supposed to get a haircut from any other place at any other time, cause we were blessed by Jerry and by being able to have a great conversation with the whole tiny barbershop's worth of people in Hope, Arkansas that afternoon.
As an added bonus to that Thursday, we went to a Chinese buffet with the wonderful Mexican family in the branch. So that was a good experience haha.
Pretty much every week before a transfer, I have transfer nightmares. That night I dreamt I was transferred to Wyoming. Man, that would stink. Wyoming is great and all, but uh... this is the best place to be serving a mission.
Before our weekly planning session, the Lims had us over for chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. (The yummy stuff with grapes in it on a croissant. Yum.)
They shared that they had met a lady at the town museum who asked them if they were Mormons and informed them that she was reading our book. Turns out she is through the book of 3rd Nephi! So... We are excited about that. We knew exactly who they were talking about. We had given that lady a Book of Mormon back when I was on the prowl for some Hope, Arkansas stickers. We didn't think that much of it, then.
We had a good ole southern time back up in Prescott on Saturday afternoon. It was like a bazillion degrees, but there was a little breeze that helped. Elder Lim dropped us off, and we walked around. We had a great lesson with a guy named James we met a few weeks ago. He has a pretty good lazy eye, but a better understanding of the scriptures. He works with the chickens, too, and enjoyed studying with us again. We met on his porch this time, sweating ourselves dry and getting nipped by tiny ants on the sofa out there. I introduced a scripture and then had to wait like 5 minutes for an enormously long train to pass through across the street before I could read it. But something about the misery of it all, (and James' enjoyment of it nonetheless) was kinda endearing. One of those moments I think I'll look back on fondly and maybe even miss a little.
From there, we walked across town so Elder Anderson could fix another dryer for a great less-active couple. It took a while and standing around in the sun while he did that got pretty old pretty quick, but it was a good thing to have done.
Elder Lim picked us up on his way back to Hope. We passed a pizza hut delivery car and both kinda knew that that's what we'd end up doing for dinner. Exhausted and sticky as we were, the delivery man was an angel that night haha.
We got transfer emails that night! Elder Anderson is off to midtown Memphis. And I'm staying in Hope! He's sad to be leaving, and I was extra glad I wasn't transferred to Wyoming. I'm loving Hope a lot and am so glad to be staying!
Yesterday, Debbie was confirmed and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and that was really special. Another recent convert passed the sacrament for the first time. Elder Anderson started packing. The Lims had us over to play a round of Phase 10, which I... almost won. It was a good day.
Today, Elder Anderson has been saying goodbye to some people around town. The Presbyterian church reverend who let him practice the organ there, the owner of the hardware store, the lady at the chamber of commerce... she gave us both Hope shirts and asked if she could pray with us. She's a sweet Southern Baptist lady who doesn't "get" or agree with us 100%, but she didn't let that show or change her kindness towards us. Her prayer was wonderful and sweet, and it's been good seeing how loving, kind, passionate, and generous the people of this little town are. It's just funny to think "where else can you walk into a chamber of commerce and be asked to hold hands in prayer?" What a place. I love it.
I "Hope" y'all have a good week!
Don't have stamps?
Don't have an email account? (...wait a sec... well I guess you can write me, anyway!)
303 West 23rd Street, Apt. 9C
Hope, AR 71801
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