This week went by a lot faster than last week. The fact that it has only been 6 days since the last time I emailed home helps a lot haha.
We got to go to the Memphis Temple! It closes at the end of this month for a 20-month long remodel, so I was very grateful for the opportunity to go before then! It'll be fun to come again when it has re-opened and see how it has changed. I'm hoping I'll be able to help with tours and missionary related stuff for the temple open house, etc. when it reopens! But we will see!
After we visited the temple we had the opportunity to have kind of a Q and A session with the Memphis Temple President which was cool! We got back later that night, but from then through all of the next day I could just really feel the spiritual difference in myself having been to the temple.
We were gonna have an awesome lesson that next day but the lady was sick so we had to cancel. So we adjusted plans and did some biking. We were outpacing a train for a little while, which was fun! Train horns are loud.
We got to teach Anette after almost 2 weeks without seeing her. I've been teaching her once or twice a week since I got here 3+ months ago. She's a sweet old black lady with some back problems, and some learning disabilities. We read another chapter of the Book of Mormon with her and talked about the importance of coming to church with us. She has been really struggling with leaving her old church behind, even though she loves the Book of Mormon and President Monson... it has been a little frustrating. So I asked her if she still wanted to be baptized on October 14th. To my pleasant surprise, she said she still wanted to try. And she said she would come to church this week! Yay! It's awesome to see her progressing! And it would be very very awesome for her to be baptized! We just have to keep working with her to make sure she is "all in."
Later that day we got talking with this sweet 80 year old lady who was living in the same cute little southern home that she grew up in. She talked about her family, the growth of Collierville, her flowers, and in classic southern style, talked for a good 15-20 minutes. She seemed like she enjoyed the company, and we probably coulda sat and listened to her for a full hour but we had places to be, doors to knock, souls to save, all that. Fun stuff, though. She invited us back another time to tell her all about Idaho and Arizona. :)
We have biked less this week than last week. Members have given us rides quite a bit, which we appreciate very much. I feel bad asking for rides so often, though, and it really makes me miss having a car to drive around. :/ it's kinda like not having a driver's license again.
Oh yeah and we now have Facebook and smart phones.
On Thursday, we had our zone conference. After rumors and all that, we finally got smart phones to replace our fun flip phones and received the "go" to begin using Facebook as a tool for missionary work!
So now the tablet I had to buy for the mission, and the phone we are using are Samsung. My inner Apple fanboy is dying a little bit because of all the weird quirks and confusingness of everything, but it's a major upgrade from those flip phones. Going back to Apple at the end of my mission will probably be another headache haha.
Apparently we are one of 12 missions the First Presidency has chosen to begin using smartphones. Lucky us!
Facebook has been weird. I didn't like Facebook very much after like my freshman year, and my liking declined since then. It felt weird logging in and seeing everyone's dumb political posts and memes and stuff for a while haha. It was like "oh yeah that's why I don't like this lol"
(I saw that there is so much new music out though, yiiiiikkkeerrrrrs)
(Because Facebook bought Instagram it keeps showing me ads for Instagram and tells me I have 101+ notifications from Instagram, but I can't download it or anything, and it makes me miss it a lot yiiiiiiikkkeesssss)
So I pretty much muted/unfollowed everyone but my family, LDS related pages, and other missionaries, rather than unliking/unfriending because we are supposed to keep our (good) likes up so people can tell that we are real human beings haha.
I can respond to church related questions there anytime, but I'm still expected to only communicate with family, friends, etc. via email on my p days. I can't use Facebook to do that.
I wish we got a little more instruction on how to like... actually use Facebook as a missionary tool. Because I'm friends with a bunch of the awesome members down here, now, but like... finding new people to teach on there? Idk I guess we will figure it out as we keep moving! Any ideas??
So yeah that's the big news from this week!
We did some more biking on Saturday. Had some high schoolers jeer at us out of their cars which was weird. I try to please everyone and I'm pretty used to being on people's good sides, so idk I had a prideful moment like "don't those stupid kids know that I'm a multipublished author and professional photographer and an eagle scout and...and... [essentially] If they knew how cool I was, they wouldn't be doing that." (Ok so my thought wasn't exactly that dumb sounding, but you get the idea.)
It made me think about how Christ himself must have felt being mocked and scourged during his earthly ministry. "Don't you know who I am? I created the ground beneath your feet. I am the God your fathers worshipped, I parted the red sea. Billions have and billions will worship my name. I knew you before this life, and I am here to make it possible for you to be forgiven of the things you are doing right now."
So thinking of that really helped put me in my place and just kinda enjoy the moment of being shouted at by some dumb kids who just don't know what they're doing. It's impossible to suffer more than He did. (See 1 Nephi 19:9)
Biking was hard that day, though, we did a lot of it. As we biked home in the dark, the road to our apartment from where we were was pretty hilly. Downhill is pretty fun. But biking uphill is tough, my dudes. Especially when you have biked all day and aren't in shape. We got back to the apartment drenched and I, at least, was very sore the next day. Gotta do what you gotta do to get the thunder thighs.
At the same time, though, biking up and down hills of a country road in Tennessee past the occasional firefly after sunset sounds pretty cool. All in the way you look at it, I guess.
Wendy and Anette both came to church on Sunday! And apparently Wendy went to a relief society bake off thing and actually won hahaha. (I was a little miffed they didn't hit us up to be the judges but itsk) But it was awesome to have them both there! We then had two dinners and a game night. Sundays are good.
Anyway, it has been a good week! It hasn't felt super busy, but looking back on it, we actually did a lot. We are looking forward to a pretty awesome week this week, meeting with Anette and Wendy again, plus a few of the people who said we could come back, plus my first District Meeting as the District Leader, and a quick trip to Arkansas for a Doctors appointment for Elder Bingham.
So yeah! All kinds of good stuff behind and ahead of us. Things are good in Collierville. I have managed to stay out of additional bushes while on my bike, so y'all must be praying harder for my safety. I appreciate that. My clumsy butt needs it. :)
Love you all! Have a super week, and enjoy General Conference!!
Send emails, music reviews, memes, favorite scriptures, selfies, floral ties etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
866 Schilling Rd, apt. 103
Collierville, TN 38017
if you're feeling adventurous :)
And if you haven't added me on Facebook, you can find me by searching "Oliver Dahl missionary." You'll get the occasional spiritual thought and cool video there. :)
Since September 8th, every day has been ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. I dunno if things will get back to the calm-before-the-storm levels, but that's okay! Because somehow, despite the craziness, things are still moving and going well!
Let's rewind back to last Monday, shall we? [*Tape rewinding sounds*]
"This is me. I'm sure you're wondering how I got stuck in this situation."
Just kidding, if you read my last email, you would know.
We drove to the Memphis Temple to drop off Elder Henderson and to report for duty! Elder Henderson is now back home safe in the land of potatoes, the good ol' Idahome itself.
I, on the other hand, got stuck in a big ol van sitting cheek to cheek with like 9 other missionaries for the 3 hour drive to Little Rock, Arkansas. We got to the church, got our luggage and stuff, and then I piled into a car with Elders Evans and Hoyle and Sabey to head to Conway, Arkansas for a couple days.
Slept 2 nights on the Conway Couch, and had a blast and a half serving in a quadpanionship with those guys haha. We split up 2 and 2 to go knock doors, but for teaching appointments, all four of us would file up the sidewalk to the door. They have an awesome investigator who read and studied the Book of Mormon while he was in prison for a while. He just got out this year, and he's so excited to be baptized! Hearing him talk about how "real" the church is was awesome to me. He said something like "the Holy Ghost, the power of God, prophets like Moses... it's all real! Right here! Right now!" So I guess for me to just put myself in his shoes and think about how awesome the gospel is from an outside perspective was super cool!
Anyway, four of us walking up to a door was fun. It was awesome. We laughed a ton. Which made attending the funeral interesting.
Finally, the day came to meet the new missionary I would be training!
"Wait, what's that? You want to hear about the funeral? Oh, okay." [*rewinding noises again*]
It's our first morning in Conway, and the first thing on the schedule after studies is to attend an ash burial for someone that none of the missionaries knew. We arrived at the cemetery and it was rightfully overcast and sprinkling. The Confederate flag blew in the wind over the occaisonal grave. It was probably like 50 to 60 something degrees outside and felt awesome. The first time I have felt cold since coming out. A family from Oregon had driven way out here to bury their mother?'s ashes in the plot her father had bought for her. It looked kinda like what you'd imagine an Arkansas funeral to be like. Blue jeans, cowboy boots, and bedazzled shirts that didn't completely cover muffin tops. It was these 4 members of the family, two members of the local bishopric, us four missionaries, plus the local sister missionaries. Thankfully the sisters could sing well cause the rest of us couldn't.
So that's the funeral story. [*fast forwarding noises.* Do fast forwarding noises sound different than rewinding noises?]
On Wednesday, we met at the North Little Rock church building and got to meet all 24 of the incoming missionaries! There were a lot of them. We had lunch, watched videos on bicycle and driving safety, other housekeeping stuff, and then finally we got to hear about our companions! President Hansen talked about the revelatory process and how these assignments really are divinely guided and not his own work. I really felt the spirit as he said it, and my worries went away.
I'm now serving with Elder Bingham from Mesa, AZ! He's a stud, excited to work hard and get talking to people! He's doing great.
We drove back to Memphis that night. Brother Boggs picked us up and drove us to Collierville after a stop at Sear Shack for some yummy burgers.
And then the rest of the week. Phew!
Among the many changes to our area (me training, me as the district leader, and sister missionaries now in half of Collierville & us in the other half) is the fact that we are now on bikes full time and without a car.
So Thursday was my first day biking in the mission, and my first day biking in years, probably since I biked to my Drivers Ed classes my sophomore year?
Anyway, all the roads seemed more flat when we had the car...
Our first appointment was at noon so we biked about 4 miles up in the cooler part of the day. Not too bad, I thought. I could feel my legs burning, and walking felt a little weird at first after we got there. That said, it was tolerable!
But we had a great lesson with this lady. She was the one who had all those questions, and was kinda apprehensive about a lot of things in the church. She told us that on her way over to the appointment, she had received the impression that she should "just stop fighting." (HOW COOL IS THAT??) We were able to formally teach her the full 1st lesson on the restoration, and help her with her concerns about Joseph Smith. Apparently her 16 year old daughter went to early morning seminary on Monday! (HOW COOL IS THAT??)
We are meeting with her again tomorrow, but are super excited about her progression and growth of faith!
We did some more biking, and was starting to feel the pain. We walked and did some door knocking. Had one person say we could come back. And then we biked to the Bishop's house so we could have him give Elder Bingham a customary "new to the area" Bishop's blessing. His wife didn't want us biking home in the dark, (and we didn't really want to, either) so she drove us home, and then picked us up the next morning and took us to Chik-Fil-a for breakfast and then back to their house for our bikes, which we rode home that morning.
Hoooooooo Boyyyyy. My body. It was a miracle we made it home. I only crashed once. (It wasn't that bad, yay for people praying that the missionaries will be safe!)
We had studies and planned our day, and Sister Gaar, the saint that she is, volunteered to drive us around the rest of the day. She dropped us off for our one appt, who wasn't home. So Elder Bingham and I did some walking around the main street of Collierville, to show him around and to knock some doors. We made a Wal-Mart trip, where priority number one was a new bike seat. (The best $15 I've ever spent. It hurt to sit down anywhere lol, my butt has 0 cushion on it)
Through the rest of the week, Elder Bingham has been a source of great motivation and work ethic. He's excited to knock doors. So we knocked doors. And even got a map from the town hall so we can mark off the streets we have tried. Yay for organization!
We had one "bible bash" which is never fun, but I felt like I came out on top at least haha. The whole "not adding or taking anything from this book" quote from Revelations is old news. Written solely about the book of Revelations, (not the whole bible) which actually predates many of the other books of the New Testament, meaning if you're gonna use that to try to disprove the Book of Mormon you're also including a good chunk of the NT, too, so...? Agh. Satan tries really hard to keep people from wanting to read the Book of Mormon. The BoM is either inspired by him, or is, in actuality, God's word. That's it. And because it brings us closer to Christ, it is not something Satan would inspire. Put it to the test. See if you get closer to Christ by reading the BoM.
We had another lady say she would pray for us that we find out the truth and abandon the false notions that we are teaching about. [We will pray for the same thing for her haha.]
We also were invited right in to teach a younger mom. She said she was doing her bible study anyway, and welcomed us in to share a quick message. She kinda just nodded along like she wasn't really interested, but was just too nice to kick us out, but to our surprise said we could come back! So we will see what happens.
Stake Conference was this last weekend! Caroline came to the adult session, it was good to see her again! I'm gonna miss teaching her! But she is so solid. President Hansen spoke, and said that the last time he attended a Memphis Stake Conference was in 1980 as a missionary here himself, when they split the stake into the 2 stakes it is today. Cool that 37 years later, he's back as the mission president.
Bike riding got better, especially with the new seat! I did fall off one more time, very slowly into the accommodating branches of a very comfortable bush. (Took a turn too fast and didn't lean into it enough so I just teetered over and fell off haha. I'm sure it looked hilarious.) Man, it's a good thing people pray that missionaries will be safe. (Thank you!) My legs are still pretty sore, but it's easier now than it was on day one. It's good for me. And the members are so good to us and can give us rides every once in a while!
Being district leader hasn't been too bad so far. I only have to relay weekly numbers and daily check in times to the zone leaders. But next week I'll get to teach a district meeting, so that will be interesting, and when the real challenge begins.
Training is good! Elder Bingham is great. His eagerness to work and to find people is so contagious.
It's been a very long, very busy week! Being in Conway feels like forever ago. Maybe it's cause our p day is on Tuesday this week. But today we are taking it easy. Cleaning the apartment, emailing, and napping. Until we get to go to the temple this evening!!!! I'm so excited to see the Memphis Temple before it gets renovated!
So there were 8 days between my last email and today, but next week my p day goes back to Monday, so now you only have to wait 6 days before another overly long email from Elder Dahl graces your inbox!
Have a great rest of your week! Read your scriptures!
866 Schilling Rd. Apt. #103
Collierville, TN 38017
P.S. the "training wheels" mentioned in the subject line was supposed to be a clever way to reference the fact that I'm training a new missionary, on bikes now, and also at the beginning and learning phases of each of those things. It's a layered metaphor!)
It's been a looooong week! Let me quickly catch you up to speed.
- We went paintballing on P day and I endured far more pain than I anticipated.
- I drowned my pain in the oil of fried food
- I killed Elder Henderson
- Our mission president challenged us to invite 70 people to take the missionary lessons this week. That is harder than it sounds.
- I got a pretty interesting phone call from our mission president.
- Caroline got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, hopefully that quick catch up works like a clickbait news headline to get you to read the rest of this email. ("You won't believe what happened to Elder Dahl this week!")
We went paintballing in a group of like 10 missionaries, and 6 other members from Mississippi. We drove down to 'ssippi and shot at each other. I wore a suit jacket as armor that Elder Henderson was going to retire We did 1v1 rounds that were really fun and I won mine and avoided getting shot. Only got shot twice, which was a little disappointing honestly. But I did still get a lot of pain as, in our last round, I heard and felt something fly up my mask and get stuck in there. Assuming it was a fly, I reached my hand up to take the mask off, and as i was doing that, my thumb got stung. Hurried out of the arena and got my mask off ASAP. Didn't get stung in the face, yay! But my thumb hurt like crazy til the next day.
The Gaars had us over for dinner, and hosted a "Fry Day" that we had talked about doing with their granddaughter. Oh man there was a lot of fried food. We fried: mushrooms, pickles, onions, turkey, mac n cheese, peanut butter Oreos, snickers bars, cookie dough, and chocolate Twinkies. None of those tasted bad. They were all v yummy but I have a feeling fried food won't sound good again for a little while. (Or at least until the next time it is put in front of me lol)
The next day, we had district meeting. Afterward, we held a funeral service for Elder Henderson. I gave an extemporaneous eulogy that I was kinda proud of, and we took some fun pictures. I've now killed off both of my dads. ("Dad" is missionary slang for your trainer. To "kill" is to be their last companion before they go home, don't worry.)
We did a lot of door-knocking this week. Probably knocked about a hundred doors on the longest day, with most of the other days of the week coming in close behind. About 15 of those per day were actually home and opened the door long enough for us to ask if we could come back to share a message. About 1 a day said maybe. So... we've got like 4 or 5 maybes to work with haha.
The weather was so nice this week!!! Wednesday was literally the most perfect weather you could ever imagine. We got some epic storms from Hurricane Harvey, and now super nice weather potentially from Hurricane Irma. We are definitely getting the better end of the deal than everyone else. Sounds like those are pretty awful right now. :(
Anyway, we set a goal of 75 invites this week, 5 more than our Mission President's challenge, in order to meet our transfer goal. We made exactly 75 by the end of Sunday. So cool to see how the Lord provides a way for us to reach our goals.
On one day we wanted to get 20 invites in a day, and meetings fell through and got postponed so I was really worried we wouldn't get it, to the point of thinking there wasn't any hope. But we went to the neighborhood we planned on, and managed to get to 20 in an hour! It reminded me of the story where the Lord keeps diminishing the amount of soldiers in the army until it would be impossible for them to boast of their own strength. They are forced to recognize that it was God that provided for their success. Similarly, there is no way that we could have gotten that many invites... in one hour... in Collierville.. without the Lord preparing the area.
On Friday, I got a phone call from President Hansen. We chatted for a bit about how both of my companions have gone home after one transfer with me. Then he said he was gonna send me a companion who had just come out.
So yeah... I will be training! Which means, most likely, at least two more transfers in Collierville!
And then Pres. Hansen said I was also gonna be a district leader. What.
And then he changed his mind, saying Elder Smith was going to be a district leader. Phew!
And then he was like "oops, just kidding, I read that wrong... you ARE gonna be a district leader." Yikers
So yeah... I'll be a district leader! Over myself and the greenie, the sister missionaries coming into Collierville, and the Elders in Holly Springs, Mississippi. So that will be interesting!
Furthermore, we just learned Saturday night that our Collierville area is going to be all-bike, now. Also yikes.
So honestly I lost some sleep Saturday night kinda worrying about this upcoming transfer and all this extra stuff that is expected of me, now. But, silly as this sounds, I remembered the pioneers had to cross the whole country in wagons and handcarts with no food, so I can definitely ride a bike a few miles every day, if only to counteract all the food I'm eating. I have it so so good.
CAROLINE GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AHHH IT WAS THE BEST!!
We drove to the church building early to fill the baptismal font. Had everything ready to go, but the key we had wouldn't open the main curtain for everyone to see the font so the whole thing started fogging up. The sister missionaries called their bishop and we had to drive 15 minutes to the bishops house and back to get the key to the curtain, like 45 minutes before the baptism is supposed to start. Stressing ensued, especially as the bishop didn't appear to be home for about five minutes. But we got the key and got back! (Not without me earning my very first "Agressive Driving" alert on the little robot that checks our car speeds, etc. Man, that thing sucks and I'm a safe driver. It was interfering with our ability to be punctual, effective missionaries.) We did get there, though, with time to spare, and time to change, especially since the baptism started late. We were sad that her parents weren't there.
Took pictures [v v awkward not being able to hug or even put an arm around... mission rules smh] and practiced baptizing a little bit with Caroline in the hallway, and then played prelude music. The first speaker arrived late but it all worked out. And then it was time for the ordinance itself! I walked into the font, and we got situated, I said the prayer, and baptized her! Everything went perfectly! I got into the changing room and just felt awesome.
With Caroline, I'd kinda gotten into this mindset that any old missionary could have taught her and she would have been baptized, I was just lucky enough to be in the right area at the right time. She was so prepared, and her faith is so admirable. Her baptism wasn't anything that I did. But as I changed I felt like Heavenly Father was letting me know that this was one of the reasons I had been sent to the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. It felt so peaceful and bright.
Then we had the opportunity to confirm her and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. Then it was official!
That Sunday was VERY LONG. We got up extra early to attend 2nd Ward Correlation, where we spilt the news that we won't be over that ward anymore. They are excited for sisters, but it sounds like we will be missed! I'm glad to be so close still to so many of the people who have become such close friends in that ward. Then we had 2nd Ward sacrament meeting, and then a few minutes to spare before 1st Ward Sacrament Meeting. Elder Henderson gave a talk, and then I played my piano rendition of "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul," and as soon as I was done, we had to leave the meeting (with our record 3 investigators present!!) to drive the next town over to confirm Caroline! (A lot of people told us they were able to visit with the investigators that came to church, and said that they felt very welcomed. Yay!!)
After that sacrament meeting, Caroline went to get her temple recommend interview so she can do baptisms for the dead! She is so awesome, and is going to go on to do some great things! It has been so awesome to have seen her from first missionary contact to now.
Last week, we had a lady call us and say she has some hard questions for us to answer about Mormonism. She has been struggling to understand a lot of stuff about it for a long time, now. We were able to meet with her this week. I was pretty nervous going into it, because I had done a lot of research to be able to answer her questions, and I just really wanted the spirit to be there, and for it to not get bible bashy. It ended up being awesome. For almost 2 hours, she jumped from question to question and we were able to answer every single one. Some of them I hadn't studied for, but could remember random things I had read weeks ago. Pretty awesome how the spirit helps with remembering things. It was so cool to watch the gears turning in her head and you could really see light come to her eyes.
We met with her again on Sunday, and she realized how important it is for her to read the Book of Mormon. She and her family may be our next baptism, which would be so cool. We will be meeting her again on Thursday!
This next week is gonna be super weird.
Today I drive further into Memphis to send Elder Henderson home, and then I will be on extended exchanges kinda, in Conway, Arkansas! And then on Tuesday, I will meet all the new Elders and Sisters coming into the mission, and then Wednesday I think I will learn who I am training and meet my new companion!
In the mean time, I will have to get in touch with the new members of my new district, and get them pumped to tear it up in Collierville and Holly Springs! I was way nervous for this responsibility, and probably still will be for a while, but now I am also hecka pumped.
AND, on top of it all, my next P Day won't be til Tuesday the 19th. So one day later than usual. But we will be able to go to the Memphis Temple that day before it closes at the end of the month, so I am very excited for that, too! So you will hear from me next on Tuesday, not Monday.
Phew! It has been an awesome week. Definitely, without question, one of the longest! But also probably the most rewarding. Caroline baptized, 3 investigators at church, and a new investigator that may be our next baptism! Upcoming training and district leader positions, plus an all bike area will make the next week and transfer interesting, but I'm excited to see what lies in store!
My heart is full of love for you and the whole world right now! The gospel is true!
Email me: email@example.com
866 Schilling Rd, apt. 103
Collierville, TN 38017
It's been a week! Complete with Graceland, Memphis, a bonfire, a hurricane, and planning a baptism!!!
Also, I hit my 3 month mark, and had my 4th Fast Sunday yesterday. This week didn't feel very productive, but even though there weren't a lot of good things, there were a few incredible things. And we are gonna go HAM for Elder Henderson's last week of the mission this week.
(PSA: fried macaroni and cheese exists and is even better than you think it would be. Yeah.)
Brother Boggs took us and some past missionaries who came to visit him all around Memphis last P-Day.
We went to Graceland! (Elvis's house.) It was pretty sweet. There's definitely some super out-there 60s/70s era decor, but I think I've decided I really like a lot of it. Idk about green shag carpet on the ceiling, but a leafy green colored kitchen, peacock stained glass, old tv's, grand pianos, mirrors going down the staircase... c'mon that is a little cool.
Then we went to Central BBQ, one of Memphians' first picks usually when you ask them where the best barbecue is. I could see why, even under their outdoor patio with the rain hammering the ceiling. It was awesome.
Next up was the Gibson Guitar Factory, where they hand make gorgeous guitars. It was pretty cool, because the tour goes right down alongside the people and machines making them. There's no glass to look through, it's all right there. It made me wish I was a guitar master. (Or that I could even play at all lol)
We walked around Beale Street, which was a little disappointing. There weren't a lot of people which was good, and there were a ton of cool old buildings and signs, but like... literally every single one is a bar haha. Still pretty sweet.
After that, we did another escape room. This one was Egyptian themed with different bonus rooms and closets that opened up when you put in the right codes and stuff. It was soooo cool!! We got out with almost 15 mins to spare, 30 sec short of making the leaderboard.
So that was P day!
Another day, we went over to a ward members house and made a bonfire and cooked s'mores and hot dogs. They were in a subdivision, but their back yard is right against a canal, and then woods beyond that, so it feels like you're out in the country, it was sweet. They had a treehouse, too. Took some fun pictures but I really wish I'd have had my actual camera there. Oh well.
Alright, so the extra exciting stuff: a hurricane? A baptism? I'll start with the hurricane so we can end on a good note!
Hurricane Harvey stopped by through Memphis area of TN. I guess I thought we would just get some residue rain but no it was a little more than that. Collierville was under flash flood warnings. In the morning, it wasn't raining very hard. And then a siren went off. A few minutes later, our Zone Leaders texted everyone saying that if you heard sirens, you needed to get back to your apartment. Well, we see already in our apartment, and it wasn't raining very hard, and we had an appointment at 2:00. As 1:45 rolled by it completely stopped raining, so we texted the zone leaders and went to our teaching appointment. While we were there, it started *actual* raining, still nothing we hadn't seen before, though.
We went to the church to do additional planning and to practice piano. We got a call from a ward member saying the Collierville Police had seen some roads begin to flood. Oh! We got in the car and tried to make it back to our apartment. We did so safely, without really having to worry, but the car windshield wipers on their fastest setting weren't fast enough. Truly. There were puddles on the side of the road you could about float a kayak in. We had to drive in the turning lane to avoid them in some cases. The wind was blowing and leaves and branches were falling around. Chik-fil-a was still busy as ever, though.
So that was really fun haha. Didn't think I'd get to say that I have driven through a hurricane before, especially coming to Arkansas/Tennessee, but hey, it was a cool unexpected adventure! We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening on house arrest in our apartment bored out of our minds and watching the rain come down like a waterfall over every square inch of the road.
We were close to the Mississippi sign, so we stopped to take a picture. We usually go once a week to 'sippii for district meeting.
We also went to Johnson Park one evening in Collierville. It's a cool miles-long boardwalk over forest and wetlands. It was really pretty!! Different kinda green from Idaho, that's for sure!
And now the best stuff of all: Caroline is getting baptized THIS SATURDAY AAHHH!!!!
We taught a lesson on the word of wisdom on Wednesday and she accepted it without hesitation. Caroline has been such an awesome example to me of how God prepares and the Spirit teaches. I like to think I'm a pretty decent teacher, but no teacher, (no matter how good!) can teach someone gospel related things to the point where the person being taught accepts it. The person being taught has to want it and has to come to believe it through the Spirit.
On Friday, we Skyped her and planned the details for her baptism. It'll be at 12:00 on Saturday, Sept. 9th. I was asked to play piano, and... also be the one who baptizes her. I am so excited, and just so humbled and amazed and stoked out of my mind.
I have been reading through the Book of Mormon and have been really impressed with the stories about Alma and the Sons of Mosiah. Being asked to be the one to baptize Caroline really helped me relate with Ammon as I read Alma 26 in my personal studies the next morning. All of Alma 26 is awesome, but I wanna just bring out a few things that I found myself kinda spooked by to be able to relate to so much.
Verses 6-7: yea they [the converts of Ammon] shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea neither shall they be narrowed up by the whirlwinds, but when the storm cometh, they shall be gathered together... They are in the hands of the Lord... and they are His.
-> Caroline is so solid and has developed just incredible faith. I know that when her faith is tried (because it will be!) by her parents, by friends, by life just being hard, that she knows where she stands, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be the single thing she can rely on the most. He is watching over her.
Verse 27: now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us
-> check, I have felt that before!
Verses 28-29: we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world [and of God] and we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea and we have taught them upon their hills... and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks...
-> check, check, check. Okay so I haven't been spit on or slapped so far, but the point remains... this is like exactly what we have been doing knocking door to door, talking to people in the street, getting rejected. The people of Collierville are nicer than the Lamanites, thankfully.
So I could relate with all of this after like my first week. But what struck me was the rest of the chapter, talking about Ammon's joy, carrying away unto boasting of his God. Especially after getting excited for Caroline's baptism.
Verse 35-37: Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God... [you oughtta read the rest. It's awesome, and you will benefit more by reading this chapter than I will by typing the rest of it lol]
-> so Ammon and his brothers had converted like thousands of people, but this one person who I have had the opportunity to have taught and to baptize this week makes me feel just as happy as Ammon. Not because I'm super awesome, but because wow! God really does prepare people and answer their prayers. And because baptism is going to open the way for so so so much happiness in Caroline's life.
Anyway, I'm sure thankful for each of you, and for your prayers and emails throughout the week. I'm thankful for the gospel and the peace and joy it brings into my life. I know this is true. I know it.
866 Schilling Rd, apt. #103
Collierville, TN 38017
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