It's been a doozy. Last week feels like a month ago haha.
Tuesday welcomed us to the season of Autumn in the south. Colored leaves and pumpkin spice and a brisk wind? No, our car thermometer read 102. :') Drippy.
On Wednesday we had our last district council of the transfer. It went pretty well other than the voicemail left on our phone during the meeting from one of our investigators dropping us. We went to hibachi for a district lunch and that was tasty as ever.
We made a few visits, and then came back to the church for Book of Mormon class, which Elder Bolos and I taught, pretty much figuring out what chapter we were on when we got there. It ended up good, though! There were quite a few new people there, and 2 of them were deaf! So one of the sisters signed while we talked and that was pretty cool.
On Thursday, we had our MLC (mission leadership council) and this time it was in Memphis. So we met at the mission office at 6:30 in the morning, and got in the transfer van for a ~2.5hr drive. Studied through most of it, and slept through the rest. The meeting was good! We took pictures in the parking lot of the church building there... right in front of the Memphis Temple, which is under construction. Dang it's looking almost like a whole new building, now! It is coming along! Hopefully it gets done soon!
In the second half of the meeting, President Hansen shared his goal for baptisms in November: 31. Each of the 9 zones got together (Zone leaders & STLs) and prayed about what number of baptisms our zone could contribute to the goal of 31. We felt good about 3. As each zone reported their goal, it added up exactly to 31, first try. Whoa. I mean, mathematically there are a lot of different ways and orders 9 numbers could add up to 31, but... even more ways for it to not add up to 31. Revelation? Coincidence? You can be the judge, but I know what it is. :)
We drove to Memphis when it was dark in the morning, and after a stop at Subway, drove back to Little Rock when it was dark in the evening. From the mission office, we headed to the Pinnacle Mountain elders apartment and exchanged with them. I stayed there with Elder Walker and we had a good exchange!
That Friday morning, we did service for a lady. Her friend, the member guy who drove us over there, said she wanted to hang up a mirror and do something with her outdoor patio lights, and it shouldn't take long. We stepped into her entryway and she explained some of the same stuff she needed help with, and then we walked into her living room and WHOA there was a 12 FOOT CHRISTMAS TREE in her house.
So yeah like the next hour and a half was spent adding more lights, ornaments, and a gaudy tree topper on this giant tree, the both of us on ladders, holding an ornament here or there until we got he thumbs up. The tree started leaning to one side because we were putting so much stuff on it, so we got bungee cords and wrapped them around a cinderblock and the trunk, to little avail. The lady was telling us, "oh yeah, I out up my first little Christmas Tree in my study on my birthday!" When was her birthday? Early August haha. This lady likes Christmas. After the tree, we hung a mirror, oiled her garage door, hung outdoor lights, and had pizza. As far as service goes, this was about as good as it gets. Inside, air conditioned, putting up a Christmas tree, and pizza was involved.
We went back to work afterwards, having to adjust our schedule a little bit. They're full bike, so we biked up to some neighborhood for just enough time to knock like 15 doors before biking back for dinner and then a ride from the APs to another appointment. That's where we met Nolan.
Nolan took about 10 minutes to get up and in his wheelchair and to the door. He used to run a gang in Chicago, and had been meeting with missionaries there until something happened and he had been shot in the head. When he came to, it felt like the next day to him, but the doctors informed him he had been in a coma for a year and a half. What?! So he had some help and moved to Little Rock to start fresh. And the missionaries found him again on Sunday. We went over and talked a little bit. I started setting the scene to invite him to be baptized, but he had "been baptized before," a situation we run into a lot. I think he'll get it soon, though. He is pretty cool.
We exchanged back, and it was good to be back in Benton. The next morning, Tad R. Callister, the General Sunday School President of the church had a meeting for the missionaries! So we rode up to the mission office again and enjoyed that. Stopped at Jimmy John's for a free sammich on our way home. The hot weather had left last night, and I don't think it got above 75 the rest of the weekend. It just rained buckets.
We stayed pretty busy from that afternoon on through 6, trying to contact a few people before heading back to Little Rock for Bro. Callister's public event. We visited our guys in the rehab home, and some of their roommates. They're all kinda intimidating, but trying to turn their life around and surprised by how "not-weird the Mormons are."
2 of them came to the public devotional thing that night and loved it. It was really good. Of course God speaks today! Of course the Book of Mormon is the word of God! We could sit here and try to prove it, but even if we had the "gold plates" right here in front of us, people wouldn't believe or be blessed by them unless they read it!
Saw a lot of people from the Conway ward there and that was so fun! Also, Michelle, a recent convert from the North Little Rock ward I had taught once or twice, was there and remembered me. And it turns out, she also knew one of the guys we brought with us! They caught up, and Michelle just bore testimony to him and insisted he start reading the Book of Mormon. That was so cool to me. To go from that first lesson with her, when she's asking all these questions and loving every answer, to less than 8 months later and she's being a missionary herself... that is just so cool. That's what it's all about.
On Sunday, Craig came to church. Yay! We spent the rest of the day except for dinner doing our weekly planning. Got through most of it. It's been a crazy week. Usually weekly planning is done on Fridays, but we are gonna have to finish it tonight. My goodness hahaha.
But busy weeks are good weeks!
Elder Bolos and I are both staying another transfer in Benton! Yay! We're going to bring this place to its knees... to pray about the Book of Mormon to know if it is the word of God!
Love y'all! Have a great week!
1916 Brandon Rd, Apt. A2
Bryant, AR 72022
Missionary work is a trip. Usually days are long and weeks are short, but this week felt like 27 super fast days in a long week.
On Tuesday, we had another Spanish District Meeting followed by a spanish language study that kinda hurt my brain (but was interesting!) and then went on exchanges with them afterward. I stayed in Benton this time, with Elder Ramirez, who is a recent convert of 3-4 years from Mexico City. He's super cool, and his English is way better than my Spanish is haha.
We spent a lot of time finding, and then had dinner at a member's house. I couldn't put my hands under the table cause one of their 4 dogs would lick my fingers for me haha. But they live on kind of a farm type thing? And brought in a baby duck and have some goats and geese and stuff. They sent us home with homemade jerky and candy.
On Wednesday, we had our district's District Meeting, which we had planned for on an all of 15 minute long conversation over the phone the day before haha. It ended up being pretty good.
We made some cookies for one of our investigators we haven't been able to get in touch with in a while, and she was home! We haven't caught her again since, though... :(
That night we had our missionary correlation meeting, and gave Sister Shumway a blessing afterward. Then we worked on some reports for the Stake President until the assistants to the president came and we went on exchanges with them!
Elder Smalling and I went all over the place in downtown Little Rock. Met some characters. We were talking with one lady for a while, and asked her about blessings she has seen in her lire from prayer. She told us that her son had been sentenced to 5 years in prison after shooting somebody, and she prayed and he only had to serve 4! #blessed?
The sisters over there had an investigator in the hospital, and asked if we could give her a blessing, so we did that. She seemed like a really special lady.
Headed back to Benton for a meeting with the Stake President, and our interviews with the Mission President! Both went well and were awesome. We're getting excited for Tad R. Callister to come this Saturday and talk about the Book of Mormon in Little Rock in anticipation for the musical coming to town haha.
With exchanges done for the week, we spent our Friday weekly planning and then going on a road trip with a member of the ward to some of the outlying members in the area. Pretty much nobody was home, so that's the usual.
Saturday was a weird day.
We had a cool lesson with a less active member and his roommate outside of their rehab facility on a picnic bench. They're both pretty cool and have been through a lot.
And then later, the first door we knocked on ended up being a Baptist preacher. Usually, they just say so and go back inside. Sometimes, they'll throw scriptures at us that we've heard before and we'll give some back. But this guy... idk. He didn't do that, he just went straight to discrediting our testimonies. After a lot of post-experience analysis, we noticed so much contradiction and fallacy in what he said. We left not just not feeling the Spirit, but feeling a bad spirit off of him. I haven't met many evil people in my life, but he'd be on my list. Not just because he thinks differently or was mean, but it was like psychological, spiritual warfare. People who know me wouldn't peg me as the type to storm off someone's porch, but when you discount my testimony and ask me if I'm really worshipping the same Savior... yeah.
So anyway. That was no fun. But church was good, even though people flaked and none of the people we are teaching came. We spent some time trying to find new people in that same neighborhood as the Baptist preacher and ended up totally changing a few people's perspectives on the Book of Mormon, so that success outweighed the bleh from the day before!
So it was a packed week! Now we are waiting outside the Jacksonville, AR church building (back in the Searcy Zone boundaries!) Waiting for our mission p day to begin! The whole Arkansas side is getting together today, so it should be fun!
Love y'all! Chase everything good, peaceful, loving, and joyful in the world!
1916 Brandon Rd, Apt. A2
Bryant, AR 72022
This week has been a hoot and a half! I didn't proof read this email so good luck.
Last Monday night we had a cool experience. We were trying to get in contact with people who used to meet with the missionaries. But it's getting dark earlier, and it seems like the work kinda stops when that happens. But we tried another guy, and he came out and talked with us for a while, and then his 17 year old son did, too. They breed miniature schnauzers, which is pretty neato! He doesn't want to have to work on Sundays at his full time job, and I felt very prompted to promise him that if he read the Book of Mormon, whether it took him 3 weeks or 3 years, the Lord would provide a way for him to not have to work on Sundays. Uh What!? That's a little bold, isn't it? But I haven't felt that impressed to say anything else before in my life. So we will see what happens.
On Tuesday, we went to another Spanish District Meeting! Which was fun, and was followed by some Hibachi. And then I went with Elder Short and tracted in some Hispanic trailer parks. I remembered a few Spanish words here and there, but otherwise felt like a Jr. Companion again, which was kinda fun! We met a guy who welcomed us in and was really interested in the Libro de Mormon.
We went to another trailer park and talked with some more people. As we went up the rickety stairs, we saw a cute little puppy on the other side. We took another two steps up to the patio and saw another dog. Now, when I say that the second dog was an ENORMOUS pitbull, you will probably think I'm exaggerating to make the story better, but seriously, y'all. This dog was huge. It raised its head and sniffed. Elder Short, right behind me, whispered, "run," like in a movie, and we BOOKED IT. We whirled and ran, but the dog's chain just kept extending. Finally, it reared back as the chain caught and just growled at us. Oh man. It took us a long second to get our breathing and heartbeat back to a semiregular pace. But we laughed it off.
We had dinner with a member in mostly Spanish, and then had English class, which was pretty fun, too!
The next day, we exchanged back and had leftover hibachi and then a good lesson and then our English Book of Mormon class. None of the people our entire district had invited came, so that was a bummer.
On Thursday, we had our District Meeting, and then exchanged with the Little Rock Elders again. It was rainy off and on and it only cooled things off a little and made everything more humid. We didn't have a whole lot of luck haha. It was not the funnest time, but like if you don't have a slow, rainy, door-knocking day every once in a while... you're not serving in Arkansas. We biked to the church and had dinner dropped off by a member. Had rice and beans and chicken. Yummy!
It was good to be back in Benton after that. We did some weekly planning and then went to this Thai food place called "Sullivan's" with a member and the sisters. It was pretty dang good, and I had some more fried rice. (For those of you who are counting, that's day #4 with rice! Yum!)
We went to try the schnauzer breeding guy after that, and as we pulled up, he ran inside from his porch, turned the lights off, and then didn't answer when we knocked. Grrrrr. Why do people do that? And why does it happen so often?
We spent a lot of Saturday tracting, with not much luck. But we heard from the sisters, who had just had an awesome lesson with a referral we gave them, and so that brightened the mood!
We helped a lady and her daughter and parents move into an upstairs apartment. And then talked with their downstairs neighbor, who was pretty interested... But also may or may not have been a flat earther.
We didn't know how to finish our day, and so we decided on a whim to try a guy who said we could come back sometime. He was on his way to a DJ gig, (yeah... He's a DJ) but had some time, so he offered that we meet up at McDonald's. So we drove over there, he bought us slushies, and we talked all about the Book of Mormon. Yeah!
And then on Sunday, our investigator Craig came to church!! He had been once before, before I got here, but Sunday was his first day back. He said it felt like his biggest step yet, and every talk and class seemed to be just for him. He loved it and felt the spirit, and it was awesome for us, too, cause you could see how much the gospel was blessing him, actively, in the very moment.
Happiness is out there. And it's in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!
So. Some good highlights from my week! Hope y'all have a good one!
1916 Brandon Rd, Apt. A2
Bryant, AR 72022
I run on fumes until my two hour p day nap and then I'm good to go! :) it's been another good, sweaty, tiring, week in Benton, Arkansas!
Started out the week with a District Meeting... In Spanish. We have a group of Spanish missionaries in our zone, and we have to go to their meetings so there are odd numbers of Elders and Sisters. I was surprised by how much of it (in parts!) I could actually pick up!
That afternoon, we went on an exchange with the Little Rock Elders, and we started out in a trailer park out in some place I never would have guessed to be in the "Little Rock Area." It was out in the middle of nowhere. I got to practice my recently-tested Spanish skills with a lady who was more sympathetic than she was understanding hahahaha.
We chatted with a guy for a few minutes as he was working on his truck. He couldn't get it to start, and then during our chat and right as he needed to get going, the truck started, surprisingly enough to the guy we were talking to. He said we could come back haha. Miracles on miracles. You could choose to see that as a coincidence but it's more fun to think God was involved.
We then went to a more downtown LR neighborhood, to visit a Bible referral. She was looking for patience in her life and has some challenges. And a lot of warning signs on her house about getting shot lol. We tried a former investigator down the street, who had moved years ago, but met a cool guy named Amos who we chatted with for a while, so yay for following promptings!
The next morning, we had our own District Meeting, which went pretty good. My first one in Benton! We've got a good group.
Elder Bolos and I went out to visit an investigator we hadn't seen in a while. He's progressing pretty well, but has only been to church once, a month or two ago. He welcomed us in and we talked for a long time. He talked about all the ins, outs, physics, and strategies of sailboat racing, and it was honestly pretty fascinsting. And on top of that, it turns out sailboat racing and physics makes for a perfect analogy for living the gospel. So all of our minds were blown as we started connecting the metaphors together. It was really awesome.
On Thursday, we had our MLC (Mission Leadership Council). We took a wrong turn going into North Little Rock, and the GPS ended up taking us through this really nice neighborhood along a river... It was pretty.
President Hansen shared the baptism goal for the month of October, which is 28, and then each zone prayed about how many baptisms we could contribute toward that goal. When we all came together, we were only 2 off. So please pray that the Benton Zone can help 4 people in September, and 3 people in October to enter the waters of baptism!
Sis. Hansen pointed out that a lot of the MLC group (consisting of the Zone Leaders & Sister Training Leaders of the mission) is pretty young. I mean I'm still pretty young, too, but I was one of the handful in there that had been in those meetings for longer than 6 months.
In related news, I hit my 15 month mark this week, so I'm down to 9 months left. WHAT. I'm getting old in mission age.
After MLC, we got back to Benton in time for breakfast for dinner. Then we did some finding after that and met some characters. One guy was smoking on his porch and told us one side of his families is criminals, and the other side of his family is gypsies. #Arkansas
Another lady was probably in her late 60s and was on her phone walking around kind of all over the neighborhood. We caught up to her and started talking. Turns out she was playing Pokemon Go hahaha. We had a good visit with her, though, and she started talking about geneology! Her nephew is a member of the ward here, and she said we could come back with him. So we are excited about that! Pokemon Go: putting the elect in the missionaries' path.
We did a lot of service on Friday. It started out as just laying brick in a side yard. Or, that's what we thought we'd be doing, but we just leveled the sand for it, so we basically just played in a sandbox. Then another member called and asked for some help picking up "large tree limbs" from the side of the road to use as firewood. Yeah those "limbs" were big ole cedar logs. It was like high noon, the sweat was shiny, and dirt was sticking to it all. I'm still a little sore haha.
On Saturday, we had a zone miles call with the guy in charge of all the cars for the missionaries. We have mile limitations each month, so we were just reporting all of that stuff. Had a good visit with the "chase you off with a broom" lady, sharing parts of Moroni 8 because her 3 year old son had died in a gun accident several years ago.
We went to Chili's for dinner cause Elder Bolos had a gift card. When we finished and were ready to pay, though, he couldn't find it. We figured he had accidentally dropped it and it had gotten picked up between the car and our table somewhere. Our waitress went to look for it, and came back with one, but the cars number didn't match the one on his receipt... So that kind lady just got us a whole new gift card. People are so nice!!!
Church was good on Sunday. We gave that investigstor who's been struggling to come to church a wake up call. He answered, said he was up, but sleepy, and then we headed to church. He never came cause he had fallen back asleep. So next week, he's getting the wake up call, AND two guys pounding on his door. :)
We got back and had studies, and then headed out to visit some people that we had met this week. Unfortunately, the 2 or 3 we had hoped to visit both had their spouse answer the door, and the spouse wasn't half as interested as the other we were hoping to talk with. So that was a major bummer.
Did some tracting and found a few semi-interested people. One guy was busy but said we could come back in a few hours. So we returned home and ate after fasting all day. It was a harder fast than usual cause I was sweating so much out. But we then went back to try him, and lo and behold, no one answered the door.
We finished our weekly planning when we got home and had call ins with the missionaries in our zone. Things are going awesomely!
From here on out, each week gets busier and busier until the end of the transfer and September. There's a lot going on, and it's all good!
Thank you for your prayers! Please send more of them towards the people of Arkansas. They need em haha.
How's life treating you?
For other treats
1916 Brandon Rd, Apt. A2
Bryant, AR 72022
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