This week's been a doozy. I think I've eaten more meat in the past week than any other week in my life, with the possible exception of the Buffalo Wild Wings incident. The work has been slow, but it's been a good week regardless. Seriously so much fun. I'm just gonna shoot stories your way, so brace yourself.
On Monday after our "walking to Arkansas" experience, we had a wonderful dinner and then went grocery shopping with Bro. Boggs again. Afterward, he handed each of us a pair of pants and a shirt from Nike. He works for a company that Nike Golf hires for logistics, and they'd had an employee giveaway that day. So I'm now the proud owner of some mission-wide coveted Nike Golf Pants - the coziest, most perfect dress pants you can dream up. Plus a cool Nike polo made for golfers who are sponsored by Nike haha. I'm worried about how I'll be able to pack everything up again when I am transferred!
On Tuesday, we had our last district meeting of the transfer. We held a missionary funeral for Elder Wilson, who is going home next week, and then us Collierville missionaries worked the rest of the afternoon on making a JustServe parade float, which was pretty fun. (JustServe.org is a website sponsored by the church that brings volunteers and service needs together! If you're looking for service hours, or just a time to serve in the community, check it out!)
We had dinner at Corky's that night, a BBQ place in town with amazing rolls and pretty dang good muddy ribs.
I was feeling the rolls pretty well the next day. It was the coldest day so far by a long shot. I had gloves and a coat on and was still shivering knocking doors. But biking was the worst cause you still start sweating when you're wearing all of that. We biked down a fairly lengthy, hilly road and I was about an inch away from just walking my bike instead. Biking is not my thang.
Fortunately, the thought of thanksgiving the next day kept me going, and the fact that we were getting haircuts that night helped, too. I was in need of one pretty bad haha. I feel lighter now!
Alrighty, and then it was Thanksgiving. It was one to remember for sure. I had such an awesome time. The Whitakers took us to a buffet, but not just any buffet... a fancy shmancy buffet at the swanky Peabody Hotel. We were dropped off near the valet parking lot and watched people going in and out for a while. A guy walked up to us and was about to ask us how he got his car back when he squinted at our nametags. "Oh, wrong guys," he said. We laughed and agreed. As he walked away, he joked, "You're who I'd call to fetch my bicycle!" and left Elder Bingham and I to crack up over it haha.
Inside, we were brought to a table with the Whitakers and some of their family, and then we were pretty much let loose to serve ourselves, different stations of food lining the whole hallway around the second floor. A section for meats, a section for potatoes, for seafood, for bread, for cheese, and most importantly, a whole wall full of desserts.
So, long story short, we stuffed ourselves. I tried caviar for the first (and likely last) time. Their prime rib was dang good. But the highlight was the dessert bar. Fried apple pie with eggnog ice cream, brownies, chocolated nuts... the works. After dessert, Bro. Whitaker & Elder Bingham both went back for another slice of prime rib and mashed potatoes. What. I had no room for that haha.
After dinner, we went to the roof of the hotel and admired the view up there, and then rode the elevator down to the lobby to watch the Memphis-famous Peabody ducks walk from their fountain in the lobby up to the elevator back up to their home on the roof. On the elevator ride down, a random guy joined the 12 of us of the Whitaker party. Bro. Whitaker made the goofiest fart noise with his mouth and made the guy just turn purple laughing. The rest of us were having a fit, too. They really felt the most like family right then and there haha.
We watched the ducks, and that was pretty fun haha. While I was waiting, Sister Whitaker tapped my shoulder and handed me a bag with a shirt from the gift shop. Man, they treat us too well.
We got back home from there, and then after all that excitement, we went to our 2nd thanksgiving stop! We went to the Jacobs, and enjoyed the tastiest berry waffles ever. It was a much needed, lighter end to thanksgiving!
[I'm sure you're wondering where the whole dead opposum thing comes in. Thankfully, that little feller didn't make an appearance on Thanksgiving, but I'll get to it soon enough.]
The next day we did sneak away in the morning to go do some Black Friday shopping. Really, we just did some service and helped fit a ladder and a table saw into a Toyota Carolla, and we happened to stop by Academy, and I happened to get a much needed light, layerable puffer jacket for tracting in for $30 instead of $50! It's the little things. We stopped at Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, and still got home in time to finish studies and weekly planning before the zone leaders arrived to help us out for the day.
We helped Brother Boggs again by putting up this cool greenhouse thing for his citrus plants in his garage, and then he fed us a tasty lunch of homemade chicken pot pie. Dadgum. Really yummy stuff.
With the Zone Leaders, we went to the mall. (Not to shop, though, but to hand out the new #LightTheWorld cards.) It was hopping, and we gave a bunch of cards out! What an awesome thing to be spreading the word about! Go check out www.mormon.org right now and see how you can spread the light of Christ to people around you in 25 different ways over 25 days, Dec. 1st through 25th!
Elder Bingham spoke in church on Sunday and did a pretty good job. Then one of the most crazy hours of the week happened.
We stopped by Bro. Boggs house after church (can you tell we really like this guy?) and as I was about to knock on the door, Elder Bingham points at something in his yard. I turn to look at it, and there it is... The dead possum.
Brother Boggs opened the door. "Um... there's a dead cat in your yard," we joked. Soon enough, he had a shovel and I was holding open a garbage bag. I didn't think I'd be that disgusted by it, but I was hahaha. Possums play dead all the time, right? The whole time I was looking at this ugly, cat-sized thing with its little exposed teeth and grabby hands and stubby, scaly tail, thinking "Oh man if this thing so much as twitches I'm outta here and freaking out."
Fortunately for everyone involved*, it didn't twitch. I just had the pleasure of feeling something the weight of a soggy tomcat hit the bottom of the plastic bag I was holding open. Nasty.
(*everyone except the oppossum)
So anyway! I felt like I was actually serving in the south for once, ya know? Where picking up dead 'possums in your yard is as commonplace as fryin' okra, eatin' chicken, and Wednesday night Bible Studies. Hopefully I've got more of that to look forward to as I leave the little bubble of Collierville, Tennessee.
Oh, did I say leaving Collierville? That was the other thing that made this hour one of the most crazy of the week. Right as I sat down to some Cajun dirty rice for lunch, Pres. Hansen called and informed me of some changes taking place next week. Ooh boy. There's some change a-comin'.
So with that in mind, probably wait to send me stuff until I have my new address. Transfers don't actually happen until next week, but I should be able to get the new address by Monday. Exciting stuff!
Today was a fun P Day! I'll save it for next week, though, since today's email is already pretty long. Suffice it to say, though, today was my 2nd time this week having about a half rack of ribs, and neither of those occasions happened on Thanksgiving. However, Thanksgiving did include such meats as salmon, shrimp, sushi, caviar, turkey, ham, and prime rib. I've come to realize that meat is the bread of Memphis. There's so much meat.
Well that's that! A memorable and fun Thanksgiving week here in Collierville, Tennessee. Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgivings, ate a superfluous amount of food, and realized just how hard it is to count all your blessings. Keep lighting the world!
Hello hello hello! The sun is shining in Memphis, and the air is cold. It's been a good week, even if I was in a different state than my companion for a short time. Oops. But I will talk about that later.
Last p day was kinda boring, but we got to actually leave our apartment and see other missionaries, so that was nice! The highlights of last P Day were undoubtedly:
1. A very nice Chik-Fil-a that had a mouthwash dispenser with cups in their bathroom. Yup.
2. Getting massaged. By a car. Let's just say I wouldn't mind having a Mercedes-Benz.
After P Day ended last week, we got a text from the Assistants to the President saying they were in the area and needed a place to crash. So we cleaned up our apartment a little extra and hosted them for the night, which was a lot of fun. It was nice having other missionaries to joke around with for a bit, and to receive advice from in planning the next morning.
I guess I'll jump right into probably the highlight of my week, which was going teaching with President Hansen, our mission president. We were able to set up an appointment for while he was here, and it was really good! As far as I knew, he had alotted himself an hour or so for the lesson. It went for almost 3 hours... But it was super neat to see how he jumped around, followed the spirit, and showed love and support. Sister Hansen came, too, and there was a member there as well. I've been in Sunday school classes with fewer people! But it was really cool. Sister Hansen may have stepped on the member's dog, though hahaha.
After the good, long lesson, we had Pres. Hansen drop us off in a neighborhood to contact people we'd met before and try finding some new people. As he drove off, he shouted "Hurrah for Israel!" and we kinda rolled our eyes after he'd driven off, but having a great lesson in for the day, and the mission President encouraging you on was a pretty good morale boost. President Hansen is awesome.
The next day in Zone Conference, President referenced our lesson together, and how as he and Sister Hansen saw us knocking doors right after being dropped off, they started tearing up, and feeling proud of us for not just going back home and kicking our feet up. Even though not a single person heard us out the rest of the day, the good lesson from the morning, and this awesome kind of validation made the rest of the week.
And then it kept going!
Right after zone conference, we had a second teaching appointment for the week with our Bible Referral we met last week. Super cool guy. We invited him to be baptized, but he wasn't quite ready for that. But it didn't scare him away, either!
A member had dropped us off at his house, which is at the very top of our long, narrow area. After we got out of the lesson, it was dark already, and the member who was picking us up was still a good 15-20 minutes out. So, rather than hanging out in front of this guy's house, (and because we both needed to pee really bad) we made our way to a gas station around the corner from him. That was an adventure.
One of the neighbors around this guy has a gorgeous husky dog that followed us for a while as we walked on the narrow, muddy shoulder of this windy, busy, 2 lane road. It was dark and cloudy, cars were whizzing by, we had this wolf-like dog walking by us, we're all still dressed up in suits from Zone Conference... It was a cool moment haha.
Now, this gas station, on the other hand, was interesting. The bathroom was... functional. They had a little BBQ place inside, but everything was under a heat lamp counter. Nothing says "fresh" like a salad bar with marijuana grow lights on it to keep those turkey legs warm. They had this brand of chips with Rappers featured on the bags, so that was cool.
After dinner that night, we played pool for a while with the family that had us over, rather than going back to our apartment early. Somehow, I beat Elder Bingham 2/3, and then 3/5 games, but it was really close. Then we were on a team and got smoked by Bro. Mortensen and his daughter haha.
The next morning, we went to fulfill a third (!?!?!) Teaching appointment, but our luck ran out and the guy wasn't home. That was after biking 4 miles to get to his house. We tried a few more people in his neighborhood that we had met but nobody was home. Oh well.
Elder Bingham was asked to speak in church next week, so we spent a good chunk of time inside during the latter half of the week for him to stay in and work on that. I was very very tempted to just nap while he was working on it, but I used the extra hours as additional study time. It was actually awesome. I'm learning more and more how everything in the scriptures are connected and are a part of one singular message. "Jesus is our Savior, and we are to be like him. Here's how." And then the smaller details that are a part of that are cool, too.
For instance, I learned this week that the Sabbath Day isn't just to commemorate the 7th day of the creation, but also to commemorate the freeing of the Israelites from Egyptian Bondage. (Maybe everybody but me knew this, idk, this was new to me!) In that sense, then, the Sabbath is also a way to celebrate deliverance from bondage and sin, thanks to the power of our Savior.
Anyway! My Gospel knowledge grew a lot this week.
We had one of those rare times when we didn't have a dinner appointment this week. So we went to Subway to try to make a further dent in to our $200 gift card there so kindly given to us by the Smiths. I go to get my Steak and Cheese sandwich, and it's looking real good, all crispy from being toasted, and the pepper jack cheese is all melty. "A few jalapenos," I say, after adding some green pepper and other ingredients. In a flash, the lady behind the counter "repeats back" what I said and reaches for something that is NOT jalapenos. I turn my head to read the label on the bottle and realize with dread what it was she said back to me. Somehow she heard my request for "a few jalapenos" as "a lot of mayonnaise."
Now. The thing about that is... I don't like mayonnaise. And heck, even if I did, no human being who "likes" mayonnaise would ever want "a lot" of mayonnaise, the way this lady interpreted "a lot." Like... I'm talking almost the weight of the bread in mayo.
I didn't wanna say anything to make the lady feel bad, and figured I could just kinda scrape the mayo off, anyway. So I make it through half of this mayo-soggy footlong before just going back and ordering a mayo-less 6inch. There was no rescuing it, it was too far gone. Thankfully, we still have $139 on the card.
Remember that lady I wrote about having given a blessing to in a hospital a week or two ago? Well... she passed away peacefully like the next afternoon. I wrote the email sharing the experience after she had passed, and didn't even hear about her passing until a day or two after that! But the blessing she received was one of peace and comfort, not necessarily healing, so that was powerful.
We visited her husband again this week in the assisted living home not far from our apartment. The ward council encouraged us to go over there and read from the Book of Mormon with him. Trouble is, he is really hard of hearing. So we read 2 Nephi 31:20 with him, and talked about having a "perfect brightness of hope," when all the sudden he interrupted, "Well, it wasn't perfect. But it was pretty good" and then I realized that he hadn't really heard any of what we said. But we got him talking a little bit and then closed with a prayer. After we said "Amen," he still had his eyes closed and head bowed, so I shouted "Amen" like a Baptist preacher and he either woke up or heard me, and said "amen," too, hahaha. Awesome guy.
The Smith's took us out to dinner again at Longhorn Steakhouse. Man, they're too good to us. He got pulled over on the way to pick us up, and neither of them were feeling well, sadly. But not only did they let us get our steaks, but they actually ordered second steaks for both of us to take home as leftovers. What. Idk if there is such a thing as being "too blessed," but if that line exists, I may have crossed it.
In non-Mission related news, the Meridian Idaho Temple was dedicated this week! The morning of the youth cultural celebration I felt the spirit so strongly thinking about it! What a powerful force for good both the temple and all those youth participating in the celebration will be for the whole world! I miss Meridian a lot, and can't wait to see the temple completed myself! But I'm just so happy knowing so many people have gotten the opportunity already, and that it will be up and running this week!
Turns out, I'm not just related to the Dahls in this ward! Sister Olsen's Maiden name is Bingham, and can trace her geneology back to good ole Erastus Perry Bingham. And she and Elder Bingham both have family that owned some mine around Salt Lake. After using the "relatives around me" feature in the Family Tree app, Elder Bingham and I discovered we are 10th cousins, once removed. So there's that!
Oh, and I met a dog named Oliver! It barked at us all the way down the street!
Aaaand this email is a little later because Bishop Michaelis kindly invited us to go walk to Arkansas with him this morning. (Which doesn't sound as crazy when I inform you that we just walked over a bridge that crosses the Mississippi River from Memphis into Arkansas.) But it was cool! There is a point on the pedestrian bridge that marks the state line, so Elder Bingham and I got a picture together while standing in different states. (Shh, don't tell President Hansen! :)
After that, we went to a little brunch cafe that claims to be the oldest in Memphis. It was refinished in the 50s and so it looks like my kinda photography heaven, but I didn't get a lot of pictures because we were in an annex and there were a lot of people haha. But it was a fun spot. We had their specialty french toast, figuring we would see what makes it so special. I should've known. It was fried. (It was also really good, but in the way I imagine people inhaling crack cocaine probably thing cocaine is pretty good haha.) Not a nutritious breakfast, I just wanted to nap after that. Good thing it is P Day and that my weekly email is done, now! :)
Love, Peace, and... French Toast Grease?
This email brought to you by:
Arcade Restaurant: a Downtown Memphis brunch staple
The Family Tree App: yep you're related. That's awkward.
The Sketchy Gas Station in Eads, TN: Proud carrier of Rap Snacks (tm)
And by viewers like you. Thank you.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM!
ALSO, HAPPY THANKSGIVING
If you have secrets to hide from the post office:
If you have secrets to hide from the NSA:
866 Schilling Rd, apt. #103
Collierville, TN 38017
(I could be transferred on Dec. 4th so keep that in mind)
I forgot to mention last week that I had dinner with the Dahl Family! I forget the exact relation, but we are like 2nd or 3rd cousins, because Bro. Dahl's grandpa, and my Grandpa Dahl are cousins! It was kinda fun, and affirmation that Dahl's are cool wherever you go. (Also, their son Chase has been following me on Instagram since before I even knew I was coming to Arkansas/Tennessee! How cool is that?)
Is skimboarding against the rules as a missionary?
Whether it is or isn't, it might be a stretch to call what I did in the muddy, grassy stream that formed from falling rain in the back yard of our apartment complex on a skimboard I found by the dumpster a few months ago "skimboarding."
It was fun anyway.
That night the sky was glowing this crazy red/orange color. I thought for sure the world was ending right then and there, I've never seen anything like it.
Besides my failed skimboarding attempt about 10 yards from our door, going to the parking lot of our apartment complex to pick up dinner was about as far from our apartment as we had gotten all day on our p day thus far.
Dinner came in a box. A large box. With a whole sheet of enchiladas, another full of taquitos, another with rice, and another with refried beans. Plus a bag with a salad and a generous plate of cookies. I dunno if they realized we don't share our apartment with another set of missionaries haha. We even had the Elders from Holly Springs help us with the leftovers and we didn't finish them all! Good stuff.
Thankfully, at the end of our P Day, Brother Boggs came to the rescue. We got to leave our apartment and go to the exciting destination of Kohl's. I dont remember why we went there in the first place. Maybe to look at ties?
Elder Bingham found a pair of black work jeans and I found a pair of black jeans as well, since the ones I brought with me are now too skinny to fit me. And there was a BOGO 50% off pants deal, but even with that, the pants would've been more than 50$/each... A little out of my missionary budget.
Brother Boggs joked that if Elder Bingham could fit in my pair of pants, he would pay for them. Before I knew it, they'd shaken on it, and he was trying my pants on. To Bro. Boggs' surprise, (and maybe Elder Bingham's, too haha) he fit! Needless to say, we got some new jeans that night haha. And I thought he was joking.
And, as someone who before my mission practically lived in black skinny jeans, it's soooooo nice to have a pair that fits me again. Oh man. Seriously the best thing.
Had district meeting the next day, and I felt good about it. Like maybe I was called to be district leader for my own benefit. To help me feel important and contributing and making a difference. Because like, I know that I am, and I that I am in missionary work as well, but not seeing the fruits of that gets pretty disappointing sometimes. So being able to say that district meeting was good, is the kind of success that helps boost me up for the rest of the week. And I learn a lot from that group.
Wednesday was a definite highlight for the week! We had received this Bible Referral (meaning, he ordered a free Bible from mormon.org) like a month ago, who lives a pretty good distance away. The number we had didn't work, and he never responded to our email. We decided to help Bro. Gaar out with their new house they are remodeling kinda near where this guy lives, and then go try to meet him.
After a stop at this family owned gas station for a sketchy looking ham sandwich (that ended up being some of the best tasting ham I've ever had... I guess that's their specialty?) Bro. Gaar drove us to visit the bible referral in person. He is on dialysis 3x a week, and we happened to catch him on one of the days he was home! (A "happy coincidence" or sweet miracle in and of itself!)
Turns out this guy is super cool. He reminds me of one of my good friends from back home, and expressed a lot of opinions and desires that exactly fit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which is super cool. We gave him a Book of Mormon, too, and he talked about his family, and the miracles he has seen in his life. He made sure we got his correct number, and then called us the next day to talk about how he thinks God put us in his life for a reason. Then he texted us the next day haha. We will see him again on Wednesday of this week!
We then helped out at the Gaar's new house for a bit, moving furniture, chucking moldy logs off their property, and testing out their cool rope swing. :)
That night we had Chinese takeout with the Whitakers for dinner, and my fortune cookie was kinda spooky. I've come to believe in the magic of fortune cookies while on my mission. Every one I've had has been pretty relevant. (For example: like the 2nd fortune cookie I got, early on in my mission said: "don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest." Spooky, huh??) Anyway, this fortune cookie said: "You constantly struggle for self improvement - and it shows."
At first I was a little salty, cause I was like "dang, I just got roasted by a fortune cookie," interpreting it as it shows to people that my endeavors to improve are clearly a struggle. But Bro. Whitaker helped me interpret it another way, that it is clear to others that I am trying to improve. I liked that interpretation better haha.
Self improvement has been a struggle. And still very much is. But it's not like we ever get to the point where we don't have to worry about self improvement anymore. And that won't ever be easy.
(Since we had just come from service, Sis. Whitaker complimented our new black jeans and normal outfit saying it looked like we just walked out of a J. Crew magazine haha. It was good to feel like myself again.)
Had another fun dinner appointment with a younger family in the ward, whose 3 year old daughter was really funny haha. She kept calling us "missioranies," [mish-oh-rain-ees] asked if we were husbands, and informed us that "red light means stop." Her dad was telling us he had let her make a character on one of his video games before, and she made a skull-faced robot with axes for arms that just murdered on that game. She named him "Mr. Dingles" and I was dying laughing haha.
We went over to Brother Boggs' house on one particularly slow afternoon and raked all the leaves in his back yard. I was reminded of the scripture that talks about how even if we spend our whole lives in God's service, we will still be unprofitable servants. There's no way our raking a few leaves--or even a lot of leaves--could "repay" him even just for our new pants on Monday, let alone the rides places, the fun p days, and the yummy meals. And then he just kept spoiling us after that. We can't repay that guy, the same way the Lord is always gonna bless us more than what we can ever work for.
A lady I've been teaching since I got here in Collierville almost 6 months ago dropped us, saying she just wants to keep going to her own church. Not a huge surprise, but definitely a bummer. I've grown a lot as a teacher since my first visit with her, and I have her to thank for a lot of that. But I kinda felt walking in there that it might be the last time I teach her. So its not wasted effort or time at all, it's just disappointing that it ends like this for us. Some other missionaries will get her eventually.
Biking back home that day was rough. The weather has been mostly gorgeous this week, like long sleeve shirt weather. But we were biking home kinda late, right at sunset. Sunset started when we left (shortly after meeting someone we later learned had killed somebody with a steak knife before!) And it was dark by the time we got back to our apartment. It gets dark fast here. It was cooling down, too, so my nose, ears, cheeks, and hands most of all, just froze while biking back. But I still got back hot and sweaty. It was such a painful feeling. And biking hasn't gotten much easier since starting, so I had one of my first real "what the heck am I doing with my life" moments on one of the slight inclines before getting back. My legs are burning, I'm sweating, but my hands are frozen, and we'd just gotten dropped by a long time investigator. Not a fun time, but the sentiment passed after having sat down for a good long time haha.
That night, Kohls was doing some kind of sale, and Brother Boggs had some newly acquired Kohls cash to spend. :) he called us and volunteered to buy us gloves or scarves since it's getting cold out, now. That definitely helped me know the Lord is looking out for me. He won't just make all of my pains disappear, but he will use some awesome people to help me out a bit. Those gloves are gonna save me from so much pain.
On Saturday, we helped a young couple move, and I got to be a speed bump while they moved an old upright piano down the stairs. (Thankfully they didn't need me to actually do my job. Too bad only so many people can fit around a piano going down a staircase.)
Then we helped another couple move some cabinets from their garage upstairs to a bathroom, which took all of about 3 and a half minutes. They then took us out to eat at Interstate BBQ, and that was pretty dang good. Cole slaw on the bbq sammich is the way it comes from the kitchen. (And the way it's generally done in the south. Good stuff.)
We continued helping prep Brother Boggs yard for fall after that, with another break in between with a stop at Burlington Coat Factory (which made me miss wearing normal clothes) and this international farmers market that was so cool.
Like this place made me feel like I was in a different country. They had a hispanic/latin side of the store, and an oriental side of the store. They had all kinds of cultural items and food, etc., ranging from Maseca and ketchup to dried squid, this weird aloe vera drink, and rambutans. There was a butcher shop and a seafood market in there, and that place was hopping. I saw one other white person in there. It was cool.
Fun food experience of the week: that aloe vera drink I mentioned. We got a peach flavored one (because I am addicted to peach juice yikes) and it is SO GOOD. It tastes like normal peach juice, but there are little "globules" (for lack of a better word, I know "globules" doesn't sound appetizing) of aloe that have been flavored as well. It reminds me of those little squishy water sphere things you can use to water plants, or like boba tea, but smaller little gooies in the drink. I guess its really popular somewhere in asia, and is about as cheap as water. Too bad walmart doesnt have it. 14/10.
Probably the spiritual highlight of this week was actually the Primary Program. (The Sunday once a year where children under the age of 12 sing songs and share their testimonies for the majority of the main meeting.) It was fun seeing so many of the kids who had been so fun with us at dinner appointments over the past 6 months. Like siblings for an evening at a time haha.
I started my morning not feeling very great about my accomplishments and our progress this week, and just prayed that I'd be able to feel the spirit that day. And boy, did I.
Troy Dahl, one of those 3rd cousins or whatever I talked about earlier, actually played a piano solo as a part of the program. He did a really really good job. He missed a few notes here, and hesitated there, but it was awesome! I watched as he sat down, made eye contact with his mom, and just looked disappointed in himself. His mom shook her head and mouthed that he did a great job, and he wouldn't accept it. In my head, I wanted to tell him "A few mistakes doesn't make it not awesome!" I felt so strongly that he shouldn't feel disappointed by such an awesome performance.
As I thought about that, I realized that it was that very message that my Heavenly Father was trying to tell me. When I realized it, I felt the spirit so strong I almost started crying haha. "Just because you make a few mistakes here, miss something there, mess this one thing up, doesn't make your performance or service not awesome!"
And man, did I need to hear that.
The primary then sang the song "Nephi's Courage" and I was moved again by Nephi's bold declaration that he would "go and do the things the Lord commands, I know the Lord provides a way, he wants me to obey!" I felt reenergized to do just that. And I thought about how I already have decided to "go and do" by being out here to begin with.
And finally, they sang "When I Am Baptized," one of the songs I played at Caroline's baptism about 2 months ago. It brought back some of the happy, proud, spiritual feelings I had then, and reminded me of the joy that comes with baptism.
So by the end of this primary program, it was a struggle keeping my eyes dry haha. I had been comforted, reminded, and encouraged, in just the right ways. Our Heavenly Father surely communicates to us through music, and through promptings of the spirit through our own thoughts.
It's been another kinda slow, tough, week, but I've definitely seen the Lord's hand in my life. I want so badly to be a means by which others can feel His hand, too. His love is the best feeling ever and I want more opportunities to help others feel that. I pray that there will be more instances of this to write home about next week!
Until then, look for ways that God is blessing you in your life this week, and then BE a way that God blesses others!
Love, peace, and chicken grease,
Emails make me happy:
Letters make me happy:
866 Schilling Rd, Apt. #103
Collierville, TN 38017
Spookweek is over, and the spookiest thing that happened was that I hit my 5 month mark. (May 31st-October 31st.)
After several slow weeks, I feel like we finally caught some traction this week and it feels good! Which, may sound weird, given the fact that we didn't teach a single formal lesson this week. But hear me out!
1st up, a quote. Apparently J. Golden Kimball has once said, "The only way you can save the South is to burn it to the ground and do baptisms for the dead."
(Probably don't forward this quote out haha)
We had the 1st District Meeting of the transfer on Tuesday, and it was pretty good! It may have been the last district meeting I got to 100% plan, because starting this week, every district leader has assigned topics. Which I am very thankful for. But this meeting was good! We talked about the importance of making our purpose clear to others. And, put dramatically, the difference between, at the door, saying:
"Hello! We are your local missionaries, and we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ with people!"
"Hello! We are your local missionaries, and what that means is that we have literally been called of God through His living prophet on the earth today to represent Jesus Christ. As His representatives, we want to let you know that Jesus Christ loves you and wants you to be a part of His church. He is proud of your faith and, and on His behalf we want to promise you that you can recognize His voice in the Book of Mormon."
While practicing what I had been preaching, we had an awesome experience on Saturday where this ended up working very well. We gave a guy a Book of Mormon and he said he'd read it. He sounded open to coming to church and everything. We were kinda surprised with everything that he said. He seemed too genuine to be pulling our leg haha. He's got a family, and they aren't tied to any certain church yet... I don't wanna jinx anything, but it would be golden. I know the gospel could bring them so much joy. (Don't pray for me, pray for this guy, and another lady we gave a BoM to this week, that they will read it and love it and want to know more!)
Halloween was fun! We got to do service at a community center, put on by another church. They had a trunk or treat next door, and then funneled people into the center for carnival games and a bouncy house, etc. Last year they had like 2200 people come in. It was kind of a drizzly Halloween, but we definitely saw over a thousand people in there.
I was in charge of a carnival game where kids threw hula hoops and tried to get them to land around one of 3 pumpkins. I got a hula hoop to the face a few times but it was a blast. As a kid from Wonderbread Land Idaho, I don't think I've ever seen so many black people in one place. It was a party. All those little kids were pretty adorable haha.
The next day, my baby legs were sore from bending down and picking up 4 hula hoops a zillion times. We biked a little ways to a neighborhood, and spent like 3 or 4 straight hours there knocking doors. It rained off and on, nothing too bad, though. We did get 2 or 3 potential investigators out of it, including that lady I briefly mentioned before. We biked back to our apartment, and I either
1. Was pushed by angels
2. Was so sore I became numb
3. My muscles grew enough to make the ride home feel a lot easier.
But... honestly, option 3 seems like the least likely of these to me hahaha.
Got home super tired though. It was like 58 degrees, but felt like 90 after biking back. Had mud drops all over shoes and pants, and the back of my shirt, from being kicked up from the spinning bike wheel somehow. A member dropped off dinner with homemade bread and that made it all right again haha.
Had my first mission leadership conference! All the Zone, District, and Sister Training Leaders get together with the mission president for additional instruction and stuff. It was really good! Elder Bingham went with another district leader's companion and knocked doors the whole time so I made sure to enjoy the meeting haha.
The next day, we went to visit an older couple in an assisted living facility within walking distance of our apartment. When we arrived, we were told that Sis. Vaughn was in the hospital. They asked if we were the ones sent to visit Bro. Vaughn by someone who had called earlier that morning. We didn't even know about what happened, and said no. "Well, just a good coincidence you're here, then! Mr. Vaughn will be so happy to see you!"
Yeah, just a good coincidence, that's what that was. :)
The next day, after helping someone move, we went to visit Sis. Vaughn in the hospital to help give her a blessing. We got back to our apartment and had a long rest of our day! We biked up to a petting zoo/farm thing that a member told us about. Apparently missionaries years ago had helped out there, and the lady who owned the place missed seeing them. So we got to meet her, and it sounds like your city-suburb boi Elder Dahl will get to work on a farm this week. I'm excited haha.
A few hours after that, we met the super solid guy we gave a book of Mormon to. Not a lot of people were home, or at least answering the door, so that one solid contact and planted seed made up for the past several days of not much happening. Yay!
In that neighborhood, we found a cool walking path that was gorgeous because fall is here!!!!!
There are still flowers. And a lot of green trees. And it still feels hot when you are biking. But other than that, it is gorgeous outside, there have been lots of wonderful cloudy days this week, and the trees that have changed are gorgeous. And they are so packed together, that it's just a rainbow of trees sometimes.
Brother Boggs, who works for Nike Golf, kinda, took us to the Nike Clearance Outlet store in downtown Memphis. Oh man. I probably coulda spent a lot of money in there on clothes and shoes that I would only get to wear once a week anyway, but it was pretty awesome. I exercised my self control pretty well, but couldn't keep myself from getting a pretty sweet retro looking jacket, normally 120$, on sale for $50, and $30 w/ Bro. Boggs' family and friends coupon. Yay for stealin' deals and funky jackets. We went to a Korean barbecue place again that was really good, afterwards.
Subway Gift Card progress: $165/200 remaining.
So anyway! It's been a good week. We got to share the gospel with a few people who actually heard us out! We were able to be guided by the spirit to help the Vaughns. District Meeting was good, and the leadership meeting was motivating. The weather was rainy, but otherwise amazing. We got to do service, and I had french toast for breakfast a couple times. The ball is rolling, y'all. Good things are happening, in Collierville, Tennessee. Slowly but surely.
I hope you all have an awesome week! I'll burn off my candy weight faster than you will! :)
Pictures of all the Halloween candy you stole from your younger brother, you jerk:
Halloween candy you stole from your younger brother, you jerk:
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