Before I start this email I realized after p day last week that I forgot to tell one last MTC story! Donny Osmond gave our last Sunday devotional and did a really good job. Funny guy, sang his "let's get down to business" line from mulan and another song he's working on for us, so that was cool.
Ok. Now this week.
After my email last week, we went tracting (door knocking) in the evening. There was a cool graveyard at the end of the street and Elder Johnson and I decided to check it out. Pretty cool, beautiful, and even some confederate soldiers--including an unknown--were buried there. Fireflies were starting to come out, it was cooling down a bit... it was awesome.
The next day we had a district meeting in Oxford, Mississippi. We drove down there and enjoyed a place called cook out. Basically 5$ for a ton of food, and $2 for any of like 40 different shake flavors.
On the drive back to Collierville, our promising investigator from China (with whom we'd scheduled a baptismal date my first day here) dropped us. I guess her parents had talked her out of meeting with us again for a while. Ugh. That was no fun.
We continued teaching this lady, who, bless her heart, is just very... slow. She has a very hard time reading but over this week has seemed to start remembering what exactly Joseph Smith did. We also taught this other lady and that's been going well, but she has a hard time finding time to read the book of Mormon. We keep telling her that's the only way to know if what we're teaching her is true, but for her and a lot of others it's just not a priority for them.
So those 2 plus another lady in the next town over have really been our teaching pool this week. So we've been trying to find new people. Members don't have referrals for us, so a-knocking we go. Probably 80% of the time no one answers the door. Probably 20% of those are people just ignoring us, peeking out the blinds or even going as far as to lock the door while we're waiting for them to open it. (That one was funny.) Of the remaining 20% of people who do answer it, not one has been rude us. They're kind, patient, and tell us they have their own religion already. Of those people that answer, maybe 1 in 40 say that we can come back. 1 in 100 let us in. Had an amazing experience with that this week.
We dont knock on every door. I was thinking to myself "we should knock on this one" when elder Johnson said we should try it. Sweet, we're on the same page.
We knock and this lady answers, she doesn't look to happy. We ask how her day is going, she says not good. Well, a message about Jesus Christ can help improve your day! Surprisingly enough, she lets us in. Within maybe 2 minutes she is crying. She tells us about a serious addiction and other issues she is struggling with. She admits right then that God sent us to her for a reason and I could feel the spirit nodding along to that inside of me. We talked about the atonement and about the love of her heavenly father for her. Elder Johnson shared an awesome video on addiction recovery, and as i shared my testimony of how I came to know my Heavenly Father loved me, the spirit came into that room so strong I was choking up a bit. (I'll admit it!) Long story short, we got her to say her first prayer in over a year and as we left, she seemed brighter. We walked quietly back to the car and just talked about how much this lady needs the gospel in her life. We knew we had been led to her and that she knew that too. I hope she could feel the holy ghost as strong as I could.
For that one experience this week, we spent literally hours every day knocking doors in humid hot and in pleasant evenings alike. Nothing quite like that had happened before, or since, but I'm okay with that because I know how much that meant to her.
Before I move on from this story, I want to add that we checked in on her yesterday. She looked rougher than before and told us her mother had died of a heart attack after having been in an argument with her. Life isn't treating her super well, and we just feel so much for her and want her to come around and open back up to us again because between the plan of salvation and the atonement of Jesus Christ, everything she's going through can be made easier. Don't pray for me this week, pray for her.
We helped a ward member move out this week. He had something like 40,000 rounds of ammunition stacked almost floor to ceiling in the backseat of his pickup truck. That was fun.
Bamboo grows a lot here, surprisingly and we came across some big pieces laying on the sidewalk so we did the only sane thing and grabbed some for our apartment.
Rather than canceling on us, a less active member invited us over to where he was working. (He was painting another ward members gorgeous home. The owner is a tax attorney for FedEx, which is headquartered here, and he does really well.) Visited with him for a while and then got to help clean up the tape and everything so that was also fun.
Ok and there are these really yummy chocolate pomegranate snack things that are amazing by themselves. But we put them in pancakes one afternoon and that blew my mind. Please try it and either tell me I'm 100% right or just totally crazy.
Brother Boggs, a member here who spoils a lot took us out to Cajun Catfish Co. We had sausage, fried catfish on rice, gumbo, and hush puppies. Boy I tell you, that blew my mind it was sooooo goood. He took us out to one of those grill your own meat at your table Korean barbecue places the next night and that was also yummy. We talked about our Italy trips for a while and that was fun to reminisce on.
While tracting, a guy showed us his gorgeous 65 (replica?) Cobra racing car in his garage. He told us about it for probably like 20 straight minutes, that was pretty cool haha. Lots of fancy cars here, and even more fancy houses.
Not ALL of the area is super rich, but most of it is at least upper middle class. There are some legit mansions here, though. Super gorgeous neighborhoods with enormous 2 story homes, but also like legit warehouse sized mansions. We don't have a ton of success tracting those. :)
It's been getting warmer. Into the 90s and humid. It's hurts a lil to be outside but I'm so grateful for our car. Usually we park somewhere and walk around the neighborhood in a circle, but it's still so nice to be able to come back to air conditioning after that.
Funny story of the week: while walking around we walked past this black guy sweeping branches out of the gutter. I had such a hard time understanding him. He introduced himself like so: "I'm Willy L. Mason, I'm not sure what the L. Stands for."
"Well, Willy, I think that's for your middle name."
"Yeah but I can't 'member it."
"Can we make one up for you? Give you a new middle name?"
"Hmm... how about Leonard? Willy Leonard Mason? That has a good ring to it."
He nodded and we said goodbye. So that was funny hahaha.
The ward members here are awesome, some really great, very generous people. Not a lot of progression with our investigators or with finding new people yet, but as we keep trying our best and teaching people a bit at a time, things are gonna start blossoming.
Have a good 4th of July everyone! Your prayers and support mean so much and are definitely felt here. Until next week!
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Serving A Mission!
What's all this about? As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is expected of me that I will serve a two-year mission. (And yeah, the "riding bikes and wearing nametags and knocking on doors" kind of mission.) But this isn't something I'm doing because it's expected of me... I'm doing this because the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life SO much, in SO many ways. I can't think of a greater honor or responsibility than being able to play a part in someone's story of finding and enjoying these blessings, too.
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Elder Oliver Wrigley Dahl
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr
North Little Rock AR 72116