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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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