Well I've officially been on my mission for 18 months. 3 weeks in Provo, Utah, and then a few months in Collierville TN, and then it was over to Arkansas, in Conway, Searcy, Hope, and now Benton! It's been the craziest, most adventurous and rewarding 18 months ever!
So just cuz we thought it was funny I thought I'd tell you a story from last P day. Every week, we're supposed to write President Hansen, specifically mentioning the people we are teaching, our companion, things we're studying, and so on. And we were sick last week. So I jokingly wrote that "Elder Bolos is a big fat meanie head because he got me sick," and meant to show it to him as a joke after I finished writing my email. Well... I forgot I'd written that and just copied, pasted, and sent it off to President Hansen haha. We had a good laugh about it in interviews this week.
Started the week off with a District Council in one of the districts in our zone. It was good and I felt like I was back in the MTC during the role plays cuz I got humbled real quick haha. They went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch afterward. Yeah. I haven't been back in a BWWs since the incident. You know, the transfer 2, "everything is chicken" incident. So I wasn't super thrilled about going back there, and didn't want to relive that at all, so I got a pulled pork sandwich cuz barbecue is the best. Well... not at BWWs! The State of Delaware was further south than that "southern barbecue." (Yeah, I know, who gets pulled pork at a BWWs?) Plus, they took forever and we were all getting antsy to leave cuz we were burning daylight!
On our way back to the church, we got a call from the mission nurse telling us one of the sisters in our zone was headed to the ER. As it so happened, we were like 3 miles away from the hospital they were going to. And if we'd been pretty much anywhere else in our zone, or had exchanged on time as planned, we'd have been at least a half hour away. So I guess BWWs did us a favor, as much as I hate to admit it.
So we went and gave her a blessing in a little "prayer room" they had, and headed back to exchange. The dumb hospital made them wait for hours in the waiting room. So I kinda wanna punch that place, cuz they weren't admitted until like 10:00 that night. :(
But anyway. We got a really late start on our exchange, and had a 30 minute drive back to Benton. So we got started and headed off to an appointment we had with a lady. One of the young men in the ward came with us. We got there a little early, and decided to knock on some doors while we waited.
Door #1, no one home!
Door #2, no one home!
Door #3, a really nice kid who was so grateful we stopped by and shared a Book of Mormon with him! He seemed to really get how cool it is to have more of God's word! Set an appointment for Saturday!
We crossed the street back to door #1, because there were people out and about, now, and had a good talk with the people there, and then went to our appointment, which was door #4.
Door #4, no one home! Dangit. So with one of our missionaries, and a young man from the ward looking at me wondering what we'd do, we decided to just keep tracting. We picked a house with the lights on across the street.
Door #5, a really awesome couple came out and talked with us to escape their noisy house and the 5 kids horsing around in there. We had an awesome visit with them, and they ended up being our 2nd and 3rd new people to teach that night!
I wish 3/5 was a more consistent ratio, but it's cool to see how the Lord magnified our time, gave us all a good experience, and led us to his prepared children. He is good!
The next morning, we went to see that couple we'd met, and they weren't there. Dangit. But we crossed the street again and talked with another lady... who was kinda crazy. She's had a really hard life with abuse and whatnot. And told us how she hunted down one of the pastors that had abused her and threatened him at gunpoint to resign from the church. He did. "Some days I wish I pulled the trigger," she said. Phew. I'm glad to be in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! There's some crazy drama that goes down in some places down here hahaha.
We exchanged back after that, and Elder Bolos and I spent some time trying to visit a bunch of people we hadn't seen in a while. Had a lesson with a less active family. There were li'l roaches crawling up the walls. But their kids are pretty bright and liked having us over.
We put all our couch cushions in our car to give to some elders who forgot to bring their own while they stay with another companionship for a week. So our back seat was full of couch cushions. And then we gave them a ride to their temporary apartment. I'm not sure how they squished in there, but they did hahaha.
On Thursday, we had MLC, which was great! And then we went and had dinner with the Clarks, the parents of the young man who came out teaching with us. We had some yummy deer steaks, and then had a pretty good lesson with his girlfriend afterward! It's cool to see how the Lord prepares people! She's awesome.
Then on Friday, we had our own District Council, and then met with President Jones, of the ALRM mission presidency at his house for a personal leadership training meeting that was really cool. I've come to like being humbled and seeing how much distance I have yet to go, because it just shows me my potential! I've got a lotta potential and a lotta room for improvement, which means if I do all I can, things are looking good. :)
Visited a few more people, and then a member dropped dinner off for us before we headed up to the Stake Nativity Festival the church put on this weekend. They gave us chicken spaghetti and it was so so good. Chicken spaghetti is a blessing.
At the nativity festival, Elder Bolos got recruited to be Joseph in the live nativity, and a 2 other missionaries and I were snagged to be wise men. So that was fun haha. At least the other missionaries not involved in it sure thought so! :)
Afterwards, we got the whole zone together in the high council room and just shared stuff we learned from MLC. It's fun having the whole zone in one place.
Saturday happened, and I hit my 18 month mark! We met some of the family we had day-after-thanksgiving with last week at a Starbucks for a lesson on the Book of Mormon. Before we even started they had presents for us. Mine had 3 rolls of film, and Elder Bolos got a thrifted film camera. WHAT. That was way too nice and I'm way too excited to shoot some film. I don't have my film camera with me, though, so I'll have to search or get it sent out here or something.
They were pretty well-researched... unfortunately just in those parts of the gospel that people seem to disagree about the most. Lack of archeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, grace vs. works, the trinity, becoming like God...
They were still very respectful, and didn't ask any questions I hadn't already asked myself. I wish I could explain better that 90% or more of their concerns can be answered by the Bible, more than the Book of Mormon. And that the Book of Mormon doesn't contradict the Bible, but that it may contradict one's interpretation of the Bible. One of 'em said "If I could just see the plates..." Well, that wouldn't change as much as we'd like to think it would.
I know this is Christ's church! I don't know where else I could go to find doctrine of God's universal love to the living and dead, or to find prophets and apostles that maintain "unity of faith," or teachings that bring so much joy and help us become more Christlike in such real ways.
So anyway. We had interviews with President Hansen after that, and then were surprised to see our apartment manager lady at the nativity festival that night! Our power had gone out that afternoon and we'd stopped in to ask about it, and given her an invitation. She brought a friend and seemed to really enjoy it, so that was cool! I guess that's probably why the power had gone out. To get us to invite her.
Church was good yesterday! We had a few less active/returning members we've been working with for a while at church, so that was good. We made fried rice for dinner and it was actually really tasty. Then we headed to a member's house to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, which was wonderful btw. (I think it should be on www.lds.org, if you haven't seen it!)
During testimony meeting, one lady shared her testimony from the pulpit on "the Miracle of the Egg," which I will abridge for you as follows:
"The last egg in my carton had a little crack in it, but being the frugal woman that I am, I put it in my next carton of eggs to save the morning. I wasn't going to make it for my husband in case it made him sick, but I planned to make it for myself for breakfast. Well, the next morning, when I went to make breakfast, the egg was gone brothers and sisters. I know that Heavenly Father made that egg disappear because it would have hurt me real bad if I'd eaten it."
She was so serious she looked a little confused as to why people were chuckling. But hey, who am I to say whether it was a miracle or not? Miracles still happen!
It's been a busy week. But I like busy. The mission field is the place to be! Especially if it's in Arkansas.
P.S. next week, my p day will be on Wednesday, so if you're worried cuz you haven't heard from me next Monday, that's why. :)
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