Merry New Year!
This week was nuts. We had a district meeting, 3 different exchanges (companion swaps for a day) and a MLC meeting.
1st up: Exchanges with North Little Rock gone wrong/fun. The office elders drove Elders Shelley & Jennings to Conway from Little Rock, and then left to do errands that took so long that instead of going back to North Little Rock with them, they both just stayed in Conway with us all day. Which ended up working out since we were double-booked for dinner appointments haha. So we made both appointments and got to introduce Elder Jennings to the Routts, an awesome member family in Conway. They had ordered my books "The Dreamers" and "Lies" so it was fun to hold copies of my books again.
That night, the NLR Elders crashed at our place. We all stayed up playing/watching ping pong on a tiny table. Elder Shelley, who crashed on the couch, snored way loud so that was entertaining.
The next day we drove them back home and went to meet the Office Elders for our 2nd exchange of the week. On the way, our car's mileage range kept dropping faster than a mile a minute. We got down to 13 miles left while on the highway, and it was dropping fast. After debating going all the way without filling up, we took an exit and filled up. Close one! We had lunch at David's Burgers, an Arkansas specialty. It's kind of like a more expensive, better tasting In n Out, very near and dear to Arkansas Little Rock Missionaries.
We met up with the Office Elders. Elder Stiles-Culver and I ran some errands. We dropped off furniture and mail to some missionaries in downtown Little Rock, and then... We DROVE TO MEMPHIS!
There, we met up with the Bartlett Elders, who were being fed by one of the folks Elder Evans taught and baptized! She got us milkshakes, and then we crashed at the Bartlett Apartment, which is the proud home of a pool table. I won the one round I played haha. That day, I had been in 6 different missionary apartments. They're each pretty funny, with their own personalities and quirks and messes. (See photos below).
The next morning, we had to get up at 4:45AM! Quickly got ready and to the church building in the big ole van and left with the missionaries we picked up there by 5:45. After a stop in West Memphis, Arkansas to pick up one other companionship, we drove BACK TO LITTLE ROCK with all the Zone Leaders going to the MLC meeting. Definitely slept a little bit on the 3 hour drive back. The fact that dinner last night and breakfast that morning consisted of Reese's Clusters, half a can of Mountain Dew, the rest of the can of flat Mountain Dew, and a milkshake didn't help.
MLC was good! Pres. Hansen shared the number of people who he believes are ready to be baptized in the first quarter of the year, and then challenged each of the zone leaders to pray to come up with a number of people within our zones to be baptized. We received the number 11! So in the next 3 months, we will have 11 baptisms in the Conway Zone/Zion!
After MLC, the APs (Assistants to the Mission President, just 1 companionship of 2 elders that help and lead the mission) had a meeting before we were going to split up for our 3rd exchange in a row/of the week, so we got to our dinner appointment super late. Thankfully they were patient with us and we were able to give them a heads up.
This was probably my favorite exchange of the week. Elder Parks and I were in Conway, while Elder Evans and Wall were in downtown Little Rock. I learned a lot from Elder Parks, he is awesome!l
We started the day of the exchange off joining the Conway 2 Elders for their weekly planning session. After that, we went to the David's Burgers in Conway, thus marking my unofficial missionary rite of passage in having David's twice in one week haha.
Elder Parks and I baked some cookies for members of the ward, and then went to contact some folks and do some door knocking before delivering them. While we were knocking doors, a woman peeked through the window at us and then called for her husband. He opened the door and warmly invited us in. Super nice, cool looking guy. Somewhere along the way, a switch flipped, and he spent the next hour arguing with us.
But! This was no ordinary bible bash. The guy let us have our turn to talk, and we decided to mostly just ask him questions to make him realize what he was doing and to recognize that there are just so many different ways to interpret the Bible that the Book of Mormon is necessary to help us know the gospel perfectly! The guy still tried to kinda belittle us and save our souls and whatnot, but in the end, our testimonies were strengthened, and he said he would try reading the Book of Mormon. So we'll see! Usually in such situations, we just try to bear testimony and move on, but Elder Parks said something was holding him back from doing that, so I hope things can work out well!
When we went into his house, it was light outside, and when we came out, it was dark. We were able to deliver one batch of cookies, and that was fun! Before we made it back home, we got a call from the bishopric asking us to stand in for someone who got sick and speak in church in 2 days.
We exchanged back that night, and I slept very well. 3 exchanges in a row will take it out of ya! But it was fun and I learned and laughed lots and lots!
When Sunday rolled around, there were about 5 cars in the parking lot, which was also about how many degrees it was outside. I was starting to think they had canceled church without letting us know, but come 3 minutes before 9AM, people started coming!
Don't tell anyone, but I actually just recycled/adapted the last talk I gave. What was cool, though, was that both of the talks before mine went perfectly with it. (On courageously standing up for and sharing our beliefs) How cool is that?
After church, we visited with an 83 year old member of the ward who kinda reminded me of my Grandpa Wrigley. He was very talkative and funny and every force of nature from the winds, snow, bushes, trees, and Canadian geese, was a "mystery" to him. Every time we tried to walk back to our car in the cold, he'd be like "Oh, and lemme tell you something else!" By the end of it, Elder Evans and I were in tears laughing at this sly guy. "You need to know this!"
That night, we had dinner with our "investigator," Steve. He's had the lessons and read the Book of Mormon several times. He had been in prison for the last 20 years. While there, he turned to the Bible and came up with some of his "own" theories. Then a nurse gave him a Book of Mormon, and it supported all of his theories! He started teaching out of it to his cell mates. And now he is ready to be baptized, he just needs a permission letter from the 1st Presidency. (His letter has been in the mail since early October, so... hopefully it comes soon!)
Anyway, we were having dinner with him over at another member family's house. After dinner, we went up into their decked out attic-turned-movie theater and watched "How Rare a Possession," which tells the story of this Italian guy who found a Book of Mormon without a cover or title page, and at
after preaching out of it without knowing where it came from, only that it was true. He was fired from the ministry, discovered the church, but missionaries weren't able to find and baptize him until he had fought in 2 different wars, including WW1. Pretty cool story, though!
After the movie, Steve was like, "Lake Conway is right there, man. You have the authority, let's baptize me right now!" We were like "yeah!!" and then he shut us down, saying "nah, we don't have permission yet," which was pretty funny. Cool to see how well Steve could relate to Vicenzo.
And now it is 2018! And today is our P Day!
The Routt's invited us over today for a New Years party. So Elders Evans, Lee, Clayton, and I arrived and we quickly discovered that the sisters had received the same invitation from the Routt's, and that they had decided to make it their "Sister P Day." So... there were us 4 elders crashing the 12-sister P day haha. My books were still laying around, so that was a conversation topic for a while. I'm not super vocal about the fact that I have written 3 books, so it was pretty funny seeing people be like "What?! You wrote these??"
So anyway. It's been a crazy crazy week. Lots of exchanges, 6 new missionary apartment visits, a drive to Memphis and back, being an office elder for a day, and other laughs.
Here's to a fantastic, incredible, faith-promoting, successful 2018!
One year closer to the 2nd Coming. :)
Love you all! Happy New Year!
I like emails, so...
My 20th Birthday is on January 10th so...*
3080 Pebble Beach Rd, apt. 1
Conway, Arkansas 72034
*and I'm freaking out about it a little bit.
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