I worked long and hard on this subject line. How's that for an attention grabber?
Kind of a long email, cause that's how I roll. *ironically dabs*
It's been a fun week, full of highs and lows. The highs have been pretty high and the lows pretty low, but still a top notch, memorable week in Collierville, TN in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission!
Last P Day, we did service behind this guy's restored Civil War Era home. You cross this bridge-to-terabithia into a thickly wooded forest, with a giant tree and a an old farm he uses as a shed. We rode a four wheeler an acre or two into the trees, so not that far, but it felt like the middle of nowhere with as thick as the trees are. The member used a chainsaw to cut some fallen trees into logs, and we picked them up and put them in a pile. Not too bad. (We aren't allowed to use power tools.) A fly the size of a quarter (before wings) landed on the members back and wouldn't stop leaving him alone. He swatted at it and finally hit it. The forest floor shook as the behemoth fly collided into the dirt like a crashed plane. The thing had been sucking the members blood, and there were large red spots all over his white shirt. We escaped unscathed, and found a turtle. We got chiggers bites doing service another day, though. I'd rather have those than mosquito bites though, I think.
So yeah, the south. Fun stuff!
The first part of this week was ridiculously hot. The car thermometer read 110, not accounting for humidity. Which isn't exactly accurate but that's what it felt like. But these last few days have felt like paradise, especially mornings and evenings.
One of our member friends broke the door handle off her grandparents house while house-sitting, so urgently called us to see if we could help her fix it, cause the house is technically for sale right now. It's super nice, gorgeously decorated, and apparently has an elevator! We got into the garage and found a pair of pliers and a screwdriver and were able to twist the door open to get inside and repair the handle! So thats the "breaking into the mansion" story haha.
Had 2 of our other new investigators drop us. One because her pastor told us the book of Mormon is evil and there's only one bible and we're a cult. I don't understand, like if we are claiming we have more words of Jesus Christ, what about that is evil exactly? Weird.
Our golden investigator is doing so well, though! She was a referral from the stake president's son. When we first met with her, she had read through 2 Nephi 25 on her own already and had a notebook full of notes. (Whaa?? We haven't been able to have an investigator read the 1st chapter by themselves yet. So this is awesome)
We had the stake presidents wife come over with us on the 2nd lesson. Which was interesting. The girl's mom even came to sit in on the lesson, but then the stake presidents wife started out diving right into the word of wisdom and all the "rules" of Mormonism. -.- the lesson was /supposed/ to be the Plan of Salvation, or God's plan for us, which we eventually got around to after many an irrelevant tangent. Man, that was awkward.
We ended up having a good lesson afterward, and invited the investigator to say the prayer. She was hesitant at first, but did good! "I'm thankful for what the missionaries have taught me today... it's so awesome!! And... please help these boys travel safely to the other people they are teaching, and... that's about it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." So hearing that was a huge relief!
[She and her family live in Mike Conley's neighborhood, ($$ zone) but across a bridge down the street. They joked that the people on their side of the street were in the slums or projects comparatively to Mike Conley's street. Which is crazy, cause like... million dollar homes, man.]
We invited her to come to church, she said she was excited to go with us! Then over the next few days, the stake presidents wife and family invited her to go to the Young Single Adults ward, which we werent a fan of. We couldnt be there with her, and if she came to the ward we are over, then it would be easier to invite her parents along too, down the road. And then Sunday happened and it was like the church meetings that day were meant for her to be there. But she wasn't cause she was at the Young Single Adults ward. (Better there than not at all, though! And being with her own age group was good. She just missed out on some awesome youth testimonies of the book of Mormon, and her absence triggered the following painful moment.) Since going to church, she has been working on meeting with us again ASAP! She's so prepared and loves the gospel already, it's so awesome!
We had a less-active family come, which was awesome, but then the Sunday school lesson which was going to be a generic Plan of Salvation lesson became targeted at the less active family's struggles and weaknesses, and I'm afraid that scared them away. It was incredibly awkward and we didn't know what to do our how to intervene. We visited with them later that evening and they had a good attitude about it, but I was hurting for them.
I think as members of the church, we have a tendency to overcomplicate the gospel. What's up with that? And it's awful when that overcomplicating affects the spiritual growth of others. We need to focus on the simple parts of the gospel first, and quite frankly forget everything else until a good foundatiom of faith is there.
Oh yeah and then there's the thing about killing my dad.
So in missionary slang, your first area is where you were "born" and your trainer is your "dad." "Killing" someone is being their final companion before they head home. So this was Elder Johnson's last week! Lots of goodbyes were had, which oddly enough made me glad I was staying cause I'm already kinda attached to the people in Collierville. I'm gonna miss Elder Johnson!
Brother Boggs, a known-mission-wide member of the church here, is famous for treating the missionaries really well. He took Elder Johnson wherever he wanted for dinner, and Elder Johnson decided on Commissary BBQ. It was so freaking good. The plate came with a whole thing of ribs, about half a bbq chicken, slaw, rolls, baked beans, and a deviled egg. Plus we got pie. I had a lot of leftovers, and that was after eating a lot more than I should have haha.
So anyway, as I write this, I'm sitting in the Memphis side church building hub of the mission. Elder Johnson is doing a session at the temple next door, and then is headed off to return home tomorrow! My new companion is Elder Henderson from Blackfoot, Idaho. And this will be his last transfer, too. I'm hearing all kinds of fun things about him. :-) Should be a fun transfer!
Something fun I've realized in my pondering: the south is a dump.
Just kidding. (Mostly, anyway.) What I realized is...
If God loves all of His children, then naturally the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is His church. That's all it takes to know this is His church. The Book of Mormon shows that He doesn't limit the spread of His gospel to one people or continent or time, but wants all people to come to know it and be blessed by it! Yesterday, today, and forever. Super cool.
Think and teach simply!! Read the Book of Mormon! It's so cool and testifies of Christ and will increase your faith in him!
Love you all!
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