This week has taken more out of me than I thought I had to begin with. But I am a happy kind of exhausted.
I went on 2 exchanges this week, one in Hope with our zone leaders and one in Camden with some missionaries in my district.
With one of our ZLs, we found a potential family to work with!! And had Debbie's baptismal interview, and tried by Carmelita again. (She had been told some lies about us by her daughter last week and had dropped us.)
We knocked on her door, not really knowing what to expect when or if she answered. She did, she smiled, and... She welcomed us right in! She said she wanted to continue studying with us, but we weren't sure if that meant coming to church with us again, too. We read 1 Nephi 6 with her. I know that it was no accident that was the chapter she was on. We read verse 5, which talks about how Nephi doesn't write the things that are pleasing to the world, but the things that are pleasing to God. She opened up and told us that as soon as she hung up the phone to say she was going back to her church, she felt like she had made the wrong decision, and that she needed to "finish what she started," (using her words). So she is back on track and stronger than ever!
Got home and chatted for a while. We ended up talking til midnight. It was good being able to vent a little bit. Picked it back up in the morning and honestly just kinda bawled my eyes out for a while. This last transfer or two has been rough. I read a great talk by Elder Hales this week, though, that pointed out how we think of the last week of the Savior's life as being awful, (and it definitely was!) But it was also when some of the most important parts of His earthly ministry took place. Likewise, despite the hard times, I also feel like I'm the best teacher I've ever been, and that there is more potential in front of me than ever before. I've just been kinda beating myself up cause I haven't felt like I've been pushing myself to improve like I need to be, and it's felt like all I can do to keep my head above water and be happy.
But! I think this week has been our best one here in Hope. We got rained out on one of our long driving days, but got to visit a few of the members that live further out. I love when it rains. Until it becomes a game of "how can I possibly stay dry the second I open this door?" (We usually don't even bother trying to play that haha)
On Thursday, we took our old dryer (Which Elder Anderson had fixed after the mission replaced it) out to a distant member, Sister Martin, who lives in a little trailer home without a functional dryer. They'd been hanging clothes up to dry on clothes lines and on monkey cages.
So we drove out there, recruiting the help of a less active member with a truck to help get the dryer out there.
--wait a second, what? Did that say monkey cages?
Uh... yeah. Anyway, we got the dryer unloaded and through the trailer to where it needed to go, and Elder Anderson worked on that while the Lims and I chatted with Sister Martin.
Yeah, that's what I said. I mean we had to use the dolly to get the dryer around all of those monkey cages in her trailer. But then I was chatting with Sister Martin and Gypsy.
Mmhmm. That's the name of her capuchin monkey. She also has a big Macaque that was in the big cage in the trailer. Its name is Devin. Devin and Gypsy.
(Yeah, they were pretty cool hahaha.) Gypsy had been trained to be able to unlock a padlock and give Sister Martin a kiss, and probably a whole variety of other mischievous things. So that was a highlight of the week haha. I was kinda hoping to get a picture with gypsy on my shoulder or something, but she was shy. I contented myself with watching her lick the salt off the inside of a peanut container lol.
After that, we had some great lessons with Debbie & Carmelita again, and then had another guy flake on us, but it's ok. 2 for 3 is pretty good haha.
I had my exchange in Camden and had a traditional dinner with members again haha. They were really cool. He was the youngest son of his father's 2nd marriage. His father was born in a US Territory--what a few years later became the state of Montana. Yeah. His dad was born in Montana before it became a state. And his great great grandpa? fought in the Revolutionary War I think haha. He's a neat guy. I pointed out the collection of cast iron skillets on his wall and he spent like 15 minutes talking with me about them and showing me how I can recognize the collectibles if I'm ever looking for 'em. Makes me wanna go hit up the DI's back home.
Of course, the real highlight of this week was Debbie's baptism. We held it after church services, and a few members from the stake, including the Stake President, stayed to attend. The font was filling up as fast as it apparentky had in the past, so we hooked a garden hose up and had that going into the font, as well haha. I was able to baptize her, and Elder Anderson was able to be in the font, too, to help her down the steps and back up. Afterward, she just smiled really big. She's a wonderful lady.
(For those who are just now reading this, a while ago, Debbie was involved in an accident that left her largely unable to speak. We received her as a Bible referral last month with very little information. She welcomed us in and eventually wrote on a little notepad that she couldn't speak. We explained the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Book of Mormon. Elder Lim asked her how she felt about what we had shared, and she wrote one word on her notepad - "Wonderful." As we continued to meet, we learned how to teach and discern by the spirit, and "hear" her through nods, notes, smiles, pointing at verses, lingering on pages, and of course: her thumbs up. (Sometimes even two!) It was a "wonderful" day for a very wonderful sister of ours.)
After being at the church from like 8:30-3:00, I was pretty tired. But we went and tried a few more people with no luck, and swung by home to visit the Lims for a little bit. As we chatted, the power flickered and went off, and a half second later, we hear this huge "BOOOM" and thunder following right after like a jet plane crashing through the parking lot. We, and a bunch of neighbors nervously peeked out the doors to investigate. Then it happened again. We all ran inside haha. When we opened the door again to peek, you could smell smoke. A few guys ran to their cars through the rain and said something about seeing a fire. But we never saw it, only smelled it. Of course, the rain was coming down so hard it would've put anything out in a second.
As cool as it would be to say that you've been hit by lightning... I think I'll pass on that experience.
Today, the Lims took us golfing up in Arkadelphia. I understand Ether 12:27 on a whole other level, now. Color me humbled, I stunk at that game haha. It was fun, all the same. I'll probably stick with some different expensive hobbies, though.
So that's pretty much my week. The usual ups and downs. But again, it really has been probably our best week in Hope - And not just because Debbie was baptized. I figured a lot of things out after mentally stewing on them for a while. We are moving in a good direction, and there is a lot of good work to be done here! Transfers are next week and I hope I'm not going anywhere! This is where I'm supposed to be!
303 West 23rd Street, Apt. 9C
Hope, AR 71801
This weekly email brought to you by:
- A diabetic monkey named Gypsy
- The US Territories
- Little Debbie's Oatmeal Cream Cookies (Which were on sale for 1$ a pack today yikes)
- righteous living: the best defensive measure for lightning safety
Video of monkeys: http://youtu.be/125wXPPUSU4
Video: Gypsy licking up peanut salt while Sister Martin explains that Gypsy is diabetic and "loves getting stuck." Apparently it'll eagerly offer a hand or leg for its insulin shot.
gypsy at Sis. Martin's.mp4
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