Is it even a weekly missionary letter if you don't say something about how fast the last week went?
Last p day was pretty fun! Got a haircut, checked out >$80,000 cars at some of the shmancy car dealerships in Collierville, went to an awesome army surplus store, and had a dinner appointment with a great family hosting three foreign exchange students from Brazil on soccer scholarships. We ended up teaching them about the Book of Mormon!
The one lady we had that awesome experience with weeks ago answered the door again finally! She admitted to us that she felt better after our first visit and that it had been God who had led us to her door that day. Life is still hard but she told us she had signed up for rehab in Nashville. We asked if we could come in and teach her and see what we could do to help. She told us in an hour. So we walked around the neighborhood.
There's a less active member who we had knocked on his door a couple times, and the last time had seen his finger through the blinds and then proceed to not answer the door. Well, I saw him park and go inside so we figured we would try him again. He answered the door this time, apologized for not answering last time, and gave us two Gatorades each. He grabbed our number and said he'd take us out to lunch sometime. What a change!
We returned to the first lady's house after an hour and she proceeded to not open the door. Ugh.
The next day, the less active guy called us and invited us to lunch the following day! Our ward mission leader advised we take along another ward member to be his friend. We called to make sure that was ok and he said it was, but then a few hours later called to cancel because his wife didn't feel comfortable with the other member coming over. I guess years ago some member had offended her so bad that she had her name removed from the records of the church. (Which shows the importance of having a strong testimony, a forgiving attitude, and of taking each success as it comes... lesson learned)
So both of those fell through.
Tuesday night we we were having dinner with this family, and got talking about member missionary work. The mom had come to lessons with investigators before with countless sets of missionaries, and had done her own missionary work but had never had success with it. We kinda got talking about what a struggle it is, and then bam... her son's boss came over, and the son invited in her in to join us for the spiritual thought at the close of dinner. Then we ended up spending a good 20-30 minutes on the book of mormon and our church, it was really cool! God has a sense of humor.
We had another investigator drop us but we helped our remaining ones quite a bit this week. We had interviews with our new Mission President, and that was good. I went last out of our district so I sat in the foyer with the mission presidents wife, sister Hansen for a while. She's pretty awesome.
At our district meeting, we learned how the parable of the good Samaritan in the bible is an allegory for the plan of salvation. My mind was BLOWN. In 5 verses, Jesus teaches an incredible lesson on loving and serving everyone. While at the same time providing a discourse in metaphor for everything from Adam to modern day prophets. (Check out "The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols", from the February 2007 Ensign Magazine, p.40)
Elder Johnson's flight information home came this week! He heads home one week from today. I'm gonna miss him!
After a particularly hot day, we had dinner with an awesome couple in the ward. Their less active daughter and her family came, and one of the Brazilian exchange students was there, too! So we were teaching like 3 different people at once again, it was cool.
We had exchanges this week. I stayed in Collierville and elder Johnson went to Southaven, I think his first area that he served in. So he got to see some old member and investigator friends again. We kept busy here, knocking doors with little success. One potential though, and next door to her a KOOKY guy who kept going on about the Clinton scandals and then having a short term memory lapse and saying it again. He then called us and shared his thoughts on the Clintons AGAIN over the phone. It was pretty hilarious, but the guy is out of his mind, so it's also a little sad.
Had dinner at this Indian family's house. They made authentic chicken in sauce and bread from scratch... it was way good. I don't think I've really had Indian food before then, so it was something new. Killer Indian food was not one of the things I expected to be eating in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission but I'm glad it was!
We also had some killer sushi one night... the recent convert and his girlfriend we are teaching the post-baptism lessons to took us out to dinner. I've liked sushi in the past but really haven't had it more than a couple times, so this was way good.
While on exchanges the next day, we volunteered to help a less active and his family weed their yard at 10AM. There was a tiny little garden box along one side of the fence, not more than 12 feet long. And two smaller square garden boxes just barely big enough to surround a tree. So not a lot to weed. It only took us an hour to pull all the nasty viny grass out. (The grass here is different from back west... it's like a weed. You pull up on one strand and the root comes up and pulls out another food of grass, its weird.) So... not too bad right? An hour of casual weeding at 10AM? I've literally never sweat so much before in my life. I was dripping everywhere, constantly. It was so hot at 10AMalready. As we were leaving the guy told us he would see us tomorrow at church!
Got home and showered again haha. It was a good way to spend the morning, I felt really good after that. Exchanged back and reuniting with elder Johnson felt like seeing an old friend again. We spent most of the rest of the day in a car driving with a ward member out to the boonies to try more less active members with not a lot of luck, but it was fun.
Guess what? That guy came to church! And he dragged his whole family along, too. He told me "everybody always asks if there's anything they can do for us, but y'all are the first ones to actually do anything." So to hear that and then see he and his family at church the next day was awesome. I felt like I'd actually made a difference, even if just for one Sunday. I was also able to give another priesthood blessing for a lady seeking guidance on how to help her less active husband want to come back to church and be a good example to her kids. What a tough situation. The priesthood is so cool, though. I think it really helped her already.
Had an awesome lightning storm last night. Didn't really get rained on, but the sky couldn't go for longer than 5 seconds without some epic lightning strike. (I counted.)
So anyway, this is running long but it has been a good week! We've had some pretty big disappointments, but also some really good surprises and little miracles. I'm getting used to the whole waking up at 6:30AM thing a little more. The heat has been tough, but every night--and now most mornings :)--I am just full of gratitude for all that I've been blessed to have, do, feel, and experience. Life is good. Hard but good, and better with the gospel!
Hope y'all have a great week!
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