The words of the bard, William Shakespeare, have survived the tests of time, inspiring countless audiences - in auditoriums and bedrooms alike. Throughout his playwrighting masterpieces, he doesn't just portray elements of the human condition, but he evokes through his words fear, love, awe, joy, and misery. Of all the countless lines that have etched themselves a place in the library of time, I have found my favorite. "No man is free who is not a master of himself."
BAM. HOW RAD IS THAT?!
I forgot to mention I hit my 8 month/one third mark last week! What the!?
It's felt like a looong week. Looking back on earlier in the week, I almost didn't believe that stuff happened only a week ago. It's been a less successful week here as far as finding and teaching goes, which is discouraging. Our main problem is that we have a handful of investigators that seem super solid... but we have the hardest time getting to see them... ever. They're always canceling appointments. Bunch of Frosted Flakes. Trying to get those *Golden* Grahams. All we seem to find are a bunch of people that are coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs.
Anyway. Even though the week didn't have much success, it did bring with it some stories. On to those.
On P-day, we got together as a zone, and went to Urban Air, a trampoline park place that was pretty fun! They had these American Ninja Warrior courses that were awesome. (I was sore for the next 3 days though haha)
The next day, we had our MLC (Mission Leadership Council meeting) and that was good. Yeah, not sure what else to say about that for once. It was good.
On Wednesday, we had our district meeting, got that Wendy's 4 for $4, and exchanged w the missionaries in Choctaw. I stayed in Conway w/ Elder Mair and that... was also good. Found 1 or 2 people who said we could come back, so I was happy about that.
Some members took us to Cafe 501, a kind of upscale restaurant that was very very tasty. I got a burger with some kind of subtle orange sauce on it, and ghost pepper jack cheese... it was so good.
After dinner, we went and visited Rickey, this cool older gentleman we've visited a couple times. He is content with the Bible and doesn't see why we have a need for the Book of Mormon. For the millionth time on my mission, I just wished I could bluetooth my testimony over to his brain. Or even just the questions I would have only having the Bible to go off of. Why aren't there prophets on the earth anymore? If all these apostles were writing their epistles to correct false teachings in one singular church, where is that church now? What the heck is this about baptisms for the dead, and Jesus teaching dead people? What does it mean to "inherit" the kingdom? What does God want me to do? Profess my faith and that's it? Do I need to be baptized? Am I saved just once?
So many questions the Book of Mormon helps answer! I would have a pretty hard time believing the Bible at all if not for the Book of Mormon.
On Thursday, we exchanged back, and went to the UCA Campus to give out candy and passalong cards to let people know about the LDS Student Association club we are starting on campus. Right after Elder Evans and I were sent to buy more candy, I guess the rest of them had some lady inform them they needed to register a table or something to do that. Ooops. So there went our afternoon haha.
Later that night, we went to try to meet a former investigstor, who, as it turned out, had moved. As we walked up to the house, there were 2 young boys, probably 8 or 9 years old, jumping on the trampoline in the back yard.
"What are you doing?" One of them asked.
"Talking about Jesus," I responded.
"Can you go to my house, too?" He asked. "I'm house 18."
So, a little dubiously, we went to house 18 and knocked on the door. A 12 and a 14 year old girl answered the door, and the kid came running over and basically asked for us if we could "come in and talk about God with us." Their parents weren't home, so I was quick to agree with the oldest daughter's "no, not while mom is gone."
"Okay, I'll bring chairs out here," the kid said, and ran inside to bring two chairs out onto their little porch, while 3 dogs walked around us and tangled us in their leashes. We showed a video to the 3 of them and the neighbor friend and talked about how cool it is to have living prophets!
That night we had Book of Mormon class, with a pretty small group, plus... I'll just say a pretty weird dude. This guy has been calling us and the Conway 2 missionaries changing his mind back and forth between going to the 9 o'clock and 1 o'clock services. Every time he calls he asks the same questions. We finally met him at Book of Mormon class, and I was able to more fully diagnose his "Dory syndrome" cause he asked the same questions again. "Do y'all have pastors? Are y'all Catholic, or nondenominational? What are prophets like? Do they have long beards? Was Joseph Smith an englishman?" He's nuts. But he cracked us up. He's a good guy. He's going to like 3 churches every Sunday.
On Friday, we got a call from a lady asking for help to move her son in. It started raining as soon as we got there, so that was fun. Afterwards, we visited with a recent convert in the 2nd Ward that Elder Evans has taught while he was serving there. She was also a little nuts. A really well meaning lady, and she told us she felt a lot better after our visit. She shared that before Elder Evans and his companion knocked on their door, she had been praying that Elders from her Jehovah's Witness church would come visit her. And then in come the Mormon Elders! That's a sign from God, no?
My main lesson from that visit was how terrifying and awful addiction is, going back to the Shakespeare quote at the beginning of the email. She said she had let in and smoked a few times recently. She downed a Diet Coke and she and her husband were talking about all these prescriptions they were changing and how hard that was. They have a daughter that is a recovering meth addict, and... you can tell. It's just so sad. It made me reflect on how I can better control and master myself. My sins may not smell as bad, but there's always something more I can do.
The best news of this week, though, is that that couple I was able to teach on exchanges last week, just set a baptismal date!! After having met w/ the missionaries for just over 2 weeks, or 3 or 4 appointments, they are planning to be baptized in early March!! I'm so excited for them!
Alright. So that's the week! Now here's those things that I included in the title of the email.
1. The Chili Cook Off Incident.
Some members invited us to attend their Blue & Gold Banquet for their kids, which was held at another church. The gym was full of excited cub scouts and parents, and in the next room over, was 25 different crock pots full of chili. Within these 25 pots were such flavors as pumpkin spice chili, chili with cocoa powder in it, deer chili, ghost pepper chili, and... peanut butter chili.
Now, some of those sound pretty gross, right? Peanut Butter Chili? Really? Like... I almost hate to admit it, but like, I'd recommend it to a friend. It was good! ...Was. The first time it was in my mouth.
From the chili cook off, our cool Indian recent convert, Prashanth took us to Andy's, and we buried our several bowls of chili in frozen custard, and then went to the church and convinced Prashanth to stay for a YSA Valentine's Dance haha. He enjoyed it, though!
We went to bed, and I was starting to feel a little off. I fell asleep, and then came 12:30PM.
There was no falling back asleep. The bulk of the next hour was spent in the bathroom.
If you're squeemish, I'll just leave it as "it was coming out of my nose," and let you scroll past this next paragraph.
If you're not squeemish, (or if you are, and are reading this anyway, even though I warned you) I'll add the details that it felt like being waterboarded and that I don't think I've ever thrown up that hard or that much in my life. Fun stuff. I honestly can't remember the last time I've thrown up, but it's been years. I've gagged a few times on the mish, and Buffalo Wild Wings has done me wrong, but hey, if you don't throw up on the mission, did your mission even happen?
Okay, sorry. back to more reverent things. i was just jokin about that last part.
After extending his mission 1 month, Elder Jennings is heading home today! But there is still the rest of February left in this transfer. So what is his companion, Elder Shelley to do? Well, Elder Shelley has joined Elder Evans & I for the rest of the transfer, so we are in a trio for a few weeks! I'm excited about it haha. We picked him up yesterday after church!
Then, this morning, we got a notification from the APs that our emergency drill is happening, so everybody in the mission had to get to their emergency contact/member safehouses. Once our whole zone was in (over an hour after the notification haha) we were able to continue with our P Day. We got our shopping done, and went to Tacos 4 Life. Man, that place is another one of my favorites in Conway. So good.
And now I'm here, writing this email. Feeling quite a bit better than I did Saturday night and Sunday morning! So now you're caught up!
I hope your week has significantly less vomit than mine did! Love y'all!
Be silly & beware of bad chili!
Tell me about your week! (And what the heck this whole "tide pod" meme is about)
Tell me about your week!
3080 Pebble Beach Rd., apt #1
Conway Arkansas, 72034
This weekly email is brought to you by:
- William Shakespeare
- Cub Scouts of America
- Regrettable amounts of chili
- Cafe 501 & Tacos 4 Life for not making me throw up and bringing me joy
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