Since September 8th, every day has been ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. I dunno if things will get back to the calm-before-the-storm levels, but that's okay! Because somehow, despite the craziness, things are still moving and going well!
Let's rewind back to last Monday, shall we? [*Tape rewinding sounds*]
"This is me. I'm sure you're wondering how I got stuck in this situation."
Just kidding, if you read my last email, you would know.
We drove to the Memphis Temple to drop off Elder Henderson and to report for duty! Elder Henderson is now back home safe in the land of potatoes, the good ol' Idahome itself.
I, on the other hand, got stuck in a big ol van sitting cheek to cheek with like 9 other missionaries for the 3 hour drive to Little Rock, Arkansas. We got to the church, got our luggage and stuff, and then I piled into a car with Elders Evans and Hoyle and Sabey to head to Conway, Arkansas for a couple days.
Slept 2 nights on the Conway Couch, and had a blast and a half serving in a quadpanionship with those guys haha. We split up 2 and 2 to go knock doors, but for teaching appointments, all four of us would file up the sidewalk to the door. They have an awesome investigator who read and studied the Book of Mormon while he was in prison for a while. He just got out this year, and he's so excited to be baptized! Hearing him talk about how "real" the church is was awesome to me. He said something like "the Holy Ghost, the power of God, prophets like Moses... it's all real! Right here! Right now!" So I guess for me to just put myself in his shoes and think about how awesome the gospel is from an outside perspective was super cool!
Anyway, four of us walking up to a door was fun. It was awesome. We laughed a ton. Which made attending the funeral interesting.
Finally, the day came to meet the new missionary I would be training!
"Wait, what's that? You want to hear about the funeral? Oh, okay." [*rewinding noises again*]
It's our first morning in Conway, and the first thing on the schedule after studies is to attend an ash burial for someone that none of the missionaries knew. We arrived at the cemetery and it was rightfully overcast and sprinkling. The Confederate flag blew in the wind over the occaisonal grave. It was probably like 50 to 60 something degrees outside and felt awesome. The first time I have felt cold since coming out. A family from Oregon had driven way out here to bury their mother?'s ashes in the plot her father had bought for her. It looked kinda like what you'd imagine an Arkansas funeral to be like. Blue jeans, cowboy boots, and bedazzled shirts that didn't completely cover muffin tops. It was these 4 members of the family, two members of the local bishopric, us four missionaries, plus the local sister missionaries. Thankfully the sisters could sing well cause the rest of us couldn't.
So that's the funeral story. [*fast forwarding noises.* Do fast forwarding noises sound different than rewinding noises?]
On Wednesday, we met at the North Little Rock church building and got to meet all 24 of the incoming missionaries! There were a lot of them. We had lunch, watched videos on bicycle and driving safety, other housekeeping stuff, and then finally we got to hear about our companions! President Hansen talked about the revelatory process and how these assignments really are divinely guided and not his own work. I really felt the spirit as he said it, and my worries went away.
I'm now serving with Elder Bingham from Mesa, AZ! He's a stud, excited to work hard and get talking to people! He's doing great.
We drove back to Memphis that night. Brother Boggs picked us up and drove us to Collierville after a stop at Sear Shack for some yummy burgers.
And then the rest of the week. Phew!
Among the many changes to our area (me training, me as the district leader, and sister missionaries now in half of Collierville & us in the other half) is the fact that we are now on bikes full time and without a car.
So Thursday was my first day biking in the mission, and my first day biking in years, probably since I biked to my Drivers Ed classes my sophomore year?
Anyway, all the roads seemed more flat when we had the car...
Our first appointment was at noon so we biked about 4 miles up in the cooler part of the day. Not too bad, I thought. I could feel my legs burning, and walking felt a little weird at first after we got there. That said, it was tolerable!
But we had a great lesson with this lady. She was the one who had all those questions, and was kinda apprehensive about a lot of things in the church. She told us that on her way over to the appointment, she had received the impression that she should "just stop fighting." (HOW COOL IS THAT??) We were able to formally teach her the full 1st lesson on the restoration, and help her with her concerns about Joseph Smith. Apparently her 16 year old daughter went to early morning seminary on Monday! (HOW COOL IS THAT??)
We are meeting with her again tomorrow, but are super excited about her progression and growth of faith!
We did some more biking, and was starting to feel the pain. We walked and did some door knocking. Had one person say we could come back. And then we biked to the Bishop's house so we could have him give Elder Bingham a customary "new to the area" Bishop's blessing. His wife didn't want us biking home in the dark, (and we didn't really want to, either) so she drove us home, and then picked us up the next morning and took us to Chik-Fil-a for breakfast and then back to their house for our bikes, which we rode home that morning.
Hoooooooo Boyyyyy. My body. It was a miracle we made it home. I only crashed once. (It wasn't that bad, yay for people praying that the missionaries will be safe!)
We had studies and planned our day, and Sister Gaar, the saint that she is, volunteered to drive us around the rest of the day. She dropped us off for our one appt, who wasn't home. So Elder Bingham and I did some walking around the main street of Collierville, to show him around and to knock some doors. We made a Wal-Mart trip, where priority number one was a new bike seat. (The best $15 I've ever spent. It hurt to sit down anywhere lol, my butt has 0 cushion on it)
Through the rest of the week, Elder Bingham has been a source of great motivation and work ethic. He's excited to knock doors. So we knocked doors. And even got a map from the town hall so we can mark off the streets we have tried. Yay for organization!
We had one "bible bash" which is never fun, but I felt like I came out on top at least haha. The whole "not adding or taking anything from this book" quote from Revelations is old news. Written solely about the book of Revelations, (not the whole bible) which actually predates many of the other books of the New Testament, meaning if you're gonna use that to try to disprove the Book of Mormon you're also including a good chunk of the NT, too, so...? Agh. Satan tries really hard to keep people from wanting to read the Book of Mormon. The BoM is either inspired by him, or is, in actuality, God's word. That's it. And because it brings us closer to Christ, it is not something Satan would inspire. Put it to the test. See if you get closer to Christ by reading the BoM.
We had another lady say she would pray for us that we find out the truth and abandon the false notions that we are teaching about. [We will pray for the same thing for her haha.]
We also were invited right in to teach a younger mom. She said she was doing her bible study anyway, and welcomed us in to share a quick message. She kinda just nodded along like she wasn't really interested, but was just too nice to kick us out, but to our surprise said we could come back! So we will see what happens.
Stake Conference was this last weekend! Caroline came to the adult session, it was good to see her again! I'm gonna miss teaching her! But she is so solid. President Hansen spoke, and said that the last time he attended a Memphis Stake Conference was in 1980 as a missionary here himself, when they split the stake into the 2 stakes it is today. Cool that 37 years later, he's back as the mission president.
Bike riding got better, especially with the new seat! I did fall off one more time, very slowly into the accommodating branches of a very comfortable bush. (Took a turn too fast and didn't lean into it enough so I just teetered over and fell off haha. I'm sure it looked hilarious.) Man, it's a good thing people pray that missionaries will be safe. (Thank you!) My legs are still pretty sore, but it's easier now than it was on day one. It's good for me. And the members are so good to us and can give us rides every once in a while!
Being district leader hasn't been too bad so far. I only have to relay weekly numbers and daily check in times to the zone leaders. But next week I'll get to teach a district meeting, so that will be interesting, and when the real challenge begins.
Training is good! Elder Bingham is great. His eagerness to work and to find people is so contagious.
It's been a very long, very busy week! Being in Conway feels like forever ago. Maybe it's cause our p day is on Tuesday this week. But today we are taking it easy. Cleaning the apartment, emailing, and napping. Until we get to go to the temple this evening!!!! I'm so excited to see the Memphis Temple before it gets renovated!
So there were 8 days between my last email and today, but next week my p day goes back to Monday, so now you only have to wait 6 days before another overly long email from Elder Dahl graces your inbox!
Have a great rest of your week! Read your scriptures!
866 Schilling Rd. Apt. #103
Collierville, TN 38017
P.S. the "training wheels" mentioned in the subject line was supposed to be a clever way to reference the fact that I'm training a new missionary, on bikes now, and also at the beginning and learning phases of each of those things. It's a layered metaphor!)
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