Happy July!? Did June even happen??
I've given up on expecting a thoroughly "good" or "bad" week. Every week is just a mixed bag of both haha. This one definitely had more of the "good," though.
The week started off with some barbecue. Monday evening we went up to Prescott, AR to visit some people there who have been tricky to get ahold of. We got to the first guy we wanted to try, (someone who had met with the missionaries a few years ago) got out of the car, the same dog started yipping at us as always, but there were people getting into a car.
"Is John here?" we asked. Two kids walked into the back yard, saying, "Dad, the white guys are here."
John came around the corner and warmly said hello, and then asked the golden question: "Do yall want some barbecue? Come back in an hour and I'll have some ready!
Didn't need to tell us twice! We tried making a few other visits, and then circled back around. He handed us a plate with an incredible piece of meat - glazed in now-crispy barbecue sauce after being slow smoked over charcoal and apple wood. If my words do it half justice, that's pretty good.
We chatted with him, and went over with him to the house of the member of the branch who catches chickens, and had a fun visit with the two of them before having to head back to Hope.
On Tuesday, we had our last district meeting of the transfer. Er, I mean... District Council. (They changed the name of the meeting on us with the update to Preach My Gospel.) That was good, and the Lims took us out to El Rinconcito, a Mexican restaurant in town, and that was also good.
That afternoon, we had great visits with Debbie and Carmelita, and later with a couple going through some stuff with some interesting ideas about how God and religion work. One of them just kind of expects that God will put His answer right in her lap without her having to do anything. Boy, wouldn't that be nice?
The next day was cool. We've made a few trips out to Nashville, AR, and sometimes we are able to see a lot of people, other times, not so much. Lately it's been more along the lines of "not so much." As I prayed that morning, I said we were going up to Nashville, and this is kind of our one shot to see a lot of the people we have there this week, so... please just let us see them! Well, not everybody we tried was home, but we were able to talk with all of the main people we had hoped to--Even if it was only in passing. And gave out a Book of Mormon. We also finally saw a referral we had received and met within my first week of being in Hope again! She has been reading, yay!
Things went downhill a little bit on Thursday as we realized:
1. We had like 20 miles left on our car for the month. (We are given a limit.)
2. The Lim's car, (affectionately nicknamed by yours truly, the "Lim-ousine") is in the body shop
3. The heat index was like 104-115!
4. Our cell phone no longer has cell service in Hope. Apparently T Mobile decided to drop coverage for this area. Yippee. (Today by some miracle it's working again? But I don't expect it will for long.)
A fun combination of things!
When we went to drop off Elder Lim to the body shop to pick up their car, our next door neighbor was heading out, too, and asked if we would want some dishes, cause he was moving out. So... We got some new dishes.
On our way back from the body shop, I also could no longer handle the length of my hair. It wasn't bad, just annoying. And hot. And I'd been trying to get a haircut for the last month. But no barbershop is open on Monday here, apparently. And Saturdays they're closed, too, we found out. So we went to one of the 2 hair cutting places. The first one was pretty foofy, and they said they were busy. Dang it. But I had had enough, and so we backtracked and sacrificed the miles to try the 2nd one, a tiny little barbershop off the main street in Hope.
We walked in and there were 2 stations, each with a slushy aqua green retro chair, and big mirrors. A handful of taxidermied deer hung on the limited wall space in there. A couple other guys were sitting around, and the one barber made quick work of each of them until it was my turn. We got talking a little bit and it turns out he had done a mission trip cutting hair to the Dominican Republic with his church. He's been cutting hair since he got out of high school, and had some cool stories. 2 more people walked in while I was getting my haircut, and while Elder Anderson was getting his done, the whole room got talking about the missionaries. What we do, all the missionaries who had come in in the past, and some genuine questions about the logistics side of a mission for us.
One of the guys that walked in said we had a "pretty great boss," and that he appreciated what we were doing and said the world needed more of it. He then proceeded to pay for both of our $12 haircuts. I prayed to thank God for Jerry that night. What a nice guy. As it turns out, I wasn't supposed to get a haircut from any other place at any other time, cause we were blessed by Jerry and by being able to have a great conversation with the whole tiny barbershop's worth of people in Hope, Arkansas that afternoon.
As an added bonus to that Thursday, we went to a Chinese buffet with the wonderful Mexican family in the branch. So that was a good experience haha.
Pretty much every week before a transfer, I have transfer nightmares. That night I dreamt I was transferred to Wyoming. Man, that would stink. Wyoming is great and all, but uh... this is the best place to be serving a mission.
Before our weekly planning session, the Lims had us over for chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. (The yummy stuff with grapes in it on a croissant. Yum.)
They shared that they had met a lady at the town museum who asked them if they were Mormons and informed them that she was reading our book. Turns out she is through the book of 3rd Nephi! So... We are excited about that. We knew exactly who they were talking about. We had given that lady a Book of Mormon back when I was on the prowl for some Hope, Arkansas stickers. We didn't think that much of it, then.
We had a good ole southern time back up in Prescott on Saturday afternoon. It was like a bazillion degrees, but there was a little breeze that helped. Elder Lim dropped us off, and we walked around. We had a great lesson with a guy named James we met a few weeks ago. He has a pretty good lazy eye, but a better understanding of the scriptures. He works with the chickens, too, and enjoyed studying with us again. We met on his porch this time, sweating ourselves dry and getting nipped by tiny ants on the sofa out there. I introduced a scripture and then had to wait like 5 minutes for an enormously long train to pass through across the street before I could read it. But something about the misery of it all, (and James' enjoyment of it nonetheless) was kinda endearing. One of those moments I think I'll look back on fondly and maybe even miss a little.
From there, we walked across town so Elder Anderson could fix another dryer for a great less-active couple. It took a while and standing around in the sun while he did that got pretty old pretty quick, but it was a good thing to have done.
Elder Lim picked us up on his way back to Hope. We passed a pizza hut delivery car and both kinda knew that that's what we'd end up doing for dinner. Exhausted and sticky as we were, the delivery man was an angel that night haha.
We got transfer emails that night! Elder Anderson is off to midtown Memphis. And I'm staying in Hope! He's sad to be leaving, and I was extra glad I wasn't transferred to Wyoming. I'm loving Hope a lot and am so glad to be staying!
Yesterday, Debbie was confirmed and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and that was really special. Another recent convert passed the sacrament for the first time. Elder Anderson started packing. The Lims had us over to play a round of Phase 10, which I... almost won. It was a good day.
Today, Elder Anderson has been saying goodbye to some people around town. The Presbyterian church reverend who let him practice the organ there, the owner of the hardware store, the lady at the chamber of commerce... she gave us both Hope shirts and asked if she could pray with us. She's a sweet Southern Baptist lady who doesn't "get" or agree with us 100%, but she didn't let that show or change her kindness towards us. Her prayer was wonderful and sweet, and it's been good seeing how loving, kind, passionate, and generous the people of this little town are. It's just funny to think "where else can you walk into a chamber of commerce and be asked to hold hands in prayer?" What a place. I love it.
I "Hope" y'all have a good week!
Don't have stamps?
Don't have an email account? (...wait a sec... well I guess you can write me, anyway!)
303 West 23rd Street, Apt. 9C
Hope, AR 71801
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