If anybody can figure out how it feels like 80 years ago but at the same time 20 mins ago since my last email, I'd be really interested to know. Still trying to figure that one out.
We were able to have some really good visits this week, and of course: the Hope Watermelon Festival. It was a good grand finale to my time here in Hope. Yup. I'm getting transferred to Benton! I'm really sad to be leaving, but also all kinds of nervous-excited to be back in zone leadership. I'd have loved another 6 weeks here, but there's other people the Lord wants me to help, elsewhere, I guess.
One of our good visits was with a member who hasn't been to church in years. He was an amphibian vehicle driver in the Vietnam War and was giving us all the tips about how you would drive off of the back of a big airline carrier boat or something. So that was really interesting. He made some comment and asked what country Trump has been dealing with lately. We aren't supposed to be keeping up with the news, or participating in political conversations, but I couldn't help myself from jokingly suggesting, "Russia...?" Which he found hilarious.
Another good visit was when we you about an hour and a half of open time. Which is kinda hard to work with in the middle of the day when all your appointments have fallen through and nobody is home. But I found a former investigator in our old notes that I remembered trying once. We pulled in his driveway and the truck behind us did, too. He welcomed us right in and we were able to have s good conversation with him, too. There are a lot of wonderful people here.
One of those is Debbie, who we were able to baptize last transfer. I had my last lesson with her and it was actually so cool because she talked! From time to time in the past she would say a word here and there. But when we asked her what she thought about her trip to the temple, and started looking for her notepad so she could write a response, she managed to quietly tell us how impressive she thought it was, and how nice the people were there. Again on Sunday, she talked a little bit, asking where I was going and whatnot. I thought of the promised miracle to those who have faith that the "dumb shall speak." (Mark 7:37, D&C 84:70, 2 Nephi 31:13) Does it get any cooler?
We were able to have another great lesson with a guy in Prescott. He is humble and willing to learn, but it takes him a lot of explaining. He's a super cool guy, and I'm gonna miss being able to see the gears turning in his head.
We also had a "drop visit" with a couple who we had kinda already assumed we would drop. They welcomed us in and told us they weren't all that interested. I know a big part of that is that they never read the Book of Mormon, and another part is that it is just impossible to feel the spirit in their home. There were 6 dogs running around, and all the possible clues they leave behind. They had shredded a couch, and so fluff was everywhere over the cigarette-scented carpet. It was kinda hard to breathe. I was nervous to sit on the couch, but didn't want to be rude. (When I got home and changed into pajamas, I discovered a dog turd matted against my slacks and a large brown stain on the back of my white shirt.) I don't want to talk down or anything, it is just really sad to me that people can choose to live that way. Order, peace, cleanliness, and light provide so much in our lives. If we are to feel the spirit, we need those things.
The next day was spent getting ready for the Watermelon Festival. Printing off questionnaires, organizing media, and so on. We had dinner at Tailgaters burgers with the Lims, and their daughter and granddaughter who flew in from Idaho to visit them and come to the Festival this weekend. Afterwards, we went over to our spot and started setting up our booth as much as we could!
We finished it up the next morning of the Festival after our district council. Our whole district was able to be there that day, which was really fun, but it was kinda the slow day of the festival, though. Which is to be expected cause it was a Thursday. But if was still fun. We got ourselves a "slice" of watermelon for the experience. It was 2$ a slice, and so we were expecting some little slice, right? Oh no, they weren't messing around. They literally give you a quarter of a watermelon. And not just any watermelon. A HOPE watermelon. Extra big, extra sweet. They were dang good. We talked with the people who run the camel rides for a while, but never ended up riding them. I also remembered that August 9 was an important date for something... oh yeah! My 1st book came out 7 years ago that day. Woooowww. "The Dreamers" is getting old haha.
On day 2 of the Watermelon Festival, we started noticing just some funny quirks about humanity. Like how many people saw our booth, and turned around to go into the next row of booths a different way besides passing in front of us. Or how many people looked the opposite direction as they walked by. We got a lot of rejection, but people were nice, and we also got a lot of good leads. Opposition in all things!
Had a BBQ sandwich for lunch. Y'all know how much I love BBQ.
Went and talked to our friend Bob who was selling knives. He had a discount box, 1 for $3 Or 2 for $5 and got one of those. He told us to keep him updated about transfers. I was expecting to stay another transfer, but then President Hansen called and told me he had finished figuring out transfers and extended a call to be a senior zone leader in Benton. Whoa! I told him I'd do it, cause I would, and cause I don't wanna be the guy who makes Pres. Hansen have to re-figure out transfers haha. So I'm excited! Nervous, and sad to be leaving Hope, but excited!
We made our way back to Bob's booth and shared the news. Without hesitating, he reached into his display case and handed me a really nice pocket knife. He is seriously one of the coolest, nicest, people out there. Gonna miss that guy. I told him I'd be back to visit, though!
That night, Elders Turner, Billings, and Barnes arrived at our apartment to help out for Saturday. We had a good time having them with us. They're great.
Saturday ended up being the busiest and best day, unsurprisingly. They had a watermelon eating contest that we caught the tail end and free leftover watermelon slices of, and a seed-spitting contest. (As opposed to a speed-sitting contest!) I didn't catch the whole thing, but overheard distances surpassing 20 feet. Way to go?
Had a guy ask me if I was a Jehovah's Witness. I told him no and he looked kind of disappointed. I asked him why and he explained he had had this question he wanted to ask them. I figured I'd try my hand at it and asked what his question was. What he said cracked me up hahaha.
"You know they don't celebrate like national holidays or whatever, right?" "Yeah." "So I mean, if they don't celebrate holidays, what I really want to ask them is: if the Razorbacks score a touchdown... do they celebrate then? Or would that be against their rules, too?"
People are awesome.
We also had a member of the branch presidency call us Saturday morning and ask us to come prepared for a talk on Sunday in case the visiting speaker from Little Rock didn't show up. So Sunday morning before I even got in the shower, I wrote a few notes down, and wouldn't you know it, the visiting speaker did come, but only after we had confirmed with Bro. Ridgell that we were ready to speak and had been put in the program. So I gave what I thought was a pretty good talk on James 1:5, and then we had potluck afterward. A part member family we had hoped to start teaching when I first got here showed up to church for the first time since then. An exciting little miracle for the Hope missionaries, and a good way for my last Sunday in Hope to go. Plus, Debbie brought a "yellow-meated" watermelon that was orange inside and is on my list of best watermelons I've had.
Spent some time writing down notes for Elder Peterson and my replacement and then went through our people notes from the Watermelon Festival with the Lims. We've got a good handful of pretty promising people! I'm excited for all the good stuff going on here, and feel rest-assured that I've left my mark on Hope, and that it's better than I found it, and that it will soon be better than when I left it. That's what it's all about.
Gonna miss the Lims a lot! They are so awesome and I've learned so much from them and their example. I'm so thankful for all that they've done for me and this area. They're headed home in a few weeks. We had a fun visit with them and their family last night, and are headed to my last supper in Hope at (you guessed it) a BBQ joint tonight.
Off to more new adventures in a different part of Arkansas! 5th Area, 5th Zone, 9th companion.
But in the mean time... I gotta pack, yikes
Love y'all! "I still believe in a place called Hope." - Bill Clinton & Elder Dahl
905 Kierre Dr., North Little Rock, AR 72116
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