Hey howdy hey! It's your favorite long-winded missionary again!
This week seemed really long, actually. But I can't believe another transfer is over! I'll get the big news out right up front: Elder Bingham and I are staying in Collierville for another 6 weeks! After this transfer, I will have spent 6 months in Collierville! 4th of July to Thanksgiving. A quarter of my mission. Dadgum, boi.
On Monday, we went to downtown Memphis. Elder Bingham hadn't been yet, and it had been a transfer since my last time there (because we didn't have a car and Brother Boggs was out of town/working haha). Sister Michaelis, the bishop's wife took us to the Bass Pro Pyramid in Memphis. It's like the Space Needle or Washington Monument or Golden Gate Bridge of Memphis. It's a giant pyramid building that used to be a basketball arena, that was bought by Bass Pro and turned into a giant store, with ponds, a bowling alley, a hotel, and a few restaurants in there. It also houses the tallest free standing elevator! Which we rode up to the top for a pretty fun view of Memphis.
I have this weird thing that I started doing a few years ago. In notable places, I'll use the restroom just to say I used the restroom up there. So I can now add the Memphis Pyramid to my list including the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and the New World Trade Center. So now when you look at those buildings from here on out, you'll think to yourself "oh man Oliver Dahl has used a bathroom in there before."
After the pyramid, she took us to lunch on Beale St., and we ate at the Blues City Cafe which was dang good, dadgum, boi.
And then Tuesday came along, and I had our last District Meeting of the transfer! I tried to do a scavenger hunt type thing, which I think worked! For the sisters, anyway haha. Their competitors, Elders Wilson and Mair, had some trouble haha, but it was kinda fun.
The rest of that day was pretty good. We went to teach Anette, and we gave her a priesthood blessing for some of her chronic back pain. It was a neat experience. I didn't feel like I could bless her to just be miraculously healed all at once, but felt that the miracle would come for her as she exercised her faith, and promised her that in the blessing. Afterwards, she said her back wasn't hurting anymore. (Whoa.)
She went to her own church this week, though. So... We will see if she is still recognizing the power of the blessing when we see her on Tuesday. It's been frustrating trying to help her understand that this is where she needs to be. The social influence of her current church is very strong on her. And it's hard to blame her, she's like the only black person in the entire congregation when she comes. If she were further into Memphis, the wards there are more diverse. But alas.
Later that day while tracting, I thought for an instant that we found our next golden investigator. I literally felt tears of joy beginning to form. Yes! We have been working and working, and dont have anyone to teach to show for it, and now the next golden investigator finds us! As we were tracting a guy in his pickup truck stopped in the middle of the slow neighborhood road to chat with us. "Y'all Latter Day Saints?" We responded affirmatively and he talked about how in the past he'd had doubts about his Baptist faith, and had looked into the LDS church for a while. "I'm on way to something right now, but you'll have to come over sometime!" What a friendly guy!
And then the 180 happened. Idk what triggered it, but we spent the next 15 solid minutes talking with this guy in the drivers seat of his truck, and him trying to use scriptures to "prove" why the Book of Mormon isn't the word of God. Mainly he just complained about how there's no archeological evidence for it, [because supposedly, he wouldn't believe in the Bible if there weren't archeological evidence for that?] and just tried tearing us a new one. Poor Elder Bingham just kinda stood there like I did when Elder Johnson and I got in bashes. But I was ready for this guy. There was nothing he said I didn't have an answer for. Trouble is, he didn't like giving me time to answer.
This is called "Bible Bashing" which is kind of a misnomer, because that's what people think we are doing. But boy-oh-boy, if I thought for an instant the Bible went against what the Book of Mormon taught, or vice versa, I wouldn't be carrying the Bible with me everywhere I go.
The guy drove off, after praying that we will "find the truth," and giving us his business card in case we "wanna meet up for coffee sometime and chat." What a Jackwagon haha. Coffee? He really doesn't know anything about us, does he? I'm super tempted to call him back, but like... We said a prayer there on the sidewalk afterward to invite the spirit back. "Bible bashes" are oddly faith promoting, in that you really see how Satan convinces people to put limits on what God can do, and you see just how necessary the restoration is, but the Spirit isn't there, which is a bummer cause I can remember a lot more scriptures when it's with me.
In happier news, I won 2/2 rounds of bananagrams this week! I love that game.
On exchanges this week, I went to Southaven, Mississippi with one of the Zone Leaders, while the other stayed in Collierville w Elder Bingham. We had dinner with this inactive returned missionary of only about 4-5 years. He and his wife were just super cool, really awesome, incredibly kind people. We were over there for a few hours, but it all felt like time well spent. He taught us his family's favorite card game, called Hand and Foot. There are 6 decks of cards involved, and I got hooked. I didn't win a single round, but it is a fun game. It's like Phase 10 meets Castle. And there was celestial Caramel Apple Dump Cake involved, so that helped.
(P.S. can someone Google this game to see if it's one their family just made up, or if it's a real thing? There are so many rules it seems like Calvinball in playing card form, but it's actually super fun haha)
The Zone Leaders have these Batman/Spider-Man sunglass masks that Elder Jennings and I wore on the way back to Collierville. The goal was to look out the window at people to make them laugh, but I was the one who ended up laughing. I couldn't keep a straight face for nothing. But did succeed in making some guy laugh so that was good haha.
After teaching Wendy the Word of Wisdom this week (which was interesting because giving up coffee will be a tough one!) We decided to walk home. We got a right up to the member's home we have been teaching her in, and didn't have our bikes, but there are houses most of the way back down to our apartment. Kinda. On the particular street we took back, there *were* houses all the way down... And the property they were on. So probably like a dozen houses a mile haha. These places were huge. The biggest houses I've knocked on.
Pretty much nobody was home, but one of the flew people who opened the door actually asked us some solid questions, and though we had differing opinions, was polite, respectful, asked meaningful questions, and we left on good terms, feeling enlightened! That's how disagreements should be handled!!! He's my favorite person this week.
Yesterday, we had our 2nd and final Missionary Musical Fireside, which was good! None of the people we invited came though, which... was bad. Kind of a bummer. But it was still a good event.
Anyway, there has been some good momentum built up in Collierville. As a mission, a lot is changing! We are focusing more on the needs of people, and on spending time meaningfully rather than trying to stay busy, which I like, but it is definitely a mindset adjustment. It's hard to stay busy in Collierville, when no one is home in the early afternoon. But meaningful activities... I think we can do that.
One statistic that was shared is that someone, on average, has to have 7 good contacts with the missionaries, or with members of the church, before they agree to meet with missionaries. So every time we have had a good contact this week, I have been thinking "6 more to go!" Which is a better way of thinking about things than "dang, another rejection" haha.
Anyway, I'm excited for the next bit in Collierville! I've come to really love it here. I just wish there were more people for us to teach.
Hope you all have a wonderful week!!
If you wanna keep the mailman busy:
866 Schilling Rd. Apt. #103
Collierville, TN, 38017
Or, if you want to keep the NSA busy:
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