It's been a week! Complete with Graceland, Memphis, a bonfire, a hurricane, and planning a baptism!!!
Also, I hit my 3 month mark, and had my 4th Fast Sunday yesterday. This week didn't feel very productive, but even though there weren't a lot of good things, there were a few incredible things. And we are gonna go HAM for Elder Henderson's last week of the mission this week.
(PSA: fried macaroni and cheese exists and is even better than you think it would be. Yeah.)
Brother Boggs took us and some past missionaries who came to visit him all around Memphis last P-Day.
We went to Graceland! (Elvis's house.) It was pretty sweet. There's definitely some super out-there 60s/70s era decor, but I think I've decided I really like a lot of it. Idk about green shag carpet on the ceiling, but a leafy green colored kitchen, peacock stained glass, old tv's, grand pianos, mirrors going down the staircase... c'mon that is a little cool.
Then we went to Central BBQ, one of Memphians' first picks usually when you ask them where the best barbecue is. I could see why, even under their outdoor patio with the rain hammering the ceiling. It was awesome.
Next up was the Gibson Guitar Factory, where they hand make gorgeous guitars. It was pretty cool, because the tour goes right down alongside the people and machines making them. There's no glass to look through, it's all right there. It made me wish I was a guitar master. (Or that I could even play at all lol)
We walked around Beale Street, which was a little disappointing. There weren't a lot of people which was good, and there were a ton of cool old buildings and signs, but like... literally every single one is a bar haha. Still pretty sweet.
After that, we did another escape room. This one was Egyptian themed with different bonus rooms and closets that opened up when you put in the right codes and stuff. It was soooo cool!! We got out with almost 15 mins to spare, 30 sec short of making the leaderboard.
So that was P day!
Another day, we went over to a ward members house and made a bonfire and cooked s'mores and hot dogs. They were in a subdivision, but their back yard is right against a canal, and then woods beyond that, so it feels like you're out in the country, it was sweet. They had a treehouse, too. Took some fun pictures but I really wish I'd have had my actual camera there. Oh well.
Alright, so the extra exciting stuff: a hurricane? A baptism? I'll start with the hurricane so we can end on a good note!
Hurricane Harvey stopped by through Memphis area of TN. I guess I thought we would just get some residue rain but no it was a little more than that. Collierville was under flash flood warnings. In the morning, it wasn't raining very hard. And then a siren went off. A few minutes later, our Zone Leaders texted everyone saying that if you heard sirens, you needed to get back to your apartment. Well, we see already in our apartment, and it wasn't raining very hard, and we had an appointment at 2:00. As 1:45 rolled by it completely stopped raining, so we texted the zone leaders and went to our teaching appointment. While we were there, it started *actual* raining, still nothing we hadn't seen before, though.
We went to the church to do additional planning and to practice piano. We got a call from a ward member saying the Collierville Police had seen some roads begin to flood. Oh! We got in the car and tried to make it back to our apartment. We did so safely, without really having to worry, but the car windshield wipers on their fastest setting weren't fast enough. Truly. There were puddles on the side of the road you could about float a kayak in. We had to drive in the turning lane to avoid them in some cases. The wind was blowing and leaves and branches were falling around. Chik-fil-a was still busy as ever, though.
So that was really fun haha. Didn't think I'd get to say that I have driven through a hurricane before, especially coming to Arkansas/Tennessee, but hey, it was a cool unexpected adventure! We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening on house arrest in our apartment bored out of our minds and watching the rain come down like a waterfall over every square inch of the road.
We were close to the Mississippi sign, so we stopped to take a picture. We usually go once a week to 'sippii for district meeting.
We also went to Johnson Park one evening in Collierville. It's a cool miles-long boardwalk over forest and wetlands. It was really pretty!! Different kinda green from Idaho, that's for sure!
And now the best stuff of all: Caroline is getting baptized THIS SATURDAY AAHHH!!!!
We taught a lesson on the word of wisdom on Wednesday and she accepted it without hesitation. Caroline has been such an awesome example to me of how God prepares and the Spirit teaches. I like to think I'm a pretty decent teacher, but no teacher, (no matter how good!) can teach someone gospel related things to the point where the person being taught accepts it. The person being taught has to want it and has to come to believe it through the Spirit.
On Friday, we Skyped her and planned the details for her baptism. It'll be at 12:00 on Saturday, Sept. 9th. I was asked to play piano, and... also be the one who baptizes her. I am so excited, and just so humbled and amazed and stoked out of my mind.
I have been reading through the Book of Mormon and have been really impressed with the stories about Alma and the Sons of Mosiah. Being asked to be the one to baptize Caroline really helped me relate with Ammon as I read Alma 26 in my personal studies the next morning. All of Alma 26 is awesome, but I wanna just bring out a few things that I found myself kinda spooked by to be able to relate to so much.
Verses 6-7: yea they [the converts of Ammon] shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea neither shall they be narrowed up by the whirlwinds, but when the storm cometh, they shall be gathered together... They are in the hands of the Lord... and they are His.
-> Caroline is so solid and has developed just incredible faith. I know that when her faith is tried (because it will be!) by her parents, by friends, by life just being hard, that she knows where she stands, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be the single thing she can rely on the most. He is watching over her.
Verse 27: now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us
-> check, I have felt that before!
Verses 28-29: we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world [and of God] and we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea and we have taught them upon their hills... and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks...
-> check, check, check. Okay so I haven't been spit on or slapped so far, but the point remains... this is like exactly what we have been doing knocking door to door, talking to people in the street, getting rejected. The people of Collierville are nicer than the Lamanites, thankfully.
So I could relate with all of this after like my first week. But what struck me was the rest of the chapter, talking about Ammon's joy, carrying away unto boasting of his God. Especially after getting excited for Caroline's baptism.
Verse 35-37: Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God... [you oughtta read the rest. It's awesome, and you will benefit more by reading this chapter than I will by typing the rest of it lol]
-> so Ammon and his brothers had converted like thousands of people, but this one person who I have had the opportunity to have taught and to baptize this week makes me feel just as happy as Ammon. Not because I'm super awesome, but because wow! God really does prepare people and answer their prayers. And because baptism is going to open the way for so so so much happiness in Caroline's life.
Anyway, I'm sure thankful for each of you, and for your prayers and emails throughout the week. I'm thankful for the gospel and the peace and joy it brings into my life. I know this is true. I know it.
866 Schilling Rd, apt. #103
Collierville, TN 38017
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