Well, it's been 7 days and I'd like to think I'm a slightly better Elder Oliver Dahl than last week! Here's what went down.
(But first just a really quick cool miracle I forgot to write about last week)
We were trying a less active member in an apartment complex that I had been to just twice before in my entire time in Conway so far. The member wasn't home. As we were walking away, a lady calls down to us from the upstairs of the apartment building, "missionaries!" Apparently she, her non member husband, and her 5 boys had just finished moving in that day from downtown Little Rock! How awesome that we were able to be in the right place at the right time to welcome them into the area, the first day they got here, before anyone else knew they were even here!
Okay, sorry, that was just one of those cool little moments that is too cool to be an accident, and I had to share it. On to this week.
I have just been so stinkin tired the past little while. Especially this week, in large part due to our two consecutive days of exchanges in North Little Rock. They were exhausting, but so so fun, and the definite highlight of my week.
We met Elders Jennings, Shelley, Brownell, and Stiles-Culver (the NLR & Office Elders respectfully) at good ole David's Burgers. We split off from there, Elder Shelley and I going tracting and walking around a few neighborhoods. We found one kinda potential investigator, but didn't find a ton of success. Elder Shelley, who has been out for almost 3 months now, seemed to enjoy my door approaches and was trying to take mental note of them, so that helped me know that even if we weren't finding success then, hopefully the things I was demonstrating could lead to eventual success as Elder Shelley implements them down the road.
We met up again at the Millers, an awesome young family in NLR who fed 8 of us missionaries in the area, and then we played a game called signs with them before heading out to their missionary correlstion meeting. Spent a good chunk of time there reviewing our main takeaways from last week's visit from Elder Holland & Uchtdorf. I was trying to come up with a one sentence summary as requested, and I didn't realize what it really was until I said it. It has since become my goal. To not just wait around for my mission to change me because "missions change people," but to actively change myself while on my mission. Because that's the only way it really works. And you don't have to be on a mission to change yourself into the best version of you that you can be!
That night, we played ping pong in the office elders apartment again until midnight. Slept on a couch, and then started day 2. Had studies and then went to exchange with the Office Elders after a taco bell lunch, but Elder Stiles-Culver was sick. So... Elder Evans went w Elder Brownell to do office stuff, Elder Jennings stayed w/ Stiles, and... I had another day of exchanges with Elder Shelley haha.
This time, we got dropped off in South North Little Rock, in a primarily African American part of town. I was able to give away a bible to a lady that asked for one, but that was about as much success as we had. But it was still judt really fun to explore and walk around a new part of the world that before my mission I never would have thought I'd be in.
While walking past an old car, an adorable little girl (probably 4 or 5) startled me a little bit by looking out the back window at us. I waved at her, and she just beamed and waved back, her little beaded dreadlocks bouncing as she giggled. Further down the road, I turned around and she was still looking at us. I waved again and she ducked out of sight haha. What a cutie. Just a few doors down, a 7 or 8 year old kid looked at us through the window after we knocked on the door. He told us his parents weren't home and asked what we were doing.
"We're missionaries, so we talk to people about Jesus. Do you like Jesus?" I asked.
"Yeah," he responded. "He died but then he came back to life!"
"Yeah! How cool is that?! He sure helps me be happy!"
Little kids are the future!
That night, all 4 missionaries, (the North Little Rock and office Elders) had an appointment with a couple they had helped move in last week. I guess they had seen a friend and talked about how they needed help moving, and the friend had another friend who had talked about the Mormons helping them out. So this couple showed up at the church one day and asked for help, and these 4 guys spent the majority of the day helping them move.
Since Stiles-Culver was sick, I was able to take his place and have dinner and share a lesson with the couple. I'm so glad I had this opportunity, because it was the definite highlight of my week.
We had some pizza and then the conversation naturally flowed toward the gospel. We walked in at 6:30, and didn't leave til almost 10:30, which is kinda against mission rules, but they just kept asking awesome questions and loving our answers. (So how could we leave??) They talked about how excited they had been all week to have the missionaries back over, since they felt so much peace and happiness around them last time.
When we explained a question they had, one of them always asked the other what they thought about it. They would always nod and say something like "I like that. Yeah. That's right." They especially liked the doctrine of Baptisms for the Dead and how that resolved some of the "plot holes" they had recognized in past religions. Toward the end of the lesson, I asked them if they had felt the spirit, and they were quick to say that they had. I promised them that what we were teaching was true and that they could find more of that spirit in the Book of Mormon. They were sad to see us go, and we left with Elder Jennings dedicating their home. Received some hugs as we left and we were all glowing on the way home. It was awesome.
Stayed up til midnight again as Elder Evans and Jennings dribbled a ping pong ball back and forth until they hit 200 consecutive hits. After (a lot of) failed attempts, they hit 200 and kept going til 333. It was hype. Sleeping on a couch again left us pretty zonked out the next day, though, for our Zone Conference.
Zone Conference was good, though! Pres. Hansen instructed on some of the finer details I hadn't thought about regarding some new testament stories, and that was cool.
Afterward, we took our dinner hour and just napped instead of having dinner. But then we did service at that one church kitchen again and had some leftovers. Book of Mormon class was awesome again.
Spent the next day wandering around the shady small town of Mayflower, AR. There were some sights, including a wolf or something someone had strung up to a tree in their front yard. #Arkansas!! (Picture below)
Had a lesson w a guy who walked into church a few weeks ago. We sat around his bed in a back room of his trailer and he, too, talked about how he felt something different about us and the other members of the church he had met. Hoping we can keep meeting with and helping this guy!
While trying to contact someone [else] in an apartment building, [we do that a lot haha] they weren't home, but I heard the tv playing in the next apartment, and felt a prompting that we should knock on it. Elder Evans had turned around to go down the stairs, but I suggested we try this one, and knocked.
Lo and behold... no one answered! My turn to turn around and go down the stairs. But there was one more door on that floor, and Elder Evans started walking to that one.
But this time... no one answered! We were on a roll. So we headed down the stairs, and half way down, that last door opened. The guy ended up inviting us in and turns out he actually knew a lot about the church and was eager to have us over to answer some questions about the Book of Mormon!
So anyway, I include this story cause it was a cool example of how the spirit guides us and works in companionships, and how just because we don't see results from a prompting right away, doesn't mean it's not from God, just that we should keep working and waiting.
Later in the day, another person we were trying in another apartment complex had moved, but the new resident told us to "Stay on the battlefield, fellas," which was funny and kept us going haha.
We had our monthly meeting w the Stake & Mission President yesterday, and we got the scoop on some top secret, cutting edge deeds coming to the mission. So that's exciting. There'll be some [more] cool stuff [and people!] coming to the mish.
We drove back to Conway after that and I was able to stand in the circle for Prashanth, (Elder Evans super cool, Indian recent convert) to receive the Aaronic Priesthood! It was super cool to participate in the gospel and priesthood being able to bless more of the people around the world!
Sorry this email is so sporadic haha. But hopefully some of the stories were enjoyable! I can feel myself improving as a person and missionary, and just need to keep up the momentum! I'll issue the same challenge to y'all - be a slightly better person the next time you read an email from me. Share what you change!
Have a good week! Love y'all!
Email contact info for people we can teach in Conway:
Mail us people in big boxes who we can teach in Conway:
3080 Pebble Beach Rd, apt. #1
Conway, AR 72034
This weekly email brought to you by:
- David's Burgers
- Apartment buildings
- The surplus wolf population?
- The Sketchy parts of NLR & Mayflower
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