The missionary time phenomenon: In which it feels like I was just doing this, but last p day feels like a month ago, and somehow it all went by really fast anyway?
By popular demand, food reviews are back cause there were some new experiences this week. :)
Last P Day, a member took us to a BBQ place called Corky's. It was pretty dang good, especially for the price. I left feeling stuffed with pulled pork, which is a good feeling up to a point, but by now you can correctly assume it's safe to figure I overdid it. (I did.) All the same, 8/10, with 26/10 rolls. They probably use crack cocaine in those things wow
We also did some fishing up at the Gaar's farm. And by "we did some fishing" I mean "Elder Bingham caught 5 fish in like 15 minutes and I caught none."
We got back into town, and had my first real "weird" southern dish, yes! It's called "Country Ham" which sounds innocent enough. It's basically a ham that gets buried in salt, until the salt replaces most of the moisture in the ham, and it becomes encrusted in salt and layers of thick mold. Then you just cut the mold off, cook it up however, and eat it. Ham is already pretty dang salty, right? This stuff was almost enough to make my lips pucker a bit. My mouth is watering thinking about it haha. I liked it at first, and then it was almost overwhelming, and now every once in a while I'll crave it haha. I'd definitely have it again.
But the thing about this country ham is that I was still full enough from our bbq lunch that afternoon, that by the time I was done with it, I felt like I'd eaten an entire pig that day.
That's something I think a lot about. Like, what if we could look out over the crowd of animals who died for the food you have eaten over your entire life. Yikes. Like... you eat a hot dog, and then 3 pigs, a chicken, a horse, and a sea urchin get added to the crowd. (It's okay, I'm in the BBQ capital of the world, I'm not going to go vegetarian anytime soon. Sorry, sea urchin.)
Now, this wasn't "Buffalo Wild Wings BOGO" level bad, in large part due to the fact that everything, you know, tasted good, and I can still stomach the thought of having ham again thank goodness. But I was pretty dang full.
The staple feelings of missionary work: The Spirit, tired, hate-yourself-full, and thirsty.
After that, a member took us to the grocery store so we could get groceries. He needed groceries, too, so we split up and met back together when we were ready to check out. After stocking up for the next like 2 weeks, we go to check out and he starts putting some of our groceries in with his. We go to tell him, and then to try and steal them back to add to our pile, but he just keeps blocking us and putting our groceries up, and he ended up paying for them all. What. I was kinda mad at him, cause I'd saved my money really well this month, but I mean, it's hard to stay mad at someone who pays for your groceries.
So all in all, not a bad p day.
The next morning during studies, our investigator called us out of the blue. She said while she had been meditating, she had the impression that she should call us. I was glad she did! She told us how she had prayed to ask God if it was okay for her to wait a year to be baptized. Her answer was an overwhelming yes. She asked if He loved him, and her answer was "Even more, now." It reminded me of one of my own powerful spiritual experiences, so that was a very spirit-filled phone call. She talked about having talked with another lady in the ward who is a member but her husband isn't, and how much that meant to her. And she said she would bring her husband to church sometime! He didn't come this week, but it'll happen. And we are excited for that. But that was a cool way to start the day!
Another investigator has reached kind of a stand still this week. We went over and taught her and then spent a good deal of time talking her through her concerns about being baptized. She really likes her pastor and wants to support him as he moves to a different church. She knows the Book of Mormon is true, and that she needs to be baptized, but she feels like she won't be able to keep coming to our church. Which is frustrating.
For our 2nd lesson with her this week, we brought President Faulkner along, who she recognized from TV since apparently he had run for state Senate or something before? He's in our mission presidency now, and is a super cool former Baptist. I thought we had been bold in our last lesson, but this guy was bold. And it was a neat lesson for me to even sit in on. He talked about leaving his Baptist church after he had been baptized, even though he was next in line to be the pastor, and the former pastor had just died. And he said that before he was baptized, he felt the spirit tell him that the "Promised Land" prophesied of (yes, prophesied of) by Martin Luther King Jr., where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, IS the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That was cool.
She's still thinking and praying about being baptized. If she is really praying about it, we know her answer will never be "no."
Another fun experience this week: getting to go to the booming metropolis of Potts Camp, Mississippi to conduct a baptismal interview! As the district leader, one of my responsibilities is to interview the investigators of my district members before they are baptized, just to make sure they know their stuff and are willing to keep the commandments they have been taught. The Elders in Holly Springs had been teaching Seth for not too long, but he is a super cool kid. He js 15 or 16 and we met him in his grandparents house out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees barely starting to change colors. It was awesome.
That took most of our day, though, and we got back to Collierville right as our ward party was ending, which was a bummer. It was apparently a great event.
On Friday I had a pretty awesome mission experience! A local book club of ladies from both Collierville wards plus a nonmember lady had read my book "Lies" this month. And President Hansen gave me the "okay" to attend that! They recorded a video interview w some of the questions that were asked, and I think it turned out pretty awesome! You can watch that here - https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1474036109377648&id=100003138183987
Shortly after, we had interviews with President Hansen. He's so awesome. I love him more and more every time I see him. He's definitely inspired and leads this mission with power.
We had dinner with that awesome young family from Venezuela again this week, and they made one of my favorite things - empanadas! They were dang good. 12/10
The next day was Seth's baptism. The members in Holly Springs, Mississippi meet in a rented out Pentecostal church, so they had to come up to the Collierville church building for the baptism. We headed over early to fill up the font. Water filling the font is a good, motivating sound to hear. The baptism went well! As we were locking up, though, we realized that Elder Mair didn't pull the plug up in the font when he left. So he took his suit jacket off, rolled his long sleeves up to his shoulder, and pulled his pant legs well into his thighs, and waded back into the font, leaned out over the water, and... fell in.
Just kidding, he didn't fall in. But he almost did once. He got the plug, and also a little bit wet again haha. It was kinda funny.
That night we went to see some houses decorated for Halloween that we had heard about from a few people. How good could these really be? UM WOW. THAT GOOD. These 2 houses next to each other share expenses on a storage facility throughout the year, and pay people to hand candy out by the trashcan full because so many people come.
One house has like a full blown pirate ship, with skeletal pirates taking up their whole front yard. The thing is almost as big as their house. The other one is a grave yard, with animatronic everything, and a legit hearse! Parked! On! Their! Lawn!
On Sunday, we had a very special return missionary give a talk, and then take 3rd hour of church sharing stories from her mission. She is one of the 10 or so missionaries who were sent straight home early from Puerto Rico, rather than being reassigned. She had a full transfer left, but they sent her home early. She was devastated, and you could tell how much she would have loved to stay behind and starve and sleep on the ground to help the people she had come to love so much there. She left her area with food and a small backpack of clothes, to wait out the storm in the mission field. She didn't think she'd be sent home, or that nobody from that mission would probably see their areas again, the people there, the journals, gifts, and other things left behind in apartments. Crazy stuff. As she shared her different experiences, the spirit was really strong. Elder Bingham admitted later that he was like holding back tears the whole time and that everything she talked about was things he felt like he was going through... I was glad he admitted it first because I was the same way hahahaha.
It made me feel pretty stinking lucky to be in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. I can't complain about a thing. And I can work a lot harder than I am.
My email might not make it sound like it, but it was another pretty slow week. We are gonna try to "go ham" this week. Hit the pavement hard. Not seeing "success" in the traditional sense hasn't bothered me as much, this week, but I feel like we can still do more than what we are doing. A part of this has been changing the way I look at success.
Obviously, baptizing someone is a success. Finding new people to teach is a success, giving out books of mormon is a success. Measurable, quantifiable, good stuff. But getting let down because we haven't been able to do much of that doesn't help anyone. So I've decided to measure success in: positive, meaningful interactions with people, and in the miracles that I notice happen each day. Feeling good about the work we put in at the end of the day has to become the real measure of success. On a mission, in life, anywhere.
I hope you liked whatever portions of this email you read haha. Sorry I'm so long winded, there's just so much good stuff to share!
Here's to even more of that next week!
Do not send photos of ham
Do not send actual ham
866 Schilling Rd, apt. #103
Collierville, TN 38017
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(After June 20, 2017)
Elder Oliver Wrigley Dahl
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr
North Little Rock AR 72116