Another week has come and gone, and now we're most of the way through January. What?!
This week was transfers week! Both Elder Evans & I are staying in Conway. Transfer day itself got postponed a day because of snow, though! Seriously. Come 7AM, while some people in far out areas had already hit the road to transfer locations, we got a text saying to stay off the roads because of the snow and ice, and to wait to transfer until the next day.
It was also a snow day for the local schools! Kinda... like, you guys... the grass was like a powdered donut. If you blew off most of the powder and licked the rest off. The roads were kinda wet, but not icy. It must have been worse in other sides of the mission. (I think Collierville actually had like 3 snow days in a row, but their snow actually stuck.) By about 11AM, all the snow was gone, and all the kids were still out of school. Riiight. "Snow day."
That day was also the day Pres. Nelson held his broadcast and press conference, and a bunch of us missionaries got together to watch that. (We figured it was safe to drive since... the snow was gone.) That was cool, and I was thinking how awesome these like 13 old dudes are. They're all just such awesome, Christlike people. I definitely sustain Russel M. Nelson as the world's prophet! That guy is legit the coolest 93 year old on the planet.
Later in the afternoon, as we were trying to contact some people, we got out of the car and walked around to do so for about 25-30 minutes. I had my big peacoat on, and a sweater. And my oh my, was it the coldest my face has ever felt in my entire life. I say that after having been outside in Idaho winters when it dips into the negatives. I think then it was in the high 10's, or low 20's. But it was a humid cold, which I'd heard about from more seasoned missionaries, but figured it couldn't really be that different from dry cold, right? Wrong. The best way I can describe it is like how your hand gets slow when it's been out in the cold for a while. Only that happens to your face. So if you make a funny face, you might actually have reason to fear that it might freeze like that.
Thankfully, it was a little bit warmer the next day, and we brought hand warmers with us. We had the hardest time planning in the morning, and half way through, just decided to embrace the fact that we would spend most of the day knocking doors. A lot of our investigators have dropped us, or have just vanished, or are just not available often enough for us to visit with them regularly.
So we picked a few streets, and started knocking doors in this trailer park. (We like those.) There were some pretty nice people there, and a handful of people who spoke only Spanish. In one or two of those instances, I kinda deferred them to Elder Evans, who had something like "Hello, we're the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We don't speak Spanish, but we know some other missionaries who do. Would you be interested in meeting with them?" memorized in Spanish. One lady said another time, so we figured we were doing pretty alright.
And then we met Geronimo! [This is the cool part/the highlight of my week!]
After we knocked on his door, we went across the street to the next trailer, but then he came out and started talking with us. Elder Evans delivered his line, and he continued trying to talk with us. "Solamente hablo un poco Español," I apologized. He just kinda stood there expectantly after that. I looked at Elder Evans and tried to come up with the vocabulary in my head to explain some of our message to him. I started super simply, and before I knew it, I had asked him how long he had had faith in Christ, and I understood his answer. I explained that we believed in Him, and that we have prophets and apostles on the earth today, just like what we read about in the Bible. He shared some of his Catholic faith with us, and I was able to understand that, too! He asked about the Book of Mormon, and I explained that as best as I could. It was probably the worst Spanish he had ever heard, but by the end of it, he accepted my invitation for us to come back and bring him a Spanish Book of Mormon!
As he went back inside, and Elder Evans and I walked away, we both just started laughing. What the heck just happened?! Getting called to the Arkansas Little Rock Mission, English speaking, I didn't think that my Spanish would really come in handy, or that I'd get to have a cool "experiencing the gift of tongues" story for my homecoming talk. But like... that's what it was. It was all said in what little Spanish I knew, but many of the words I did use, I'd forgotten existed until they left my mouth. I know the Lord was with me in this small way to testify of the truthfulness of His church on the earth today.
We had dinner with that Peruvian family again that evening, and the adorable grandmother cooked an amazing dish... I forgot what it's called, but it was rice with homemade french fries on top, and then like fajita steak filling on top. It was really good. She and her daughter spoke back and forth in Spanish a lot, and I guess the gift of tongues had left me cause I didn't understand a lick of what they were saying haha.
On Thursday, we helped out for a little bit at this other church that hosts a food kitchen type thing that feeds people in need. That was pretty fun, there were some characters there. We then went straight to the Book of Mormon class we put on every Thursday night, and nobody but the sisters and our Ward Mission Leader came. We still went over a chapter, though, and I learned a lot! I love how many new details and insights you get just by reading the Book of Mormon again. It's impossible to soak it all up at once.
That reminds me of something I forgot to include in my last email. At Book of Mormon class last week, we did have somebody show up, a recent convert from India named Prashanth. He had been reading in the Book of Mormon on his own, and had gotten to the Isaiah chapters. (Where portions of the book of Isaiah are quoted by the prophets at the time in the Book of Mormon.) Since he was the only one there, we decided to just pick up where he left off and read through some of the Isaiah chapters with him.
His English is pretty good, but it has taken him a while to get past the scriptural language. (Thee, thou, ye, etc.) And now we were going into Isaiah. He would stop us every once in a while to say, "I don't know what this means." We were kinda like... "Yeah, we don't really know what this means either. Let's figure it out!" So there we were, using the Institute Manual to help explain Isaiah to ourselves and to this Indian guy with no Christian background. That was fun haha.
While in the class this week, an email came from our mission president, announcing which Apostle was going to visit our mission. (We'd gotten the news back in December that one would be visiting, we just didn't know which of the 12 it was. There were rumors it was going to be (now President) Nelson, but since he is now the prophet, things must have gotten shuffled around.) He told us that it wasn't just going to be one apostle, but 2! So Elder Uchtdorf & Elder Holland will both be visiting the Little Rock, AR area this Saturday!
To those of you who have no idea who they are, they're kinda the modern equivelant of like James or Paul in the New Testament. They might as well have announced my favorite band is going to put on a concert for us, I'm so so so excited. They are just funny, poignant, brilliant, Christlike men who I strive to be like. Anyway, I'll have that to write about in my next email! :)
Saturday was fun! Last week, Elder Evans & I were invited to speak at a "Super Saturday" event for the youth. We prepared 10 minute talks, and they had Little Caesars for lunch, so we were happy about that. I talked about how the hobbies and habits I was into at home helped prepare me for my mission, and I tried to make it kinda funny. I think I succeeded. (That or they were just laughing at me.) Sounds like a couple folks might end up getting my books haha.
Later that day, while we were walking around, a guy shouted at us. Elder Evans and I each caught a part of what he said, and when we put it together, we realized he told us "LaVell Edwards is a legend!!" which... was a much funnier thing to be yelled than what I expected.
Then, on Sunday, we had another guy just come to church. He opened up a lot in Sunday School, and a few of the members were able to bear testimony and help comfort him. We now have an appointment to visit with him later in the week!
One of the members of the bishopric told me he had been looking at my Amazon page earlier, and saw that I played piano. The cat was out of the bag. I played an opening song for 3rd hour haha. (But I didn't mind, I'd much rather play piano than have a bunch of people who aren't Pentatonix sing a capella)
The week ended off really well, when we had a lesson with another guy we've been trying to teach. We had a member over with us, and it was awesome! Not much really went according to plan, but it ended up better than we had planned. I love when that happens. Seeing the guy even just holding the Book of Mormon as we talked made me so happy. This book is everything!
Oh yeah! Tuesday/Wednesday was dang freaking cold, but it warmed up all the way to 65 degrees on Sunday! It was SOOO NICE! It's a little cooler today, but a long sleeve shirt will keep you comfortable. This whole week is supposed to have highs in the mid50s so I'm excited.
But, boring weather stuff aside, I say that because I guess the low to high temperature move wreaked some havoc. Cause last night was THE CRAZIEST STORM I have ever been through. It wouldn't have taken much to convince me the Second Coming was about to happen, this was some 3rd Nephi-level stuff.
Rain was pounding, that's nothing new, but still exciting. The wind was blowing, that's not super uncommon. Although, it was a lot windier than usual. But then there was the lightning and thunder. I seriously thought somebody put a strobe light outside our window. (And I'm not saying that, I literally looked out of the window to find where the spotlight was that kept flashing our window every 2-3 seconds.) And the thunder felt like it was all around us. It stayed like that for about 20-30 crazy minutes and then quieted down really fast.
Apparently, tornadoes happen in the silence after the storm, and not in the thick of them. Fortunately, our roof wasn't torn off, and Conway is still in tact. I don't think any tornadoes happened. But it was exciting, anyway!
So that's my week! How was y'alls? Sending my love,
3080 Pebble Beach Rd., apt. #1
Conway, AR 72034
This Weekly Email Brought to You by:
-19 individual flakes of snow
-Little Caesar's Pizza
-The Book of Mormon
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