Hahahahaha you guys this week was nuts.
Monday through Thursday was in Benton, AR. Friday was in North Little Rock, AR. And Saturday and Sunday have been in West Memphis, AR. Crazy weeks are fun, though. Here's the highlights!
On Monday night, we had dinner at the Simmons and I (kinda uncomfortably, for the goat) held a goat.
Tuesday was transfer day, so we drove up to the mission office, said a bunch of hi's and hopefully-not-bye's before picking up my Benton replacement, Elder Miller, and two new Spanish Elders who are coming to the zone. There were some hurdles to jump, though, because the Spanish elders apartment wouldn't be open until tomorrow. So we put them up in the Bryant sisters apartment before it got re-occupied friday night. But before that, we just dropped them off in the heart of south little rock to blitz while we got ready for a baptism at the church. Those poor guys were troopers. They didn't have much other than cards to give out, and didn't even know what time church started, let alone where the building was haha.
The three of us got ready for Madison's baptism! It took a solid 2 or 3 hours of filling the font, setting up chairs and moving the piano, downloading videos to play after the baptism, printing programs, and so on. And it all worked out great! I thought it all went pretty smoothly, and Madison was just beaming the whole time, and the ward just adores her and her kids. Ahh. She's so awesome.
We had dinner with the Richards, which was fun. It made me realize how long I've been in Benton. In the time I've been here, they've had a daughter leave on a mission, and 2 of their sons get married. They're a great family.
Before heading home, we stopped at Baskin Robbins and made a deal with Jayla, our dollar scoop ice cream scooper. If she came to church this Sunday, we/they would make her cookies. If she didn't, she would have to give them free ice cream one day. She said we had a deal! (And she came yesterday, yay!)
Being in a trio for those couple of days was interesting, but pretty fun haha. On Wednesday, we picked up the new Spanish Elders and met the office elders in an apartment complex in Little Rock, where they got all the signatures they needed to get the keys turned over to them, so they've got a brand new apartment. The outside is kinda sketch, but it's not too bad on the inside!
Then we drove back to Benton and stacked firewood for one of the people we were teaching. That was a lot easier with 3 people than it would've been with 2, cause we had a good line going. We changed back into white shirts and ties in a gas station (which is always fun) and then went to the library to type up reports for our meeting with the Stake President and President Hansen that had gotten bumped up to this evening, instead of tomorrow evening. So I was kinda sad that I was going to miss that meeting, but I lucked out and got to go to one more. (Unfortunately, it was at the cost of like 15 missionsries from the MTC not being able to get here cause their flight was gonna go thru Denver and Denver was getting hazed by a snow storm. So they had to go back to the MTC and try again the next day.)
But it was a good meeting! Between my time in Hope and Benton, I've spent just a few weeks short of a year in the Little Rock Stake. As we were leaving, Pres. Hansen told me, "I'm excited for you to be in West Memphis! You'll do great there! Don't get shot!" Hahaha. Thanks, President. (What the?!!? )
Thursday morning was supposed to be the day we had the meeting with the new missionaries, but because of the delay, it ended up being the day they actually got to Arkansas, and our meeting was postponed to Friday. So I got a bonus day on top of my bonus days in Benton. It was a good one!
We had a lesson with Madison about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She had overheard some members talking about the Dallas temple, and had planned a trip to go to Dallas to see some family next week, and wondered what she had to do to see the temple. We made a plan for her to get a temple recommend after church on Sunday, and she did! Yay!
After that, we tried to visit a few people, including a referral the STLs gave us. She wasn't home, but another guy was and we got to talk with him for a while. He's a chainsaw artist so that's pretty cool.
Then, that night, we had a lesson with Wren and his girlfriend. He's the older guy that lives in the apartment next to his mechanic shop. It was a really cool, spiritual lesson. When we got there, and got started, the TV, which had been muted, broke into static and was loud. The lady's phone kept ringing with some obnoxious rap song as the tone. But they turned the TV off, silenced the phone, and were astounded at how calm and still their chihuahua was. (Which, if it's anything like any other chihuahua, its silence was pretty impressive.) "Somebody doesn't like you being here," the lady observed. But now that it was quiet, we were in good shape.
She'd been trying to find an answer to a prayer pretty urgently, and felt like her prayers just weren't being heard. We taught her how to pray, and Wren suggested that we give her a blessing. None of the 3 of us had thought to do that, but I think it was important that the spirit prompted him to suggest that. So we did, and she said she felt peace. We had her say the closing prayer and were very impressed with her faith and how badly she wanted an answer. It was cool.
The couple extra days in Benton kinda made me feel a lot of things! At times, like I just wanted to get out of the way, and other times like I never wanted to leave. It was like watching the start of a movie and knowing it's gonna be good, and wanting to see how the rest of the movie/transfer pans out. But Friday came, and it was time to move on, train a new missionary, and work West Memphis!
Friday was pretty long. All the trainers were there when I got there, and then the new missionaries arrived a little while later. We all introduced ourselves, and then the meeting started. Before lunch, they made the assignments. I'll be training Elder Bang! He's the oldest of 6 kids, and is from St. George, UT! President told him he'd probably be my last companion, affirming my joke, that I was "going out with a bang!"
After the meeting was over (at 4:30!) It took another hour and a half to get everyone's stuff loaded for the trek east to Memphis. I rode in the tiny middle seat between the driver and passenger in the pickup truck, which made for a fun ride across the state. But Elder Webb and I got to joke around, so that's always fun.
After stopping at a Taco Bell in Forrest City, (which is in our area in West Memphis) we drove another 45 minutes to West Memphis, got our stuff out of the truck and trailer, and hauled it upstairs to our apartment. It's pretty nice! We both have our own bathroom, and 2 closets, anyway. We had to throw away 90% of everything left over in the fridge and freezer, though. But we got all settled in by a little after 9, and then went to bed.
And then began day 1 in West Memphis. We had daily planning, our studies, and after the unfortunate (and late) realization that there wasn't a square of toilet paper leftover from the last elders, we decided to make a Wal-Mart trip for some essentials before starting the day.
We got out to the car, and the remote unlock didn't work. Weird. We manually unlocked it, hopped in, and... The battery was dead. We had a neighbor out washing her car, and asked if she'd be able to give us a jump. She kindly did, and once the electronics were up and running again, I saw something else. We had a tire pressure alert, with a psi reading of 4. Crap. Walked around to the rear passenger tire, and sure enough... We had a super flat tire. So we put on the spare (and had to ask our neighbor for another jump) and drove up the street to Goodyear tire, which was fortunately only about a mile down the road. We parked and they said it'd be 3-4 hours before they get to us.
We called our branch mission leader, Bro. Jones, and he happened to be free, so he picked us up and drove us around West Memphis, helped us get our bearings, and even paid for some groceries for us.
That night, the Young Women were doing a spaghetti fundraiser dinner for girls camp or something, and someone had bought us tickets, so Bro. Jones drove us over to the church (which is bigger than the Hope Building!) for that. We got to meet a bunch of the members there, and learned that the majority of the branch is related to 1 of 2 big families down here.
Before dropping us off back home, Bro. Jones reminded us to wear green ties to church tomorrow for St. Patrick's day, cause "them women'll pinch the crap outta you," and so we made note of that haha.
Church was good! Lots of friendly people, and warm introductions. And no pinches!
Got home, had studies, and decided to walk to try to meet some of the people in our area book close by. We found 3 new people to teach in that short time, and didn't get shot! (So far, so good, President!) It definitely wasn't the best side of town though haha.
We had mainly been talking to people who were just out and about, soaking up the springtime, but I had the thought to knock on the door we were walking by. We hadn't knocked on any doors yet, but figured I'd follow the prompting. A lady came out and we talked about her family for a while. She eventually shared that ever since a loved one had passed away 15 years ago, she's been looking for a sign from her telling her what heaven is like. I told her the little voice telling us to knock on her door might have been her! (A thought that never would've occurred to me until she told us that.) She accepted a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and said we could come back next week! So that was cool!
So there you have it... some of the highlights of this big, long, fun, crazy week. It's after 2, now, and we still haven't gotten a call about our car being done yet... pray for us haha.
I'm thankful for the miracles I've been able to see this week! They just keep on coming.
107 McCain Blvd Apt. D
West Memphis, AR, 72301
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