It's been a more difficult transfer, but man oh man. So many prayers came true this week. It's been a good one.
It began with some Arkansas Pineapple Whip (which I can only describe as like soft serve gelato) and a David's Burger. So with a start that wonderful, how could the week not follow suit?
I instructed in what I thought was one of my best district meetings on Tuesday. We talked about baptism and just how essential it is. Refocusing on that (teaching repentence and baptizing converts) as our divine purpose was really good for all of us.
Afterwards, I was able to stay in Hope while Elder Turner joined me and Elder Anderson went to Pine Bluff for the day. After some chicken fried rice hibachi, we tore it up in Hope and Prescott. So many miracles in that short time.
It seemed like everyone we talked to was open and receptive. In reality, there were still hecklers and people who waved us off, and people who pretended to be interested who later had given us fake addresses and phone numbers, but hey! We found a wonderful lady that day who, when we called that night to follow up on her reading, had already started reading the Book of Mormon and was just glowing on the other line.
We talked with a bunch of people that day, including a group of little kids in bright orange boxer briefs who ran around the other side of the house, and invited us to follow them. We arrived at the back yard, where a pool party barbecue was going on and Elder Turner and I were the only white people on the whole block, probably haha. Someone asked if we were there for the pool party and we laughed. The kids treated us like celebrities and asked for cards and pamphlets, but the adults didn't seem like they could care less haha.
Another lady was from El Salvador, and was stressed from work and her kids. We talked to her over her backyard fence, and testified of the Book of Mormon. She told us at one point, "okay, I'm more interested, now!" And when I testified that it was the word of God written by her ancestors specifically for her, the spirit was strong and I know she felt it. It was a highlight of the week.
There was one less-than-wonderful thing this week and that was when I was getting ready to shower on Wednesday morning and discovering a tick lodged in my butt. At first I thought it was too big to be a tick. But nope. I couldn't pull that sucker out, but good ole Elder Turner became Dr. Turner for me and managed to get most of him out. No swelling ensued so he did a good job and I think I will survive! But hey, there's a good story from the ALRM for ya. My zone leader pulling a tick out of my buttock on exchanges.
Okay, sorry, back to the good stuff.
We had a few other good lessons this week. It's so fun to teach. I've really come to enjoy it, and like to think I've gotten good at it. The gospel is pure and simple. A cool principle I've been thinking a lot about is the idea that "all truth is in agreement." Which makes sense, right? One truth cannot contradict another truth. One of them wouldn't be a truth. There is no contradiction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything lines up in ways that I would love to take 5 lessons to explain to y'all. :)
We helped a couple move some loose ends to their new home at the end of a long dirt road that goes through a few creeks. Cows crowded the road, and their little address-less cabin at the end was just a fun time. Yellow flowers painted the fields, the afternoon sun was cooling down, and it was gorgeous outside. Something about it was how I imagine Texas is like.
On Friday, we cooked a big pre-weekly planning breakfast, and Elder Anderson and I just had a good long conversation about everything. Our frustrations and hopes and goals and ideas and struggles. It wasn't what either of us hoped to have accomplished in the time that it took, but we came to realize that we probably couldn't have spent that time any better.
I got to have a stromboli from a pizza place we stopped at. I anticipated it being a personal size but it was like a huge thing and so I had it for lunch the next day, too. Was it as good as my mom's? No. (But it was super tasty.) Happy Mother's Day to the best at everything from stromboli-making to traveling and advice-giving and everything else good in this world!
Saturday was WONDERFUL because Eric was baptized in Searcy, and I was able to attend! Our 1.5hr drive to the halfway/pickup point turned into a 2.5hr drive due to a burning semi truck and a few other accidents, but we still arrived in time for some members from Searcy to pick me up and get me to the baptism in time! Eric and his family are some of the main reasons for my love and missing of Searcy, and I know his wife had been praying for a long time for that day. It was so special to be a part of it, even with the 2 hour drive back to Hope that night, getting back at 11pm.
But seriously, I was not sure if I would be able to attend that, and I'm so thankful that I was. 5 hours of drive time between the Lims, Wandlings, and Webbs, and being able to be a witness for the baptism, accompany the musical number, and answer questions from one of my other Searcy friends was wonderful. So proud of Eric!
On Sunday, there were 17 people in church at the start of the meeting (Including us missionaries and the branch presidency) but by the time pot luck rolled around, there were a few more people. :)
[If you read one part of my email this week, this is the part to read.]
That afternoon, we had a Bible to deliver to a lady who had, over text, been very excited for us to come over. We followed the map to the middle of nowhere and asked a guy mowing his lawn for directions. He pointed us to a path going between a thick line of trees, so we followed that around to a little commune of trailers, apparently all family-owned.
We found the right trailer and knocked. A woman in a wheelchair opened the door and beckoned for us to come in. We stepped over a litter of kittens into the kinda dark trailer. It didn't take us too long to figure out she was unable to speak. She communicated via little nods and by pointing. We briefly explained the Book of Mormon, and then she opened it up. Finding the pictures, she started from the beginning and I explained the Book of Mormon again, using the pictures at the front, and teaching as simply as I could.
"Will you read that first chapter before we come back on Tuesday?" I asked. She gave a tiny nod. Elder Lim invited her to ask one of us to say a closing prayer. After a kind of long period of silence, she pointed at me, and I felt so humbled by that, that she would ask me to pray. I offered the prayer, and afterward she reached for a note pad. (Which, had I noticed, I might've utilized sooner.) She wrote a brief explanation that she had some kind of palsy and couldn't speak. Elder Lim asked her how she felt about what we had shared with her that day. She reached for the notepad again, and simply wrote one word.
When Elder Lim read her response aloud to us, the spirit about hit me like a truck. In that moment, I was able to feel just a part of the love that our Heavenly Father has for this woman. And I was able to receive an additional witness of just how wonderful everything is. The work we are engaged in is wonderful. The message we share is wonderful. Our Heavenly Father and His plan for each of us is wonderful. This good sister of mine is wonderful. And you, dear reader, are wonderful.
I hope your week is as wonderful as you are. :)
(Life pro tip: read your scriptures, say your prayers. That'll help!)
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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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Elder Oliver Wrigley Dahl
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr
North Little Rock AR 72116