Monday, October 2, 2017

Email treinta y cinco: 19 years and counting

 April 10, 2017
Howdy folks!
Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes, emails, packages, and letters!  You helped make my first birthday away from home a good one!  A special shoutout goes to my wonderful sister
SHANNON for sending me Dominos pizza!  Another shoutout goes to my wonderful mother for sending a box full of food (very needed) and BYU gear (can never have too much of that either).

So I'll start off by telling about what we did this morning. Brother Bobby Lorimer owns a textbook and apparel store for Arkansas State University, so we stopped and got some free stuff. I walked out with $95 worth of free clothes, mostly because I nabbed a sweet $70 sweatshirt. I love free stuff! Ward members here really love to spoil the missionaries. I can't complain.

Last Monday we had a pretty crazy experience. We were in Walmart towards the end of P-day because we still hadn't gotten shopping done, when an inactive, recent convert came named B came up and talked to us and told us about how she had fallen away from the church and all the struggles she has been going through. She has gone through some pretty heavy stuff in her life.  It was pretty heart breaking to listen to. She started crying in the middle of Walmart while talking to us and said: "Every time I hit rock bottom, you guys (missionaries) just show up. I felt something telling me that I really needed to come up and talk to y'all." We told her to go back to her apartment, wait for us to put our groceries away, and we would be right over to talk to her. We had a really long discussion with her and how we can help her come back to the church and turn her life around and finally find peace again. I thought that she felt the Spirit really strong, she promised she would come to church this Sunday and we set up an appointment to see her Saturday night. To be continued later on in this email.

Tuesday I directed my first District as a District Leader. I talked about the importance of Diligence,
one of the attributes of Christ. In my instruction, I served a paragraph from an email of my buddy Elder Alex Jimenez, who is serving his mission in Argentina right now.

"I had a really simple, but really nice experience this week. We were contacting outside, and I hadn't brought my jacket, cause we left in a hurry (fool), when it started to drizzle. No biggie, we kept contacting. Then, all the sudden, it started pouring! We had nowhere to go, just contacts, and it was pouring! We had been working for hours, and there was a member who lived close, so we decided we were going to go to his house and pass the rain. As we were walking, soaked to the bones, a quiet thought came to my mind that said "Jesucristo would stay out here if he was looking for you" I stopped in my tracks, and in the middle of the pouring rain, I said "Hey, I know this is crazy, but let's just keep contacting. The Savior would do it for us". So we did. We continued contacting in the rain. The people still shut their doors in our faces, but I ended up feeling really good, because I had a chance to show Heavenly Father that I love Him. So that was a really cool experience that I had this week."

The District really liked that story, I also shared portions from President Eyring's Priesthood session address from 2010 October Conference, "Act in All Diligence." I also shared parts of be the Fourth Missionary, and one of my personal favorite quotes: "The only promised result of hard work is joy!" I truly have gained a testimony of that statement. The most miserable times of my mission have been when I was putting in my worst effort, and the best moments of my mission are when I give everything!

The super funny thing about sharing Elder Jimenez's story is a couple days later THE EXACT SAME THING happened to us! We got caught out in the rain while finding, and it was COLD, but we stayed out and kept looking, because Christ would do it for us. Then we FINALLY found a Hispanic. We were about to see the fruits of our diligence! Then she rejected us, and we were back out in the cold rain in short sleeve white shirts. And I loved it! It was so weird. I felt so happy, even though we had made literally no progress, I knew that I had gone out, and put my love for Jesus Christ over my own will, and I couldn't stop smiling!

Right after District meeting I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I went with Elder Croft. Elder Croft is from Pocatello Idaho, and goes home in four weeks, but is doing very well at not be trunky. He is very enthusiastic and quite hyperactive. We had 3 hours of solid finding where we literally talked to everything that moved! People are fun. We got yelled at by the mail man because we tried to give him a card. It was a fun exchange. Teaching only Spanish has been tough, because we are always finding or contacting, because our teaching pool is smaller than our District.

Saturday, my birthday, was a good time. We all actually ended up sleeping through our alarms, and so we woke up at 7:30, late for a service project that started at 7. It was a nice birthday present to get to accidentally sleep in. We threw on jeans and zipped on over to Brother Brent Rougeau's house to help him clear his yard of leaves. Brother Rougeau probably has the thickest southern accent that I ever did hear. He is also the Ward Seminary teacher, so it's a pretty hilarious combination. He is super redneck (self-proclaimed), wears cowboy boots to church and has 5 different tractors in his back yard, and is one of the funniest people I have met on the mission. If he had a daughter my age I'd marry her just to have him as a Father in law! He knows a TON about the scriptures and we had a deep doctrine discussion after we finished the service about the importance of sealings in the temple.

After that, the rest of the day was pretty normal, we got out and did a lot of finding, talked to lots of people, got the same old excuses of being busy. Then at 6 we had dinner at Bishop R's house. At my request we had chicken alfredo, garlic bread, and Oreo ice cream cake. It was glorious. I love the Rich family, they weren't a bad replacement for birthday dinner at home.

Yesterday we had 3 solid lessons at it was fun, I'm out of time, but I love y'all!

The Church is true, the Book is blue, mom just so you know I'm wearing that BYU shirt that I got from you!

Email treinta cuatro: una nueva época

April 3, 2017 
Howdy folks!

Monday after getting back to Jonesboro and getting settled in, we went to an FHE with the R family. Last transfer, my very first day in Jonesboro, we had dinner with the R family. I had mentioned during the dinner that I went to BYU before the mission and Brother R went off about how much he hates BYU. I thought to myself: "really, I thought I left all the BYU hate behind in Utah." Afterwards, he said: "I hope you didn't take that personally." If I'm honest, I definitely took it
personally!  But I decided to get over myself and go into the FHE with an open mind. We had a good lesson, and he ended up giving us a referral.  The moral of the story is sometimes people say things that tempt you to instantly judge them, but always keep an open mind, and as that jewelry commercial says, an open heart, and love will always find it's way inside.

 We left the R family with an invitation to invite someone to watch General Conference, and then their 13 year old daughter dropped an invitation of her own on us to not say anything negative for a week. We didn't do so well on that, haha.  I'm going to keep trying though, and also (my parents will love this) I'm trying to eliminate all fake swear words such as dang it, shoot, freak, frick, fetch, and crap from my vocabulary. It's so hard dang it!

 Wednesday, we hit the pavement, and had a good long day of finding. It was pretty awesome, because we found an apartment building of almost all Hispanics.  We talked to a white guy named Scroggin (no joke), taught an awesome guy named Martrell and talked about the Book of Mormon and season three of The Flash. That night we went to Book of Mormon class and had a homeless guy walk in during the middle of the class and start eating McDonalds.

 One morning during personal study I felt inspired to read Like a Broken Vessel by Elder Holland, and I don't think I've cried that much during personal study before. Elder Holland talks about those who suffer from major depression, but I felt that talk was speaking directly to me. There have been times on the mission where I have literally felt hopeless. After reading that talk, I felt Heavenly Father's love so powerfully. This is my favorite paragraph:

  • "So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy,  discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon, or fully, or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead." 

If any of you feel hopeless or unloved, I invite you to read the rest of this talk. I bear witness that God loves us, even enough to let us hurt from time to time, because he knows what we can become if we turn to His perfect Son.

 On Friday we had weekly planning, and we weekly planned until FIVE PM!  It took almost all the day, but it was probably the best weekly planning session I've ever been in because we talked so in depth about our investigators and how we can help them, and also how we can improve our comp unity.  Elder Giles and I talked to each other for a while, neither of us have any problems with Elder Barron yet because he's new, haha.  Last transfer I chastised Elder Giles a lot over a lot of little things, and that caused a lot of tension.  I decided that I need to change and increase my love and humility so that I can be a better companion.

All three of us are very motivated to work our tails off this transfer. We all decided that we are going to to change the Spanish companionship to pure Spanish, not English and Spanish, so we dropped or referred all of our English speaking investigators. Ahora vamos a llegar a la calle y trabajar durísimo por el Señor.

 General Conference deserves it's own email. There's something about Saturday morning sessions that make me bawl my eyes out. What really touched me was how Elder Renlund compared sin to a disease afflicting a sheep. The Savior, our Good Shepherd does not hate us because we sin, but because He loves us so perfectly He wants to rid us of that sin so that we can be whole.

I hope you all feel just how perfectly God loves you, because when you feel His love, you will never be the same. The Church is true, the Book is blue, never forget that your Savior loves you!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Email: treinta y trés: Day one in Memphis

March 27, 2017
This was a pretty fantastic week! It was little bit slow because we didn't have a car, but we didn't have to bike as much because some members helped us out.

On Tuesday we had District Meeting.

On Thursday we had exchanges with the Spanish Zone Leaders. Elder Spencer went down to Little Rock, and Elder Sweeten came up to Jonesboro, but he didn't get here till 6 pm. So Elder Giles and I spent most of the day together. After studies for some reason I was feeling pretty down and not very motivated as we were preparing to leave the apartment, so I talked to Elder Giles about it. He told me "let's make today fun then." So we set out on our bikes and got to work. We talked to people outside, and had a bunch of fun. We gave a bunch of little kids Book of Mormons and talked to their mom. I laughed when this little kid asked to see our "Bible", so we gave him a Book of Mormon. He opens it, and says "Oh this is a good Bible!" 

People here usually just refer to the Book of Mormon as the Mormon Bible, so we almost always have to explain that we believe in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and that one happened in Israel and the other happened in America, and so that's how they are different. 

The mom told us to come back. Afterwards, we biked to a Hispanic neighborhood and talked to a guy named R, and we will visit him this Thursday. Then we biked across town a bit to visit our investigator C S. C S is pretty cool. He has overcome drug addictions and now is trying to quit smoking. Unfortunately C S wasn't there, so we talked to this lady who lives in the same house as him named S. She told us to come to her church on Wednesday, haha. We told her maybe (most likely not, I mean I feel as missionaries we have the right to use the busy excuse), and gave her a Book of Mormon. 

When Elder Sweeten arrived we went to dinner with the M family, who is probably my favorite family in the Ward. They are from Mexico, and their oldest son B is a senior in high school and also 18. We have become pretty good friends, he is such a good kid. I wish I would have been more like him in high school. I was kinda a punk back home, but I'm grateful I've changed at least a little bit. If anyone is prepared to serve a mission, B is. He always teaches really well when he comes to teach with us. Afterwards we went and visited our investigator F. F loves the missionaries but doesn't want to come to church because of personal issues. He has fear of being judged. Elder Sweeten tried to commit him to baptism, he said he wants to take the investigation process slowly, but we are working with him still.

So Saturday morning we had a service project. We helped put in doors and baseboards in a house with the Priest Quorum. It was fun work, but a lot of people came, so sometimes we just stood around because everyone was already doing all the work. 

Saturday night we got transfer news. Elder Spencer will heading to Memphis South, and I will be staying here in Jonesboro with Elder Giles! Elder Barron will be joining us from Memphis East!

I got a call last night that I will be the District Leader, I didn't exactly feel ready to be in a leadership position, but I'm humbled and grateful to serve in my calling. I hope I can be an example and serve with charity. It's pretty funny because Elder Barron and I communicated a bunch through Instagram and text up until he left a transfer before me, and now I'm serving with him! Pretty cool stuff.

I have learned a lot about the plan of salvation and and the importances of "opposition in all things" as it says in 2 Nephi 2:11. During personal study, I wrote out each Christ-like attribute with a "I cannot...if I never..." statement. For example, I wrote: "I cannot increase my faith if I never have doubt" "I cannot increase my love if it is never difficult to be loving" "I cannot be diligent if I never feel the urge to be slothful" "I cannot be wise if I never have the urge to do something stupid!". It really opened my eyes and changed my attitude about my trials on the mission. I want to have the courage to embrace the refiners fire with gratitude and submission, knowing that the Lord is helping me become who I am meant to be.

That's all I got for now. 

The Church is true, the Book is blue, excited to baptize with the Jonesboro crew!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Email: treinta y dos

March 20, 2017
Howdy folks!

I don't really remember anything up to Wednesday, so we will start there! Wednesday we drove down to North Little Rock for Spanish Zone Conference, for all the Spanish missionaries on the Arkansas side of the mission. It was really fun to see Elder Sotomarino and Elder Toomer again. The Zone Leaders talked about the importance of using the Book of Mormon in finding, and also how to improve language studies.

We headed back to Jonesboro afterwards because we had an important lesson with Lucia that night. When we got to her house no one answered, so we called her and she said she was still working. That was kinda frustrating, because we had Zone Conference the next morning, and we could have just stayed the night in North Little Rock. So we headed back to the house to do training for Elder Giles, and called it a night because we had zero others plans for that day.

Thursday morning we got up at 5:30 for the second straight day, and got a ride from Calvin Rawlins to North Little Rock. Calvin got home from his mission in Virginia about 7 weeks ago. He is a champ. He was an AP there, and you can tell. When he drove us, he wore a suit, brought his scriptures and Preach My Gospel, and sat through all of Zone Conference with us. He loved it! He's such a great guy and you can really tell that he was an incredible missionary. He misses the mission like crazy. Erinn, you have my full permission to date this guy. In fact, I'm going to try to make this happen.

Zone Conference was incredible. President Wakolo, something about that man just makes me emotional, I think I've cried every time he's spoken. I have a deep love for that man, and I have felt his love so powerfully. He has helped me get through so much.

During Zone Conference, two marriage counselors from LDS family services came and talked about comp unity. They were super funny, and I learned a ton of things that will help me with my companions, and definitely with my future marriage! So because of the mission I just might avoid being in the doghouse a couple times😂

After Zone Conference Elder York had an exchange with the AP's, and so Elder Taleni headed back to Jonesboro with us. Elder Taleni is the man. He is from Samoa, and has a full ride scholarship to play football at BYU. He actually has never played football before in his life, but he was a star rugby player, and BYU scouts saw some potential. Thursday night I got to see some of that potential. We had basketball night at the church, and usually about 20 black kids show up, and most of them are pretty good, as you can imagine. Elder Taleni told me beforehand that he wasn't very good and had never played before the mission. Elder Taleni is very modest. He was by far the best athlete in that gym. He can shoot, dribble, and dunk like Lebron. Every black kid went nuts as they watched all 240 pounds of muscle get up and throw it down. He balled everyone up. He told me afterwards a couple kids in Memphis taught him how to play basketball at the start of his mission. He also told me that in high school he jumped 6'6" for high jump. At 240 pounds. That's just not fair. I feel like BYU Football will be in good hands.

Yesterday between church meetings, eating, and studies, we weren't able to get out working until 5, and our car only had 3 miles left on it because we forgot to fill it up Saturday night, so we were on bikes. We rode clear to the other side of town for 45 minutes to visit a less active who wasn't home, so we biked to a nearby potential investigator named Rosi. She wasn't there, but her husband, Isaac, was, so we taught him a quick lesson outside because we caught him just as he pulled in. He was very nice and seemed happy to see us. They met with missionaries before a couple years ago, so we are very excited to see them again!

As we were heading back we saw a giant dead gopher in the road, so we decided to stop and take pictures, as we were doing this, three kids also riding bikes came up to us and started talking to us. We talked to them for a little bit and asked them if they knew any Hispanics that lived close by. The youngest one then told us to follow them and he would show us where all the Mexicans lived, so we went and they showed us a couple houses. The youngest kid, Jackson, asked me if I played basketball, and I said yes. He asked me if I was good, and I said: "I dunno let's play." This kid is around 10 years old and he starts talking some mad smack. So I played him one on one, no mercy. I guess you could say it was a lesson on humility😉 We played ball with the kids for a little bit, gave them pass along cards. We then went and tried a less active, and by that time we had to head back home.

This morning we went to a giant park called Craighead Park, or something like that. It has a lake, some sand volleyball, and a cool jogging path. I realized how much I miss swimming. Every time I'm around a lake I just want to jump in. I think when I get home I deserve a nice trip to Bear Lake. Well that about wraps it up!
The Church is true, the Book is blue, and so is Bear Lake too

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Email treinta y uno: el poder para cambiar

March 13, 2017
Hey y'all:)  We had ourselves a good week.

Momma Smalls emailed me with some questions and I will attempt to answer them now: How is Jonesboro different than Russellville? The landscape is super flat here, whereas Russellville is up more in the Ozark "mountains". Jonesboro is closer to the Mississippi River, so it's mostly flat delta plain. There are some hills in the super rich neighborhoods. There are definitely a lot fewer Hispanics, or else they are hiding somewhere haha. There's a lot more black people, and a lot more "ghetto", but from what I've heard it's nothing compared to Memphis. We have a few investigators or people that we sometimes go see that are Hispanic, but sometimes I seriously forget that I'm a Spanish Missionary because we are speaking English ALL THE TIME. We forget to speak to each other in Spanish just because we are so used to English. I can already feel my fluency going down a bit.

But I've started learning Portuguese! There's a family named the Mitchell's in the Ward. Brother Mitchell served in Brazil and married one of his recent converts after the mission, and Sister Mitchell's family is visiting from Brazil so we have starting teaching them. Portuguese is so weird! At least Spanish makes sense, all the vowels and sounds are similar and the alphabet is almost exactly the same, but Portuguese is just wack! It sounds like someone speaking Spanish and changing random syllables to different sounds. 

So far I can say, “thank you very much”, “our Heavenly Father”, and “I drink milk”! I mostly just speak Spanish to the family and they understand, and I can understand most of what they say in Portuguese...sometimes. Brother Mitchell translates what we don't pick up. 

District meeting got pushed back to Thursday, we broke down a little further the instruction from Zone Conference of not sounding repetitive during street contacting. We are focusing more on street contacts now. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but knocking doors hasn't really been effective and it's starting to get old, so as it gets warmer outside, we are talking to more and more people. Elder York told me that when you knock someone's door, they have home court advantage, when they show up to church or a members house, you have home court advantage, and when you talk to someone on the street it's neutral. 

Thursday we went to Arkansas State University to help a member who is a college professor move some shelves. We had just come from another service project, so we were dressed in normal clothes, and fit in pretty well. We even looked like we were carrying books because of our scriptures. We ran into a member and even one of our investigators walking by. Not gonna lie, it felt super weird being back on a college campus, dressed like a college student. Elder Spencer was like: "Hey this will be me in 3 months." Brother Rougeau is a chemistry professor, so before we moved the shelves, he used water, soap, and natural gas to light our arms on fire! It was pretty cool haha. 

Saturday was an amazing day. At five o'clock President told us to go back home because we got hit
by a blizzard! I hadn't seen snow fall in over a year! I nearly teared up. It was beautiful. We got to go and bundle up in a warm house and watch the snow fall, catch up on studies and drink hot chocolate. That night we went out and played in nearly 5 inches of snow. All 5 of us built a HUGE snowman that was probably 8 and a half feet tall, and but a huge garden bucket on his head for a hat. I wish I had picks but it was pretty dark outside :/ then we had a snowball fight that was seriously so fun. Some of our neighbors came outside to see five 18-20 year olds running around laughing their heads off while pelting each other with snowballs. Weird Mormons. I think I really needed that day as a break from the ordinary. I had kinda fallen into the daily routine, so it was so nice to just have fun and relax and be a kid again. 

Yesterday was an awesome day, Church got pushed back to 1pm because of the snow, so we actually had time to do studies. I really tried to focus on the Sacrament. When I took the bread and water, I felt the Spirit so powerfully for the first time. I have a little self-inventory on where I personally was with my relationship with Jesus Christ, and what I still lacked. Tears came to my eyes as I thought of His perfect example, and how I had fallen short. I promised I would be better, and become more like Him. 

I know that the power of the Atonement is real. I know that true repentance brings happiness, joy, and peace. I know Jesus Christ has truly paid the price for my sins and short comings, and if I let Him, he will ALWAYS make all the difference. I'm so grateful that He did that for me, and for all of God's children. The Church is true, the Book is Blue, our Savior paid it all for me and for you :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Email treinta: the will to work

March 6, 2017
Hey everyone! 
I had myself a pretty fantastic week. 

Tuesday was probably the highlight of the week. All day we had been working hard, finding, talking to people, trying to visit other people. Someone told us that in the forecast there was a tornado watch
some local wisdom
from 5-7 that night. I was so pumped to see one. We didn't get a tornado, but we did get a pretty bad lightning storm. When it started to get real ugly at about 7:30, we wondered if we should call it a night, so we prayed about it. I felt a strong spiritual prompting that we needed to go, and we had to go right then. There was someone out there who was ready and needed the message of the Restoration. I just had no idea who or where. Then Elder Giles felt strongly we should go to Race Street. We knocked doors for a little bit, but then rain got so bad we just left our iPads in the car. At around 8 o'clock, it stopped raining and started pouring straight water from the sky. I'm pretty sure we violated the white handbook because it felt more like swimming than walking through rain. But we kept going. 

We decided to knock on the door of a referral named R. He opened the door and almost laughed at how miserable and wet we must have looked, and immediately told us to come in. We taught him the Restoration, and I don't think I've taught the Restoration that clearly and simply before. Elder Spencer and I dominated the lesson though, poor Elder Giles was kinda lost with the Spanish. It felt like Elder Spencer and I were reading each other’s minds, we were that in sync. We built perfectly off of each other, and asked good questions to make sure he understood. He seemed to absorb everything really well, and it ended up being a great lesson. He commented: "I need to read your book so I can know if this is true!" He didn't commit to a date but he does want to learn more. At the end of the lesson I told him: "Muchísimas gracias por darnos un refugio de la tempestad. Siento muy fuertemente la presencia del Espíritu Santo." And he answered: "Si a mi igual." We walked outside and the weather was perfectly calm, no rain, no wind. 

We had lunch at this little BBQ shack owned by
a member in a 
tiny town called Harrisburg
I think God was just testing our willpower ;) That next morning at 2 am, the storm was back and even worse. I woke up to super loud thunder and crazy wind and rain. The lightning was like flash photography at a red carpet premiere. We heard a small tornado touched down in southern Arkansas or something like that. 

Thursday we had Zone Conference and we have a "March Madness finding challenge". Since there are four Zone Leaders now there are two sides to each Zone, so we are having a competition between each side to see who can find the most new investigators in March. We talked about work ethic, talking with everyone, and also the Sacrament. All three were things I needed to hear and direct revelation to questions I had. 

All my life I've never taken the Sacrament as seriously as I should. I've always robotically taken the bread and water and passed it along without a second thought. Now I really want to use each opportunity to take the Sacrament for all that its worth. I don't want to just take bread and water, I want to take His name upon me. I want to always remember Him, and keep His commandments, so that I can always have His Spirit to be with me. I want to make and keep a covenant each week to be a little bit more like Him. 

That's what I call a "hoopdee"!
On Friday Elder Giles and I went on exchanges with Elder York. Elder York is a great missionary. He loves talking to people, but especially black people. He has an obsession with black people. In his own words: "I just love chilling in the hood." I have to say, I'm catching the wave too. I love black people. Most of them are hilarious and super nice and easy to talk to, not mention willing to listen to our message. We really focused on literally talking to everyone we see. It was awesome, Elder Giles chased a car with a pass along card for about a half mile. We had a good time and a ton of laughs. 

more local wisdom:"I still miss my ex
but my aim is improving"
I'm building my courage to talk with everyone, and it's going great. I'm even slowly conquering my post-traumatic stress related to talking to people in grocery stores. 

The Church is true, the Book is blue, I'm going to talk to everyone, no matter who. 
Love y'all

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Email veintinueve: la semana de mis sueños

February 27, 2017 
This week was full of being tired. You'd think after 6 months I'd get used to this getting up at 6:30 thing, but it's gotten harder. When I hear the alarm, muscle memory automatically has me up on my feet the second that thing goes off, then about ten seconds later it feels like the bed suddenly turns into a giant Elder Smalley magnet. Just about every atom in my body begs to jump back in those covers. Then two words automatically go off in my mind: "exact obedience." So I run downstairs, chug some ice water, chew some gum, and start doing push-ups. Works pretty well.

This week was slow. Not slow time wise, but slow work wise. We lost our car, and Elder Giles doesn't have a bike, so we did things the old fashioned way. We would walk 45 minutes to an appointment just to have it fall through.

Tuesday we had District Meeting, and it was just our trio and the Sisters, because the other Jonesboro Elders are Zone Leaders, so they were up in Paragould Arkansas for the day. The mission organization has changed a lot, each Zone has 4 Zone Leaders instead of 2. In District Meeting we talked about finding new investigators. 

We taught a family from Mexico
with the cutest little puppy
Lately we have just been knocking on doors to find, which is good but not the most effective way to further the work. I heard a statistic that one out of every thousand doors knocked results in a baptism. So our focus going forward is to talk with everyone we see outside, and to work through the members. Talking with everyone as a concept has been difficult for me. Does everyone mean everyone? Wait...please don't tell me everyone includes this guy...yeah not feeling it today sorry... I really need to work on my courage.

The English Elders names are Elder York and Elder Stiles-Culver. They are good missionaries. Elder York is from Boulder Colorado and is way good at basketball. He's about 6'4" and Elder Stiles Culver is 6'4". So the four of us are all about 6'3"/6'4", and then there's Elder Spencer at 5'6". I find that pretty funny.

Now Brothers and Sisters, let me introduce you to Brother Freddie Green, the only black member of the Jonesboro Ward. Freddie Green is one of the greatest people I have ever met. In his words he's "just a black Mormon boy trying to do right" or "the black sheep of the Jonesboro Ward". Freddie has a stutter worse than his old clunker Buick that he calls "the hoopdee", but more importantly he has a heart of gold. He loves the missionaries. He got baptized back in the
A quote that kept me going through the week,
so I decided to make it a screen saver.
80s in Memphis. He's retired here in Jonesboro, with nothing to do but "hang with the missionaries." He saved our lives last week with rides, and he tells us all the time: "I'm only a call away, so holler at me if y'all need me." I love this man. I've started writing down Freddie Green quotes, and my favorite one so far is "No duh Sherlock Homie!"

 A cool experience this week, was when we taught a lady from Peru. She told us "I'm looking for a church that teaches the truth." What a blessing to find an elect that lives right on our street! This week was a good week to really start figuring out who I am and what I want to be. I studied President Uchtdorf's Pride and the Priesthood, and it really helped me identify a lot of pride in myself that has been there for years that I had never noticed. I really want to humble myself and learn how to change through the power of Atonement.

I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. I feel every day I learn something new and profound about His infinite love. I know He is my Savior and that He lives. The Church is true, the Book is blue, His love is infinite, even when weekly numbers are few!