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