Another week down here in Sweetwater! It was a good week of learning and awesome experiences! But I would like to start of with a funny story from last week that I forgot to tell you about in my last email.
So we were biking down the road, and we were straight cruising for some reason. We usually ride pretty slow so we can talk to people, but we were riding pretty fast. So there I was, minding my own business on my bike, when all of a sudden, two cats shot out from behind a dumpster on the side of the road like they were being chased by a huge dog. One cat decided to be straight stupid and run straight at my bike. So, with my going rather fast, I could not react, and the cat got straight up drilled by my back tire! I did not see it, but Elder Stringham said that the cat got like a foot of air and did some sort of flip before falling back down to the road and gingerly running off! Hahaha it was awesome!
On Tuesday we basically had no luck all day until about 7pm. We were walking past these apartments that are rather creepy apartments and two guys were standing there and one called us over. He said that his friend that was standing right there with him was having a really hard time and that we should talk to him. This guy's name is Paul and his wife recently took off and took their 9 year old son as well. So we stood and talked to him for about 10 minutes just trying to give him hope and comfort. I did most of the talking, which that was the first time that has happened. Normally I don't say much. But it was awesome to be able to give someone that was in serious need some hope and peace. But the other man standing there said that a few days prior, he was driving down the road and saw us silhouetted in the sunset as he drove and he just thought about how cool it was that we go out every day and bring people closer to Christ. That def pumped me up about the work!
On Wednesday we went to Abilene for Zone Training. We were challenged the night before by our district leader to go into the training with a question in mind. So we decided to go in with the question: What do we need to do to improve our area? And oh boy, the training delivered! We decided that we needed to go back to the fundamentals. And we saw instant results just that evening! We had some really good conversations with some people out on the streets! At one point, we rode right past this couple that looked like they could be about 18ish. They looked a little rough, not the people that you would get excited to talk to. But we were about 20 meters past them when Elder Stringham turned around and started talking to them. Well, we ended up sitting down on the curb and taught them "the restoration". The male was super engaged answering and asking questions. They gave a soft commit to baptism and we gave them some Book of Mormon reading to do. The boy even asked it he could read more than what we gave them to read. Well, to make the rest of the story short, we haven't been able to get in contact with them since. They won't answer phone calls or reply to texts... but maybe one day they'll come around. On Wednesday night we went over and visited some members who are slightly less-active, and they gave us TONS of food!!!!! They were just cleaning stuff out and they just put all sorts of things in a big bag for us to take home! We had a nice pig out that night before bed! It was the best night ever.
On Thursday, we had an interesting time. Elder Stringham's bike was having some issues so we would leave to go out and work, and then have to return after just a couple minutes and go out on foot. Then we had to go across town so he just got on his bike and just ride it anyways, but after a couple minutes we ended up making the walk all the way across town instead. He spent forever that afternoon trying to fix his bike and we even took dinner at 3 so that he could just work on it. Long story short, it was a simple as can be fix. So that was hilarious to watch him discover that!
On Friday we went to visit Sis. Green again, like always. She was sick but wouldn't not read with us! She came out and even insisted on taking her turn reading despite a nasty cough! She just has the most amazing faith in the world! We gave her a blessing and she said that she could just feel it go down through her and she knew she would be fine. Quite honestly, her faith is so strong that she didn't even need a blessing! Holy cow, that stuff is stronger that you could imagine! We then got picked up and went out to Colorado City to do some service for some members out there. They are older and have a ranch/farm thing. Not very big, but they still need help. One thing I learned about this trip was that the people out here are prepared for the apocalypse. Hahaha we learned all about how this area is going to be the best place to be when everything bad happens! They have it all thought and planned out how its all going to go down and how the terrain is going to help them! Its crazy stuff. I'm telling you, these peeps are crazy.
On Saturday it POURED on us!!! We were out when it started to dump and during the most ferocious part we ended up talking with a girl as she was walking to her house and she actually has a lot of potential. So that was cool how even though the weather was nasty, the Lord still puts us in people's paths to help them! After we got done planning at about 10pm... we heard some nasty bangs on the wall between us and our neighbors. And then the yelling came, and more banging, and more yelling. Well, we called the cops. It was pretty crazy. I don't know if we are allowed to do that, but I am pretty sure we may have saved that ladies life, so it was totally worth it. They about destroyed the wall that separates our apartments! It was crazy stuff! Domestic violence is no joke people. I was so scared for that lady but I hope they got it all taken care of.
They had the primary program at church on Sunday! It was the best! We had 20 primary kids from our tiny branch! It's crazy how many kids we have! I felt the spirit so much when they were singing! It was the best primary program that I have ever witnessed! After the program we had a high council speaker, and he ended up being a sweet big black guy that could easily play the role of a reverend in a high profile movie! He was legit! His talk was legit too!
All in all, it was a good week and I am learning and growing! I love you all and I feel your prayers and love every day!
Elder Reed Ericson
I forgot to add something really important in my email. You can insert it for my blog.On Sunday night we went back and met with Paul (the guy we met on Tuesday night) to see how he was doing. He invited us in and we spent an hour with him just talking with him and giving him hope and comfort. There were a number of times when I could see a little tear coming from his eye. I felt the spirit so dang strong the entire time and you could see the spirit working within him giving him hope and peace. He has his court trial today to see if he gets his son, which is all he wants, and you could see that the spirit was giving him comfort that everything would work out. At the end, we asked if we could kneel with him in prayer. He agreed, and we asked if he could say a prayer. He told us that he had never said a prayer in his life, so I asked him if he would like if I said a prayer first, followed by him saying a prayer. He agreed, so I proceeded to say a short and simple prayer. We knelt there for a few silent seconds before he started praying. He was just pouring his heart out to God. It was so amazing and I felt the spirit so strongly. It was a pretty short and simple prayer, and after he said "Amen" we just knelt there with him as he kept his head bowed and you could just tell that the he was feeling a strong dose of the spirit working within him. He told us to come back on Tuesday to see him again and to meet his son (hopefully he will get his son). He is a great man, although he may look a little different, and I hope and pray he finds happiness and peace. We are going to try to start teaching him and his son this week as well and we think he will find great comfort in the church and this gospel!