December 28, 2015
Hello my good friends and family! Well, I successfully made it through the week without dying. Which is a real concern for the people of West Texas right now! As you know, we had transfer calls on Saturday and I will be staying in San Angelo but will be receiving a new companion named Elder Andrus! However, West Texas is basically shut down right now. Apparently Amarillo got something like 4 feet of snow and Lubbock got something like 3 feet of snow. Don't know how legit that is, but I guess you could Google it. They say that New Mexico is in a "State of Emergency" and Lubbock is in a "State of Disaster". Or vise a versa. Whatever way around it is. However, I am down here in San Angelo where we got some gnarly weather yesterday that has left us with a little bit of slush and wet roads, which has shut the city down basically. hahaha Texans crack me up. We have sacrament meeting last for our ward and they sent us home after the sacrament was passed yesterday! Gotta love it! So while the rest of the mission is shut down this week we will continue on with our missionary work in our "old" companionships down here in San Angelo. Maybe one of these days we will get everyone shipped to where they belong. Its kind of a bummer though. Everyone else is getting sweet mission stories right now of being shut in by a blizzard in West Texas and the only story I get is doing missionary work with wet ground. Oh well, at least we get to work this week unlike everyone else! We at least have something to do! We shall see how the weather plays out for us in the coming days!
We had a sweet Christmas week! On Tuesday we took the trek over to Midland for the second annual Jingle Jam!!!!! It was a grand time! Holy cow! So much fun!!!!! The Jingle Jam is in three sections: Talent show, lunch, and then chapel talent/movie. The second I walked into the gym I was swarmed by people asking me to do something for the talent show. Elder Stringham came up to me and asked me to do a dance or something because not too many people were on the program and apparently the north half of the mission had a pretty boring talent show. So, I didn't have anything to do and couldn't come up with anything so I sat there content with not doing anything and was planning on just enjoying the show. Well, about halfway through the talent show they threw together a beat-boxing competition to get the energy level up since it was kind of dying out. Elder Stringham took over as the emcee because the normal emcee was in the competition. We got down to the final two beat-boxers and they told Elder Stringham that he needed to dance to the beats. So I yelled "DO IT ELDER STRINGHAM!!!!! DO IT!!!" and he responded by summoning me into a dance battle against him! Hahaha so after gathering a crew for myself and Elder Stringham gathering his crew we went at it! It was your typical father/son dance battle in front of 100 missionaries! In the end, after busting a few moves, Elder Stringham basically won because my name tag had flown off and he did a ceremonial "drop the tag" in front of me to end the battle. So, I think I lost...... but its hard to say. They never declared a winner. So we'll say it was a tie! Lunch time was beast! The Odessa 2nd Ward Relief Society always comes up big! I sat with all my Odessa peeps and some others and it was a good time. I miss my Odessa boys! They were a lot of fun to serve with and it was good to be reunited with them! Once we went to the chapel the performances started. Little did we know, the San Angelo zone had been signed up to sing "Angels We Have Heard On High". So we all found out that we were doing so when they announced it.... so it was a fail. We didn't practice at all, but taking that into consideration we didn't do too bad, I guess! And then after all the music we watched "Its A Wonderful Life". It was interesting at first and we were all severely confused, but we got it all straight and it ended up being a wonderful movie to feel the Christmas spirit! After the movie, President Heap blew my mind with some Christmas facts/information and then we had a good long mingle session before we all departed to our different areas! It was such a good time though! I'm going to miss the Jingle Jam next year!
Then the day after the Jingle Jam was pretty sweet too, kind of. After a regular day of work I embarked on an intense journey of 4 consecutive baptismal interviews! They were for Sarah (1st South's investigator) and her three kids. Sarah's interview was LEGIT! She is so fantastic! So prepared by the Lord and the gospel has had such a profound influence on her life! It was such a blessing to be the one to conduct her interview and hear her testimony and share with her a few words as well! Holy cow! What a blessing! Then her three kids were definitely interesting. The first one was her 10 year old daughter. That was regular. Besides the fact that I had to basically teach her all of the commandments. Then I interviewed the 11 year old son. That was actually an awesome interview. I got to see how big of an impact this has had on an 11 year old boy who is crazy and wild. But during the interview I had a couple pretty tender moments with the kid. He has been impacted so largely and positively by being taught by us missionaries! However, I had to teach him all the commandments just like his sister. And then after him I interviewed the 9 year old daughter who has ADHD. So, after 3 interviews I was getting pretty wiped out and then I had to interview another young girl with ADHD..... holy smokes. That was a patience tester. Plus, I had to, once again, teach her all the commandments basically. So, after well over an hour of interviews I was exhausted!!! But it was worth it! It was such a pleasure to be a part of their road to baptism and I am thankful to have been able to sit down with all of them and converse with them about it all! They were baptized a few days later on the 26th of December and it was a wonderful service! They had so many people there for the service and many many more wanted to come but were out of town for the holidays! Elder Cooper and Mangum did a dang good job with getting them involved with the ward and so many people are friends with them already! And then yesterday they were all confirmed in Sacrament Meeting (before they sent us home) and that was an amazing thing to be a part of as well as Sarah asked me and my companion to stand in for that! Once again, just like 4 interviews in a row, 4 confirmations was quite the feat as well. Brother Malit from the ward confirmed all 4 of them and I can't imagine what a blessing that was for him! Overall, it was an amazing experience to be a part of everything for Sara, Jonathan, Kathleen, and Julia!
Christmas was pretty good too! On Christmas Eve we were with Elder Mangum and Cooper playing Risk at about 9:00 when we decided we were just going to have a Christmas sleepover! So we went to our place and picked up all the stuff we needed and our Christmas packages and went and finished our game of Risk and went to bed. Then on Christmas morning we all woke up and placed the tiny little Christmas tree in the middle of the room and placed our presents under it and went to town opening them! It was so fun! We all felt like little children again! I am glad we did it with Cooper and Mangum too! That made it all that much better. They are the best! For Christmas breakfast we went to the Lunkley's for some crepes and then skyped at their place as well! Always a good time seeing the fam! However, after we skyped we were stuck at their place for another few hours because the other missionaries were here and there so we just sat and waited for them and then finally had Bro Lunkley take us home after 6 hours at their place. We are only supposed to be in a home for 3 hours, but they wanted us there more than they wanted us out so it worked out! Kind of frustrating though because we just had some miscommunication with the other elders. Then we went to dinner with the Crespo family. That was nice. Interesting, but nice. We left there by about 6:30 and then went and I laid on my bed and turned on some tunes and jammed out for like an hour and looked at some pictures and basically almost fell asleep. It was quite nice!
Other than Christmas festivities we actually were able to get some decent work in! We have been meeting with this old guy named Sam for a couple weeks and he is just your typical old lonely man who can't really grasp things real well. However he's coming along slowly. We've also been working with a couple others but nobody is coming along super well at the moment. Mac didn't get baptized this week obviously. He still has a ways to go. But his wife said that he is willing to set another date to work towards so he is just keeping the faith! The work this week should be interesting with it supposed to be transfer week but transfers not happening. So we shall see how it all plays out and see what work we can get done! But me and Elder Schroeder will be able to tear it up together for another few days! Also, funny note, Elder Schroeder is getting transferred all the way over the San Angelo 2nd South! Haha he is still going to be in my district so I will be able to bring him over for exchanges and tear it up with him in 1st North again!
Anyway, I hope y'all had an enjoyable Christmas week! I sure did! May the Lord continue to bless y'all in your many endeavors! God bless y'all!
With much love,
Elder Reed Ericson