Well, everyone... another week in the books. They just keep flying by in the blink of an eye! Hey, that rhymed.
So, interesting story. Well, it may or may not be interesting. We shall see. So, I believe it was Thursday morning when this happened. I was sitting there doing my personal study, and I just started letting my brain go off. I was probably completely zoned out for about 10+ minutes thinking about track since track season is coming up super soon. Which btw, I am just baffled that it was a year ago that my senior track season started! It is hard to believe! Anyway, I wasted a good bit of time just completely not even studying at all. But then I decided that I needed to stop wasting time and start studying again. So, I cut off my thoughts and started to read out of Preach My Gospel. I realized the second I switched my thoughts to missionary work and not track that I just felt so much more peaceful and happy. It made me realize that all the joy I got from track wasn't true joy. It was pretty close to true joy, but it wasn't. Sharing the message of Jesus Christ and his restored gospel and church brings true joy. It is a different kind of joy though. In track I could smile and be pumped because I was happy. With missionary work, you just have a really good feeling deep inside of you that is so peaceful and comforting. Part of it could have been because I don't look back on my high school track with complete satisfaction. If fact, sometimes when I think about it I just feel... not really bitter... but I get a little bit of that kind of feeling. But it has made me realize that there are many more important things in this world that can bring more happiness than things like that.
Anyway, Larry's baptism went good. It was definitely an interesting one, but it happened! We had everything planned and ready to go and it all looked good. But then, about 45 minutes before the service was supposed to begin, the branch president called and said that they were just getting out of the temple in Lubbock because of some miscommunication. He actually went with Bro. Weldy to do his endowments. So that's cool. Well, Lubbock is like two hours away. But he was presiding and conducting and his wife was supposed to give a talk on baptism. And also, the Patton's were supposed to give the prayers, but they were unable to make it as well. So there were five people there besides Larry and us missionaries. The branch president told us to go ahead and do it without him. So I conducted and possibly presided (not quite sure it I did or not). And then Sis. McCollum who you don't know did the little talk on baptism, and we just threw together some prayers. And we had to baptize Larry twice because his foot came up out of the water. But Larry was pumped! On Wednesday when we asked him who he wanted to baptize him, he thought about it for a few seconds and said, "Let’s let the new guy do it!". Oh man, you should have seen the look on Elder Cardon's face! Hahaha it was classic! So Elder Cardon baptized him and I had the honor of confirming him, which was a pretty dang powerful experience. Confirming someone and giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost is pretty nuts!
On Tuesday we did exchanges with the Zone Leaders. So I stayed in Sweetwater with Elder Schouten and we just straight rocked it! We were on fire!!!! The Lord was putting people in our path left and right and we were just going after it! He raised my game up a lot! It is crazy how good of a missionary you can be when both of you are just going for it hard core! It was just so much fun talking to every single person even if they were halfway in the door and didn't want to talk to us! We definitely saw some miracles from it! And when you literally talk to every single person regardless of the circumstance, the Lord just puts people in your path because he knows and trusts that you will talk to them. We biked all afternoon and just had a blast doing the work! It sure lit a fire under me to keep up that level of work. But it is hard to do it without two people. So that just makes it crucial that I push Elder Cardon to do it. And on Wednesday morning we got up and hit the pavement for a 20 minute run! It felt pretty good! I haven't ran for a while so it was nice! My push-ups are pretty beast though. And I can bike all day every day if I needed to. Even biking up hills is a cake-walk.
Sis. Green is doing better. She may have to get a pace-maker on the 19th. She came outside and read with us on Saturday, so that was a good sign. But she wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday. Bro Mermella is home now too after two weeks in the hospital. He still has to go in for dialysis three times a week though. But he is getting stronger even though his kidneys are shot.
As for teaching...
We gave Erica a blessing this week. We had the Thompson's go over with us and we had a good visit. She is dealing with a lot right now and isn't progressing very much. And we don't want to just dump a bunch of new stuff on her and overwhelm her with even more commandments to follow. They will bless her a lot, but the timing just isn't right. So we just gave her a blessing to help her with everything and give her some peace and comfort.
We have a few new people we began teaching this week. One is named Jordan. He was first talked to before I got here and I have talked to him a number of times but it was always a "bad time". But he sat with us on Tuesday and we had a pretty good lesson with him. So we'll see where that goes.
We started teaching this guy named Ruban. He is only 21 and really wants to grow his relationship with God. It was almost a miracle how we found him. It was definitely not a coincidence. We taught him the Resto and he is just super solid and potentially golden. But we have yet to meet with him a second time.
We also met with this lady who is friends with some members in our branch. She just moved here from Dallas and decided to come to church with her friend. So we went and answered some questions she had about our church and stuff. She has some solid potential. She is a single mother with two young kids. Always in need of the church in that situation.
One lady that lives with Dianne says that she is ready to join the church and be baptized. She in an interesting one. She has said some creepy things to us already and its almost like she just wanted to date us. We're not quite sure how it will all work out, so we'll see about that. She came to church and Larry's baptism, so she is sure dedicated to our church already.
We met with this less-active guy yesterday. He is 22 and hasn't been to church since he was 17. He came once a few months ago, right before I got here, but that’s about it. He is a really nice kid and he could really use the church to stabilize him right now. He has a real desire to come back and really liked us stopping by and giving him a BoM. So that is our reactivation project right now.
We also talked to this guy named Joe. Correction, he talked to us... for 55 minutes. Ugh, it was painful. 55 minutes and we probs said a total of about 10 words. And there were no pauses to say that we needed to leave. It was no bueno.
Now for the food update! Well, there's not much of an update. We went to Blackland with our entire district on Tuesday. Sis. Bishop told us to let her know when we were having district meeting so that she could take us all out there. So we did. But, apparently meat prices are going up so we think they are having to get cheaper brisket so the brisket wasn't as good. Still better than anything you can get in Idaho, but not quite as good as it has been. Other than that, we really didn't have anything crazy good this week. We did have brisket at the Thompson's yesterday, but they cook it differently. Still pretty dang good, but not quite the same. They always have some dang good food though!
Alrighty peeps. Time for me to go. Have a wonderful week! I love y'all!
Elder Reed Ericson
Larry & Elder Ericson (above)
Elder Cardon, Larry & Elder Ericson (below)