Monday, April 27, 2015

LUBBOCK!!!


April 27, 2015

First off, I have a lot to say this week so I am going to have to go really short with a lot of my things and everything will be scattered and random. So bear with me.

Leaving Sweetwater was easier than I thought it was going to be! Once you know you are getting transferred you just get excited to get to your new area! I went around and said bye to some people on Monday evening but nothing to eventful. I got pics with some peeps like Sis Green and Dianne so you will be able to see them. They are both pretty famous. 

They are doing member transport for transfers now so the transfer bus is going bye bye! But the daughter of the guy that drove us half-way to Lubbock had his daughter with him and she is going to the Idaho Nampa mission here in a month or two! So me and Elder Chung Hee (from Mtn Home) were able to give her a lot of info about the area! So look out for Sis Hickmont in a few months! Maybe she'll serve in the good ol' K5!

 So my area, Frenship Mesa North, is on the West side of Lubbock. Like, the very west side of Lubbock. It is all spread out. There is a neighborhood here, neighborhood there, etc. Bike day is impossible for us to do so we drive around every day. Most of the area is middle class or upper class with some lower class mixed in. But most of it is middle and upper. I would prefer lower class but you have to play with the hand you're dealt! Our apartment is actually across the street from our area as well so we have to get across a 7 lane road to get over to it. Our apartment is flipping nice! We live in the Tuscany Place Luxury Apartments! The name says it all!

 We see the Frenship South missionaries like every day. We ride with them to morning sports and stuff. One of them is Elder Johnson who was in my district two transfers ago and I had an exchange with him in Sweetwater. So that’s cool. Also, my district leader is Elder Wallace who I went out the Tuesday when I got to the field. He has been in that same area the whole time! So that’s cool too.

 My companion is Elder Jones, he is from Logan. He is a good time! He is an interesting sort of funny but it’s always fun! We always have some crazy doctrinal discussions during comp study! He is really smart and finds these crazy questions that ruin his studies because he spends the whole time trying to find answers to crazy questions... and usually finds them. One question from the other day... "Does God have weaknesses?". Well he found the answer. And it is yes. We get deep.

 It seems like everyone in the ward here knows Kuna! Bishop Merrill grew up in Idaho and his wife has been to Kuna, some other guy is from Mtn Home, and this other guy's wife has two nephews that live in Kuna! It is quite bizarre. 

 It is a lot different being in a ward compared to a branch! Everything works differently. We actually have a ward mission leader and everything just works differently! I miss the branch life!

 We have been doing tons of service! This past week we got 10 hours which is the max hours we are allowed to get! I will tell you more about our projects that we have going on in the coming weeks! No time today.

 I had some crazy deja vu while we were teaching these less-actives this week. Even all the thought going through my head were just spot on. I really feel like I saw that moment in a dream before I left on my mission. I even had the thought about being in the Texas Lubbock Mission and being in Frenship Mesa run though my head and I felt like I had that moment before. It was some monster deja vu. So I def feel like I am supposed to be here in this area right now! 

 We drive Sis Heap's old car. It is a red 2014 Toyota Carolla! It is pretty sick! 

 Well my friends, sorry for this crazy email. I had a lot of things to say and not enough time! I hope y'all have a good week!

 Love,
Elder Reed Ericson

My new address:
6312 73rd St #814
Lubbock, TX 79424

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"DULL"


April 20, 2015

 
Well everyone, I was called "dull" this week by someone. That's surely a first one for me! Hahaha I laughed about that. It wasn't rude or anything, the guy who called me that was mostly joking, but everyone there got a kick out of it. I still can't believe I was called "dull"...... that is just about the farthest thing that anyone could truthfully call me!
 

Well, let’s get a few more random things out of the way...

 
I now have 3 "aggressive driving" violations from Elder Tiwi (the black box they installed in our vehicles). I shouldn't have gotten a single one of them. In fact, I was purposefully driving safe for two of them. One came when I was merging onto the freeway coming home from Abilene. There was a semi-truck coming up behind me so I had to give the car some good gas to safely make it in, and Elder Tiwi didn't like how fast I accelerated and gave me a violation. And then the other two came at the same spot. Going down this one road there is a cross road and there are lateral dips in the road on the sides of the cross street. I was going like 30 miles an hour (5 under the speed limit) driving through there and didn't even think about what I had just done because the dips didn't even do too much to us. Well, a second or two later Elder Tiwi chirped "aggressive driving" at me. And it happened twice in the same place. I hate that little thing.

 

The Taste of Sweetwater was awesome! There were over 500 people there and lots of good food samples! I have a picture of it that I will send home when I get around to sending my SD card home. I felt like I knew everyone there too.... which makes sense since I've been here for 6 months. And y'all know that transfer calls were this week but I will be waiting until the end of the email to talk about that. No cheating, people. Don't you dare skip the rest and go to the bottom.

 
We went to this house this week and knocked on the door and through the window I could see a dog that looked just like Gabe!!!!!! When they came to the door I asked about the dogs (there were two of them) and she said that the one that looked like Gabe was a Lhasa Apso. The other dog was indeed a Shih Tzu.... but the Lhasa Apso was trimmed just like Gabe would be when he got his hair cut! It was so cute! You could see how Gabe was a mix of them though. There were a few things I just wanted to take from the Shih Tzu and put on the Lhasa Apso to make it a perfect Gabe. But from that experience I def think that Gabe was much more Lhasa Apso than Shih Tzu. I MISS GABE!!!!

 
We had some pretty good storms this week. Lots of dumping rain. Not too much lightning and thunder though. They said one of them was supposed to have some good hail and 60 mph winds. We took the car to the car wash so that we could park it under some shelter so that we could save it from any hail damage. The car wash was packed! All the car stalls were filled with cars and all the covered vacuum area was filled as well! We only got a little bit of hail though and it was the small kind. And the wind never came either. But it dumped pretty good on us! We had another storm the next morning with some dumping rain and just a little hail but it wasn't bad at all. I am still waiting for a classic West Texas thunder storm!

 
Ok, now for transfer news. I am going to Lubbock to serve in the Frenship Mesa ward! I will be with Elder Jones and will be the senior comp. I am really excited to get up there tomorrow! It will be a huge change for me! Little Sweetwater to big Lubbock! Wanna hear something cool though? The Frenship Mesa ward is Coleman Merrill's home ward! His dad is the bishop there from what I've heard! So I am excited to hopefully see him up there! There are also a good number of missionaries that went up to Lubbock last transfer or going up there with me this transfer that I have served with down here in the Abilene Zone! So I am excited to see what my new area will be like!

 
Getting ready to leave hasn't been as hard as I thought. They had me go up and give my testimony in sacrament yesterday and I promised  myself I wouldn't cry. I was doing good, I almost did but I held it together and made some comments about how I wasn't going to despite being very sentimental and emotional. But then after about 30 seconds or so I looked and saw Dianne sobbing like crazy and I lost it for a second. Not hard crying like at my farewell, but a couple of tears. Everyone just gave me very kind goodbyes, but you realize that you are just another missionary coming and going. Obviously they care about you and stuff but it’s just not a big deal for them because missionaries just come and go so much. We are going to make a few last stops to see some people today before I leave as well. It’s weird though, once you know your being transferred you don't really care as much about leaving your area. You are just ready to get to your new area and start working there!

 
We had a few good visits with investigators this week. We visited with Leno again. I talked about him a couple weeks ago. We left him a couple of pamphlets to read last time and he actually read them and thought that the Plan of Salvation was pretty interesting. We had a pretty good conversation about a number of different things and were able to share some scriptures with him from the Book of Mormon and gave him one to read. He said he wants a couple weeks before we/the missionaries go over again. Hopefully the spirit works with him. He def felt it when we were there. We also visited Troy again. I haven't talked about him for a couple weeks as well. We haven't met with him for a couple weeks but he surprisingly let us in despite us waking him up from a nap. We started talking and didn't reallly have a plan going into it but it led very naturally into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was going well until I had to talk about baptism and having proper authority. That didn't go over too well. But when I was at a loss for words Elder Cardon jumped in and saved my butt and did a good job rescuing us! I tell ya, you don't ever want to be the one to talk about baptism by proper authority when someone has already been baptized. He also said that he has prayed about what we have taught him and about the Book of Mormon and he hasn't felt anything. So I asked him if it was worth his time to keep coming over and he said he would like us/the missionaries to still come by! So we watched the Because He Lives video with him and had a real nice last 5 or so minutes just talking about Jesus Christ! We also had a pretty good visit with Erica and Spiderman. Nothing crazy or new though.

 
For food this week we obviously had the Taste of Sweetwater which was beast, we had Blackland Smokehouse with Sis Bishop which was amazingly amazing (especially now that I have discovered their sweet bbq sauce in place of their original bbq sauce), and Shelby Thompson fed us last night some real good chicken wings, sausage, and steak. Great meal by a great man.

 
Speaking of Shelby, I failed to baptize him and had to sign the dreaded shirt. Whenever a missionary leaves without baptizing him we have to sign this white dress shirt that a missionary signed and gave him over a year ago. Shelby has been coming to church for over two years now and still isn't baptized. But he knows what he's doing and always says "when I get baptized" and not "if I get baptized". It'll happen eventually and it will be a day of infamy!

 
Well peeps, I hope y'all have a good week! Thank you for your love and prayers! I love y'all!

 
LOL,
Elder Reed Ericson 
 

Monday, April 13, 2015

SWAG


April 13, 2015

Well its Monday everyone, which means you get an email in your inbox from myself. Happy day, I guess.

This week was busy and good! It seems like the weeks just fly by in the blink of an eye! It’s quite crazy how fast they go! I look back on the week and it’s just all one big day to me. And we are officially on week 6 of the transfer! Holy cow! This transfer literally just started a few days ago it feels like! It’s almost surreal. I have no clue what to expect for transfers. I feel like I should be leaving, you know, after 4 transfers and nearly 6 months here. It would be nice to go somewhere and just have something fresh but I wouldn't mind if I got stuck here for another transfer. At this point I am just willing to do whatever I am called to do. And I realize that if I stay another transfer it will go even faster than this one did so it would go by in a flash anyway. So we'll see how transfer calls go on Saturday night!

So to start off, Tuesday was quite the day for myself. E Cardon was just lying in bed when I got out of the shower got ready for study time and I saw that he had the trash can next to his bed. So he wasn't feeling good. So I just did my personal study for an hour and then laid down on our amazingly comfy couch for 10 minutes thinking that E Cardon might get up for comp study. But my little 10 min nap turned into a 20 min nap. That 20 min nap turned into a 30 min nap. And that 30 min nap turned into a 2.5 hour nap. We don't leave the apartment until noon every day because of our 2 hour comp study and then an hour for lunch. But we had an appointment at noon so E Cardon got up for that. After we went about our couple things we had to do we went back to the apartment for E Cardon to lay down. We got back at about 1:30. E Cardon basically just passed out on his bed for 3 hours so I sat and read the Book of Mormon for 3 hours while he slept. It was intense! I started at about Alma 20 so I got into a lot of good war chapters! It was so addicting. After about 3 hours though I was needing a break, which was perfect because we then ate dinner and then went out for the rest of the night to work. And ever since then I have been a BoM fool. I have been making some good progress with the time I have to read it. It’s been good and I realized that making the effort to read it when I can has brought the spirit into my life more and just helped me throughout my days!

We had district meeting on Wednesday and I went to Abilene on exchanges that day as well. I went with Elder Nelson who is from Layton, so we are basically BFF. I was trying to think of people I knew from Layton still but all I could think of was the Tates. He knew Austin Tate though so that was cool. There are actually tons of people from Layton here. I guess you will run into lots of people from every city in Utah no matter what mission you go to! But the exchange was fun and we had a good time together. But they are the Spanish missionaries in Abilene so most of the people we go visit are spanish speakers. So I just sit there and act like I know what’s going on. They also cover and English area. So they cover the whole city for the Spanish Branch, and then they also cover the 2nd North area. But whenever I am there we have only visited with Spanish people. I guess I have only had two successful visits in my two trips there, but both of them were Spanish. We got up on Thursday morning and went running with the missionaries that live right by them over there. So we went down to ACU (Abilene Christian University) and ran around the campus. It took me 13.5 minutes. It was death. Combine that with my first round of isometric training later that day and these last few days have been quite the adventure for me and my legs. One of the missionaries we went with is actually from Mtn. Home. His name is Elder Chung Hee. He recognized me and said that he remembers seeing me at a track meet in Kuna our sophomore year! He said that I looked familiar and then I said I was from Kuna and it all made sense. He is a cool guy! I hope I get to serve around him some more!

This coming week will be busy. We have a couple afternoons of service planned, a possible temple trip, zone training, and hopefully try to find some time to teach people! Then you throw transfer calls on top of all that and I'm in for a hoot of a week!

They are really emphasizing service right now. We do a good amount of service, but most of it is member service and we don't even report that. At the end of the month they just ask us for our hours of non-member and community service. The most we've had since they've started doing that is 4 in month. We look for service and offer it to EVERYBODY, but nobody accepts. We have gone to the Chamber of Commerce and they didn't really have anything. We filled out these papers at Goodwill but the service opportunities they have is for people who have been sentenced to community service. But we are helping out at the Taste of Sweetwater today so we should get a few hours of community service later today!

Teaching this week was a'ight. We have met with this younger guy named Christopher a couple times. This week it was when I was in Abilene but apparently they visited with him for over an hour just answering lots of questions he had and stuff. It sounds like he is just really exploring religions from what I have been told and so we need to help him actually search for truth in the right way. He apparently said that right now he is leaning towards the Jehovah's Witness................................................. We also taught this nice 86 year old man. His name is Wesley. We visited with him for a while and then taught him about the Plan of Salvation. He says he believes it all. I don't think he understand exactly what it all means so hopefully a good Restoration will help him understand. He is a champ though for being 86! He gets around awesome and we always see him out raking leaves and working! We also had a good visit with Melissa. She is awesome and really wants to learn and figure things out about religion. She likes everything we teach her but we really need to help her to actually act out in faith and truthfully look for an answer instead of just learn about things. We also taught Erica and Spiderman again, a couple times I think. Wait, one was just a visit that never became a lesson. But we were outside yesterday when we visited so it was a mess. That housing complex has SOOOO many distractions. It is basically the ghetto of Sweetwater. Spiderman actually wants to change though, and also Erica, but it’s almost impossible to live a good life when you live where they live. There is just almost no good influences over there. So we're not sure how to go about that one.

Food this week was pretty good! We had some good fish tacos at the Patton's! Mahi-Mahi is hardly even fish though. I mean, it is a fish and all and the meat looks like fish, but it tastes amazing and not like regular fish. We also had some crazy good steaks last night at the Thompson's! Nothing like you get up in Idaho! And we have Taste of Sweetwater today and will be given meal tickets so we basically get an endless buffet of samples from all the amazing food places in town! I am PUMPED!

Anyway, I hope y'all have a good week and may God bless you as you go about doing good in the world!

Love,

Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, April 6, 2015

Pictures

 
 A few pictures.  (We get a lot of pics of West Texas road kill from Elder Reed.  I won't post any of those unless there is a massive public outcry.)


                                picture of District (Elder Reed is 4th from right) - using self timer


                                                         District pic - having fun...


                                    "Selfie" of Elder Reed with Elder Cuessy & Elder Johnson



                                                         

DAYS GO BY



April 6, 2015

Well hello my friends. This week was a fast and good week for us here in good ol' Sweetwater!

First off, I am pumped that Kevin is here in Texas with me and Park-dawg now! We are officially the ERICSON BIG 3!!! Unfortunately though Parker is going home soon so it will just be ERICSON BIG 2 which doesn't make much sense so we will have to be a Medium 2 or something. I just don't see only two of us being BIG. We need a third!

So this week was pretty killer. We'll start off with Zone Conference on Friday in San Angelo. So, the drive from Abilene to San Angelo is surprisingly pretty nice to look out the window at! We traveled early in the morning to get there by 9 so the morning weather just added to the affect! *Shocker warning* There is actually a lot of green between Abilene and San Angelo so it was very pleasant! Anyway, the main focus of the conference is the dreaded "Black Box" that was installed in our vehicles! This puppy tracks our driving! It keeps track of seat belts, speeding, and aggressive driving! But it is actually very fair. It has been three days and it is a very fair device! If you get a violation, you deserve it. And it warns you before it gives you one too. So when you aren't quite paying attention to your speed and you get about 7-8ish over the speed limit it will say "watch your speed" and all you gotta do is take your foot off the gas for a second and slow down and it won't record anything. But it will ding you for accelerating too fast and braking too fast and all that stuff. And there is no warning for those violations. It just says "aggressive driving" and you know you have committed a violation that goes on your driving record. And if you REALLY suck at driving you can lose driving privileges for a transfer or two or your whole mission even. But I don't have to worry. I haven't had any problems with it yet. No violations for me!

During the conference Pres. Heap spent some good time on why we aren't reporting numbers anymore. Usually you would report your daily numbers every night to your district leader who would then report everybody's numbers to the zone leaders. And then you report your weekly numbers the same way as well. Well, over the last month or so we have gone to ZERO number reporting. Pres. Heap says that it worries him sick that missionaries go out and work every day to get numbers, and he said that missionaries have expressed to him that they do that.  Anyway, there's a lot more to it but it was definitely inspired for him to do that because President Uchtdorf basically gave a repeat of President Heap's instruction during Priesthood Session of Saturday night! So if you want more stuff about that, just look up that talk. It is almost exactly what President Heap told us to the word.

General Conference was awesome! Sometimes it takes going on a mission to be engaged in General Conference for all five sessions! I loved it all. We just sat at the church all weekend and watched! For two sessions we were all by ourselves and had only one other person for two sessions and had two others for the priesthood session. We basically made ourselves at home... it was quite nice. One sucky thing though was the internet crapped on us about halfway through Elder Holland's talk. He was KILLING it and we missed the last half. It worked so good the entire session until then! I was not a happy camper. But we were able to get it back for most of Uchtdorf’s talk. So I will have to go back and watch Holland's later!

This week out at the Patton's we washed a horse! Hahaha it was so much fun! We got to spray it down and scrub it all up and had all sorts of fun doing it! They said that the missionaries will be doing a lot of horse washing this summer because they have to wash their horses about every week or two. Unfortunately I most likely won’t get to wash too many more horses, but it was fun while it lasted! But one interesting thing about that was how the water just got dried right up! It is so dry here that the water runoff from the horse didn't make it very far because it just dries right up! The humidity around here during this part of the year is about 10%-15% with high winds! It hasn't been too bad yet but I have felt it when biking. It just dries your mouth right out. It’s no bueno. But I survive. Just gotta stay hydrated! Which I have been doing a very solid job of ever since I got our here. It’s kind of annoying though, I have to go to the bathroom all the time because I drink so much water. But whatevs. We also biked a lot this week which has been nice. I am getting back into the biking shape I was when we were a bike area all that long time ago! And I am getting killer tan! You should see my watch tan line! It is a sight to see! And don't worry, I am wearing sun screen to prevent skin cancer!

Teaching this week was a little slow. We taught this one dude named Christopher. We taught him street side a couple weeks ago (and he lives right across from the high school and it was right when school got out so there were tons of cars driving by... super cool and I felt like a champ) so we went back and retaught him the Resto. It went well but we don't really have a good feel of where he's really at. So that’s a goal of ours. Also we taught this other guy named Spiderman. Haha he is Erica's friend who lives in the same housing complex as she does so he came in so that we could go inside since we need an adult male with us. He is a character but I could tell he felt something and he actually wants to get his life back on track. He actually has some good potential and I hope he actually is interested! That’s pretty much it for this week.

As far as food goes, we had chicken fried pork steak at the Patton's. Sis Patton just had to dig something up so that is what we had. It was quite amazing. This place just keeps surprising me. We also had a very interesting meal at Zone Conference provided by the San Angelo Relief Society sisters. It was modeled after what a meal would have been like for Jesus Christ back in Jerusalem since it was Easter and all this weekend. It was surprisingly very good and quite enjoyable!

That’s all for this week peeps! I hope y'all have a good one and heed to the words that were shared with us by the prophets this weekend!

Love,

Elder Reed Ericson