Monday, June 22, 2015

8 months...TODAY!!!


June 22, 2015

Well today I hit my 8 month mark in the TLM! Time def flies by when you're having fun!

This week was just an average week for us here in Frenship Mesa North. We met a couple of crazy people though. One of them turned out to be a decently cool experience. We were just out street contacting for a little while one evening and actually saw some people outside a little ways down one street so we went over that way. We started talking to them and before we really said anything this one creepy looking dude asked us who we were/what we did. So we told him and he told us to tell him what we share about Jesus Christ. People ask that sometimes and I have learned that you can't just go ahead and teach regular missionary stuff. So I cut my companion off a little bit (not too bad) and started asking him questions to get a better feel for what he was looking for. After a couple minutes he really got emotional and started to ask why God has put him through 9 years of hell and why God won't show himself to him or give him a sign he's there. Boom. Got it to somewhere that we could work with. So I started to answer his questions and even introduced him to the Book of Mormon and applied it to his situation. He thanked us and wanted us to pray with him and the two other people who were there as well. So we did a classic stand in a circle and hold hands prayer and he asked me to say it. So I prayed my little heart out and my new friend RJ thanked me and said that he definitely felt different and that it helped him recognize that God was there. So that was a sweet experience. He took the BoM and we encouraged him to keep praying and whatnot and he didn't have a way for us to contact him again so we left him and probably won't ever see him again. But we did our job and the rest is in the Lord's hands to take care of my friend RJ.

 
I made another connection to back home this week. Imagine that! We went to try to meet a less-active lady and ended up sitting on the porch of her mobile home with her and her neighbors for a little while. All interesting people to say the least. But her neighbor had lived in Nampa for a few years not too long ago and worked out in Caldwell. I don't think he lived too crazy far away from us! He couldn't really describe where he lived at (once again, he was a little interesting) but I think it may have been in the southern half of Nampa. I'm sure I'll run into another connection this week. I also made more connections with the Marshall family this week as well. They moved here from Nampa a couple months ago and they were in the same ward as a couple families that I know and I even know one of their former baby-sitters! 

 
We have been going hard on trying to contact less-actives. We actually were able to get in contact with probably about 5 this week which is pretty solid! Everyone was nice and stuff but nobody really seemed to want us to come back and work with them. So we'll use some persistence and see what we can do! Other than that we walked a lot this week and even wrote down a couple of potentials. One or two of them seemed a little off but we will see what we can do with them! 
 

I guess the highlight of the week was last night. We went and had a wonderful visit with the Omar and his family again! It was a solid two hour visit! I have found that the best way to go about it with them is to let the Lord take the conversation to what it needs to be. So after a couple minutes we were talking about temples, and after that the Lord guided us into a conversation about a story in the Book of Mormon, which then led into a more general teaching about the Book of Mormon as a whole, which then led to us teaching the Restoration with some solid power and spirit! It was sick. One of the best lessons I've taught on my mission hands down! Omar was just staring at us with big eyes just like last week. They were all just sitting there basically blown away. And with the discussion we had leading up to it and with our lesson last week it just all made sense and had a lot of "why" behind it. The spirit was there for probably over an hour and a half during the entire time we had gospel related discussion and you could see it working with Omar and whoever was in the room at the moment the entire time! They committed to pray about everything and hopefully it all goes well and we have another good visit next week!

 
Guess what? I have some food to tell you about this week! Last night we were fed some delish smoked ribs and chicken! They were dang good! I don't think I have had smoked chicken yet until last night so that was a wonderful thing for me to partake of! I need to get into this smoking business when I get home, however I probs won't be able to do it as good....

 
Well that will be all for me today. I am starting to have less and less things to talk about. I think there are a lot of things that I used to put in my emails that I just don't even think about anymore when I think about what I'm going to write. But I love y'all and hope y'all have a good week! God Bless America!
 

Love,

Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, June 15, 2015

YIKES!


June 15, 2015

Hello. It’s me. Elder Ericson.

This past week was a decent one! Some good stuff happened!

First off, we had some crazy storms the last two nights! We were in correlation with our ward mission leader when the one on Saturday night hit, and by the time we left it had already made our road travels interesting. At one point we probably drove about 1/8 of a mile in one continuous deep puddle! How the Corolla made it though, I have no idea. The other elders had come to a stop a little ways through but they were able to get out somehow! Haha good times! The drainage here just sucks and on top of that they give us little stinky cars in a bad area for the rain. They def need to reanalyze the placement of the Jeeps throughout the mission! And the church needs to send us more trucks as well as jeeps. Only the zone leaders and assistants drive trucks but there are many areas that need better vehicles than sedans! Oh well, it makes for some good stories. Also, the lightning has been pretty sweet as well. It isn't like tons of bolts rippling through the sky, but when lightning strikes it illuminates the sky like crazy. For a split second it’s like you are standing in day light! That may be a little bit of an exaggeration but you get the point... It’s pretty sicky wicky!

 
I came across another connection this week. So, I was talking to the ward YM president at the potato bagging activity at the food bank (it was a stake activity where we bagged like 50,000 lbs of potatoes) and he said that he has some family in Kuna! I didn't know them, but still, small world for the millionth time in Lubbock! He lived not too far away from us in Nampa and went to Nampa High School for a year when he was younger. He said that they go visit up there often and he's been to Kuna a bunch of times! I am just waiting for the day when I meet someone who hasn't been to Kuna or have connections with it!
 

We walked a lot this week. We don't have many people to visit in the afternoons so we try to get service for the afternoons and walk during the day. It is very unproductive but we have nothing else to do. There is hardly anyone outside in the afternoons and those who area outside are just zero interested. However, we did write down a potential yesterday! That hasn't happened in a while... We have been trying to get into members’ homes to invite them to create family mission plans but they ain't home during the afternoons because all the members work during the day. So we spent the majority of our open evenings trying to get into members’ homes, but that hasn't been too successful yet. We did visit one family, and it was probably one of the craziest nights of my life! Hahaha I was laughing so hard the whole time! The parents are hilarious/weirdly awesome and the two boys (ages like 13 and 11ish) are the funniest things ever. The 13 year old has high functioning autism so you can only imagine the things he says! We tried to talk about a family mission plan but that didn't work out too well. But they are going to have us over for dinner sometime soon so hopefully we can figure out a way to get that done... haha good times on the mission! But other than dinner appointments we haven't had any success visiting members. But hopefully we can get everybody rolling with some family mission plans and then eventually have some people to teach. However, the whole point of the fmp is not for the members to invite their friends to meet with the missionaries. The Stake President and Bishop have made it very clear that that should never be the first invitation. We invite families to make a list of people who they could work with, and then prayerfully select a few of those names and prayerfully come up with appropriate invitations (the main focus in the ward is to invite non-members into their homes) to extent to those people and then set a date they want to do it by. Eventually, after a number of specific invitations given to them by the Lord, you may have a friend who is ready to receive an invitation to learn more about the church from the missionaries. So hopefully in a couple months the missionaries will start receiving some nice referrals from members and have solid fellowship for those investigators. 
 

We had a rad visit with Omar and his family last night! We went in determined to teach them the Resto since missionaries had been going over there for months now and have never taught them. But with the new transfer and new companion we are actually trying to teach people, so we made plans to do it last night. We went and were having our usual visit and started talking about how church was and stuff. Somehow death and the afterlife came up so I asked Omar what his thoughts were about what happens after we die. He gave his answer and asked what I believed. Over the past few minutes I had been trying to figure out if the Plan of Salvation was what the spirit was telling me to go with. However, the spirit was already in the home so I knew that it would be good no matter what we shared. So when he asked me that question I asked if we could share our message about that with them and asked if it was ok to start off with where we came from before this life. So, we started from the beginning and taught a sick PoS lesson. I hadn't taught a PoS in at least a couple months or more but we killed it. They were like, in a trance the whole time. It was so awesome! Omar was like freaking out about how awesome it was! So I told them that it was going to make a lot more sense when they hear the other message that we usually share before the PoS called the Restoration and gave a little background on it. They are pretty pumped for next Sunday night! I am pumped!

Other than that we didn't teach anyone this week. We weren't able to contact anyone from the last couple weeks so it was a slow teaching week until last night!

 
That will be it for myself this week! I love this work so much! Being in such a tough mission and on top of that a tough area is making me grow in ways that I don't think many missionaries get to experience. I am truly grateful to be in the Texas Lubbock Mission! The enabling power that comes from the grace of the Savior is what makes it possible to grow and improve every day and I am so thankful for it and how it works in my life! 
 

I hope y'all have a good week this week! I feel y'alls prayers every day and care for all y'all back home all the time!
 
LOL,
Elder Reed Ericson 


                         Very excited about getting some ice cream from the ice cream truck!


Caption for pictures below:  "The beautiful sky of Texas!  It's unreal every night!  This is just a glimpse.  The creepy one is of a storm that was passing over...It scared me."




Monday, June 8, 2015

Fresh Beginnings



June 8, 2015

Hola mi amigos! It’s been a pretty good week here for myself down in Lubbock, Texas! 

 Well to start off, it stopped raining this week! I don't think it rained a single time all week! That's like, the first time that's happened since I had a few weeks left in Sweetwater! It has been getting warmer though. We've been upper 80's and a little in the 90's but it hasn't been bad, although I just saw that the forecast for Thursday is 99. So I am not looking forward to that, but maybe if I walk enough in the 99 degree weather I will lose a few pounds. We shall see about that. I'm crossing my fingers! 

 
Anyway, my new comp is Elder Parkin, like I said last week. He has been out for 6 months and is from Ogden (go figure). I am now at 3 Utah companions and 1 California companion. So I am doing good so far. Only 75%! He's a good kid and came ready to work, so we've been going to work and I've already seen a jolt in the area in just the first week!

 
So, when I went to the mission office for transfers on Tuesday, all the new missionaries were there and were all starting to get shipped off. I saw this new Elder who looked familiar. I looked at his name tag and it read "Elder Kempe". It took me no time at all to recognize him as a kid from either my kindergarten or first grade class. He moved right after whatever grade we were together, so its been a solid dozen plus years since I had seen him. Oh man, am I good or what?! I said, "Elder Kempe!" (and I knew how to pronounce Kempe because I specifically remember asking him how to say his last name all those years back). He looked over and I asked, "Are you Braden?" (somehow I remembered his first name). He responded with a "yeah" and I proceeded to tell him that we were in the same class in elementary school one year. He was pretty blown away that I made the connection... I was too! He had moved to Pocatello and grew up the rest of his years there. He asked me if I knew Brogan Moore and said that he went to his farewell in Poky. So I told him that we were in the same ward and that was just another crazy connection that I have made in the TLM! They are everywhere! 

 
We went to the temple on Saturday! It was wonderful! I hadn't been since I got out so it was wonderful to go and feel the spirit within its walls! It was a good reminder of the covenants that I have made and just a nice opportunity to get away from all the worries of the world. I was thankful to just sit in the Celestial Room and clear my mind and just have some peace and quiet with no distractions (besides the whispering couple who were quite annoying).We have a rule we can go once a transfer to the temple, but we didn't go last transfer so we went the first week of this transfer and are counting it as last transfers trip. I felt good about doing that and still keeping the option open of going again. Usually you try to get someone to the temple with you, obviously, but if you don't get anyone you can just go at the end of the transfer. So we are working with some people to help them get to the temple this transfer and will hopefully be able to go with them! You cannot drive to the temple in your mission car, however, but luckily we live like two blocks from it so we were able to get there!

 
We had interviews this week with Pres Heap. It went super well for myself. We talked about a lot of good stuff. He said right at the beginning, "This is your interview. What do you want to talk about?" So it was a very personal interview and we were able to talk about what really needs to be talked about and not just talk about stuff because that is what he is talking to everyone about that round of interviews. On the way out of his office he told me that he was very impressed with my 5K and told me that I am an "impressive physical specimen." hahaha! YES! 

 
We have done a lot more walking this week trying to find people. We haven't had too much success. This area is rich, and the percentage of people that are active church goers is absolutely insane. This is definitely one of the harder areas around. We did have one miracle though. We were knocking this county road yesterday (I haven't knocked in 6 whole weeks btw) and we were approaching this trailer and a lady saw us walking up and opened the door and came out and stood there waiting for us. I did a more typical approach when I started talking to her but then I decided to just bust out a Resto on the spot. She wasn't very talkative, but you could tell that this was definitely an inspired run-in. We gave her a BoM and she said she'd read and pray about it. We'll see how it goes. I am hopeful! She seems to be going through some interesting stuff right now, so that’s always good when it comes to missionary work!

 
We also taught a less-active/part-member family on Monday. I mentioned them a couple weeks ago. The husband (non-member) made mention of the 3 kingdoms one night and was pretty taken back when his wife told him that is what her church teaches. So we went for Elder Jones to say goodbye (we do service for them so we know them pretty good) and talked about the Plan of Salvation for a while. Pretty solid potential there. We just need to be careful because Mark is just now opening up to missionaries more so we can't become pushy at all and drive him away. 

 
Also, we go and visit the Luna family every Sunday night. The missionaries met them a few weeks before I got here. They are an awesome family and we always have really good visits with them. At this point we have an incredible relationship with them. When we go over we usually visit for a while and talk about what they talked about at church that day (they are Catholic) and what we talked about at church that day. We usually get into the scriptures a little bit as well. We use the Book of Mormon sometimes and they now have a few copies in their home. It’s another situation where we have to be careful not to push anything on them. We have to really follow the spirit and make the right moves at the right time. They will get baptized someday, that’s for sure, but it is going to be an intricate process! I love them so much though, they are wonderful people and just love the crap out of us!

 
Oh yeah, I caught my first turkey this week! It was actually pretty easy. The chickens were the hard ones to catch. They are fast and are smaller and harder to grab. But with the turkey you just walk up behind it and pin it to the ground and pick it up. It tries to get away and flap its wings but you just have to hold on really tight! It got away from me once because it went berserk in my arms but I got a good strong hold on him the second time and he wasn't getting away! I felt pretty accomplished!
 

Anyway, that's all for this week! I hope y'all have a good week and I keep praying for many of y'all specifically every day! Keep it real.

 Love,
Elder Ericson

Monday, June 1, 2015

Wonderful Weather of Texas

June 1, 2015

Well hello my good friends. Its a pleasure to be with you again this week! I hope you don't get too bored with my increasingly uneventful emails.

Well as some of you are aware of we received transfer calls on Saturday night. I will be staying here in Frenship Mesa North and will be getting a new companion named Elder Parkon or something like that. I don't think he's been out too long because nobody seemed to know who he was. He is coming from Roswell and that's all I know! I believe he is at least a couple transfers out of training though because they didn't say I was "follow-up" training or anything. So we'll see. I guess I will find out more tomorrow when he gets here! I am excited to stay another transfer here though because the ward is super duper awesome and I am excited to be the roll-over companion and just do whatever I want for the area to get it going. It was hard this past transfer to get stuff going but I now have a fresh start to basically start from scratch (while still keeping the things we do have going) and get to work!

So everybody is having a cow these days about the weather in this part of the country! It has been quite eventful. We've just had cool, stormy weather for the past month or so! We seem to have a storm every day! And we never just get rain. If it rains, there is also lightning and thunder! On Thursday we had quite a fun time actually. There were I think four storms that rolled through. The first one hit as we were leaving the food bank and our drive home was crazy! Luckily I was in the back seat since we were carpooling and the other guys were driving! You could hardly see out the windshield with the wipers going full blast and the roads were just flooded! Most of the drive was on a road with 7 lanes (3 both ways with a turning lane) and we had to be in the far left lane of our side because the outside 2 lanes were just a river! The drainage system around these parts is the roads! We had to drive through an intersection that was probably literally filled with over a foot of water! It was quite an eventful drive home! It was so dark outside that all the street lights were on! We were told that this past month of May was the wettest month in the recorded history of Texas weather! We haven't had any tornadoes in this area though. I think there may have been one out in the country a ways away but I'm not sure. We are under tornado watch like 24/7 but that doesn't mean anything. Its only a problem when it becomes a tornado warning and I don't think we've had one of those yet. We did have a flash flood warning though on Thursday on our way home from the food bank. We received the weird text thingy from the national weather service or something like that. But we survived. Half of our roads weren't drivable for a couple days but we managed.

Elder Corbridge of the Seventy was here this weekend and came to our sacrament meeting. He also had a fireside/devotional thingy on Saturday night.  Here's something cool, our stake president, who is also in our ward along with every other stake person, is like the great-grandson of President Spencer W. Kimball I believe. He may not be, but he is of THE Kimball family. His great-something-grandpa is Heber C. Kimball and his father was a law school professor somewhere (possibly BYU - maybe you know him, Dad) and was a federal judge. So he's pretty legit and is an awesome guy!

We did a little teaching this week. We continue to blow Gerald Fitzgerald's mind. Its quite fun. He thinks we are just amazing with our scriptural knowledge and we know all these things when in reality we share with him pretty basic scriptures. We blew his mind with prophets and apostles and shared some stuff from Ephesians with him. Haha its pretty sweet. He's basically converted but he just has way too many things in the way. We also went over while I was on exchanges this week and visited a former investigator who I had only read with in the past. I decided we were just going to teach her and her granddaughter who lives with her the Resto and it worked out quite nicely! It was a great lesson and they have decent potential! We have a few people we have some good potential with so I am excited for the next couple weeks to see these things unfold!

That's all I have for ya this week! I love y'all and hope God blesses you with many wonderful things this week! 

Love,
Elder Reed Ericson