Monday, July 27, 2015

SWEAT


July 27, 2015

Well hello my good family and friends. (I need a new intro to my emails. Oh well. It works.) Elder Ericson had a good week this week!
 
First off, I'd like to address the title of my email. SWEAT. Bike area + Texas heat + pants and collared shirt = sweaty missionary. In fact, on Friday I went through 3 shirts. I kid you not. We went out and walked for two hours before lunch without getting into any homes and I came in for lunch with solid sweat drenched shirt around where my bag strap runs through as well as a drenched lower back and collar. So I started fresh with another shirt for the afternoon and you can only imagine what 4.5 hours of biking/walking in even more heat will do to a shirt. And so I moved on to shirt number three for the evening and that puppy wasn't very pleasant by 9pm. So that was disgusting. I don't mind being sweaty, it’s a very manly thing. However, if we get in to teach someone and you have huge sweat marks all over your shirt that wouldn't be very pleasant for them to see. Plus, when it dries when you go inside it leaves yellow marks on the edges of the sweat so then you have an even more nasty looking shirt. So that's been fun. At least I don't have to deal with the humidity that Kevin has to deal with in Houston. Its just dry as a rag doll on a hot summer day (quote courtesy of Maren). Also, another problemo with riding all day is my hair. My locks have become beautiful but my helmet ruins them. So I am getting a haircut today. Whatevs. We have a good time being a bike area! It really isn't bad. I have fun with it. The only problem is sweaty shirts/pants and my hair. 

 
I hit my 9 month mark last week! That was exciting. Elder Wrathall and I got to celebrate it with a couple of high fives. So that was fun. It feels like I left forever ago but the time has gone by so fast! It’s kinda weird how that works! It’s been a good 9 months though and I am looking forward to the next 15!

 
We had Zone Conference this week in Midland (which is just less than 30 mins away). It was pretty sick. President Heap started off by instructing us about "Teaching like the Savior". Mind blown. President Heap is legit. Like, way legit. We then were instructed on different sections of "Teaching Skills" in PMG. After the instructions we all had role plays with members that were invited to come be "investigators" for us. Plus, they had us teach the Plan of Salvation to them which was interesting because we have never taught that together as a trio. But we taught a pretty good lesson and I did some good things that I haven't really done before! It was a good conference because I was able to really evaluate my teaching and now am able to go and make some good additions to my teaching skills. I've already seen it be a benefit!

 We have been teaching a good amount. More than I'm used to at least. This past week we had 4 lessons (2 with a member present) and a couple less-active lessons. That’s a pretty big turn-up from my last couple transfers. We would have taught quite a bit more but we had a lot of appointments punch on us. Which is just part of the game. You just kinda get used to that as a missionary. "Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. And take what comes." Good missionary quote right there. You can't control other people's agency so you have to do all you can to help them and hope for the best and let them and God do the rest! I wish I could find a way to just take away people's agency, but that would go against everything that God stands for and would be so insanely corrupted its not even funny. But, it sounds like a good time when used righteously. I guess there is no way that could be righteous, taking away their agency and all... I'm just gonna stop rambling now. 

 
We have a couple of sweet investigators! We are teaching a couple named Dustin and Rose. They are sick. They have come to church a few times and are basically ready to be baptized, but there is a probation issue we are facing but we are working with that. They are solid though. Dustin's grandparents are actually members and he went to church growing up when he was a kid so he has a background with the church. We have another investigator named Michael. He is kind of a weird dude, but he is solid and is a really bright guy. He is 21 and is actually a referral from Temple Square from a couple months ago. He is set to be baptized on the 15th of August. He'll have no problems. He is basically ready already. But we have stake conference and some other stuff so we have to wait until the 15th. But he's been going to church and reading the BoM like a champ so he's all set! 

 Well I love y'all and hope y'all have a good week in nice and cool Idaho. "Oh how the turn tables....." -Michael Scott

Pray I don't die from sweat loss but also that I may lose a few pounds from it! 

 Love,
Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, July 20, 2015

Life in Odessa

July 20, 2015

Another week down here in the TLM! This week was a week of changes but an awesome week nonetheless!

To start off, Odessa is an interesting place. Not bad though. The whole trio life is awesome! Both of my companions are awesome! We have been working hard every day and we all just want to keep working on getting better day by day and are killing it! They gave me a special assignment down here but it def sounds like everything has just been a big misconception and so we are just tearing it up down here! Elder Bench is from around Blackfoot and went to Snake River High School and wrestled there. He knows Casey but never had the pleasure of wrestling him. He did however wrestle Michael Cook, and got destroyed he said. So we have had fun conversations about how much the Kuna wrestlers just tear it up. He's a pretty sick dude. I actually came out with Elder Wrathall and he is from Hermiston, Oregon. He is just a funny dude. Man we've been having a good time but doing some serious work nonetheless! We are in a bike area so we have the pleasure of biking around all day in the heat. It was right around triple digits all week, but luckily we had a nice breeze every day that wasn't too hot and was able to cool us off a little. I forgot what it was like to be in a bike area. I literally didn't get on my bike a single time in Lubbock because of the setting of my area so I really forgot what it was even like to go out on bikes for an afternoon! You just have to drink tons and tons of water and you are always wiping sweat off your face with a handkerchief. And then you get inside and you just take all your nasty sweaty clothes off and eat whatever you can find. So today at the store I bought a bunch of healthy snacks that I can just go to town on when we come inside and waiting for lunch/dinner. I hope I lose a few pounds soon. I would like to get down about 5-10 pounds. So we shall see. Also, our apartment is tiny! By far the smallest apartment I've had! And then you throw an extra missionary in there and it’s just a good time. Also, Permian High School and Ratliff Stadium are both in my area. That is the school and stadium on Friday Night Lights. The school looks pretty regular and not even that big, although they are making some serious additions to the school right now. Ratliff Stadium is actually out in the middle of nowhere and it doesn't look to monster. We've driven past it (in other people's cars obviously) a couple times and it doesn't look too big from the outside. The Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater seems to be more impressive. But we shall see about that once I get a better look at the stadium.

Our area is a much more productive area than any of the areas I have served in so far. This past week was the worst week numbers wise (it being transfer week and all) in a couple months and we had better numbers than I ever had in Lubbock. So that is fantastic. People here don't seem to just hate you like they did in Lubbock. I actually like just riding up and talking to peeps on the street now. Not gonna lie, that was a HUGE struggle the last two transfers. Everybody just hated us and didn't want to talk so it got to a point where I would just stop talking to people besides a nice friendly "How are y'all doin'?". Whenever I saw someone outside I just hoped they would go inside so I didn't have to justify not talking to them. I got REALLY GOOD at making up excuses for not talking to people. It just got to a point where it seemed pointless to talk to anyone, and I know the other missionaries in our ward that covered the west side of Lubbock felt the same way. I am totally used to getting rejected, it’s no big deal, I've gotten rejected so many times that is doesn't bother me. But when rejection percentage was like 95% it make it hard to have the courage to even talk to people. West Lubbock was a difficult place to work! It took me a couple days to get out of that mindset here in Odessa but now when I see people I jump on it and go into attack mode! And my comps are the same way! It’s been so nice to be able to just work again! We've been working on our finding/street contacting and trying new ideas that I brought with me and it has been working out pretty well. We just have a "Let's go kill it!" attitude every day! "Kill It!" is basically our motto. LOL. #KILLIT.

Oh yeah, crazy home connections have continued here in Odessa. hahaha they just keep coming! A member came and picked us up to take us to a lesson and when I said that I was from near Boise he asked where exactly and I just knew a connection was coming. He actually graduated from Centennial, but that’s not really a connection. He is an optometrist and he asked if I went to Dr. Grigg's office for the eye doctor. I said that I did and apparently he actually filled in for Dr. Grigg a couple times when he was gone! So connection number 5000000 here in West Texas!

I have had some beast food here in Odessa already! We have a Polynesian family that lives really close to us in our apartment complex and they have fed us twice. The first time they had these amazing ribs and also some chicken and cactus stuff. The ribs night have been some sort of Poly ribs, I don't know exactly what they were, but they were beast. The cactus was really spicy actually but really good! Then last night they fed us some good homemade lasagna with some corn beef which is eaten a lot of places but it was a very Samoan type of corn beef. That was dang good. I am looking forward to further food adventures here in Odessa!

We have some sweet people we are teaching. I haven't taught them too much so I don't have too much to say about anyone in particular. Maybe more next week on that. We also have a few less-actives that we are working a little with as well so we get some good variety! We should have a couple baptisms this transfer so that will be something new to me!

I hope y'all have a good week! I love y'all and feel your prayers and send some in return every day! Pray for some cooler weather! haha

Love,
Elder Reed Ericson


                                                "Happiness is contagious.  Be a carrier!"

  

                                                        Elder Johnson and Elder Reed


                                                      Food Bank (Elder Reed on the left)

 
Elder Reed and Elder Gevas

Monday, July 13, 2015

Just a few pics

Finally captured the true essence of the Texas Lubbock Mission. There aren't very many oil pump jacks that you can just walk right up to, but we found tons of them on this road way out in the middle of nowhere and had a photo-shoot!


Peace Out L-Town


July 13, 2015

Well hello everyone! It was an interesting week here in Lubbock. We had a lot of fun! Also, transfer calls were stressful. I have pretty much known what was going to happen every transfer until this one, so that was unnerving. Also to add to that, we got a call on Thursday saying that they would be taking a set of missionaries out of Frenship Mesa due to the decrease in missionaries so we knew that transfers would be a little more of a shake up than usual.

 
So to start off, I will be going to Odessa to serve in the Odessa 2nd ward. I received a special assignment to serve in a trio and to help two missionaries out. I am definitely a little nervous about this coming transfer, but I know what my purpose is and it will make me step up my game even more. Luckily, Elder Stringham (my trainer) will be one of my Zone Leaders so that will be refreshing. Also, Elder Cardon will be training this transfer! Hahaha yes! We have lingo for our "families". Your trainer is your dad and you are his son. So Elder Stringham is my father and I am his son. Elder Cardon is my son, and his new trainee will be my grandson and will be Elder Stringham's great-grandson! We will be rocking 4 generations already! And Elder Stringham still has like 9 months left on his mission so depending on if my grandson trains we could pull 5 and maybe even 6 generations before Stringham goes home! Our posterity is growing quickly! I feel so proud to be part of such a great line. 
 

I was able to go to the temple this week on Thursday. It was interesting though because I was in a session with President and Sister Heap and the Assistants..... so that was interesting. Another interesting thing, the name that I received was John Brown FULLER! I don't think we are related but that was pretty cool to get a Fuller! For those of you who may not be familiar with this whole Fuller thing.... my middle name is Fuller! So that's cool! The temple was nice though. It was a good opportunity to once again just feel peace and comfort and get away. I wish we could go more often, but I will take once a transfer over nothing at all. And it was definitely a plus to live about a mile from the temple! 
 

So Saturday was 7/11 which meant that 7/11 stores were giving out free slurpees!!!! So we hit up a 7/11 with the other elders in our ward during dinner, then we ate those in the car on our way to another 7/11, and then we ate those in the car on our way to another 7/11, and then we ate those and decided that it wasn't worth going to get another one because we had tried 3 of the 4 flavors and the only other flavor was Coca Cola and we didn't care too much about that. So in the end we had a counter covered in 7/11 slurpee cups and 4 sick stomachs! Yikes. It was very filling until about 30 minutes later when I was starving again. Worth it. 

 
We had a fun night on Friday night. After teaching a lesson to JD with one of the assistants, which I will talk about later, and hanging out at the mission home for a little bit, we realized that we had missed like 6 called from the other elders in the ward. Well, they were doing bike day and were way out in the middle of nowhere...... in a storm. Hahaha they were stranded walking down a dirt road out in a bunch of fields looking for where they locked up their bikes with lightning all around and some nice rain. So we had to make an emergency pick-up! We didn't leave the mission home until about 9:15 and didn't get home until after 9:45. Great fun. Great fun indeed. Haha they weren't too happy with how their night went. Suckers.

 
So this week we started teaching a nice young man named JD. He is 18 and has been coming to church for a few years now, but not very often in the last few months because of certain things. Anyway, after going to EFY for the second time this summer he is ready to move forward and wants to be baptized. His mother is very unsupportive and doesn't want him to do it so he has had to wait until he turned 18 to do it. Elder Backus, who is an assistant, served in Frenship Mesa and knows JD well and JD has gone to the YSA ward a couple times which the assistants help cover. So we went over with Elder Backus to some members home who don't live in our ward to teach JD on Friday night and had a really good lesson with him, and then we went over last night as well and ate dinner and had another lesson, this time with Elder King who is a new assistant because Elder Backus was busy with transfer stuff. JD is going to be baptized on August 1st if everything goes well, which I am sure it will. He has just the sickest fellowship ever and is just ready to get baptized. The only problem will be his mom but he is 18 now and doesn't need her permission and is ready to be baptized regardless. I am not too pleased to be leaving him. We have really hit it off well. I sat next to him at dinner last night and talked to him the whole time and connected pretty well. But the Lord needs me somewhere else so I will do what he needs me to do! 
 

We also weren't able to meet with the Luna's last night. They texted us and said they weren't gonna be home. And they didn't come to church this week because we weren't able to make it over later in the week to talk to them again about church. So no update there. I am going to miss them too very much! They are some of my favorite people I've met on my mission! They are some amazing people!
 

That will be all for me this week! I love y'all and pray for y'all everyday! I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and to learn and grow everyday. It seams like everyday is a learning experience and I am excited to continue learning in Odessa!

 
Love,
Elder Reed Ericson

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

God Bless America


July 6, 2015

Hello everyone! It was a pretty good week here in Lubbock! We had some good fun and the work was decent! And the weather is staying in the double digits, so that's been a blessing!

 I will begin by telling you all about my 4th of July! So, we started off the day by going out for just about an hour or so in the morning. But then we joined the other elders in our ward and visited a crazy recent convert lady in our ward. Hahaha she is just a good time! She is a bit older but she just says the funniest things ever! Plus, her name is Sis Hollywood so the last name just adds a nice effect to her. So that was a good time. After that we went and prepared ourselves for our party! The Heaps and the assistants planned a fun afternoon for us missionaries in Lubbock at the mission office out under the gazebo/in the field. We ate hot dogs and stuff and then we had some "olympics". They preassigned us into 4 teams and we played a variety of games. We started with the water balloon toss, which me and one of my teammates, Elder Pulsipher, failed miserably at. So that was upsetting. Then we played water balloon volleyball and our team made it to the championship game and had an 8-3 lead in a game to 11.................... and we lost. Ugh. Talk about a comeback. That was stupid. Still can't believe we lost. After that we played tug-of-war. Our team cleaned up our first opponent before losing in the championship. Booooo. Then we went to scripture charades. Pretty sure we tied for the win in that one. I was a little worried about our team because I didn't feel like we had the scripture powerhouses, but we fared pretty well! Then we ended with a sweet relay race, which my team won! So my team, the white team, probably won the overall team prize. They didn't award anything to us, even though they said they were gonna keep track of team points. Oh well. I know in my heart that we won and that's all that matters. A trophy would be nice, but I am good with knowing that we won in my heart. We then had about an hour where we just played some different games in the field and threw the football around a little bit. Good fun. So after all this which took place over about 4 hours, we still had 3 hours left before we had to go home at 9. So we all went to the church and had some different stuff going on. I took part in some intense basketball! We had three teams of two playing half-court and if you scored the other team would come on and play defense. I was playing with Elder Darby, who you don't know, and we were tearing it up. We were both ballin' hard. I was stroking it like crazy. I hit a couple sick 3's and had some gnarly moves to the hoop and some smooth post moves. And my defense was on lock-down. Both of the assistants are really good at basketball and I just locked them up. One of them is just a sick outside shooter and I could shut him down, but the other one is a nice driver and finisher and I had a little bit harder time with him. But still, I was doing work. I got the best workout I have gotten my entire mission by far playing ball! Holy cow, we were all dying! Then we ended up the night by playing "signs" which is a favorite here in Lubbock right now. All in all, it was an exhausting day! We all went home that night ready to just sleep. In fact, I could barely get out of bed Sunday morning because I was so sore and achy. Oh well, I feel fine now. But it was nice to have a day to just get away from missionary work and just have fun! I think those are really good to have every once in a while! I had a fantastic day!
 

Other than that we didn't have too much go on this week. I went on exchanges with Elder Moschetti (my District Leader) on Tuesday/Wednesday. It was funny though because this is only his 5th transfer so I've been out longer than him. Pres Heap has called a lot of younger leaders to get experience (hence me training at 3 months). It was fun though, he's a good young missionary and is a good worker! So we had a good exchange and were able to talk a lot about missionary work and all that we're learning because we are both still at a point where we are both growing a lot. 
 

We had a good time at the Food Bank this week! One of the workers even took us to lunch one day! He wanted to thank us for helping him so much and for being his family the last couple months! He is one of the craziest people ever but he has a good heart. I will send my SD card home today and there are some pictures of him on there. In fact, I was sitting in a crate stacking cans and he came in with the forklift and picked me up in the crate. It was whatevs, but then he decided to raise me up and stack me on top of two other crates! So I was sitting in a crate that was the top of a three crate tower! Hahaha I'm pretty sure he could get fired if he got caught doing that but I had a fun ride! I was def scared for my life for a second, but it was totes safe. 
 

We were able to teach the Luna family last night. We taught them The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about why baptism was so important and I drew out an example of the strait and narrow path leading to the Celestial Kingdom and how baptism by proper priesthood authority is the only way to enter through the gate. They have a good understanding now of why it’s important to figure out if the BoM is a divine book because it’s the evidence that the necessary priesthood is here on the earth today. We also invited them to church and all the kids were nodding their heads that they wanted to go! So hopefully we can help them get to church this week!

 
That's about all for this week! We're staring week 6 of the transfer in the face right now so we're gonna attack it and have a good week! 

 
I love y'all and thank you for all your prayers and support! Don't die in the heat of Idaho! I will be chillin' out max and relaxin' all cool down here in double digits. Holler.
 

Have a good week! May the Lord bless you in all your doings.
 
Love,
Elder Ericson

Friday, July 3, 2015

#lubbocklyfe


#lubbocklyfe

June 29, 2015

Well hello my good family and friends. It will be a pleasure to be with you today as I unfold my last week unto you. Actually, I don't have much to say this week. I guess I will try to make this puppy as good as possible and not bore you to death. 
 

So this week was actually pretty good as far as the work here in FMN! The Lord has been placing people in our path and just blessing us with new work! We taught three new people this week! We had one kinda ghetto dude just walk up to us in a trailer park and said that he had some girl missionaries talk to him a few months ago and wanted us to come back later that day to talk to him. Well, turns out they were Jehovah Witness's, but he didn't know the difference! We had a nice chat with him and based on his situation we decided to leave him some stuff to read instead of teaching him first. I felt like with his life it would be beneficial for him to read some stuff and figure it out for himself and then go back and talk to him more about it. We also have recently met his wife and they are both interested and just want to hear "the word" and thought that the Book of Mormon sounded pretty cool so they are now reading that together! They are pretty sweet so hopefully we can have a good week with them this week! There's not much about the others. We actually have a couple of appointments this week so I am excited for that! We haven't had appointments for a while! This is just such a tough area to work in so I am very pleased with even a couple appointments! We also met a sweet Muslim guy this week. He is a southern black dude but he has converted to Islam. We talked to him for about an hour and a half on his porch on Saturday and he said that he would possibly show up to church. He is pretty interested in different religions because he feels like we can all learn different things from each other. He didn't seem too interested in converting to anything new, but he was a nice guy and took a Book of Mormon and told us to stop by again to bring him other stuff to read. He's a pretty interesting guy! However, we didn't get a chance to teach Omar and his family last night. We even took a priest over there with us for the lesson, but they weren't home! 

 
So I hear the weather is scorching up in the great state of Idaho! Suckers. It has been getting warmer here but we are usually not even close to triple digits! Most days aren't too uncomfortable to be out and about! And we haven't had any storms in a while so that's nice! 
 

One of the things that President Heap is going on right now is rules. However, we actually don't even have rules in the TLM. Let me explain. We live by principles here. The white handbook isn't a book of rules. Every sections is a principle we live by and all the "rules" in the section are standards that apply to the principle. The way he goes about explaining everything is quite mind-blowing. He had us go through and he expounded some scripture unto us that just blew your mind. He used the word of wisdom as an example. He explained that the word of wisdom is a principle and not a rule. The principles of the commandment is to be healthy, be spirit sensitive, etc. There are some standards within the word of wisdom, however those things aren't what the word of wisdom is about. The word of wisdom isn't about not drinking alcohol, not smoking, etc.; it’s about living the principle. It’s all much greater than what I just explained, but he has basically taken away all rules and has said that we live the gospel and follow the principles in the white handbook! 

 
We had a fun dog experience this week! We were way out on some County Road knocking all the houses (there were only like 8 houses on a very long road, but we decided they needed the gospel too) and we got to the last house and I saw two signs posted on a pole. One read "Private Property: No Trespassing" and the other said "Beware of Dog". So naturally I decided to ignore the signs and walk up to the door while keeping an eye out for this dog that the sign apparently referred to. Well, I didn't see a dog anywhere, but as I was about 10 feet from the door I hear some movement to the left of the porch thing and I see a black dog arise and it had a look on its face commonly made when thinking about killing something. I nearly crapped myself. I literally thought I was going to die. I was sure of it. Bye-bye Elder Ericson. However I pulled some sweet dog intimidation moves (mainly just keeping eye contact and telling it to back up) and we backpedaled off the property while keeping our eyes locked on the dogs. There were two of them actually. However the second one was a wimp. We eventually made it to the dirt road and they still looked very protective. The wimpy one kept following us and decided that he was going to be our friend. And then the killer dog decided to join him as well. So about 30 seconds after almost getting killed, we had two of the most friendly dogs following us down the road. And they didn't leave either.... They probably followed us over a half mile until we came to a house with a big black dog that went chasing after them and our friends bolted like a flash of light back towards their house and we were finally free! So there's one fun event from my week!

 
Also, we had a member give us some insanely hot peppers a couple weeks ago. He gave us 4 ghost peppers and 4 carolina reapers. The ghost pepper used to be the hottest pepper in the world at 1.5 million skovel units until they made the genetically enhanced carolina reaper at 2.2 million skovel units. Well, last night I decided to take just a teeny tiny flake from the carolina reaper and eat it. Well, it was totally fine until it went down my throat and I nearly choked on heat and had to jump up and run to the fridge for some milk! Sheesh. I can't even imagine eating a whole pepper! I am keeping them in a plastic bag until I get home and then I will probably pay someone to eat one. And then I will record it and put it on YouTube. That would also make a good snapchat....

 
Well, once again I am sorry I am having less and less to talk about these days. I feel like my emails are getting lame. Oh well. 

 
I hope y'all have a good week! May God bless y'all in all that y'all do! He will provide! 

 LOL (lots of love),
Elder Reed Ericson