August 31, 2015
Well hello my good friends and family! It’s been a crazy week down here in Odessa for Elder Ericson! But it’s been a good week nonetheless!
The week started off by driving up to Lubbock with Elder Bench and Elder Wrathall on Tuesday. We had a pretty fun drive! We went hard singing along to some missionary tunes and had a good time. We got to the transfer site in Lubbock and I was just in heaven. Good golly. It was a massive reunion! I felt like a celebrity! I saw so many people there that I hadn't seen in a whole 6 weeks and then some people that I haven't seen in even longer than that! They were mainly people who were serving in Lubbock that I knew from my time there and then some others that happened to be going through the Lubbock transfer site. It was a good time. Anyway, I had to go searching for my new trainee and I found him inside the mission office. So we went and got all his stuff gathered and taken out to the car and eventually after a while of this and that we left on our way back to Odessa along with another Elder who was going down to Fort Stockton. We had a nice car ride back down to Odessa, it actually flew by! Holy cow! It’s about a 2 hour drive but it felt really short! I guess good conversation will do that.
Elder Despain has been doing well. Its always crazy those first couple days in the field. But he managed well. Luckily for him I am the type of trainee to look out for signs of exhaustion and whatnot. So our first full day I noticed that he was just about to die right before dinner so we took a long dinner to give him more time to rest and recuperate before we went back out to work. We've really hit the role plays hard this past week. Role play, role play, role play. We have what is called the "12 Week Training Program" but I have felt the need to focus more on role plays this first week because I didn't find the training for week 1 very applicable so we've just been practicing the restoration, plan of salvation, and street contacts like crazy. So this coming week we will get into the training program more. I feel like I am a much better trainer this time around. I am able to apply the training much better and help him learn and develop better skills much better than the first time. Unfortunately, its rough to come down to the TLM and start to experience what real missionary work is like. The MTC makes it seem like you will be teaching people all day and helping people learn and grow, when in reality you will come down here and not teach a lesson for weeks. We didn't really have any lessons this past week for us to practice. It is difficult for a new missionary to be thrown into a situation that is completely opposite of what they thought it was going to be. Instead of teaching people all day you go try by people who don't answer their door, go to appointments and have them punch on you, have people reject you on the street, etc. It can be tough for a new missionary to be thrown into that type of situation. So its important that we role play as much as we can to make up for the lack of teaching we have! I forgot what it was like to have a trainee too, it’s a rough transition from having two companions who can just do the work to having a companion that has no clue what’s going on that you basically have to teach how to do everything in missionary work! But he's learning fast and making big strides already!
Elder Despain is from northern Wyoming from a small town with only like 600 people. He went to a 1A school, so pretty typical Wyoming. Fun stuff. He played football, basketball, and ran track too in high school so we are able to talk about sports and stuff as we go out and work. Solid guy. I will probs tell you more about him later. But for how that's about it!
On top of starting to train a new missionary I had to whip together Aiyannah's baptism, which wasn't easy. I struck out a number of times and had a hard time filling in the program. But I did it! And it was a wonderful service! Aiyannah's father is a member and lives here in our ward, and her mother is no longer a member and she lives up in Andrews. But her whole family came and she even had some aunts and grandma who came also who I don't believe are members! We had some good talks and good words shared! I had the opportunity to baptize her, and we had to do it twice. Apparently her hand didn't get fully under, and the witnesses didn't catch it, so luckily Bishop Coombs came in and told us as Aiyannah was already out of the font. So we did it again and I DUNKED her good! There was no way I was letting any part of her not get under! But it was a good service and Aiyannah was super happy and excited!
And on top of getting a trainee, and having to throw a baptism together, I have to get all my district leader stuff organized (there was no prior organization) and start prepping for district meeting tomorrow. So that was fun! President Heap and the assistants are making their way through the entire mission having what they call "District Conferences". So both of the Odessa districts met together with them for a 2.5 hour meeting on Thursday. Pres Heap apparently has felt like we need to help people understand The Fall of Adam and Eve better and that it will help the people we work with feel a greater need to adhere to the gospel we bring them and look for the Savior more. Straight inspiration on Pres Heap's part. So he gave a sick instruction on The Fall and the Atonement. It was mind blowing. Apparently our numbers mission wide have been on a downward trend. Of course we don't care about numbers here in the TLM, but what we do care about is people and each number represents a person. So we had instructions on our vision as missionaries, strict obedience, accountability, and then an instruction about the results of applying all those things. It got me fired up to go out and kill it! Holy cow, I have been on one ever since Thursday! And I am excited to keep moving forward and just kill it and help my district kill it as well. I've already had some fantastic calls with them and we have some good goals and sites set for the coming weeks and transfer! I am excited to keep on working with them!
One nasty story, so on Saturday our apartment started to smell rank, and this isn't the first time its happened. The first time we just opened up the doors and cleaned the crap out of our apartment and it got better that day even without finding the source, and then it happened again on Saturday and we found out that it was from the nasty air filter on the intake for our air conditioning! That thing was NASTY! So, we made an emergency trip to Wal-Mart to get a new one since the apartment complex office was closed and we couldn't get one from them. Ugh, it smelt horrible. Like rotten eggs. Luckily with the new air filter that shouldn't happen again!
Well that will be all for me this week! I love y'all and hope y'all have a good week and KEEP THE FAITH!
Love,Elder Reed Ericson