Monday, August 17, 2015

Deep in the Heart of Texas

August 17, 2015

Ha. Totally stole that subject from Kevin. Gotta love the heart of Texas. I think it is super funny how different the landscapes of our missions are. His is full of trees and humidity. And I am serving in a baron wasteland with short mesquite trees (they are actually considered weeds). It was funny, yesterday we were on the 7th floor of the hospital and we looked out the big glass windows and you could just see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles. We will probably be back there soon to make another visit so I will make sure I have my camera to capture the pure beauty. Gotta love West Texas!

Anyway, this week went pretty dang well! First off, we had Michael's baptism on Saturday. It was a small service with not too many people, but it was an amazing baptismal service. The two talks given on baptism and the Holy Ghost were just perfect and the other missionaries said that they are the best talks they've ever heard at a baptism! They were powerful messages and they really enhanced the actual baptism. Michael showed up a little quiet and not too excited (which I have found is usually the case because Satan is working in overdrive) but he was beaming after his baptism! And luckily for me, I am pretty dang positive he hadn't been baptized into the church yet.... unlike last time. Gotta love Larry. People always die laughing at that story. I am always going to be known as the missionary who baptized someone who has already been baptized. At least I'll be known for something and not nothing. But funny story about Michael's baptism. There was actually a wedding reception all set up in the gym which is where the baptismal font is! So we had to move a bunch of tables and crap out of the way to make room for some chairs in from of the baptismal font! So we had some nice decorations for the baptism. Luckily, they had a big "A&M" on the wall for the couple so we just pretended that the "M" stood for Michael. Haha. And then I had to chance to confirm Michael in sacrament meeting in front of like a gajillion people. Holy cow. That chapel was packed with people. The groom from the wedding is a Vore, and the Vore family makes up like half of Odessa. The stake president is a Vore and his father is the temple president. So there are just tons of Vore's and people related to them here. So, one of the Vore relatives is in our bishopric and he blessed his baby in sacrament meeting so the entire Vore clan that was here for the wedding was there. So I confirmed Michael in front of a packed chapel. Killed it. I love confirming people! It is always a powerful experience!

Later on Saturday we received a call from a guy in our ward and he told us that there was a tornado that hit a neighborhood in our ward the previous night and there was quite a bit of damage. So we went up there with him and his family and we went door to door offering service and future service and offered different equipment and such to use when we come back. Well turns out it wasn't a tornado, it was a microburst. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither. Turns out these things are pretty crazy. I would Google it if I were you. There were huge uprooted trees, cement walls destroyed, camping trailers flipped, birds that got shot to the ground and were just splattered on the ground. It was nuts. I felt bad about taking roadkill pictures of the birds though, that just wasn't fair. But it looked just like tornado damage though because one side of the street was all torn up and the other side was hardly damaged. It was weird. But only a couple houses has more than just some minor damage so it wasn't devastating damage, although people were without power (which means no AC) and it was 100+ outside. So people were suffering from the heat, but everyone we talked to seemed happy and upbeat about the situation. We weren't able to do any service though at the time because EVERYONE was waiting for the insurance people to come out on Monday (today). So we ended up just taking down some names, addresses, and phone numbers and we are headed back up there tonight with some ward members to start getting some stuff cleaned up. I have a few pictures I may send as well of some of the stuff we saw. Crazy stuff. The storm didn't hit us very hard at all. It hit the northern part of our area pretty hard and then northwest of us real good. All we got was some nice lightning to watch. Which is awesome. We got the lightning in the distance but not the storm!

We had an awesome visit with a less-active lady this week. We went over and visited her a couple weeks ago and she decided she was going to read the Book of Mormon. She was pretty self-motivated so we just had to solidify it by officially inviting her to do it. So we showed up a week later for our next appointment, and in the two days prior she had read almost 80 pages of the Book of Mormon and was just going crazy over how amazing of a book it is and how she just knows it a true book. She learned so much and is just pumped to read the rest of it! She wanted us to set a day for her to finish it by so that she can be held accountable, but we told her to just do what she can because she has plans to finish it in just a matter of weeks. Haha she is a funny lady! And now she is super excited to start going to church again, but wants to finish the Book of Mormon first, which we just had to agree to because of who she is and the situation she's in and she appreciated it a lot when I told her "that’s fair" about her wanting to finish it before she comes to church and understanding what she's thinking. She'll get there though. She's a go getter!

Other than that we had a difficult time having appointments go through and catching people at home this week. We have a lot of solid potential but it was a bad week for turning that potential into success. So hopefully we can have some good success in week 6 of the transfer to get this place fired up and ready to go next transfer. We don't know how long we'll have the car for, and a lot of our potential is up north which is an hour long bike ride down highway type roads. So, we shall see how that goes. I'm banking on it all working out!

Oh boy, I have some good stuff for my first food update in a long time! So, on Friday we went to Texas Roadhouse with the other elders in our district and a couple of their recent converts that paid for us. Well, I had the 10 oz Fort Worth Ribeye and it was the best steak I have ever sunken my teeth into! Holy cow, perfectly cooked to medium-rare, wonderful flavor, wonderful marbling and just the right amount of fat on the outside. So good! And then last night we ate with the Stock clan. Sis Stock is the one who usually provided all the killer meals for Zone Conferences and was the one who put together the meal for the Jingle Jam during Christmas time that I raged about in my email that week. Well, they made some dang good brisket, some amazing cheesy garlic french bread, and then some corn on the cob that had some crazy good seasoning on it, and then some killer apple crisp for dessert. Wow, probs one of the best meals I've had on my mission. I hope I stay here next transfer because we have dinner with them again next Wednesday. That's all I wish for.... dinner at the Stock's next Wednesday. Good company too. This ward is loaded with awesomeness! I have been blessed with probably the two best wards in the mission as my last two areas as far as strictly awesomeness goes. Odessa 2nd East is considered widely as one of the best wards and I think it may not even match up to Frenship Mesa. So I've hit gold in that department. Anyway, that's it for food. I had a couple of good grilled cheese sandwiches, but that’s just because I'm a dang good grilled cheese maker.j

Well that’s all for me this week! I am looking forward to a killer week 6 here in Brodessa 2nd Beast (that’s our area's nickname, it’s all elders in the city of Odessa... hence the "bro"). I hope y'all have a wonderful week filled with lots of fun and excitement! Hoorah for Israel!

With love,
Elder Ericson

                                                 Camping trailer got flipped upside down!

                                     "A huge tree that got uprooted and fell on someone's house!
                                  I could have gotten a better angle to get the full effect but I didn't."

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