August 24, 2015
Good day to you all! Well, as you see, the trio is about to be destroyed. Sad day. We all knew it was coming, in fact we don't think it was even supposed to happen in the first place. We have heard that there was a lot of shuffling around last minute last transfer because of a number of missionaries leaving the MTC and also because there were supposed to be a few visa waiters coming to our mission who were able to go straight out to their missions instead of coming to the TLM. Plus, they usually only leave trios as trios for one transfer. It was a super fun transfer, and will probably go down as the most fantastic transfer I will ever have, but we were all ready for a change. I was only with one companion a number of times towards the end of the transfer because of a few different exchanges filling in for sick missionaries and such and I realized that it will be good to be in a regular companionship again. It’s just easier to do missionary work. I loved living the trio life but it’s a one transfer at a time type of fun. Anyway, so Elder Bench is going up to Slaton (about 20 miles outside of Lubbock) and is whitewashing into the area with a trainee. Elder Wrathall is going up to Borger in the panhandle to be in another trio, and I will be staying in Brodessa 2nd Beast and will be receiving Elder Despain straight from the MTC and will serve as district leader. I am a lot more excited to train this time than my first time. I did a respectable job the first time, but at the same time I had only been out for 3 months when I began training the first time so I really had no clue what I was doing. I was able to do everything well but I didn't know how to help and teach a new missionary as well as I can now. We're gonna shred it up down here in Odessa. I am pumped to teach young Elder Despain the ways of champion missionary work!
So earlier this week I went on exchanges with Elder Jewett in my district. I don't have too much to say about it besides the 2 and a half hours before we went to bed. He has what he calls his "timeline". He has this long strip of papers taped together with his entire life in a timeline format. So, he starts from birth and works his way all the way up to his mission and tells the story of his life and many stories that he has mastered telling. But the amazing part is, he has a huge stack of pictures that he uses throughout the timeline to tell his story. He has pictures of all his houses, schools, friends, cities, etc. It was absolutely amazing. He has had a pretty crazy life full of ups and downs and he has an amazing presentation of it all. I had a feeling I was going to get bored and fall asleep at some point, but I was engaged the entire time! We got in a 9:00 and he basically already had their next day planned so he started right into his timeline presentation and we had to stay up a little late to finish it, but it was worth it. It was actually a pretty amazing presentation and I feel like I know him so well now! He has come a long way!
Other fun news, my father, Elder Stringham, was called to be an assistant. Our family is growing. Stringham is assistant, my son is training, and my son is getting a brother tomorrow and my grandson will have an uncle! Holler.
So yesterday we had a sick storm. After church we left Elder Bench at the church with a missionary who had a sick companion, and me and Wrathall went out to work. After their meetings we had to go back to the church to pick them up and take them home, and it started to DUMP. Remember, West Texas dumping is way crazier then Idaho dumping. We're talking about vision of 50 yards or so and roads that are just rivers. So, as we are about to turn into the church, the telephone pole on the NE corner of the church lot shot out a big blue ball of electricity, and then it shot out a bunch of sparks, and then another big ball of blue electricity, and then some more sparks! I had to check my pants after that one. I was driving and was in the turning lane, and I just sat in the turning lane for a few seconds just frozen. Oh man, that was crazy. And you add lighting everywhere in the background and thunder and you have a crazy situation. Sheesh. I had fun mobbing around Odessa in the Jeep though. You can take that thing anywhere. Definitely a step up from the Corolla! It rained all day and it dumped off and on so it was just swamped all day and into the night!
We did some sweet service this week. On Monday we helped out in the microburst neighborhood and cleaned up two houses. Our service was much appreciated and the ward got a good turnout! There was something like 40+ people out there! Unfortunately that was all we could do out there because people would rather pay people to come and do it for them than accept free service. Oh well, their loss! On Wednesday me and Elder Bench went to the Art Museum with Elder Benson to do service. We left Wrathall behind with Elder Jewett because he was sick and it was their scheduled service so Benson had to go. Well, our service involved us sitting at the front desk for 4 hours. We only had people enter the museum 3 times so we each had a chance to welcome someone. So, we got 4 hours of service by sitting behind a desk. So that was interesting. That place isn't very hoppin' with visitors. Then on Thursday we got to go help at the Presidential Archives and that was sweet! We mainly went through the JFK artifacts (they have TONS of JFK stuff) and got those into boxes and helped put away one of the exhibits. We spent about 4 hours there as well and it was fun service! So we met the goal of 10 hours of community service this week!
We didn't have too much success with teaching this week. We had a bunch of appointments punch throughout the week. Yesterday we had appointments every hour starting at 2:00 and the last at 7:00. The only ones that went through were our dinner appointment and our lesson with Michael. However, on Wednesday when I was on exchanges they taught a family in our area that we talked to and visited the week before. Apparently they are the most prepared people that had no clue they were prepared that any of the three missionaries that were there had ever met. Apparently they have both had Book of Mormons and the father of the family ready it like 3 times when he was in high school and in his younger days. And they have two kids that are baptism age, so that’s exciting. So we will teach them again this week! I am excited for that! We also have a baptism this Saturday. Her name is Aiyannah and she is 12 years old. Her dad is active and lives in our ward and she stays with him on the weekends but she spends her weekdays in Andrews (just north of us) and she is no longer a member. So she was taught almost everything before I got here and I have only taught her once. But she will be baptized this weekend!
That will be all for me this week! I love y'all and hope y'all have a good week! Keep the faith!
Elder Reed Ericson