September 8, 2015
Well I had no idea what to put as the title of this email... so I ended up just putting "hello" in the subject line. I need to work on my creativity. I wonder if there's a Mormon Message about that. I wouldn't know, because we don't have ipads yet, and we don't know when we'll get them. However, they did promise all the new missionaries that they would get them at some point. So, we are still waiting on that.
Anyway, it was a good week down here in Odessa, Texas! Tons of stuff going on for me. It was quite the week. To start off, I had my second District Meeting today after having my first one last Tuesday. Not gonna lie, they were two dang good district meetings! It was awesome to see the spirit guide me as I prepared to instruct my district. For my first one I had nearly an entire instruction planned out by Saturday and then I had an idea to do something else so I switched it up and it was awesome! We are supposed to instruct off of what we talked about in our special "District Conference" with Pres Heap and the assistants a couple weeks ago, so I instructed on having a vision of what you want to be and become on your mission, and I really focused on how Satan is going to do everything he can to stop you from achieving that vision. The spirit just gave me some awesome ideas and it was a powerful message that I truly learned a lot from preparing and instructing. I obviously started crying at one point, and I almost had a couple of the other Elders crying too. Gosh, I'm such a cry baby. And then today I almost cried, but no tears came out so I did solid. Today I instructed about humility and grace and the process we need to take to receive Christ's grace, and how it is the only way we can have the power and authority we have to have in order to fulfill our calling as representatives of Jesus Christ. I was really worried about today because I only have three other people in my district without the zone leaders and two of them are new missionaries, so I didn't think I was going to have very good participation but we had a lot of participation and awesome comments to work with! It was a solid meeting. It has been a blessing to be able to prepare for and instruct at district meetings. I learn so much being able to study and apply what I learn preparing and then help others learn and apply the same things!
On Friday I was able to go to Mission Leadership Conference in Lubbock. Usually its just the zone leaders and sister training leaders that go once a month to the MLC but they have been having the district leaders go every few transfers, so I was able to attend that. It was an awesome meeting. There were tons of my peeps there too so I had the pleasure of conversing with a bunch of old friends. It was good stuff. They talked a lot about leadership and some other stuff that y'all don't really care about, but I was able to learn a lot and took a lot away from that meeting!
The Lord has blessed us tremendously over the last week! While I was at MLC my companion and another elder on exchanges had a sick lesson with a 19 and 14 year old that are friends of some members in our ward. They basically live at the member's house. So they had a super powerful lesson with them and we are going over there again in like 45 minutes to teach them again. I am pretty pumped. So there's two solid investigators. At MLC I was given a referral from the mission office for a man and his 14 year old daughter. So we went over there on Saturday afternoon. The daughter wasn't home, but we had an interesting conversation (and by conversation I mean we listened to him) for like 30 minutes and this guy seemed like a wing-nut. Holy cow we couldn't get this man to shut up or even let us say something without cutting us off. But then he asked what "Mormon stuff" we had to share with him so we shared a very simple Restoration and blew the roof off the house with it. It was amazing to see how the spirit changed this man in just a couple short minutes. He went from talking like crazy and seeming just on a buzz to super calm and peaceful as we shared the last part of the restoration about Joseph Smith and all that fun stuff. He is pretty solid and it sounds like his daughter was even more interested than him. We have another appointment tonight with them so I am excited for that! We also taught this man from Vietnam on Sunday. Haha that was fun. It was hard because he doesn't have that solid Christian background that we are used to down here in Texas where EVERYONE knows Jesus. So that was a good learning opportunity for Elder Despain and I. I had to go back and teach a lot of stuff a second time and talk about the words he isn't familiar with and explain things very very simply. We were able to have a good talk about adjusting teaching for different people and was a good learning experience for us. And on top of all that we still have our other people we are working with and are going to have a busy week teaching them and also trying to get more investigators with our solid potential list we have.
All in all I feel like I am just starting to learn what this missionary thing is all about. Over the last month or so I have been starting to see things differently and am starting to flip the page in my missionary work. It seems like this is usually about the time of my mission that missionaries start to really figure things out. And I am starting to see it big time. I have just been learning how to go all in. Obviously I have worked hard and "understood" what I was doing and my purpose as a missionary for a long time now, but there is a certain switch that gets flipped "on" after a while and that switch has a finger on it and its on its way to getting flipped into the "on" position! I called Elder Stringham last night (because I can and he told me to call him) and we had a good talk about it for a while. He said that he went through the same stuff about the same time that I did and he was just so proud and full of joy about his "son". I love my mission "dad". He also challenged me to start to really think about how this is going to affect my life when I get home and to start to make specific plans for life after the mission. Obviously its not making plans to make me trunky, but he said that this is a time to figure out the rest of my life and what the Lord wants me to do. So I now have that challenge on me and I will be able to start thinking about that and report back to him what I have thought of.
Funny story from MLC. So I was sitting to the right of Elder Johnson (you know, from Frenship Mesa and who is in like a million of my pictures) and Elder Cardon was sitting on his left. They were instructing us on the new cell phones we are getting (we are switching from Sprint to AT&T) and how we will need to use Bluetooth to transfer over our contacts. So the senior missionary instructing us asked who knew what Bluetooth was and like everyone raised their hands because everyone our age knows what Bluetooth is. Well, Elder Cardon hates technology so much. Like, I had to force him to take the phone. He had a phone at home but he used the same phone for like 6 years and he left his phone at home half the time. So when that question was posed everyone raised their hands... except Elder Cardon, who went on to pose the question, "What the crap is Bluetooth?" in his typical naive "I hate technology" tone of voice. Elder Johnson and I DIED laughing. I know, I know. That story was pretty lame. But, that was like the highlight of my week. I stinkin' love Elder Cardon. I had lots of laughs at that conference... good times.
Well that will be all for me today! I hope y'all have a good week! I love y'all and pray for y'all every day! That was a lot of "y'all"..........
Mucho amor,Elder Reed Ericson