September 14, 2015
Well hello everyone. Just for a warning, I have no plans about what I will be talking about today. Usually it takes me a little bit to go through and see what I did the previous week and write it down so I remember. Everything is just turning to mush in my mind so I can never remember what happened the previous week. I really right now have no idea what I am going to say in this next paragraph so I am just stalling and hoping that something comes to my mind as I sit here typing away...........................................
Well, I decided to just go ahead and start a new paragraph and let the spirit guide. Well, this past week was a little more difficult. We had a number of punched appointments and we tried by people like crazy and nobody was ever home to answer their doors. Like, they were legit not home. No cars, no lights, no sounds. We got like 6 media referrals last week because they went through and are cleaning out the referrals in the mission office and just sent all the old ones out again that didn't have updates on them. So, we thought we were going to be busy visiting them but that turned out to be a bust. Ain't nobody ever home and ain't nobody ever answering their phone. We also spent a lot of time trying to contact less-actives in our area because we have like a gajillion of them but that has been a total bust too. Sheesh, there are so many less-actives in Odessa. They say that if most of the people on the 1st Ward's roster actually went to church they would go from 1 to 3 wards! They have 32 pages of roster and a pretty weak ward. We don't have that many, I think we have like 19 pages or so. Anyway, it wasn't bothering me too much, I am used to not really having too much to do to fill out your days, but Elder Despain has been having a hard time with it. What we need is more potentials which means more finding which means walking/biking around talking to people. Its no biggy for me, I can go out and find all day if I needed to, but for a new missionary that is difficult. I remember those 2 hour long finding sessions in Sweetwater when I first came out... they were death. So I am trying to find out how to balance our days so that we can be productive and get some finding in but not go out and find for chunks of time. Which isn't too hard to do. Pretty easy actually. We just have to work through a few things.
Our teaching has been going well with the teaching that we do have. We were able to go teach this kid named Mark on Tuesday right after emails. He is basically a family member of the Noyes family in our ward. He is 19 and is "converting to Mormonisn" after having bad experiences in a different church. He is solid as can be. We were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation and are teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ today, which I am pumped about because I love that lesson. Its just so rockin'. Also, we are continuing to meet with Rose. We talked to her and we are going to start teaching everything over from the start. She is basically ready to go but with Dustin (her boyfriend) in jail there are some hold-ups of sorts. But she is legit. Super good spirit about her. Remember that crazy dude I mentioned last week that we went and taught? Yeah, well we went back this past week and taught his daughter who seemed to be more of the reason that they requested a visit. But, before we taught her we had another LONG crazy conversation. So, let me expound the story unto you. So this man is like 40ish. He has this weird thing with Ukrainian girls. He has spent over $90,000 on Ukrainian girls in the last year or two. Like, straight up. He even went and fought in the Ukrainian army for a few months not too long ago to show his loyalty to them. So, as of now, he has this like 25 year old Ukrainian girl that looks like a supermodel that he is engaged to....... ok. Super weird, right? Well, his nephew who is probably mid-late 20's also has some Ukrainian girl that he is engaged to........ ok. This is getting really weird, right? Well get this, his 14 year old daughter has this 14 year old Ukrainian dude that she is "dating"......... huh. Ok. They showed us a picture of this 14 year old dude. He's is an absolute monster. Like, biggest muscles I have ever seen on someone under the age of like 18 years old. Anyway, the father and the nephew are trying to explain "love" to these Ukrainian girls. Apparently the Ukrainians only think of love as an emotion and not as an action or anything. I could go on for days about the details but for the sake of time, we don't need to go there. So, these people are just going crazy trying to figure out how to teach these Ukrainian girls what "love" is. Oh my goodness...... they could go on forever. They have been on this extensive search to find out exactly what love is according to the Bible, so they have been out talking to preachers and stuff and trying to get it all figured out. And they were so thankful to have two "prophets" in the house with them to help them figure this out! Hahaha we ain't no prophets! We taught you about prophets three days ago, dude! Anyway, we came to the conclusion after a total of like over an hour that love is an emotion that you can express through actions. I actually like that definition.
Anyway, along with teaching all these peeps. Elder Despain is making some good progress with his teaching. He definitely has had WAY more opportunities to teach his first three weeks than I did. I think I had one lesson my first three weeks.... he's had quite a bit and he is definitely making strides! We also have opportunities to teach Michael and Aiyannah the recent convert lessons so we have had lots of additional opportunities with that.
Well, I really just can't think of anything else to talk about this week. Oh yeah, I thought of one. I was able to give Michael the Aaronic Priesthood at church yesterday and ordain him to the office of a Priest! That was pretty cool! I had never done that before so it was a good experience! I definitely love being able to use my priesthood to bless others! There is no greater feeling than being able to know that I am righteously exercising my priesthood and am worthy and ready to exercise it whenever it is needed! In fact we had a cool experience with that last Monday. We were all hanging in one of the other apartments, and most of the elders were playing an intense game of Risk and they were getting a little loud and a little out of control. Its what happens, no knock on them. However, I was just sitting to the side trying to get our new phone all set-up, and another one of the brand new elders was in the room laying on his bed. We got a phone call saying that a blessing was needed at the hospital, they were all so involved with their game of Risk, so I took Elder Nebeker with me to go give the blessing. I was very thankful that I was ready to be called upon at any given moment to exercise my priesthood, and have Elder Nebeker ready as well. We didn't have to invite the spirit or anything because we already had it with us and were ready to be called upon. It gave me a good perspective about how I need to be like that my whole life. Obviously I am not going to be boring or anything, but I need to be always ready to be called upon in any situation, because I'll never know when my authority is in need.
Well, hopefully I have some fun stuff to talk about next week! But for now I will be ending this email! I love y'all and pray for y'all every day! Have a fantastic week full of fun and joy!
With all my love,Elder Reed Ericson