Friday, October 23, 2015

Hello


October 19, 2015

Well hello to y'all once again on this wonderful Monday! We had a pretty good week this week and had some pretty sweet stuff!

First off I would love to tell you about Zone Conference that we had on Wednesday in Midland. Dang it was good. Well, President Heap was good. The assistants were kinda "eh" but it was actually good stuff that I needed to hear. But anyway, back to President Heap. Before lunch he gave a sick instruction about the Book of Mormon! I saw that he was gonna be talking about it and I had high hopes, but he exceeded them! He went hard on how the Book of Mormon is the tool that is gathering Israel. Holy cow, he made it so amazing! He basically told us that next time somebody asks us what makes our church different or unique that we should ask them what their church is doing to gather Israel, since the Bible talks about the gathering is Israel in the last days SO MUCH) and then told us to expound unto them how the Book of Mormon is what is doing that and told us what that’s all about in an amazing way. THEN, after he already outdid himself he closed off the conference by blowing minds up with an INSANE instruction about the sacrament! Oh, my gosh. Just when I think he can't outdo what he did the previous time he blows everybody's minds once again with something else insane. He got DEEP into the sacrament. About how the sacrament table is the tomb and also the altar. He based everything off of Moses 1:39, Matthew 26:26 (JST), Matthew 27, and then of course Moroni 4&5. With Moses 1:39 he talked about how the sacrament emblems represent immortality and eternal life and said some crazy stuff about that. And then with Matthew 26:26 (JST) he emphasized how Christ broke the bread before he blessed the bread and how important that was. And then with Matthew 27 he related it to how we are each Barrabas each and every week and how we are the guilty ones who should be the ones being crucified on the altar, but then how Christ steps in at the last moment when the sacrament prayer says "and witness unto thee" to take his place on the altar and save us week after week after week. Then he made the point that if we don't let the sacrament change us we are letting this man who has done so much for us and who we love so dearly die in vain each and every week that we don't let it change us. The way he teaches though is so dang powerful! He is a master teacher. I have never met anyone that can teach even close to the way he teaches. He just interprets the scripture in such an amazing way and expounds on things so incredibly. Every time he teaches the spirit just slaps you across the face and you feel like you know everything there is to know about whatever he's teaching about. But then you forget half of it because you just can't recreate what he says in your notes or your thoughts.

We had some sweet fun at the Art Museum this week as well! Usually we sit at the front desk for 4 hours and do nothing but this week we went at a different time and helped guide some 3rd graders on their little field trip! It was so fun! They had two galleries open and then a classroom so there were three places to rotate through and there were 6 stations with activities in both of the galleries! So basically we just told them when to rotate and helped them with their stations. But it was so fun! They are funny little humans and always crack you up! I was just laughing at them when they were standing in line waiting to enter into the building! I guess I just really like 3rd graders and am entertained by that age group extremely easily... but they are for legit like the perfect age to be fun! We were supposed to do two different sessions, however the school went on lock down before the second group could leave so we only did one group of them :( But I can't complain.

So some other interesting news... our mission family is super legit now! My son, Elder Cardon was called to be a Zone Leader this transfer! Our family is just royal right now with my father, Elder Stringham, as AP and my son as a ZL. Then I guess I'm just cool and stuff so that's what I have to add to the family! Anyway, just wanted to brag about my family. Maybe I'll train Elder Despain up unto the ways of his forefathers. We shall see how that turns out.

Oh yeah, we did another service project at the cemetery on Saturday. And by "another" I am referring to the one that I did in Sweetwater like the second week on my mission. Well, I highly highly doubt that you remember what came along later that night after the first time I did service at a cemetery on my mission........ it was totally the day that I literally blew chunks all over the Weldy's floor!!!! Hahahahahahaha classic! So anyway, every night at the end of last week I felt like I was going to wake up sick the next day. So before I would go to bed I would down some Vitamin C and also in the morning. So, when the Bishop called and asked us to go help I was extremely worried that history was going to repeat itself!!!! I just knew that I was going to puke somewhere that night on somebodies floor. BUT, I survived. I did feel a little iffy that night after dinner but I went out and hopped on my bike and went to work and had a sweet night of work! We actually went to talk to this one guy we talked to a few nights prior that we left a Book of Mormon with and he came out on Saturday night and handed it back to us and said that he read quite a bit of it and that he was just going to stick with the Bible. However, we worked some magic over the next 15 minutes and that man walked inside when we left excited to immediately read and pray about it! Ha! Heck yeah! We used a little bit from President Heap's instruction about the Book of Mormon and bore some strong testimony and he came around! The spirit really went to work on him! Hopefully he actually follows through! We plan on going to visit him tonight so we will find out!

Well, I gotta go! I hope y'all have a fantastic week and hope that God has great things in store for y'all this week! I love you all!

Oh yeah, Thursday is my year mark! PARTY! Dang, time has gone by so quick! I feel like I've already progressed so so much and learned so so much that I could go home accomplished so it excites me to know that I am only half way through and there is just that much more in store for me to learn and so many more ways for me to progress! I am sure it will go by quick though... maybe too quick! Wish me luck as I embark on the second half of my journey starting Friday!

Lots of Love,

Elder Reed Ericson

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lives Changed

October 12, 2015

How are y'all doing today?! It was a wonderful-ish week here in Odessa!

To start off, I will tell you all about Mark's baptism on Saturday! Dang was is sweet! Mark had a rough week dealing with this and that. He didn't have very much support at all from his family and in fact had a really interesting week with that. However, he didn't even bat an eye at it! He has just been so prepared for this and didn't let that affect his decision and his faith. Good grief, he was just so prepared and ready to be baptized. Anyway, the service was pretty good, however the baptism itself was insane. Mark got into the font with Bro Noyes and we had to direct them and get them situated in the font correctly and that created a few chuckles from Mark and the audience and I actually was worried that it may have detracted from the spirit and anticipation that Mark was feeling. You could see the calm excitement on his face. So, Bro Noyes dunked his pretty good, and pulled him back up. When Mark came up out of the water he just started weeping! He was nearly sobbing in the font for about 15 seconds when he just looked up and said "Thank you, God!" and then continued to weep for another 15 seconds or so before they walked out of the font. Holy cow. All the females there were crying, I just had a nice spiritual smile on my face the whole time. I don't know how to describe a spiritual smile but I'll leave that up to your imagination. Anyway, that was super awesome to experience! His life has been changed SO much in the last month and its all because a family made him a part of them in such a short time and he realized that he wanted what they had! I wish sometimes that I could have more experiences like that on my mission. Mark is really the first person in almost a year now that I truly feel has let the gospel CHANGE him and his life. It's done so for Michael as well, but I feel like its much more profound for Mark. It is such an amazing thing to be able to experience and is such a big testimony builder to me of the power that the gospel brings. I definitely think I take advantage of it all the time. I grew up with the gift of the Holy Ghost and lived in a home where the spirit was present, and its crazy to watch the change that people have when that is all of a sudden part of their lives. Simply the gift of the Holy Ghost is something that I never even think about having because at this point I am just so used to its presence that the times I usually think about it is when its presence isn't with me and I know I need to do something different. I have talked to so many people who have never even felt the Holy Ghost in their lives. So when we speak with them and they feel that presence it scares them. Yes, the Holy Spirit of COMFORT scares them. They have no idea how to respond to it so they run from it. How grateful I am go have that gift with me so that I can always feel the COMFORT that the first comforter brings!

Here's a fun story for y'all. So the other day we were just doing out thing doing missionary work and all. We took a 7 mile trek on our bikes up to the north part of our area because we haven't been up there since the car went bye bye. Anyway, we stopped and talked to this old brotha named Bruce. Elder Despain asked him if we could help him with his project and he just looked up and said, "Praise the Lord! God is good! Hallelujah! Y'all are the Latter-Day Saints! I knew I smelled something!" So I asked, "What did you smell?!" hahaha and he responded, "The Holy Spirit" hahaha once again. So I asked him, "What does that smell like? I've never smelt that before!" And then I think he just said it smelled good or something. I can't remember what he said but the first few lines of our conversation were classic! Hahaha you meet some of the funniest people! He was a really nice guy and knows like half of the Mormons here in Odessa. We ate dinner last night with one of the families he knows/works for and we talked about him for a little bit. He is a good guy. But, he is like the 99% that don't think it matters what church you go to as long as you believe in Christ. So, probably won't ever see him again. But we had a nice pleasant 15 minute conversation with him about "the good Lord". One of his quotes was, "I'm too blessed to be stressed!". Dang, I wish we could all think like he does. Thats some power right there!

We had a less-active lady named Sister Huntington come to church yesterday for the first time in over 20 years!!! So that was quite the accomplishment for her! We basically did nothing for that. We just went over a while ago and challenged her to read the Book of Mormon. So she did. And she read all of it and thought it was the most amazing thing ever and came to church yesterday and plans on coming every week now! We just go over there and are her friends. I don't think she has much communication with anyone. She very openly told us this past week that we are her best friends! She is a funny lady! I enjoy visiting with her! And for those of you who are freaking out because it sounds like we go over to a single ladies house and visit with her, we totally do. We got permission from Pres Heap to go over without any other male because she is older and the time of day we visit her is terribly inconvenient for us to take anyone with us. So, that was sweet. Hopefully she keeps up her progression!

We played some sick basketball last week one morning. We had two teams of 3 and a team of 2. Me and Elder Despain were the team of 2. And we totally shredded everybody up. We basically just destroyed. I was dropping some sick 3's and we both could just take anyone to the rack like it was our day job. Fun stuff. I've been sucking at basketball lately but I reemerged as a TLM powerhouse. Jk, I ain't no powerhouse. I am just an asset to have on your team. I have my moments though... like Wednesday morning.

Anyway, we've had some fun weather lately. We went out and mobbed through a sick rain storm on Thursday. Well, we waited until after it was pouring but we went hard riding through all the puddles and stuff coming home from the Presidential Archives. And then we spent the rest of our lunch time taking pictures in the Everglade Road River as I call it. Good times. Good times. I think we are in store for some more storms here in the next couple months before winter hits. And apparently this winter is supposed to be terrible! According to the Farmer's Almanac which is actually extremely accurate we are supposed to have the wettest winter down here in recorded history. So, that should be fun. Lots of ICE!!!!

I hope y'all have a good week! I love y'all and I thank you for your support and love! I feel it each and every day!

Oh yeah, I hit my year mark in like 10 days so be ready for that. I'm expecting something extraordinary. Jk, I'm not. But I'm pretty pumped for that day. Its like the most grand day on your entire mission. Heck yeah. I'm pumped.

Lots of Love,
Elder Reed Ericson


Friday, October 2, 2015

Every Little Step I Take



September 28, 2015

Well hello there! What a pleasure it is to address you every Monday! This past week has been good! Some good stuff happened but also some whatever stuff happened. So basically it was a typical week!

To start off, we had a sweet party last week on p-day. After emailing and lunch we went to some cheap bowling alley and bowled the crap out of a couple of games with everyone in our zone. Well, the first game wasn't my best. Let me just say that nowhere in my score was there a number higher than 3.............................. yup. But I improved a lot my second game and started off on a tear before I started blowing chunks again. I improved 40 points though with a score of 72! My strategy was to take the 6 lb ball and just put my finger tips into the holes and just let it rip. It took a while to get it out of the left gutter but once I figured that out I started to look like a professional. Well, to a certain extent. I got a couple of spares... that’s all. It was a struggle to say the least. BUT, I can only go up from here. Maybe, I could do worse, but if that happens then I may just never do any sort of sport ever again. Then after bowling we went to the church for some sick basketball and then ate cake and destroyed a piňata. It was one of the sister's birthday so they planned a party. I can't complain about free cake and a piňata.

Another funny story, my one of the 4 wheel legs of my chair completely broke yesterday. So, I have now officially totally biffed it in my chair like 40 times. I have it figured out to where I can sit on it (even though I've fallen like 3 times) but praying on it is getting every increasingly difficult. But the only other chair we have is a hard folding chair and I want my ancient swivel chair with arm rests that reclines. Its a rough life but I'm surviving.

So, I had this crazy sweet idea for our "practice/role play" portion of district meeting last week. It was to teach the plan of salvation to yourself by writing it down using first person. So I told them what we were gonna do and we all went to the chapel and sat all by ourselves and I said a prayer to start and then I got into it. HOLY COW! It was one of the craziest experiences of my life! I was almost crying sitting there in the chapel as I was teaching myself the pre-earth life on my notepad. It was so crazy thinking about being created and living there and then leaving to come to earth. I got pretty personal into it and ended up teaching myself about my life here on earth and all that my Father has given me. It was such an amazing experience! I basically look at life completely differently now and have a different perspective of my life! Dang, I can't wait to teach someone the Plan of Salvation now because I feel like I am going to change their life right then and there. I hope to do that with all of our lessons now and see what different insights I get and how it will affect how I teach them! Oh yeah, to relate this to my email's subject... it has put "every little step I take" into much more perspective for me! Every step of my life means something! That was kind of a lame relation but we'll go with it.

I was able to go on exchanges again this last week. I went over to 1st East again with Elder Jewett. It was a good day! We had a lesson with a recent convert/less-active couple and talked about the Tree of Life and we were able to help them overcome some of the struggles they've been having. Later that evening I was able to interview their 11 year old investigator named Frankie for his baptism! His parents are both members and kind of returning less-actives so he hasn't been baptized yet. That was awesome! He has some attention issues but it was amazing to see him calm and attentive and he took it serious but still was himself! He's a good kid! And then later that night we went to see this man named Ronnie who they have been working with forever. He is a 60ish year old black guy and is just the funniest thing ever! He always says dicey stuff that you can't help but to laugh at! I've been over there 4 times now I think and I always walk out of there with a huge smile on my face. And then Ronnie was able to come to Frankie's baptism on Saturday and we had a good time eating refreshments/lunch with him after the service! Hahaha Ronnie is the man!

We had a sick lesson with Mark last Monday as well. We read and talked about 1 Nephi 8 with him and it was dang good and powerful! We teach him at the Noyes home (members in our ward who he basically belongs to) and so the spirit is always just so strong in there and the Noyes are way good member presents. Anyway, he is all set to go for the 10th of October! However, we may not be able to teach him everything by then so that may have to be postponed because of that. But hopefully we will be able to meet with him more often so that we can get that rolling faster! Other than that we suffered from a lot of punched appointments and normal appointments that didn't happen this week. So it was a slow week with teaching and whatnot. Hopefully we'll have a better week this week with that! We're going to have to focus a lot on finding this week to get more people to teach!

Well that's all I have time for this week! I hope y'all have a good week! I love y'all and pray for y'all every day!

Loves,

Elder Reed Ericson