Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Fun!


November 30, 2015

Well hello my good friends and family! What a fun Thanksgiving week it has been for us all!

So yes, Thanksgiving in San Angelo, TX was super tight! We started off the day with an awesome Turkey Bowl football game! It was pretty crazy. Lots of people, small field. But then some of us split off and played with some random dudes that came in a small group that are just visiting here from Lubbock. That was a fun game though too! It was good to get out and play a little pig-skin! I learned that I am really slow. Still faster than everyone else out there playing, but slow. I was trying to run but I just have no pop in my step anymore! My strides are a lot shorter than they used to I think. I feel like my legs are moving fast but I just ain't covering as much ground. So, that's depressing. Anyway, after our fun game of football we went over to the place of the other elder's in our ward and cleaned up a bit and played some Mormon Risk. Hahaha Elder Mangum crossed out all the nation names and renamed them with scriptural places! And then he named all the nations of troops different scriptural groups. So that threw a twist on it. Not really, it was the exact same thing.... but it was fun. Anyway, after I had basically destroyed my own army by myself................ yes, I am so terrible at Risk................ we went and had a plate of food at their neighbors place. They live in a duplex house and their neighbors across the wall wanted to feed us. So we went over at 12:30 and ate a plate. It was alright. But then, and 2:00 we went to the Lunkley's (he's the elders quorum president) with our ward elders and the Spanish elders and had a pig out! Holy camolie! They spoiled us! They had more delicious food than I've ever seen in my life! They had two dang good hams, a turkey, some amazing funeral potato type stuff, insane rolls, some orange jello stuff that was off the chain, and just everything you could ever think of. Plus, on top of that, they gave us each our own bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider! Oh man, it was a dang good time. So much deliciousness and so many laughs. I was definitely taken care of for Thanksgiving this year! And then after spending a few hours at the Lunkley's we went home with the other elders and me and Elder Cooper took a nap while the other 4 elders played Risk. And then we finished the night off at the Mauer's house (some older couple in the ward) for a chess tournament. Well, I thought I was going to win my first game of chess ever. But, Elder Cooper (who is TERRIBLE at chess) kept on barely escaping me and somehow came back to beat me. Sad day. And then he beat me again like 15 minutes later but I didn't even try that time around. I was more focused on my small plate of thanksgiving scraps that I was eating. So, I am still winless at chess.

 
Also, update on the basketball skills. I suck. I went on a tear for a few weeks but I have officially lost all skill. We played last p-day and I was terrible and then we play with the elder's quorum on Saturday mornings and I played terrible again. After going on a 3-point shooting tear I now can't shoot a 3 for the life of me. So, just an update on that. Thought you might be interested.

 
Wednesday through Saturday though (minus Thursday) was basically terrible, however. I don't even know how many miles we walked. It got rainy on Thanksgiving and then on Friday it got cold along with the wetness. So Friday and Saturday were near miserable. We didn't have any lessons with our investigators because they were all gone/busy with Thanksgiving and trying by former investigators has been a bust so we just walked and talked to the zero people that were outside and knocked on some doors to at least talk to someone. However, nobody answered their doors for us. We did talk to one dude on Saturday afternoon for about 30 minutes, but it was in his doorway. He was standing in the door frame and we were outside. And it was cold so I don't know why he didn't let us in to talk. Oh well. He was about the only person we talked to from Wednesday through Saturday for more than 10 seconds. So my legs have taken a major hit this past week. We would take breaks though and sit on park benches or something every hour or so to let our legs take a break. Those actually help a lot! But despite the leg and foot pain we had a good time and kept good spirits! We were able to laugh and have a good time together which made the hours go by faster! So that's a plus. It really wasn't all too miserable. I'm ready for this cold front to get out of here though. Things won't be as bad.

 
Things picked up for us a teensy little bit yesterday. We taught our first lesson of the week! A member invited a friend of his to church and his friend came and then we went over and shared a lesson with him at the member’s house later in the afternoon. However, this friend of his is kinda nuts. He seems pretty fried from drugs and stuff. I don't think he understood a single thing from our lesson. And he just became nearly homeless and doesn't have a job or anything so who knows how long we'll be able to meet with him. But hey, I'll take a lesson with anybody over walking for another hour any day!
 

Oh, I just remembered someone that we met on Wednesday that was really interesting. So we walked past this house and it had tons of cat stuff in front of the house. So, naturally, being the type to always knock on the interesting looking houses that have potential for a good time talking to someone weird, I went and knocked on that door and a 92 year old lady answered and said, "Are you who I think you are?" and then reached up and grabbed a very old looking book from a shelf right next to the door. This book, coincidentally, is copy of the Book of Mormon from the year 1920! Inside of it was written the name of the missionary who gave the book to her and a small note, and then also a little note with the names of some missionaries that ran into her a couple years ago! So we talked to her for a few minutes and wrote our names on the note along with the other missionaries’ names from a couple years ago! She said that she's read the whole book but she never joined the church or anything. So we told her we would come back and visit her again sometime! She told us that people call her Grandma Cats so that is what I'm planning on calling her! I think she gets a thrill out of being called Grandma Cats!
 
Anyway, that will be all for me this week! I hope y'all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and hope you have a wonderful week as we continue on into the Christmas holiday season! I love you mucho!
 
With much love,
Elder Reed Ericson 


West Texas is so bizarre. This is a catfish head fence. I don't even know. We just ran across it while on exchanges.

Found this bull wondering around San Angelo. So I tamed it and posed for a couple of pics with it!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Tearin' Up San Angelo


November 23, 2015

Well hello my good friends! It has been a fun week of new stuff for me down here in the great Texas Lubbock Mission! Its always an adventure getting used to a new area and all the fun that comes with that!



I will first begin with before I left Odessa. I hit money this time around getting to see all the people I wanted to see! Unlike Lubbock where I struck out! But Monday night was fantastic! We went and had dinner with the Noyes and after which I shared a sweet scripture with them that led to an intense discussion between Bro Noyes, Spencer (their nephew), myself, and then Tayton trying to follow along! We went off on the topics of creation, time, elements, eternity, the last days, etc. Haha nobody was able to follow it besides us so there was a side conversation that started between the rest of them. But, that was one of the sickest conversations I have had in a long time! It was a dang good time! I'm going to miss the Noyes family! They were so good to me. I think they are now second on my list of houses that I have spent the most time at behind the one and only Weldy's from Sweetwater! But that's because I had an extra 6 weeks with the Weldy's. We had some powerful lessons in their home teaching Mark and shared some wonderful dinner table moments with them! Good peeps. It was a rough goodbye saying goodbye to Odessa! Even harder than that was saying goodbye to Elder Despain! Nothing is like leaving your son in the hands of another person to take care of them and groom them! He will do good though! He has the potential to be a total rockstar! I am expecting great things from him! Pulling out of the apartment complex though was pretty terrible. I almost broke down but I kept it together like a man! I had some dang good times in Odessa!



San Angelo is pretty nice though! There are a lot more trees and hills than I've seen in a long time! Sweetwater was about as hilly as this place but the trees are more bountiful here! I actually saw my first river in over a year this past week! The Concho River runs right through our area! YEAH!!! Its getting low though so it may not be around for too much longer:( But I have actually gotten a bit of a leg workout biking around this place with all the hills! And by hills I mean West Texas hills. They still ain't that big. Oh yeah, I am in a bike area again. Typically only one companionship in a ward has a car if the ward is all city and no major outlying towns. We share the ward with the zone leaders who obviously have a vehicle so we whip around on the bikes! I enjoy it though! However, it is starting to get cold and it is much more difficult to go out and get to all the places you need to be and be productive when its cold. Finding people becomes much more difficult. So we are thinking of ways that we can combat that as a zone. We shall conquer. The ward here is HUGE! After serving in two smaller wards this one is a drastic difference! There are SO many people! Its a typical Idaho/Utah ward! And a lot of the people in the ward are young Air Force couples that are stationed here for a short time. But then again there are a lot of older people and others too. There is just a lot of them so you get a little bit of everything! It is a fun ward though! Elder Cooper who was in Odessa 2nd Ward with me is in the San Angelo 1st Ward with me now and it seems like he still like Odessa 2nd Ward more but talks this ward up a lot too! And I have met some really cool people and had a pleasant time at church yesterday so I am excited to be here!



My companion, Elder Shroeder is pretty beast. This is only his third transfer but he seems like he's a seasoned vet. Super mature but super funny and goofy too! We've been having a dang good time! Its been fun though because he still has a lot to learn and he already seems to be learning a lot from me and how I do different things! It will be fun to watch him grow! He is from Sandy, Utah which is no surprise. You just can't run away from them missionaries from Utah! He is also very closely related to someone extremely famous and awesome but I will keep that on the down low for now.... so you'll have to wait to figure that one out. Hehe. I don't think he likes tons of people knowing, so maybe I'll tell you when I get home in 11 months!



We have some sweet people we are working with down here. We have a man named Mac who is 80 years old and married to a member. He has been meeting with missionaries for YEARS but accepted a baptismal date for the first time a couple weeks ago! Apparently he is sincerely looking for answers for the first time now as well. We had a good lesson with him my second day here and it was pretty dang good! I don't think he had heard some of the stuff we threw at him and it seemed to really help him understand what he's looking for. So hopefully he continues to make progress! I also taught my first lesson to this couple named Chase and Melody. They came to church on Sunday for like their fifth time, however we just taught them their second official lesson. So I don't really know how that all lines up. But whatevs. We taught a killer Plan of Salvation. I hadn't taught that for months so it was fun to teach a real powerful Plan of Salvation to them! They are pretty solid. They will be out of town both Saturdays that we were shooting for their baptism but they accepted the invitation to prepare for the 26th of December! So we'll keep making progress with them! I also have gotten into some sweet doctrinal discussions with some peeps out there in the streets of San Angelo. It's kinda annoying actually. You just can't get through to some people. I have been thinking about how I can have good conversations but keep it from getting into a doctrinal discussion that doesn't go anywhere. Its funny though, there is always a moment or two where something that we say hits them and you can tell they feel something, but they just don't know how to react to it. Its frustrating when people don't understand the spirit. But whatevs.



Also, Elder Preisler from Melba is in my district! He's a good kid and loves just going out and talking to people on the streets! He was on my basketball team our first morning here (he is fresh out of the MTC) and we tore it up! Not gonna lie, I have been tearing it up. Last Monday was sick and then we played only one time this week and I continued my fire. I have been dropping bombs on people. Like, pulling up right in their face and dropping deep 3's on them and then I have been improving getting to the rim and finishing with the defense right there...  something that I was never able to do in high school! Dang, I've been consistently making sick shots. I've been shooting probably well over 50% on my 3's and they ain't the wide open type! Dang, I'm so good. Jk. I'm not that good. But then again, I am. Not nearly as good as Elder Despain though. That kid can ball up like crazy. Like, he's whacko good. He can hit a shot from anywhere within 10 feet of the 3 point line like its nothing. That kid..... I'm tellin' ya. Dang good.



Anyway, its a pleasure to be in San Angelo! I am expecting the work to be pretty good here! Still probably much much slower than a lot of places around the world but faster than Lubbock, Texas and Odessa, Texas! So it should be a good time! We shall see how it all unfolds! But I am happy to be here!



I love y'all and hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am excited for double Thanksgiving meals! Holler. Enjoy the company of family and friends and may the Lord's presence always be with you as you share those wonderful moments with each other!



Lots of Love,

Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, November 16, 2015

Peace Out O-Town


November 16, 2015

Well, this week has been a whirlwind for me! Lots of stuff happened!

To start off, yes I will be leaving Odessa tomorrow afternoon and will be going to San Angelo and serving in the 1st Ward with Elder Schroeder who has just finished his training! So he is fairly new. I have heard good things about San Angelo! It is actually green and has some trees and actually has a couple small rivers flowing through it! I haven't seen one of those in a year! And I hear the people are really nice there. So it should be good. However, I am kinda/really ticked about leaving Odessa. G-whiz I love Odessa now! More specifically I am going to miss the Odessa 2nd Ward! It is my favorite ward that I've served in so far! I have been blessed with some of the best wards! I am kinda bummed too because I really wanted the spend Thanksgiving, my birthday, and Christmas here in Odessa but I will have to roll with what I have.

I think I figured out transfer emotions too. After one transfer you don't really care if you leave or not. After two you would really like to stay to get to know everyone better. After three you are dying to stay because you love the ward and area so much, and then after four transfers you don't really care what happens because you have spent a long time there and you know it’s time to leave, but you love it enough that you wouldn't mind staying another transfer. So, after three transfers in Odessa 2nd East I was just praying I stayed for another transfer.... but the Lord has different plans. And I'm down with whatever the Lord needs me to do so I'm alright! I have had more luck with seeing people to say goodbye however! In Lubbock I struck out. NOBODY was home to say goodbye to! But I haven't missed anyone here! So that’s been nice! There were some not so fun goodbyes but nothing I can't manage. I'm gonna have a hard time tomorrow though with leaving. Leaving your trainee is like getting punched in the stomach. Even though he drove me crazy at times and we weren't necessarily best friends, that one will be interesting. Hahaha Elder Despain last night was pumped to be done with training. I had to stay up late to get some packing done, so he was counting down the minutes until his training was over. We were both still awake in bed at midnight and he yelled, "I'M DONE WITH TRAINING!!!! YEAH!!!!!!" Hahahaha so I reminded him that I'm still senior companion for the next day and a half and that shut him up. Haha jk. He laughed. It was a good one! But, ultimately, I hate getting transferred. It’s so annoying. Like, no joke. You have to say goodbye, pack, then learn a new area, a new ward, a new companion, a new city, a new zone, etc. It’s so annoying, but it’s part of the job!

On Saturday we were able to go to the temple with the Lynch's who are in our ward! It was a good day! I always enjoy the temple and it’s hard not to so that's cool. A cool little note about that.... there was an old lady (probably in her 80's) that was going through for her own endowment! It was super cool to see! She had her oxygen tank and everything with her. It was touching to see someone at the tail-end of their life be able to go and make sacred covenants! It’s never too late! I think she was baptized about a year ago as well (it had to be at least a year) because there were a lot of sister missionaries there that have served in Eastland where the lady is from including a sister that recently finished her mission that came back. So that was a cool thing to see! After the temple we went to Chuy's Tex-Mex Restaurant and ate some dang good food. I got the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom enchilada! It was DANG good. It had some amazing yellowish/green sauce that they were drenched in that was amazing. I thought it was going to be super duper hot but it was just dang good. And here in Texas they are humble enough to call their restaurants "Tex-Mex" and not "Mexican" because they KNOW that they ain't serving authentic Mexican food. Tex-Mex is flipping good though! SO good. But most places they just call them Mexican Restaurants when it ain't really a Mexican restaurant. GO TEXAS!!!!! Texas pride is a real thing too, in case you haven't notices. Its no joke. People here are nuts about this place.

Hahahahaha here's a funny little random note for you. Yesterday was my year anniversary from the day that I threw-up at the Weldy's house one like my second week in Sweetwater! Classic story! Now that I'm over a year out I sometimes read my journal from exactly a year prior and I did that last night and started dying laughing after the first sentence. Oh man, that was a good one. Never gonna forget blowing chunks all over the Weldy's floor and Jace having to clean it up! Hahahahaha!

I was able to ordain Mark yesterday after church! That was awesome! I love doing stuff like that. Its always so powerful conferring the priesthood to someone and blessing them with things to help them grow in the priesthood. I was honored to do it. I also didn't even know that I was doing it until like 2 minutes before! Mark had mentioned Elder Despain doing it last week but he just mistakenly said that because apparently everyone besides Elder Despain and myself knew that I was doing it! It’s nice to be able to have things like that thrown upon you last minute and not even have any worries because you know you got it. Elder Despain was having a cow worrying about it all night and all morning and then he didn't even do it! Hahaha he freaks out whenever he has to lay his hands on someone’s head now because the first person he was part of a blessing for died a few weeks later. But, I was the one to give the actual blessing. Haha he just anointed and I gave the blessing. So now he thinks everyone is going to die that he lays his hands upon! It’s so funny! But he has a good streak going now so he's starting to forget about the fact that he's a killer. Hahaha good times!

Another cool thing from this week, we met and kinda taught a dude named Joseph Smith! We were knocking random doors a few nights ago and we knocked on a door and an old black lady answered and she asked what we were selling. We responded that we were just missionaries and we talk to people about Jesus, and she let us right in because "My husband is sick and hasn't been to church in years! He needs all the Jesus he can get!" hahaha so she just told us to go ahead with our thing, so we taught them the Restoration and all. It was fun. I don't think they have a clue what we really told them but Jesse (the lady) seemed to enjoy it and she just loved us, but her husband was a nutcase. We offered him a blessing and he started going off about how we need to show him proof in that book that Joseph Smith healed people, and he went on about Old Testament this, New Testament that....... I don't even know what he was talking about. He was making no sense. Hahaha. And I don't think he could grasp the concept that the Book of Mormon wasn't a book about Joseph Smith. Oh well, Elder Despain and his new comp get to go over there again! However, here's something cool. Jesse is like, SUPER big into politics. As we were walking out I saw on a table in the doorway a picture of President Obama, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton all together in a picture with a personal note written under it thanking her for all her contributions to the Democratic Party. And she told us that she and Hillary Clinton go WAY back! I think the real shocker here is that I ran across a Democrat in Texas!!!!! They are extremely rare and extremely hard to come across! However, I did it! I found one! She is one in a million down here in Texas!

Well, I'm fixin' to wrap it up for the day. I am so thankful to be out doing His work right now and ever so grateful for the things that the Lord is teaching me every day! I love y'all and hope y'all have a blessed week! Ugh, that's totally a Texan thing to say... "Have a blessed day!". I am wondering what I will sound like when I go back home to Idaho. I hope people like listening to Texan.... cause you're gonna get an earful of it! God bless y'all! Dangit, there goes another one. Whatever. I'm out.

With all my love,
Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, November 9, 2015

Service!


November 9, 2015

Well hello to all of you this fine day! We had an interesting week full of this and that. Seemed a little all over the place but it was good!

To start off, I saw a Gabe look-alike the week before last! I saw the little dog getting walked by its owner and I stopped and asked if it was a Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso mix and the lady said yes! I have seen a number of look-alikes but they are always either Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso. But this one was spot on! I always know that its not a Gabe because they never have the right tail. They look similar in coloring or face but the tail is never a match. But this little guy had the tail! He was such a fun little guy! I played with him for a minute or two as I conversed with the lady about Gabe and her dog. What fun! Gabe is the best!

Btw, I'm gonna be all over the place this week.

So, I've had so much darn candy this past week and I still have so much left. Its disgusting. I can feel it every day. Unfortunately I don't have enough self-control to not sit down and eat a delicious candy bar. Ugh. On the bright side, I am adding on nicely to my Tootsie Roll and Starburst wrapper chains on my wall! But I am ready to just get over this candy phase and get back to the truly good stuff. I need it. However, I think this candy has helped me lose weight. So thats a plus.

I went on two exchanges this week. One with Elder Nebeker (in my district) and then with Elder Moschetti (my zone leader). So I feel like I did no work in my area this week. They were good exchanges, but it feels unproductive because you aren't in your own area so you feel like your work means nothing! And then you throw on 14 hours of service this week and it seems like we didn't do any work! Most of our work came in the evening after dinner but it gets dark so dang early now so our evening work is super unproductive because nobody wants you going to their house after dark and nobody is outside. However I really enjoy doing service so it was a good week! We did our usual service at the Presidential Archives and the Ellen Noel Art Museum and also helped with painting a members house that they needed painted ASAP. So our days were full with service and activities!

I also read two books this week! I read Gordon B. Hinckley's "Way to Be" in like 2 hours sitting at the Art Museum. It was a pretty good read. Nothing special. But definitely motivating and a good message for a young guy like me trying to figure life out! I also read "Mafia to Mormon" while sitting inside with a sick Elder Jewett in 2.5 hours. It was an amazing conversion story! Probably the best conversion story that I've read or heard on my mission! He was a man who was involved in tons of dishonest dealings and making millions of dollars on scams and under-the-table deals. And then, the missionaries showed up and the rest is history. But even the story with the missionaries was crazy. Dang. Good read. That book is like TV for missionaries!

I had one of the best meals I've had in a LONG time the other night! We had dinner with a member who served his mission in Jamaica so he made us Jamaican Jerk chicken which was like, the best dang chicken I've ever had! He smoked some jerk marinated chicken legs over apple wood I believe and it was just insane chicken. My lips were basically raw from the spice but it was nothing that was difficult to power through! He also made these little fried bread thingies called "festival" or something like that and some rice cooked in coconut milk. Both really really good. And then to top it off he made this Jamaican drink that was to die for! I can't remember what it was called, but I couldn't get enough of it! It was definitely something that I haven't had on my mission and its up there with the best!

Another bit of news. Permian High lost to San Angelo High on Friday. So their undefeated season went down the drain. Oh well. Everyone seems to be distraught about that. Darn it, Permian! They will probably still make it pretty deep into state, but they ain't undefeated no more!

We had a killer lesson with Mark on Monday! We were going to teach the Restoration because we haven't retaught that yet, but we only made it to the second point in the lesson before everyone was crying. They were wanting to listen to the Conversion Story of Bill Carpenter because it is super relatable to Mark, but we went with the Resto instead, but then after we got the tears rolling we decided that the conversion story was perfect for what we were talking about so we diverted from the plan and we listened to that. It was pretty sweet. Maybe one of these days we'll get around to getting a full lesson in before we all turn all soft and mushy. Gosh, I need to work on that. We also had an appointment with Dustin and Rose but Rose had to work that night so we weren't able to visit with them this week, and then the majority of our week was service and me being out of the area on exchanges. However Elder Despain talked to a few people in our area on exchanges that said we could come by again. So hopefully something works out with them.

Well, I need to go finish up some stuff before we head out! But I love y'all! I hope and pray that the Lord will guide you to many wonderful things and experiences this week and continue to lead and guide your lives! He loves YOU! And I do too!

Lots of Love,

Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, November 2, 2015

Party!


November 2, 2015

Well its been a pretty eventful past week down in Odessa, Texas! Full of fun and lots of hard work, which is always satisfying!

First off, I heard some seriously sad news on Friday. I heard that Sis Willie Mae Green from Sweetwater passed away! I will actually tell you the story of what happened. So, a couple months ago I thought that I would write her and Dianne little letters and send them with some pictures and have the missionaries in Sweetwater take it to them. Well, I procrastinated for a while but I finally got it done and sent off. Apparently the elders in Sweetwater got everything in the mail and took it to Sis Green in the hospital either that day or the next and then she passed away within a few days. I can't remember when exactly she passed, it might have been the next day, it may have been a few days. I can't remember. However they said that she LOVED the letter and picture and was so pleased to receive it! It warmed my heart to know that my stuff got there in time and that she found such joy out of it when she was in her last moments of mortality! Ugh, she was the best! I won't ever forget Willie Mae Green! However it is comforting to know that she is taken care of now. She didn't exactly understand everything about the basic doctrines and whatnot, but I am sure her mind has been enlightened and that she is finding great joy in having a full knowledge of the gospel! She was always so worried about going to hell too! Haha it was so funny! We always had to tell her that she was amazing and that she didn't need to worry but she was always just trying her hardest to not "go down there with Satan". I can't wait to sit down and converse with her in the next life!

I learned all this information from the Sweetwater elders at our Mission Tour on Friday. The whole south half of the mission gathered in Midland on Friday and then they did the north half of the mission in Lubbock on Saturday. It was a good meeting! Elder Foster from the Seventy was here to instruct us and teach us. He was pretty good. He talked a lot about getting out mission to where it becomes a "missionaries help members" mission and then went on about something about prayer and this and that. He never really made a solid final point with that one. It was good, but it just never really got hit home. However, I learned a lot from him and am excited with where we should be headed as a mission! He also introduced this new plan that the church has made for the Southwest States area and it will involve a lot of member/missionary interaction and the vision is the have 20 new wards in our mission in a year from now. They will be introducing the plan to the members in a special broadcasted stake conference this coming Sunday and then it will be implemented immediately! I am excited to start working on it! It was funny though, when Elder Foster was instructing about his new plan, people would ask a question and Elder Foster would ask President Heap to answer and he would stand up and go on for a minute, and then call on someone else that had a question and then start to answer that, but then at a point Elder Foster would basically have to cut him off and take over again because it was supposed to be him that was talking about the plan. However I think I learned more from President Heap in his few moments answering questions than the rest of the hour of Elder Foster. It was fun to watch. He just teaches things and explains things so well and it just so captivating when he speaks that when Elder Foster takes over again it just like a snoozer. Ok, not really. I actually enjoyed Elder Foster probably the most out of all the general authorities that have been down here! He was a good guy and had some good stuff that he taught us! Funny thing about him and his wife... so as we departed the chapel for lunch they shook all of our hands and asked us where we were from. They are from Rigby, btw. So when I shook Sister Fosters hand and responded with "Kuna" when she asked me where I was from, she pulled me in closer and said, "I think your school is playing my grandson's football team tonight in the state playoffs" and then gave me a funny competitive look! So I agreed and said "Yeah, I think thats correct" and departed with a "Go Kavemen!" Gotta keep that Kaveman pride going down here in West Texas!

Saturday night was sweetness! We attended the Odessa 2nd Ward Halloween party! Oh man was it a blast or what! Haha I barely recognized some people! Some peeps went all out this year on their costumes! But it was a good night full of awesome people, awesome costumes, and awesome games. In fact, all I heard about leading up to the party was about how the missionaries participated in a couple songs of Just Dance the year before and how it was funny to watch them, and then all I heard about at the party was about how we needed to go and dance........... so I did. And I'm like the coolest missionary to ever go through Odessa 2nd Ward now. No joke. Not really sure if we are allowed to participate in such activities, but it was a great tool for member/missionary relations! Haha! I LOVE the Odessa 2nd Ward though! Such great people! I wouldn't mind staying here a while longer and continue to help the ward out!

Also another cool thing that happened in our area this week was the Permian High vs. Odessa High football game! My goodness that place was packed!!!!! There were SO MANY cars up at Ratliff Stadium! We went "finding" up there for like 30 mins before we went in for the night because the rest of the city was shut down and it was completely dark and nobody likes us after dark. It was sweet. That stadium is insane. Good ol' West Texas high school football! Nothing beats it!

We did a lot of hard work this week in our area, but haven't seen much success. Our investigators Dustin and Rose are reunited now! Dustin just got out of jail on like Wednesday night (a few night early). We were expecting to just drop by and talk to Rose for a few minutes at the door because our member present wasn't able to go last minute. So, we knocked on the door and Dustin answered..... it was one of those "What the?!!!" moments! But they are doing super solid and are ready to go all in and just kill it in the gospel and church. So we are planning on setting a goal of December 19th for them to be married and baptized by. So I am really hoping that all works out. For those of you who don't know, my birthday is December 19th so I am hoping for a white birthday if I stay another transfer here in Odessa! They are out only investigators right now. I thought we were going to pick up a couple people/families this week but it just didn't happen. But we are continuing with the grind and are continuing with the work and trying go get something going here.

Alrighty, its time for me to go bye bye! I love y'all and feel your love every day! Remember to always have a smile on your face and be a light in somebodies day! You never know when someone is in need!

Lots of Love,

Elder Reed Ericson

Gettin' Over the Hump!


October 26, 2015

Well hello everybody! It is a beautiful Monday here in Odessa! And by beautiful I mean a little chilly... but I can manage. This past week was a little crazy as you can imagine! Let me expound.

Well as you know I had a huge hump to get over this week! My goodness. Quite honestly the only difficult time was Monday night. Yes, I know, my hump day wasn't until Thursday.... however, Monday was the 19th of October so I laid there in bed knowing that in exactly a year I would be spending my first night at home in Idaho! Good heavens, that was quite the shocker! However it was short lived and I got over it in no time! Then Thursday came around.... oh boy! It was actually pretty good. Well, it wasn't good at all but it was all just funny to me! I'll tell you more about that in a minute! It was an interesting day mentally though. Just knowing that I was a year done was exciting, but then I would realize that I am only half way done, and I am basically just starting over again and doing what I just did for a second time. The thoughts of "I'M NEVER GOING HOME!!!!" came every once in a while... but those really aren't too bad! I enjoy it out here and I have seen how much I have grown and I am only excited to see what another whole year will do for me! Its quite exciting to think about! The only reason why I'd want to come home would be to apply what I have learned into normal life! I am actually really looking forward to that. I am super excited to have another year to learn and grow and then to take it all home and just be awesome and apply everything to my real world life!

So, what made my day interesting was my epic BIKE CRASH!!!!! Hahahaha it was sick! We were riding down a road (the name of the road would mean nothing to you) that wasn't very wide and had a good amount of cars going both ways. Elder Despain was in front of me and rode up onto a cement driveway type thing that was probably lifted about 2 inches up from the road. Well, I naturally tried to do the same thing, but for some reason my tire didn't get up over the lift and my tire just skid along the lifted cement. I was leaning and was in the motion of taking my bike up over the cement lift so when my tire didn't go up my bike and myself went flying right to the ground as I was riding probably between 12-15 mph, which isn't all that slow! I ate it hard!!! And there were lines of cars going both ways on the street!!! On the way down I was sure I was going to get back up with blood and dirt all over and in lots of pain... BUT, I had like zero pain! It was sick! All I had was a tiny cut on my left hand, a little scrape on my right elbow, and the outside of my right shoe looked destroyed but it was nothing my shoe wax stuff from Dillard's couldn't clean up! So back to the event itself. I popped right up from the ground and just hopped on my bike and loudly yelled "Dude that was sick!" and started riding away until Elder Despain stopped me because one of my bike lights fell off! Turns out there were a lot of things that went askew on my bike that I needed to tend to, but nothing that actually caused damage! But talk about an adrenaline rush! WHOOOO! I made it a whole year without crashing on my bike and then it happened to me twice actually on the week of my year mark! I also fell over on Tuesday night but we were both basically at a stop so it wasn't bad. Not worth telling the story at least.

Also on Friday the Lynch family fed us for a late year-mark celebration. On Monday they texted us and asked what I wanted so I requested steak... so they asked what kind I wanted, and I naturally answered ribeye because its just the best darn steak you can get. So, Friday night we went to the Lynch's and I had the best dang steak I've had in my life!!!!!!! Oh man. Just, oh. It was so dang good. I gobbled up all 16+ oz of that steak like it was candy on Halloween... but it was way better than Halloween candy! It was just... just.... so good that I can't even describe. Such good marbling and a solid amount of fat that just gave it the most amazing flavor. And it was cooked so dang good. I'm telling you, you ain't never had a steak like that. And then after dinner we worked it all off by playing a game of 3-on-3 football in the street in which I tore it up. And by tore it up I mean I had some sweet moves and tore down the sideline/right by the curb for some sweet touchdowns. Still got the speed! We only played for like 20 minutes though before it got dark. It was fun though! I wish we got to play more 3-on-3 football games in the street but unfortunately that's not really a thing that people do. Oh well.

We have been working hard on trying to get some people to teach. We have made contact with a few formers and met some new people on the street this week that invited us back. We had a couple people tell us we could come back on Saturday but we got caught up with a serious moving job on Saturday so we weren't able to get to them. We are continuing to build a solid foundation and I keep feeling that things are about to start happening here! Its just like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode one week! So hopefully we get some of that explosion this week! Other than that the missionary work has been the same old same old this past week. Nothing new. But hey, that's West Texas for ya!

I love y'all and hope y'all have a good week! I am thoroughly looking forward to another year to learn and grow down here in the Texas Lubbock Mission and serving the West Texans! Peace out!

Much love,

Elder Reed Ericson