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