Friday, February 19, 2016

Jesus take the Wheel

February 16, 2016

Well hello my good friends and family! How great it is to be here in San Angelo, Texas right now! Mainly because its like 72 degrees right now, which is perfect, but its always good to be anywhere in the service of the Lord! But this week was definitely a little bit more eventful than last week! I literally had nothing to talk about last week, but this week was fun! I am going to be all over the place this week so just enjoy!

To start off I would like to tell you of an annoying habit I have gotten in to. So, I say the phrase "very good" ALL THE TIME to people! Its gotten so bad that we were talking to an older man and I had asked him how he was feeling and he went on to describe all the pain he was in. And of course, after her was through describing all his pain, I replied with "very good"! Haha so he whipped a "No! Its not good!" back at me! Oh man, I felt bad but I went on to describe my problem and he got a good laugh out of if! And now he makes fun of me saying "very good" all the time. But I am trying to stop saying it. I am catching myself saying it now and so I am able to stop myself before it comes out. So hopefully I can kick that habit soon!

I was nearly killed this week while riding with a 90 year old man. He took us out to dinner and we were on a main busy road and turning left onto another road. We were in the left hand turn lane and waiting to turn left with a red light. And then all of a sudden he just drove right out there and turned left onto the other road as if he had a green light! YIKES!!!!! I think he was thinking he had a "yield" or something because he went right after a line of cars drove past going the other way. And this happened after he pulled straight through some "Do not enter" signed going into a parking lot going the wrong way. Wow, what a night that was! Those were just two of many frightening instances! However, he is a great man and I quite enjoyed the company and the fajitas that I ate for dinner!

We had some annoying water issues this week at our apartment. One night the water went out for a little while before it came back on before bed. However the next morning we woke up to no running water! Turns out, a water line busted out by the street coming into our apartment complex and left the entire complex without water all night and into the afternoon the next day! So we had to pack up our stuff and go take showers at the other elders’ place. And then, two mornings later, our shower was making funny sounds when the hot water was running, so once again we had to pack up our stuff and trek on over to the other elders’ place once again. On the bright side, we still temporarily have the car that we've had for the last week or two. So it wasn't too big of an inconvenience! Thank heavens I'm in America where we have hot water that flows like a hot spring into our shower! There are definitely perks to being an American missionary! God bless America!

We were told of a sweet service opportunity for Thursday afternoon early in the week. We were told that a senior care center needed some helpers for their Valentine's Day party. Heck yeah, I'll hit that place up! It was kind of awkward for a bit but it got much more comfortable. At first they just started playing some oldies jazzy music and had an open dance floor. Might I add that nearly everyone was in wheel chairs. So we all "danced" with people for a little bit. We basically just pushed them around and held their hands and moved them back and forth. However I asked this nice lady named Martha to dance and so we danced for just a minute and I ended up just sitting with her and visiting for well over 30 minutes. She was delightful! We talked about this and that and just had a good time! It got to the point when she asked me to guess how old she was because she said that I probably would be surprised with how old she was. She looked real good and healthy so I guessed 86 at first. She said that she was a few years older than that. So I guessed 89. Once again, she was older. At that point she just told me that she was 101 years old!!!!!! I couldn't believe it! I sat there and argued with her over her age for a minute because I was so shocked! Hahaha she was wonderful! She is my new buddy! Anyway, after the party concluded most of the seniors just stayed in the big room we were in and one of the workers asked if we wanted to sing some karaoke to them. Y'all know me, I can't pass up a good karaoke opportunity! So me and Elder Johnson threw down a few oldies tracks, quite pitifully might I add, that really seemed to bring some joy into our senior friends! Heck, the lady in charge even invited us back for more karaoke whenever we pleased! So we may be going back when Elder Johnson and I go on exchanges!

We had a crazy experience on Tuesday I believe it was. So on Monday evening I wanted to plan some good ol' knocking into our schedule. Elder Andrus was opposed but I was persistent because we have actually had a little bit of success knocking lately. So after taking a little break in the shade because we were both dead tired, we embarked on our knocking journey at about 4:30pm. First door, nothing. Second door, nothing..... so I thought. For some reason I just kept standing there waiting and waiting much longer than I normally wait. Finally, the door unlocks and opens and a man comes out and stands on the porch with us. I create some good friendly conversation (my knocking approach) and we eventually got talking about his family after a couple minutes. I asked him some sort of question and he responded with, "Well I'm actually a Mormon!". Ok, sweet, knocked into an inactive member. That's cool. Well, come to find out, this man, Bro Stephens we will call him, had been inactive for 35 years after being very active (branch presidency callings) and being sealed in the temple to his first wife. But the cool thing was, he said that the night before he was online trying to figure out what ward he was in, where he met, and who the bishop was so he could get into contact with him. However he decided to wait for God to tell him it was time to get back into church. Well, less than 24 hours later we randomly knocked into him. It was crazy! It is so amazing to see how the Lord uses us and it is truly humbling to recognize that the Lord is using you as a powerful tool in his hand to help people! Did I feel "impressed" to knock that day on that street? I didn't think so. I just wanted to knock because it seemed like it would be sweet to knock. And that street was near our dinner appointment an hour later and was right by a nice shady spot that we took a little break at. I never felt an "impression", however because I was living worthily and righteously the spirit's impression came in just "random ideas" that seemed like a normal decision. I have seen that as the way that the spirit works with me most. I haven't had one of those "I know there is somebody on this street we need to find" feelings on my mission, however I have had many "eh, let’s turn here, this street looks nice" type of "impressions". I have found that it is a life-long journey trying to figure out how the spirit works with us individually. There will never be a point in my life when I have it figured out. However I do have the ability to better recognize him and better follow promptings that I know I am getting. And it would have taken me a heck of a lot longer to do that if I hadn't been called to serve!

Along with that, I had a pretty cool experience reading the scriptures this week. I happened to be in the infamous 3 Nephi 11 during personal study one day. I read the verse where Father announces His son, "in whom (he) is well pleased". I really started to think about how Father feels about me. Is he pleased with my work? So, after a few minutes in thought I said a little prayer in my heart asking him directly if he was pleased with me. Once again, I didn't get that "overwhelming feeling", however I felt a small feeling of peace throughout my body. Boom, answered prayer. I found great comfort in that answer to my humble prayer. It gives me courage and faith to keep pressing on! However I do recognize my constant need to improve and progress. For a moment I was like, "Sweet! I'm good to go!" but I soon realized that he was pleased with my effort to improve and not just where I was at. You take away my effort to improve and that approval probably goes away. But for me that was an awesome example of how the scriptures can bring us personal revelation and guide our lives. It wasn't a big experience, however small experiences like that are what build us up and help us keep going.

Well, that will be it for me today! I love the work of the Lord! There is no greater place that I could be than San Angelo, Texas helping with the gathering of Israel! And only because of the Lord's grace am I able to be the missionary, disciple, and priesthood holder I need to be to fulfill my purpose on this journey and my mortal existence! The savior, Jesus Christ, lives!

May God bless y'all in your many labors and endeavors this coming week!

 Con mucho amor,
Elder Reed Ericson

                                                   Reed and his 101-year-old friend.

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