Friday, March 18, 2016

The Hand of the Lord


March 14, 2016

Hello my friends! Another week in the books! Time is flying way too fast! March is halfway over and I am a week away from being out for 17 months! Dang. Next month will be my 3/4 mark. Its crazy to think that time is winding down so fast. It will be over before I know it, which is scaring me a little bit!

 

This week was interesting. I feel like the work here in San Angelo was just dead all week. It seemed like days just happened with nothing in them. Part of it was the weather. We had a wet week with a couple days of lots and lots of rain. Already being a little disabled with transportation being in a bike area, you add rain to it and it now puts you on foot since you don't want to get drenched by riding through puddles that are necessary to ride through. Usually walking gets you a good chance to slow down to talk to some people, but when its raining there ain't nobody to talk to! And you can't just spend time knocking on doors because you are trying to get to a place that you know you can sit inside and visit with someone! And then when they aren't there, you must embark on your trek to the next place. So it was interesting. Those days were long but we were able to avoid getting soaked to the bone, thanks to rain jackets! This week looks to be sunny and bright all week with a little bit of clouds towards the end but not a high chance of rain. So we should be good to go! Cloudy but no rain is what I like to see!

 

Last Monday evening we stopped by this young brotha named Trey. He had stopped us from inside of his car to talk to us a few weeks ago. We went in and sat down in his house and had an interesting convo. In fact, the Jehovah's Witnesses beat us to him by a couple of days so he already had some religious literature there with him. So we gave him even more before we left! He talked on and on about some weird stuff that he has going on. He believes in the law of attraction where if you look at yourself in a certain way then your body will do what you are imagining it. He said that he lost a lot of weight doing that and right now his teeth are in the process of straightening up! Seemed legit. However he seems to not have a very good attention so we shall see how it works out with him. We haven't been able to see him again so I am looking forward to seeing how a follow-up visit will go with him! However, the JW's beat us over there for a follow-up I'm sure. And he will probably show them the Book of Mormon and stuff. So looks like we have a classic JW vs. Mormon show down on our hands! Although we will only share what we believe and not get in a JW showdown with him. We'll have to keep it real. Should be interesting!

 
We had a ride in a sweet new mini-van! There is a young couple in our ward that fed us a few days ago on a night that it was raining. The other elders couldn't give us a ride home so we asked them for a ride. Sure enough, we got to hop into their SWEET mini-van. I felt like I was riding in a 23rd century spaceship! That unit had everything you could ever ask for in a vehicle! I huge GPS screen on the console, sweet front seat/console design, a mega-wide flip down tv screen, trash baskets, crazy back seat buttons/controls, middle seats that slide back and forth to create more room or less room, and anything else you could possibly imagine! Ugh..... I just want a mini-van so bad now! #DreamCar

 
I had what are called "Idaho Tacos" for the first time in my life! Sis McMunn made them for us for dinner and blew us Idaho boys away with something that we should have been so familiar with already. However, somehow me in all my Idahoaness had never had the term or meal Idaho Tacos revealed to me! So, imagine a taco, a regular delicious taco. But now, replace the tortilla or shell with a potato. Boom! There you are! An Idaho Taco!!!! You just cut the potato open, slice it up a little/much it a little, and throw on your taco toppings! I was a little skeptical at first, but it turned out to be wonderful! Y'all best be getting ready for some real Idaho food from Texas when I get home! Also on a food note, I almost divulged into some Ramen Noodles that were left in my cupboard by the previous missionary when I got here. I have yet to give in to the Ramen temptation in the last nearly 17 months, and I don't plan on eating them in the next 7 months. I want to be able to say that I served a full 2 year mission without eating Ramen a single time! So I held strong to my inner commitment and did not partake, even though I was suffering from some serious munchies and I had no food to munch on and Ramen sounded really good. I hope to be able to report that I didn't eat Ramen a single time when I get home! Be ready to ask so I can be accountable to you!

 

Church was pretty sweet yesterday. It was fast Sunday for us since we had stake conference last week so we had testimony meeting for sacrament. Testimony meeting is always beast here in Texas. It kinda weirds me out sometimes when I think about sitting in testimony meeting back home through lots of silence and lots of kids. Here you have one adult after another getting up to share their testimony with silence on rare occasions. You can literally go a whole meeting with having no more than like 10 seconds of silence. Plus, they have some way of keeping the kids down. I think they give them opportunities to do it in primary or something. And you don't get any long stories or nothing like that. People go up, bear sincere testimony about things they know to be true, and sit down and give the spotlight to the next person. Every once in a while you get a brief story, but nothing more than a minute or two and its usually concise and to the point! Its fantastic stuff! Its interesting how the culture of the church is just a little different down here. The church is still definitely the exact same thing, but it has a little different feel to it sometimes. I love it! I can't really put it all into words in an email, but you will hear it all some day.

After church we were about to head out the door when a Sister in the ward came running over and said that her son wanted to be there and stand in on his Aaronic Priesthood ordination! We don't know the family too well, even though they are super awesome. I have only been over to dinner twice at their place, but I guess we sometimes have a super positive influence on people when we have no idea we do! The kid had plenty of family there for his ordination as well, so it wasn't like he was stretching to get people to stand in. But it was touching to know that he desired to have us there! I was honored!

 
I finished the Book of Mormon yesterday after church! This time reading through it I highlighted all the mentions of deity. Everything from "God" to "he". It was an interesting study. At times I would be marking a something on every single like and others I would go pages with only highlighting a couple. Overall, what I realized was that the Lord was at the center of everything the entire time. There were times when he was obviously the direct center of everything (the times when I was highlighting a something on every line) and then there were times when he was indirectly the center of everything (those pages where he was hardly mentioned). I think those pages where he was not mentioned a whole lot are the ones we can learn the most from. Lately I have been realizing just how much of a hand the Lord has played in my life over the last 20.5 years and back into the pre-existence, and it took me a long time to realize that it was him and not just happenstance. The Lord does more indirectly in our lives than he does directly. We think, "Oh, the Lord did this....." far less than we should. But we just don't recognize how involved he really is with us. He literally does everything. And I could see instances in the Book of Mormon where prophets would hardly mention him because of the kind of text they were writing, but the Lord was at work regardless of the lack of mentioning him in text. Very interesting study. And it was sweet too. I knelt down after finishing it to ask once again for a reaffirming witness of the book, and as I was about to pop the question I could feel the Spirit blowing up inside of me and then when I popped the question the Spirit popped as well and it just felt real good. Real good indeed. That was easily the strongest answer to a prayer asking about the Book of Mormon I have ever had! Yes! It is true!!!!!!!

 
Well team, its time for me to close up on y'all. You mean the world to me! I thank the good Lord every day for such wonderful family, friends, and everyone else that I associate with! May you recognize more fully the hand of the Lord working in your lives this week and give him thanks for the many wonderful blessings he gives you every minute of every day!

 
God bless ya!

 Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Reed Ericson

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