April 4, 2014
Hey team! Its good to email you today and fill you in on my life and adventures down here in Abilene, TX! This past week was a little crazy with this and that, but overall a very good week full of goodness!
To start off I will address the subject of my email. So, anyone remember that amazing barbeque place I always raved about when I was in my first area, Sweetwater? Well, if you don't remember, I will fill you in. This place is called Blackland Smokehouse and it is out in a tiny town called Roscoe. This place is incredibly amazing. Like, its down right not even real how good the meat is that they put into your belly. I have been to many bbq places down here in West Texas, and this place puts all the other places to complete utter shame. This place, however, is only opened for lunch time. So, my hopes of ever going there again on my mission were completely destroyed since I don't expect to go back to serve in Sweetwater. However, this place is open for dinner as well only on Fridays. And, this guy, Elder Ericson, happened to be passing right by Roscoe on his way home from Lubbock Friday evening at about 7:45. BOOYAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It didn't take much convincing to get my companion to stop.... nobody in their right mind could pass up this opportunity! So we stopped by, went in, and I proceeded to order a 3 meat plate which gives you nearly a pound and a half of meat!!!!! But I figured I may never get the chance again so I went big! I got pulled pork, ribs, and brisket. I began with eating some pulled pork. Pretty dang good stuff. Then I proceeded to chow down a rib. Oh man. Unreal stuff. I think they have improved their ribs since I last went! AND THEN, I moved on to my first slice of brisket........................................ HOLY COW (literally... hee hee). Straight up party in my mouth. It literally took my breath away every time the blackened edge hit my mouth!!!!!!!!! I can't even begin to describe to you the state that this beef puts your entire soul into. I am pretty sure I got a glimpse of the Celestial Kingdom. I kid you not. If only I could take a slice of that brisket into the celestial room at the temple, then that is the closest thing to heaven I could possibly imagine in this life. Anyway, enough of my rambling. If I were you I would buy a plane ticket right now and fly down here to go. Just make sure to stay away from the east side of Abilene so we don't run into each other!
Well, leaving San Angelo was tough but it was all good. I am used to leaving places now so it doesn't wrench my heart out like it used to. I gave my farewell email last week so I mostly covered everything. However, one thing did happen Monday night. We had a lesson with our investigator Andrew, and I hadn't mentioned how I was leaving the next morning yet. So it was just all normal. It was getting pretty close to the time for us to leave and he was talking about everything going on. He mentioned how he wants to go all the way and get baptized before we left because he didn't want to just keep going through missionaries (he has been taught multiple times before). Well, I stopped him right there and broke the news that I was leaving the next day. He said "What?! No your not. You're just playing with me! You're not leaving." Well, that was one of those times where your heart gets ripped out of your chest. I had to then tell him about everything and he had to accept the fact that I was a goner. Ugh, that one packed a punch. But, we both handled it like a champ. Me and him really had a pretty good connection, and he didn't really have one with my companion so it was difficult for him and will be a big adjustment for him, but he will do fine. I hope to hear good updates on him soon!
Transfer day was a little crazy. We left San Angelo at 9:00am to go to Abilene. After managing the transfer site with tons of cars and people in Abilene we took off to take two missionaries to Snyder (1.5 hours west) and then back to Abilene with a stop in Sweetwater. We stopped by my old apartment to exchange cars with the Sweetwater elders. It was super weird. Haha my time in Sweetwater feels like a dream! It was weird to walk around the apartment and think that I spent 6 months there! Anyway, the rest of the day was long. We had a lot of driving around to do, and ended up not leaving the church until about 9:30pm. It was a long day. Not looking forward to managing transfers in the future!
On Thursday night we headed up to Lubbock for Mission Leadership Council on Friday morning. That was a good drive. We made it go by fast! We both like to sing so we just jammed out to our missionary tunes the whole way. However, Elder Lund actually has a dang good voice and I was screeching pretty bad because of a minor cold that I had for a number of days, so it was an experience. MLC was dang good. It was fun to be a part of the council! We had some good training and it was fun to be around lots of my good friends who are all very good missionaries! At the end of our conferences we have "departing testimonies" for those missionaries who go home at the end of the transfer. Well, Elder Stringham gave his departing testimony, and that was a rough one for me. He even had a hard time getting through it. I had some tears but I kept from losing it completely. It is weird to think that he goes home soon! Without going into details, he has been incredibly influential to me on my mission! So it was a hard one, but I made it through. It will be a fun one when he actually goes home. We shall see how that goes. Overall though it was a good council!
However, we had a big truck saga before we left. The mission received 4 new trucks. The truck that we had in Abilene got wrecked about a month ago, so its been out of commission for a while, so we were borrowing another car from other elders. We were told that we would be receiving one of the new trucks. However, through some decision making that makes no sense (not even exaggerating, the vehicle guy couldn't even explain anything to us) we took home the assistants truck. That thing is sweet. There is a huge crack in the windshield, the key is falling apart and held together with yellow tape, the front license plate in in the dash because it broke off, one of the vents is broken, the brakes aren't in tip top shape, and it stinks a little bit. So, its not the greatest ride but hey, its a vehicle and its still better than driving a Carolla, so I'm down. They say that there are more trucks coming in about a month, but we can see them just leaving this truck hear for another 8,000 miles until it is at the end of its life instead of giving us the one they said we would get in a month. So we shall see.
The work is going pretty well here. And by pretty well, I mean it ain't bad. We were going to have a baptism last night but his child ended up breaking her femur way up by her hip (yeah, I know, bizarre right? the x-ray was insane!) so they were in the hospital all weekend with her. His name is Nick and he is married to a returning less-active lady. I have only met him once now but he is a pretty sweet guy! He is now gunning towards next Saturday! So hopefully that works out for him. I have only taught one other investigator, a lady named Shanna. Good lady. I don't know too much about her, so more on her later. And we have lots of potentials to try by and hopefully teach and we have done some good finding in the little bit of time that we've had between transfers, MLC, and general conference. So this week should be good!
Elder Lund and I have been doing really well! We both like to sing and so we are always just busting out lines from random songs. Somebody will say a word that is in a song and that always leads to a line or two of singing. Its pretty fantastic. But, it may become a problem. We spent like half a comp study one day singing. We'll have to work on that! hahaha! We'll figure out a good balance! We've been having a dang good time and working hard and have already been opening up to each other and developing a pretty deep connection! So I am looking forward to the rest of the transfer with him! We're gonna do some good work!
General Conference was wonderful as well! I will admit however that I had a hard time staying alert and awake for a lot of it. I don't know why but sitting in a dark chapel was tough for me to handle with being naturally tired as a missionary. All my previous conferences I have been locked in the whole time, but I really struggled this time around. But I am looking forward to reading all of the talks and addresses soon! Because there were some mighty good ones! And it was good to hear President Monson speak! He may only have given only 5-10 minute messages but they were short, sweet, and to the point, and kept him from having a difficult time staying up like last conference! God bless him! I was super jacked to get to sustain him as the president of the church! I raised my right hand proudly! I love that man!!!!
Well team, its about time for me to jet. I hope and pray that y'all have an inspiring week and that the Lord bestows his blessing upon y'all as you invite them! And always remember that it all starts with faith in Jesus Christ and relying on his grace. Once we learn that, the rest is easy! I love y'all!
God bless ya!
Much love,Elder Reed Ericson
My new address:3549 Curry Ln #2808
Abilene, TX 79606
Hit me up!