Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hello Friends


May 31, 2016

Hello my good friends! I hope your Memorial Day was wonderful! It was basically just another day of being a missionary for me. So that’s always fantastic. Anyway, this past week was a'ight. Nothing spectacular. Hopefully I will share something that grabs your attention and makes this worth reading. 

 
Well, I was able to go to Sweetwater on Tuesday for a district meeting! Elder Lund and I had to split up for district meetings this week so that we could spend some time at each of the district meetings in our zone instructing about principles. So I obviously called dibs on going to Sweetwater with the elders going out there from Abilene! Good stuff. I walked into the church for the first time in over a year now and got a nose full of memories. Yes, it smells the same. It has a very distinct smell that isn't necessarily a good thing. It ain't bad, but it has a smell of its own that you don't even realize until you take a year long break from stepping foot in it! I was taken back to the good ol' days of sitting through hilarious testimony meetings full of bashing and special needs people saying hilarious stuff, sunday school lessons that were given for the tenth time in twelve lessons, and taking lengthy bathroom breaks with my companions, among other stuff. Good times. Some of the best memories I have are from that place!

Anyway, after district meeting I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with one of our district leaders, Elder Lake. We had a few hours of proselyting time in the afternoon, but it didn't play out that way. We first went to give a blessing to a less-active member and mow his lawn, but the lawn couldn't be mowed, so we read some scripture and gave him a blessing. So we went back to the church after that to change into proselyting clothes. Well, Elder Ericson forgot to bring his darn shoes so we had to go find my companion to get the keys to the apartment. Went all the way home, got my shoes, and went to go give a blessing to a lady from the ward that Elder Lake is assigned to. Then right as we were pulling up to that house we got a call from a lady in our ward needing a blessing. So we went from one blessing to the next. And by that time it was already about 6:30, so we sat at the church for like 20 minutes for our "dinner hour" before our scripture class started at 7. So basically all we did was drive around giving blessings all day for exchanges. Luckily we were able to have some good discussion about the priesthood and other stuff. And Elder Lake, who is a typically reserved guy, was having the time of his life somehow and talked more than I did (shocker right?)! So I would say it was a successful exchange! 

 
We also were able to go up to Lubbock for exchanges on Friday! We went up in the morning and spent all day working! I was able to go and spend the day with Elder May, my MTC companion! The assistants’ area is usually a crazy area with tons of work, but school just got out and Tech campus is straight dead. Like, there isn't a single soul on that campus. So we basically did service and knocked apartments that weren't even really full of college kids. Basically everyone we talked to had to be passed to the family ward elders. So it was definitely a different experience than last transfer! Plus, the slower work didn't do well for both me and Elder May and our tiredness. It was pretty low energy at times, but we were still able to have some good fun and had some good laughs.

Some of the service we did was at the Salvation Army. We served up the food for dinner! It was interesting to see the different people come in to have a meal. There were people you knew were living on the streets, and people who seemed to be doing alright. I recognized that some of those people decided that they were going to make the most out of the situation they were living in. They had nothing, but you could tell they did everything they could to have a decent quality of life! Also, it was interesting to see a few children there as well. It is so interesting to see the different settings and environments that kids grow up with. Some children are born into well off families and have everything they need growing up along with a loving family, and then there are some kids who are born to whacko parents who abuse them and have nothing. It makes me think a lot to the pre-earth life and what made it to where we were born into the situations we are born into. I feel bad for those kids who are born into terrible situations, because they literally have no way of changing what type of life they have and didn't get to even choose it in the first place. This life interests me sometimes. There are so many things that go into each and every one of our lives and why it is we are where we are at, where we've been, and where we're going. God is amazing! Overall though, back to the exchange, it was fun to be up in Lubbock and work with Elder May! A lot has definitely changed since the good ol' MTC days! We actually taught a good lesson together and knew what we were doing! That never happened the first time we were together!

 

So church is a little bit interesting these days for me. Sunday school is quite the experience. We have a lot of interesting characters in our class who are all actively involved in the lessons. Its quite the experience. Literally, it is so incredibly interesting. I wish I could tell you more, but I must not divulge too much info. Every comment and even the prayers are just a wild wild ride. Usually we can contain it within our class, but then we had a combined 5th Sunday lesson for 3rd hour on Sunday and it got released into that lesson too. Oh my. I have stories for when I get home. But for now I will leave you with this cliff hanger. My apologies. I had a lot more to say but I decided to leave it out. Anyway, I'll move on. We got a new bishop on Sunday. Our bishop is in the air force and got reassigned out of the blue recently. Kinda weird. I heard that there is some stuff going on that is causing a lot of people to get reassigned out of the blue. Anyway, our new bishop is hilarious! He is German and still has a German accent, which makes his jokes even more hilarious! He never really smiled either, he just says funny stuff with a straight face and cracks a little smile every once in a while. As the stake president said, "I'm sure the next few years will be quite entertaining for you all with your new bishop!"  I'm pretty stoked for Bishop Greiner, although it will be sad to see the Fryers leave!

 

On Sunday we ate with an older, but not old, couple in the ward. Whenever we eat over there we never do any sort of spiritual thought or lesson or anything. He just starts asking us questions, and then plops open the scriptures and goes to town. Well, for the last 20 years he has been studying the kingdoms of glory and stuff pertaining to that. Good heavens (literally)! My idea of the afterlife took a spin. Holy cow. Talk about years and years of studying! He's done some intense studying of Doctrine and Covenants section 76 and section 88 and read book after book pertaining to the plan of salvation and has learned so much stuff! And its so clear when he teaches about it now because of how much studying he's done and how clear it is in his mind. Sometimes he pulls the "this is just Bro White-ism talking here" and sometimes he says it like its doctrine, but put it all together and its crazy stuff. Mind blowing. Now I just have to study it all out for myself and figure it out from the scriptures myself!

 

We picked up a sweet new investigator on Sunday after Bro White blowing our minds. We talked to this guy named Lorenzo my first full day in Abilene way back when. We left him with a pamphlet and then we didn't see him again, despite us trying, for quite some time until a few weeks ago when he answered his door. We then gave him another pamphlet to read since he didn't have time to visit with us, but seemed real open and nice. So we were finally able to contact him a few weeks later (Sunday) and he came out and sad down on the porch and started telling us how the pamphlets changed his life and such! He says one of them taught him that it was time to stop running from his problems and to face the things that he had to like a man. And he actually did it! How he got the revelation from a pamphlet about the Restoration of the Gospel.... I have no idea. But he did! He said that years ago he used to worship Satan with one of his "home-boys" but stopped that and is trying to follow God now. So naturally after hearing that I turned the ship and brought up repentance. So we taught him a little about repentance and the importance of baptism for the remission of sin and the difference between remission and forgiveness, invited him to be baptized, he accepted, and left him with an assignment for next time (tonight)! Lorenzo is sick! He is a total home-boy! haha! Other than Lorenzo, we haven't been able to pick up much traction on others. We were able to have some other lessons, but nothing is really progressing forward at the moment. Just have a turnover of new investigators, and investigators not going anywhere after the first lesson. But we are working on getting some of these peeps going! 

 

Anyway, its about time to git! I love y'all! Thank you for being who you are and also what you do! In that order! Keep pressing forward in faith and place greater enmity between you and Satan! He is working on overdrive right now and we must not let him get to us! 

 

God bless ya!

 Love,
Elder Reed Ericson


                                 Elder Reed (on the left) with Elder May at the Salvation Army.


                                                        A view of West Texas.


                                                  Between Abilene and Sweetwater.


                                                         Between Snyder and Sweetwater.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Months Fly By!


May 23, 2016

Well hello my good friends and family! The Lord has for sure blessed me with amazing people in my life, that's for sure, and those amazing people are you!

Days, weeks, and months just continue to fly by these days. Its definitely a trip sometimes. I was lying in my bed thinking last night when I realized that it was my 19 month mark! It took me until 10:45 to realize it! Its weird how it all just mushes together and you literally never even give a thought to what day it is or how long you've been out. Usually when people ask me now I just say "a long time" and then spent a few seconds trying to figure it out. I spent a while last night thinking about some of the wonderful experiences I've had throughout my mission and I was definitely touched and humbled to recognize the things the Lord has done for me. There were definitely a few things that stood out, but even just thinking about the hours spent out on the streets makes me thankful for the experience I've had! There were a lot of long days in there, but you take out those long days and the experience as a whole loses a level of deepness. Those are the times that make a mission a mission!

This week was pretty busy for us, for the most part! We got to go and get all the cleaning out and cleaning done on the apartments getting shut down. That was kinda lame. BUT, we did come away with some sweet stuff once again! We walked away with a new shower curtain that really livens up our bathroom, a new recliner, some cookie mix and frosting, a sweet rain jacket, and some girly body wash stuff that I've been using that is quite honestly amazing. You can judge if you'd like, but there's no denying that its fragrance is simply amazing for either gender and it leaves my skin feeling amazing as well. So definitely scored some sweet stuff.

We once again did some sweet service on that house out in Buffalo Gap that I mentioned a few weeks ago! We did some sweet work this time around! My first job was to do some work on teh staircase with my boy Elder Hatch. Neither of us are very experienced carpenters, surprisingly, so we struggled our way through quite the simple job. All we did was put plywood on the sides of the railing area. Bless our hearts. It took us like an hour and a half to do a 30 minute job. We sure did enjoy ourselves though! After we finished that job we went and began helping with the project of putting in the 3rd story. That was definitely pretty intense. Not gonna lie, I pretty much stood there and tried to pretend to be busy. There wasn't enough work for all of us to be busy the whole time, so you will do something, and then pretend to be busy for a few minutes, and then do something real fast that is needed, and then pretend to be busy for a few minutes. But it was fun being on top of a tall two story building in West Texas! Just got to look out over the forest of mesquite and other various trees (there's actually lots of trees down there and roundabout!). However, after spending a few hours up there in the baking sun, my neck was a sizzling medium well by the time we were done. And being a missionary, we have to wear these blasted collared shirts all day every day, and so my burn got quite the amount of agitation over the next couple days. Thank heavens for Aloe Vera and medicated body powder! Life savers!

We also had Zone Training this week. Haven't instructed in a while so that was all good and fun. The sister training leaders showed us up! We had them instruct first and their topic was the Doctrine of Christ, and they come up with some really good ideas of stuff to talk about. And then we instructed on a new accountability program and companionship study. So as you can imagine they put us to shame. I mean, its not a competition, but they definitely showed up big time and we just showed up. So that was great. Our zone is absolutely amazing though! Holy cow! Probably the most amazing zone ever for a zone leader! There is literally not a single missionary that we have to worry about or any companionship that has any problems! Its incredible. They all just work hard and are well behaved, and get along with each other! I forget that we are even zone leaders sometimes because everyone is so self sufficient! We still do a lot of things, but our assignment is real easy this transfer!

We had a pretty intense experience yesterday after church. We had gotten a call from a member in the Ft Worth area during church, and a lady from his ward/his wife's best friend was in the hospital here in Abilene and in the late stages of cancer. In fact, she is supposed to be released to hospice care today, so she is literally in the last moments in mortality. The guy called us asking if we could go visit and give her a blessing. So we went, and walked into the room of a lady who was obviously stricken with a deadly sickness. She was very small, hairless, and seemed to have just the slightest amount of life left in her. It was Elder Lund's turn to give the blessing (we take turns) so he was the one to bless her. It was intense giving a blessing of comfort to someone who you know will soon be returning to their Father in Heaven who loves them more than we can express in words. Even for me not actually giving the blessing, just standing in was intense. I definitely don't think that will be the last blessing I will be a part of for someone in that state, but it sure was a memorable one! We also gave a few other blessings this week, so we are just administering the Priesthood left and right, which is a great blessing to be able to do! I get super overwhelmed nearly every time I give a blessing as I am walking away from the location in which it was administered and it truly humbles me every time! Its definitely something else to think that God trusts a 20 year old boy to go about blessing people's lives with the same power which he holds! Its incredible!

As for the rest of the work, we spent most of our time not doing all of the above ^^^ trying to get in to teach people. We got a couple new investigators this week! One named Felipe and one named Ernesto. Ernest is pretty legit, had a pretty solid lesson with him yesterday afternoon. Felipe is a little interesting, but we will follow up with him and help him little by little! We have made a little progress with some others, but right when we think we are gaining a little traction with them, we seem to lose traction. Frustrating at times, but we can only do what we can do and let the Lord take care of the rest!

Anyway, that will be all for me this week! I have a lot of deep love for all of you! The people in my life make my life what it is. Thank you for all of your love and prayers! Its all coming right back at ya! Continue to press forward in faith and righteousness!

God bless ya!

Much love,

Elder Reed Ericson
 
Leadership Conference -  Elder Reed E. is behind the sister missionary in the second row with the white sweater.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hello My Friends!


May 16, 2016

Well hello my good friends! It is once again wonderful to write y'all and talk about my adventures down here in West Texas! This past week was very busy but nonetheless a fulfilling week of serving the Lord!

The week started off with basically the easiest transfer day ever for us. Thank heavens! Usually transfer day is hectic and long with tons of crazy confusion and stuff, and usually takes us well into the evening until we are relieved of managing it all. However, showed up to the church at like 9:00 and were out of there at 3:00 with not too much to worry about! I pretty much hung around all day at the church with different people just waiting for a car or two to show up and get the incoming missionaries sent back off. Good times. Elder Lund had to take a nice trip to Big Spring and back, but I basically just sat around. It was actually rather relaxing. Not too often do you get time like that as a missionary!

Along with transfers, they closed down two of the areas here in Abilene, which takes us down to only 6 companionships including us! So we have the privilege of going through the apartments closing. Holy cow! Greatest thing ever! We've found so much sweet stuff! The first time going through one of the apartments we filled the back seat with sweet stuff to take home for ourselves! And we haven't even gone through the other apartment yet so I am thoroughly looking forward to scoring some sweet items from that place. You can just find the most random stuff in missionary apartments. Its so weird. But so fun. We brought home Play-Do, sweet sweaters, some good treats, some jammin' cd's, and that’s just to name a few. We haven't even brought the comfy recliner chair home yet. That will most definitely be a nice addition to the two couches and recliner that we already have!

We had the privilege of going up to Lubbock for Mission Leadership Council on Friday! It was legit. President Heap is absolutely amazing! He spent a good while instructing us about "principles". You always think about missionaries and all of the "rules" that we have. Its true, we do have a lot of things that the Lord asks us to do as missionaries. However, President made it very clear that we do not and will never have a single "rule" (as far as spiritual matters are concerned... still thinking about the temporal matters though) either on our missions or at home. Not one single rule. The Lord will never give any rules to govern us. He only gives us principles to live by and lets us govern ourselves. Rules don't allow us to govern ourselves, don't leave room for us to follow the spirit, and put up parameters for our progression. You put yourself in a box when you follow rules, and there is no progression outside of that box. Ultimately, this allows us missionaries and followers of Christ to truly learn to follow Christ. It leaves us more room to make decisions based upon our spiritual knowledge and what the spirit teaches us, and to learn spiritually and not carnally. That is what President Heap's mission is about. Helping us learn to govern ourselves and become converted. Not for us to convert other people, but to convert us. A member of the first quorum of the 70, Elder Foster, told a stake president in Lubbock that the Texas Lubbock Mission has the lowest rate of missionaries going home early out of all 20 missions in the North America Southwest area. And that's because he teaches us the principles of things, and lets us govern ourselves. That usually leads to missionaries often times going through times of waywardness because they don't yet understand the principles of the gospel. However, through experience they always learn the principles and are more converted should they have been following rules the whole time. President Heap said that if we had 1000 convert baptisms this year (which we only had 200 something last year), and he lost 5 of us nearly 200 missionaries to inactivity after our missions, the 1000 convert baptism don't mean a thing to him. Anyway, that was just a nice long babble about principles and how amazing President Heap is. And the thing is too, that he taught it all from the scriptures and from teachings of modern day prophets. Just like he always does! The rest of MLC though was sweet. Nothing you non-missionaries care about because it has to do with functionings of our mission, but it was sweet too. Plus, it is always super good to be around a bunch of really good missionaries! Definitely boosts you up!

We met a sweet brothah in the 'hood this week named Sir Jason. Yes, you can't forget the "Sir" hahaha! His dad thinks that he is royalty or something so he called his son Sir Jason instead of just Jason. Def not royalty, unfortunately. I was pretty sure I had come across Sir Jason and some of his friends on exchanges with a different missionary the previous week, but they just stared at us and didn't respond to my trying to be nice, so we kept walking. But, this time around, he was just sitting by himself, so I decided to give him a second chance. Oh boy, that was the greatest decision of my life. Hahaha Sir Jason was SWEET! I asked him, "How are you doing, brother!" and he popped right off his bumm and told us to ask him stuff about Jesus. What made this character so funny is his use of the word "smooth". Hahaha he would say "Oh bro, thats smooth some real stuff right there, man!" and of course the "I'm smooth gonna go smoke all sorts of weed"! We actually had a really good conversation about some pretty deep Plan of Salvation doctrine that really hit him good and made him think. He was actually a really good thinker and had a nice layer of spiritualness to him. However, we went back yesterday and he said that he threw the pamphlet we gave him away and doesn't really care to learn anything. So that was sad. We couldn't do much to save it. However, he was a little sick yesterday, so I said, "Dang you're smooth sick today today?" and he responded, "No bro, I'm straight sick. You just can't be smooth sick." hahaha Sir Jason! I'm telling ya, this guy is something else! Good times. I love the people we meet all the time! They keep life interesting.

As for the rest of the work. We have actually been able to teach this guy named Mark a few times. He is super legit. Dang solid. He has been praying to find truth and he soaks up everything we teach him! The only problem is that we have very slim margins of time to meet with him during his day because of his work schedule, but we're making it work out! We are looking forward to hopefully getting him a baptismal date this week to get him moving along more! We also have been keeping up with Nick who was baptized when I first got here! He is doing super well! Their family has had a lot of road bumps since he's been baptized but they have been hanging on strong through the whole thing and it has only built them stronger! He and his wife (returning less-active) have their eyes set on the temple! Nick has changed so much through his conversion process! It is such a joy to watch! Other than them, we don't have too much going forward right now. We have gotten some new investigators lately, but it seems to be difficult to teach them a second and third time. So we just gotta keep working hard!

Well my good friends, I love y'all and pray for y'all every day! May the good Lord bless you as you continue to press forward in faith! His grace is sufficient!

God bless ya!

Much love,

Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, May 9, 2016

Lost in Time


May 9, 2016

Hello my friends! (I feel like I start every week like that...) It has been a crazy week down here in Abilene, TX for Elder Ericson. But always a good week nonetheless!

I will start off by mentioning the topic of my subject for this email, "Lost in Time". It is what it is. This past week was so weird for me. Every single day was just a dream for an experience. I went about all day doing my work and got it done while being super tired, but not even realizing that I was tired until someone asked me how I was doing! Every night I would come in and plan, and then handle whatever was on task for that night, and then lie down in bed and not even really be able to remember what happened that day. It seemed like I would go to bed at night, and then get out of bed and then without delay get right back in bed again. It is starting to freak me out! I would think about lessons I taught and people I talked to and not be able to remember them very well for some reason! It was crazy! We went on two different exchanges this week as well so I think that was a reason for the dreamy like state. Spending two full days plus two mornings and two nights with a change of companion and social dynamic will do that. Plus exchange days just come and go and all of a sudden you are two days further ahead than you thought you were! So, it was interesting, but hopefully it'll cool down here after this week. This week will be crazy with transfers and cleaning out apartments, so I am not expecting a change! Maybe I should though... I don't know. I don't understand the human mind well enough to decide.

On a lighter note, here's a sweet story. We were at the church on Wednesday night because we play basketball with the missionaries and sometimes some members on Wednesday nights. Anyway, we got there while our ward's youth were finishing up their combined activity in the gym. After they were done they had a basketball that they were shooting basically full court shots with (it’s a smaller court). So, Elder Ericson got the ball somehow and shot one from the opposite corner of the gym...... nothin' but net! Oh yeah, who's the coolest missionary now kids! The young men were pretty impressed to say the least. I shot a few more over the next 5 minutes or so and was just right on but just off enough to not go in. But then, tossed up another one..... nothin' but net! Holy cow I got some mad brownie points with the young men of the Abilene 1st Ward! And then after they all left we played a game with the missionaries and a member, and I forgot my athletic clothes so I played in my missionary clothes. So that was interesting. But I still balled hard regardless.

We went out on Friday to do some service in a tiny town called Buffalo Gap. We go out there and help a non-member family with their house. They bought a tiny little hut basically and now its 3800 square feet and they still have 3 years or so to go! They are building everything with supplies they get from other construction jobs or scrap stuff so they aren't paying a single penny for anything! Its incredible! The house isn't your typical house, obviously, but it is super sweet to see the project they have going for them! They are basically preparing for the day when people will need a place to stay because the economy and society are completely shot, so they are planning on providing enough room for at least 40 people to live there! Pretty interesting project! Missionaries go out and work every Friday, and I've been out there two times I think, so hopefully we'll be able to go with the other elders more this transfer!

As for the work these days, its picking up! We picked up a few new people this week to teach! We haven't been able to meet with others people that we picked up in recent weeks though. So as for any progress with anybody, there isn't much. I try not to throw names out there in these emails because y'all can't keep them straight anyway, so unless we actually teach them multiple times, I usually keep the names out so its easier to keep things straight. Hopefully we will have more progress with some people after this week so that I will have more to report! As for other work, our ward mission leader is really pushing building up "PR" with the members. Luckily, Elder Lund and I both have always been the type to be liked by the members so that is going real well for us! Apparently things have improved a lot since Elder Lund got here and even more since I got here a transfer later! So we are doing work there. We ain't doing anything special. But we just are friendly and nice and don't act like business missionaries. We act like real people while still fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. People seem to love having us in their home because of that. We can have a nice chat about who knows what at dinner and have some good laughs, and still be the missionaries that we need to be! A lot more people are calling us for service and stuff and inviting us for things. So its going well. Hopefully we can get this rolling into some good member missionary work here! But its a process that will take time!

And then of course it was a pleasure to Skype the fam last night! Always a treat! Happy late Mother's Day to all you mothers who love the rest of us so much and take such great care of us! And especially to my own mother! Love you, Momma!

Well, I need to git. I hope y'all hold tight to the iron rod this week and go forward with an eye of faith! May the good Lord bless you as you strive to live righteously and be a true Christian!

God bless ya!

Mucho amor,
Elder Reed Ericson

Monday, May 2, 2016

Heatin' Up


May 2, 2016

Hello my good friends! I hope life is treating you well today! It surely is a wonderful life that we live and get to enjoy! This week was a week full of hard work and long days. But it was a wonderful, fulfilling week!

To start off, its heating up down here in the great West Texas! It hasn't gotten too hot yet, however. But we've been up solid in the 80's and creepin' to the 90's range. This week we were out all week on our bikes and on foot doing the good work of the Lord, so we surely got a taste of it. The sun has been beating down as well. No clouds in view most days. It definitely was a taxing week for us though. Our bodies were not used to being out in the sun all day and on top of that the increased heat. So each day we just came trudging inside our apartment at the close of the day and just planned and crashed if we weren't the one on the phone! Definitely a fulfilling week of hard work though! It feels so good to come in and just be beat! Very satisfying indeed!

One evening we were walking around in the more "hood" neighborhood of our area and came across a clan of teenagers/children. They come right up to us and tagged us and said we were "it" and that we had to tag them. Well, it took me about 5 seconds to get another teenage boy. So then he was it. So he then took off after me again to try to catch me........... ha. Nice try. My dress shoes were definitely not the running type which made things extremely difficult for me to outrun him, but he still didn't have a chance. So then after escaping his chase, and basically just ending the game, I asked who wanted to ball us up on the basketball hoop out in the street. So the same guy and this black kid with mad hops joined together to go 2 on 2 against me and my companion! They were both 18 years old I think. I started off by single handedly tearing them up with some made bombs and some nice drives to the hoop. For the record, Elder Lund isn't exactly the skilled basketball player type. I think we caught them off-guard being white boys. I don't think that black kid had ever played organized basketball against real basketball players so my defense seemed to be a surprise to him when he couldn't get past me! Anyway, we tire out quickly, so when we were up like 12-4 they started to come back on us. It got to be 13-13 I think when I decided that it was do or die time... so I took my guy mano y mano to the hoop, threw up a little pump fake, got him way up in the air, and then kissed it off the glass with my defenders feet firmly on the ground for the winning hoop! It was pretty sweet! There were a bunch of kids out there watching us! But our competitors were super good kids and we are friends now! That group of kids though was pretty amazing to see! You had white kids, black kids, Mexican kids, young kids, old kids, etc. They didn't care what color they were or how old they were, they were all just outside in the good outdoors enjoying life together! I don't think any of them have many gadgets and gizmos to spend their time on or anything so they are always outside with each other! We even happened to be back there the next evening and a smaller number of them were outside again together running around and laughing! It was wonderful to see!

We have a lady that we had taught when I first got here but haven't been able to teach again. This past week we had called her to set something up and she mentioned that her back got hurt pretty bad and that she was having a hard time dealing with that. So we offered some service and she said that she needed her lawn mowed! So we showed up and before we even mowed her lawn she mentioned a bunch of miracles that had happened that week. She didn't have money to pay her phone bill, but the perfect amount randomly showed up in her phone account balance, her cat was basically dead but was perfectly healthy just a couple days later, the day we showed up her back was like magically feeling a lot better,  and something else I think. Well, her lawnmower had like zero gas. It was saturated a little bit on the bottom of the tank but not enough to get the job done. Well, Elder Lund mowed her entire lawn with that mower with no additional gas, and then after that got done we were cleaning out the bottom of the mower, so we had the mower tilted in its front, and gas was leaking out of the gas tank cap!!!!!! HOLY COW!!!!! Miracles in the life of Shanna!!!! It was just like, BAM, miracle! Right there! Check it! Definitely a testimony builder that the good Lord still works small miracles in the lives of his children!

We went on exchanges this week with the elders out in Eastland. We had them into Abilene to work our area. I was with on of the Eastland elders in their car all day. I can say that the Lord was working miracles that day for sure. No idea how I'm still alive. That kid was the scariest driver ever. Like, zero awareness. God bless him. And on top of that, we had to drive home that evening in a raging storm. Pretty sure we were on our way off of the side of the overpass at one point before an angel put his hand on the side of the car and pushed us back on! And that was a huge exaggeration... but, it was still scary with him. Definitely a white-knuckle experience!

So we had a good time a couple nights ago. We stopped by a family’s house that we are acquainted with well to share a lesson with them. They are members but are just getting stronger in the church again. Well, the mom wasn't home so it was just the 23 year old son and the 19 year old daughter. We had zero plans for a lesson so we just winged it and somehow got right into the Law of Chastity! hahaha it was great! So awkward for them and so fun for us! Their mother had a good laugh when we talked to them yesterday about it! It was classic. People make that lesson so awkward but it is so fun to just straight up teach the doctrine and principles! But, I've only taught that lesson like maybe 3 times on my mission so thats unfortunate.

We picked up a huge group of new investigators this week! And by big group, I mean they all are at the same apartment. There was Kim & Sunny (married couple), and their friends Marissa, Olivia, and Abraham! They are pretty legit! Taught them in two different groups on two different days and they are pretty excited to start coming to our church and learning more! Hopefully we will have a good week teaching them this coming week! More info on them in weeks to come! However, Kim actually lived in Caldwell for a couple years! Small world. I have met tons of members with home ties but this is my first investigator!

Anyway, I need to jet. I have a couple of other things to mention but they won't make it this week! But I hope y'all have a wonderful week and have a week full of fun and joy!

God bless ya!

Loves,

Elder Reed Ericson