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!
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.