Monday, June 20, 2016

Another One Down


June 20, 2016

Helllllooooo!!!! Well, another transfer down for Elder Ericson! 14 down, 3 to go! Its crazy how time flies. Especially after hitting a year. And then after 18 months weeks seem like minutes. Its absurd. I think I have finally gotten used to my days just seemingly passing by like a dream. It doesn't freak me out as much anymore. I literally lay my head down, wake up, and then lay my head down again. I think it may be a result of having the same-ish life every single day of the week. There are no such things as weekends out here and your schedule is the exact same every day, so there is no way to judge anything off of. So that's been great. Anyway, this past transfer was pretty sweet. Had lots of fun, worked really hard, and did some good work. Very successful transfer! Not in the sense that we taught a lot of people and helped a lot of people progress, but in the sense that we were committed and were diligent! As far as work wise, it was tough. Not too much going on. We were able to find new people to teach pretty regularly, but they never really went anywhere past a lesson or two. But, we don't measure our success by numbers here in the Texas Lubbock Mission so I can say that we had a successful transfer! Bring on the next 3!

Also, btw, we received transfer calls Saturday night. I will be staying in Abilene this transfer and will get a new companion, Elder Moschetti! Elder Moschetti was my district leader in Lubbock, and my zone leader in Odessa for a total of 4 transfers, so it will be pretty normal! I am pretty excited! Elder Moschetti is a real good missionary and we will work hard together and be very diligent! Bring on the sweat! Also, along with that, it has not only been getting hotter (approaching 100 degrees, but the humidity here has been up between 80%-90%! So it has been a little different than my summer last year in the dry heat of Odessa!

Really not much to report on this week besides a couple things. We went to the temple on Saturday and it was quite fantastic! Probably my best temple experience yet! I was just putting tons of stuff together the whole time and the spirit was helping me understand tons of stuff the whole time. So the endowment session itself was pretty sweet. And after that session we helped with some sealings for the brother that we went up with! I had never done any sealings before so that was pretty sweet! We were both just the witnesses, but it was still pretty sweet! I am excited to be able to go to the temple a lot more often when I go home! Definitely won't take for granted having a temple 30 minutes away! Also, I was sitting there in the Telestial Room waiting for the session to start, and I looked up at a brother walking into the room, and it was my old friend Coleman Merrill! He is down in Lubbock for his reception after getting married up in Utah a few weeks ago! So that was interesting. We sat together in the Celestial Room for a bit and talked about life. Good stuff. Gotta love the people you find at the temple! Another pretty interesting thing about that trip. We asked a member if he would be willing to go with us (we can't drive ourselves there) and he was very willing to go. Well, turns out he hasn't been to the temple in years and he had just the greatest experience going back after years and years of not going! He was just super appreciative that we invited him! So that turned out to be a win. We had no clue! So overall it was just a wonderful day at the temple!

We did some pretty sweet service a few days back. We spent some time two days in a row helping construct a shed. That was a lot of aligning, measuring, and putting together. Didn't even get nearly done with it. However it was some good work. But, here's the good stuff, after spending a total of like 6 hours working on carefully constructing a shed, we got a call to go help demolish a fence! So we went straight from our shed project and went from careful construction to being able to just destroy something! Oh man, it felt so good. I just took that little crow bar and took whack after whack tearing that sucker down! There is nothing better than a bunch of guys doing guy stuff like demolition! Good times!

As for the work this week. We had worked hard and got hardly anything. We taught one lesson, had a few less-active lessons if you could even consider them lessons, and had a bunch of service hours. But we tried and tried and tried to teach, but all of our appointments fell through and none of our potentials were around to teach. One difficult thing that we face now in the summer is the proselyting curfew in Abilene. In the summer the best times to find people is about 7-9 in the evening. However, we legally aren't allowed to actively engage in gospel conversation after 7. We can stop by people that we have already previously contacted and have appointments at that time, but we can't knock on doors just to knock and we can't approach people and engage in conversation that we normally would. So, our best finding time can't be productive finding time. Our only time to find is when its really hot and nobody wants to go outside. So hopefully we can find a way to work around that!

Anyway, thats pretty much all I got for ya this week. I am excited for another transfer of good missionary work here in Abilene! My time is getting short so its time to go go go! I love y'all and want y'all to know that there is no greater blessings than the blessing that we receive through the restored gospel! May the Lord bless you this week as you strive to follow him and exemplify him!

God bless ya!

Much love,

Elder Reed

Monday, June 6, 2016

Gaining Some Traction


June 6, 2016

To start off I would like to announce that I finally had a "caught in a rain-storm" experience! I have been out in some solid rain quite a bit throughout my mission, however I always have my big rain jacket on so it isn't too bad. But, Wednesday morning finally delivered me the experience I've been looking for! I was out doing some work with a missionary on exchanges, and we had about an hour and a half to just go out and find and knock. It had rained the previous like 10 days straight it had seemed, and it was definitely cloudy. Well, we went off and were doing our thing. And with as much time as we had, you can find yourself pretty far away from your car after some time. Well, we were getting further and further away when it started raining. So we started heading back. But in just a matter of minutes we went from getting rained on to getting dumped on. My goodness. It was coming down pretty good for a minute there before it turned back into a pour instead of a dump.
 
Needless to say, we were soaked to the bone after just a brief minute, and not only were we soaked, but my bag was getting soaked too. So that was a waste of like two Book of Mormons and some pamphlets. Anyway, we were getting pretty close to the car and approached an intersection that usually has a number of cars driving by. Well, if you know anything about the roads in Texas when it rains, you'll know that the roads are the drainage system. So intersections are basically just one big pond. As we were standing there at the intersection, a car drove by and sent the classic wave of water our direction...... now I know what you are thinking, we got doused by the wave. But it actually didn't hit us. Gotchya. I almost stepped into it, however. I figured I was already soaked and it would be a good story, but the smart part of my brain told me to not do that... so I just kept my ground. And then we walked right past a church (won't mention what church it was) that had a wall of windows removed from the sidewalk a little ways, and there were people sitting inside, and I am 95% positive that they saw us and did nothing to help us. Hmmmmm... something doesn't seem right here. But, our car was literally parked on the other side of the church so it wasn't bad. But still, I guess I should lower my expectations of people these days. We also almost got trashed by another storm on Thursday evening (it basically stormed every day at some point last week). We were doing a bike day so we were out on the bikes. We live like a million miles out of our area to the south of it, and we were up in the north part of our area when we saw some clouds rolling in from the north at about 7:45pm. We had two options: we could try to out travel the storm and try to beat it to our apartment, or we could grab some Little Ceasars and wait out the storm at the church and get a ride home. Well, we obviously picked option #2. So I ate an entire Little Ceasars pizza sitting at the church, and then got a ride home. It was fantastic. 

 

We met some total whack-o's this week. Hahaha some people are just crazy! We were talking to these two brothas over in the 'hood one morning and they were quite the combo. The one guy just asked us to start telling him what we had to share, but didn't want to talk about anything about Jesus...... K, do you realize who we are, Walter?! This man was pretty nuts, but a little sane. His friend, Jay, was pretty loco. "Do you know Hebrew? No! Do you know Hebrew? No! And I don't know Hebrew! None of us have ever read the Bible!!! Unless you know Hebrew the Bible is garbage, man!" Well let me tell you sir about how we can overcome this problem. However, one cannot explain anything when two brothas are both talking at once about two different things. Which was what happened for like 10 minutes straight. One of them was talking about the Sabbath Day being on Saturday and the other one was talking about Hebrew, and then one was talking about not knowing God's name and how calling him God is disrespectful while the other was talking about how religion is trash. Little did they know, all of their questions about life could have been answered in three short lessons. However they didn't seem to want to listen. Oh man, these two bros were nuts! Very entertaining at times, I almost LOL'd in their faces a couple times, but I kept it to a constant smile. Good times. Totally going to try to teach Walter, though. It'll be a good time.

 

We have had a lot of good work this past week! Just finding tons of people and setting up tons of appointments. However, we were thinking the other day about the percentage of appointments that we have had go through on our missions, and we concluded that we both have had well under 20% of our appointments go through on our missions. So when it comes down to it you just have to have quantity! And that's what we've been trying to do. So even though we had a million appointments fall through, we still were able to teach some people this week! We got 4 new investigators and were able to teach some people that we are trying to get some traction with to move forward! In fact, we even had an investigator that we've been struggling to meet consistently with come to church! We visited Mark out of the blue on Saturday afternoon and caught him right as he was getting home from the store, so we helped carry the groceries in and then taught him, and invited him to church. He said that he had actually been thinking about it and decided this past week that he would like to come and check it out! So he sure did show up for testimony meeting on Sunday! It was pretty sweet. There were a few people who talked about how you are able to find more light and more truth in the church. They all mentioned how all of our brothers and sisters have a lot of truth and light (EVERYBODY is a practicing Christian), but that we invite people to find even more through the restored gospel. And then right before the time was up, the newly called 1st counselor in the bishopric got up (he could smooth pass for a baptist reverend... tall black dude with his hair slicked back, nice goatee, cuff links, and a sweet preaching style type testimony) and said that he had been sitting their feeling inspired that there were people in the congregation who were trying to find answers about the church and if it was the true church of Jesus Christ or not. And then he just went hard testifying that the omniscient God will tell them if it is and that they need to keep praying and look for answers as they do so. It was sick. He bears such a powerful testimony! So, things are looking on the up for Mark!

 

Funny story from church: We were standing in the foyer after church was over waiting for somebody, and our newly called bishop came out and walked over to us. As he approached I asked "You've been playing hooky all day, bishop?" And then the big German man answered in his straight forward German voice, "What does it mean to play hooky?" Hahaha I have been quoting that in a German accent nonstop since it happened! Bishop Greiner is so sweet! 

 

Aside from that, not much happened this past week. We had a new couple move into the ward that is super duper legit. They were baptized up in Lubbock a year ago and I had heard tons about them from missionaries who had served in their ward. He basically ran us down one day and we ate lunch with them. Good stuff. I also had some beast red beans and rice. That cajun stuff is really starting to grow on me! Anyway, I will stop this rambling. 

 

I am looking forward to this week! We should have a really good week full of preaching the gospel and helping others find more light and truth for themselves! It is amazing how many wonderful things the Lord has blessed us with to bring that light to us! 

 

Y'all have a wonderful week! I love ya! Keep fightin' the good fight and remember that His grace is sufficient!

 
God bless ya!
Much love,

Elder Reed Ericson
 

Found this pile of junk pick-up in the 'hood with a Boise State sticker on the back! Planning on knocking on this guys house sometime soon to share with him my common love for the Broncos.... and then teach him the gospel.
 

​I don't know why, but these people made their yard a garden with corn and some other random stuff.
 

​Waiting out the storm...... while eating an entire pizza by myself. Oops. Apparently I'm not participating in six months to sexy. That's long gone.