July 5, 2016
Well hello my good friends and family! Always a joy to be able to write to you each week! This past week + a day has been pretty eventful. Well, eventful enough, I guess. But nevertheless a wonderful week of missionary life!
To start off, I guess the highlight of this past week was zone conference on Thursday here in Abilene! It is always wonderful to be gathered together with a bunch of missionaries for some good instruction. One of the assistants gave a brief instruction on "The Miracle of the Book of Mormon" in which we covered the miracle of how it was brought forth. And then Pres Heap threw down a sweet instruction about the Book of Mormon titled "Unveiling the Book of Mormon". Basically the best thing I've ever heard about the Book of Mormon. We took a look at the first two books (1 Nephi & 2 Nephi) and how they are basically the greatest things ever. There was so much there that its hard to even write out what he taught about. Basically about how the story of Lehi is the story of every investigator we ever have, how the first book of Nephi is about how God reveals things to man and about how he still speaks today, how the vision of the tree of life is perfectly amazing, how the first book of Nephi is all in preparation for the doctrinal discourses in the second book of Nephi that help us understand life, why we have all those Isaiah chapters in there, and a bunch of other stuff that was just pretty darn intense. Oh man. Its so true! From my experience reading the Book of Mormon lately I have just found that it teaches so many different things. In fact, it teaches EVERYTHING. Every single little principle or doctrine of the fullness of the gospel is found in there! Its incredible how it all works together. And to say that a man with a 3rd grade education wrote that... come on. Lets be for real, here. NO. WAY.
Anyway, I also instructed at zone conference. It was interesting. I actually had some pretty good stuff I wanted to cover about working with members. However, I was asked to invite a member to come and share their expectations of the full-time missionaries in helping them with their missionary work. Well, I had to reach out to a different ward to find a good member to invite, and I thought it was going to be solid. But apparently I didn't make it as clear as I should have what I expected from her. So, I had 30 minutes to instruct and she took about 15 minutes after I had already gone about 10 minutes. So, I had to fly through all my good stuff that I really wanted to emphasize and wasn't able to really hit anything home that I wanted to. Plus, I had to cut out a couple things, including the role play, and I still went 10 minutes over. Yikes. But, they said that I did well under the circumstances. Apparently most of the member invites for the other missionaries instructing at the other zone conferences made things interesting as well. So I wasn't alone! Also, get this. We had one of the best zone conference meals I have ever had... we had some really good Filipino food! However, it didn't exactly go along with the American theme that they had going on with the table pieces. But hey, go America, and go Filipino food!
We also had zone training yesterday just a few days after zone conference. We decided it would be a good way of getting the missionaries off the streets annoying people on a national holiday. That went a lot better. I thought that I was done crying as an instructor, I have stayed dry for quite some time now. But NOPE. There Elder Ericson was with tears running out of his eyes in the last minutes of his instruction. Darnit! But hey, I love my missionaries! After zone training we had a party of minor proportions. Elder Moschetti and I went and bought some hamburgers and hot dogs and stuff to go with in the morning. So after our meeting we let people make their own burgers (we brought quite the plethora of seasonings) and just had a good time. We also played Phase 10 for a while after eating, and I did miserably. Ugh, so frustrating. There just isn't much you can do sometimes with that game besides have faith that your going to get the card you need. And I lost my faith over the course of a couple rounds and I was toast after that! So that was a failure. But it was a wonderful time being with all of the elders and sisters in the zone! I left the church last night with a heart full of love and appreciation for being able to serve with them!
We got a nutso media referral a couple days ago. hahaha this lady was CRAZY!!! We got a text with all of her information and whatnot so I gave her a buzz, and I will just say that most of the conversation was her talking about who knows what with the phone on mute on our side! I tried early on to just cut in and say goodbye and hang up, but this lady literally just talked right over me like I didn't say a word. So finally I just put the phone on mute and let her talk for like 10 minutes, then she basically said goodbye, but before we could finalize that our conversation was over she went off for another 10 minutes with the phone on mute! Good times! She was a weirdo. Very odd lady. We sent her info on over to the missionaries who actually cover where she lives, and apparently they had already gotten her information and had visited them the day before. They said that she talked for a solid 45 minutes straight and didn't even care about them butting in. So finally the elders and the other dude that is related to the lady just started talking together and ignoring her.... and she eventually got up and left! Hahaha! Good stuff!
We were able to have a lot of less-active/recent convert lessons this past week! We even met a random lady who is a member of the church while out finding. We had a good chat for 10 minutes or so. She is a convert from Utah somewhere down near Richfield, and had a daughter murdered by her boyfriend a few years back that pretty much knocked the faith out of her. Real sad story actually. But, this lady had a lot of light about her even though she mentioned that she still struggles with PTSD and other things that take a mental toll. However, she knows its time to come back to church so that she can get some more help with the spiritual side of things. Very wonderful lady. I quite like her. We also had another less-active refer himself out of the blue requesting a missionary visit. He was baptized like 4 or 5 years ago or so and fell off after not too long. And he wants to get back into coming to church despite his wife being very anti him doing that. But we met him at the church about an hour after we called him and had a nice visit and little lesson! We also met again with that lady named Erica who we taught as an investigator before finding out she was a member when we invited her to be baptized. She was having a very rough day when we had our appointment so our lesson plan went bye bye in a hurry and we spent a few minutes trying to help her out a little and then left her with something to read to hopefully lift her spirits! Also, there is a recent convert in the ward that recently moved from the sisters area to our area. His name is Prince and he is an African refugee. But holy cow, what a man of great faith! He has a lot of struggles in life, but he just puts his faith in God! He lost his wife a couple years back to some sort of sickness (they were already in America) and struggles taking care of his two daughters still at home and working a lot making not a ton of money. But man oh man does he have faith! After our closing prayer last week after our visit with him last week I just wanted to give the man a hug, so I got up and gave him a big hug! Great man! Those are just to name a few people who we worked with last week! Still trying to get some actual investigators who make it past more than a lesson or two, but it'll come!
Anyway, I have a few more things I could talk about, but I need to close this up! I love y'all! I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day and pray that you receive the grace necessary to go about doing good this week!
God bless ya!
Much love,Elder Reed Ericson