July 18, 2016
Hello my wonderful friends and family! It has been a fantastic last week or so here in Abilene, TX! And, on top of a good week, it has been relatively decent weather! And by decent weather I mean we have had weather in the low-mid 90's along with humidity that is lower than it was a number of weeks ago! It hasn't been raining too much so its starting to dry out a little! In fact Saturday morning we were talking to some peeps outside and I wasn't even sweating! However, I am usually sweating a decent amount... but it ain't as bad as the near 110 degree weather that most of our mission suffered through the past week or two.
To start off our week we went out to the homeland, Sweetwater, to attend district meeting there! Always good times driving through that place. It seems like a dream when I think back to those days. After the meeting we decided to go out to the one and only Blackland Smokehouse. As we were deciding where to go, I bore powerful testimony of the place, and promised many blessing for the other missionaries who would partake. However, they all ordered weird stuff that didn't live up to the promises I made. Plus, even on my part who spent more money than I should have on 1.3 pounds of meat, I was very disappointed in their brisket. They fell short. Usually that stuff is a party in your mouth every bite you take, but it wasn't as tender and flavorful as it usually it! So, that was disappointing. Better luck next time.
I went on two different exchanges this past week. One was with Elder Newberry who is serving out in Sweetwater (I brought him into my area) and the other was with Elder Major who is one of the assistants. The assistants gave us a choice of doing exchanges in either their area or our area, and apparently we were the only companionship that chose our area! Kinda weird. It was really good though! I think it was good though to have them here. It made out exchange about us and our area and we were able to get more out of the exchange we feel! With Elder Major we were able to do some good finding and teaching, and were able to discuss many things about the work we are doing in our area and it helped a lot! He's a good guy. Elder Newberry and I had a good exchange. We were able to do some service and even got in a couple less-active lessons which allowed us to have some good teaching opportunities. However, I don't think I conducted a very good exchange. I learned a lot about how to do some things better and needing to adapt things to the missionary I am with. I always enjoy exchanges though! It is always good to work with someone else and to be able to teach and learn in a different way than usual. Its good stuff.
Yesterday was pretty sweet. We went to our ward for sacrament meeting and half of sunday school before jetting off to the YSA building. It was high councilman Sunday and the high councilman didn't have anybody to speak with him. So Elder Despain (senior couple who are CES institute missionaries, also serve in YSA) called and asked if I could speak and if Elder Moschetti could sing. You bet we will! I was told the assignment was speaking on "Choices" by President Monson, but as I sat in our wards meeting I soon realized that it was no longer the subject when the high councilor talked about testimonies and testimony meeting. Well, I showed up to YSA and just gave my quick talk on choices. It was real good stuff. I thought I was going to be sharing the topic with the other guy so I made sure to not talk too much about what Presidetn Monson said and prepared some other stuff about choices. I talked about the choice that we made in the pre-earth life to follow Christ, and the things that we were taught and knew at the time the led us to make that decision. And I then taught those same things very simply in relation to us learning them here on earth, and how they enable us to make the CHOICE to follow Christ. I talked about the knowledge of where we want to go (Celestial Kingdom), what we would have to go through to get there (opposition, natural man, etc) and the gospel plan that enables us to overcome that. I learned a lot actually thinking about it! And then I slapped down a few quotes at the end about the importance of our choices and blessing the lives of others and said "amen". I can honestly say that I quite enjoy speaking at church. I would take that over an instruction at a zone training any day! And then after my talk Elder Moschetti sang "Come Thou Fount" with Sister Despain accompanying him. Which for those of you who don't know, that is Elder Ericson's fave song ever. And it was a beautiful performance. Good meeting. Oh yeah, I got volunteered by the sister missionaries in out ward to sing in sacrament meeting next week along with the three of them and Elder Moschetti. I'm planning on singing very quietly on the side. I don't like getting volunteered for garbage like that! No sir!
Also yesterday we went and ate with the Elder & Sister Despain for the second time in the past week or two. Might I say that they are basically my favorite people ever! Such wonderful spirits, great goofy humor, and such great examples to look up to! I am very blessed to be able to serve around them here in Abilene!
The Lord sure blessed us this week with people to teach! I taught more lessons this week than I have ever in a week on my mission! I dare not say how many we taught (if you want to know you can ask me, but I don't want it to be about the number and don't want it compared to other missions). However, we were able to find a lot of success in less-active and recent convert lessons. We were able to get in with a lot of people and had some good impacts made! And we also found a handful of people who have been prepared by the Lord for us to meet! I think we ran across four new investigators (which hasn't happened around here in quite some time) and had some really good experiences with them. I will relate a few experiences briefly. Well, a month or so ago we ran into a less-active lady outside who wasn't on the records or anything. Well, we randomly stopped by one night and we visited with her and her non-member husband for a bit. I thought her husband was just going to peace out, but stayed and ended up talking more than any of us! And then before we left his wife asked if we could come by to teach him, and he was all for it. So we went over again on Saturday morning and had a good talk with him. We didn't get to the actual "lesson" part as we had planned to teach the restoration, but we set everything up perfectly for the next visit and he is even good to be baptized once we answer some questions which are very answerable! We also had two knock-ins. We were let in by two different people that we just knocked into and had some good lessons! So things are looking like they're going upward!
Anyway, enough of my rambling. I best be closing up here. I love y'all so much! Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I surely feel it all! Keep on fighting the good fight!
God bless ya!
Elder Reed Ericson
Elder Reed is 3rd from Right...