Sunday, August 28, 2016

My New Life

August 27, 2016

Well hey there everyone. I bet I surely tricked you by sending an email to your inbox on a Saturday. I'm just trying to keep y'all on your toes, I guess. But yes, I now have p-day on Saturdays. Its going to be super boring, indeed. But hey, we'll survive.

Anyway, life for me for the past 4 days has been quite interesting. The office life is both sweet but yet terrible at the same time. Its getting more sweet now that I am starting to figure out whats going on! As far as the assignment of vehicle coordinator goes, I still feel like I am going to be in a world of hurt when the Heppler's leave next week. However, I feel like by the end of the next few days I will have a good enough grasp on it to get by at least and learn as I go. But its so much to learn! I had absolutely zero idea of all the stuff that you have to do as the vehicle coordinator until now! I have to learn all about the computer systems that the church uses, I have to learn about accidents and all of the reports, insurance claims, bids, repairs, and everything to go along with that. I have to learn about getting a car ready to sell and all the stuff that goes into that. We will be getting a large batch of new cars while I'm running things so I have to learn about that. I have to learn about all of the different seemingly millions of files we have lying around. I have to learn about TIWI (the "big-brother" type box we have). I have to learn about this and that and everything you could think of pertaining to vehicles. I am responsible for over 80 vehicles and everything that goes into them. But hey, at least I'm not an assistant. They have way more junk to worry about than I do! I am probably next on the list of things to do and learn. However it has been a treat to be in the office every day. I have really enjoyed being with the Heppler's (who we are replacing) and also the other office people. Its been a good time. Plus, lots of missionaries come in to get stuff or to ask things so its been fun to say "hey" to people when they come in for a visit! So overall, once I get a hang of things it will be pretty sweet. The hours in the office go by fairly quickly as well, so that's nice.

Our other assignment, Canyon West with Elder Schofield and Cook, has been pretty sweet! Its been good to get out and work with them in the evenings! I have also learned the struggle of having four missionaries in one apartment. And I now know why they don't typically have that arrangement made. TOO. MUCH. FUN. Oh my goodness it has been the greatest thing ever! Today we were able to stay with them for companionship study so we were able to talk about some things that we need to do to get things in order a little better! Oh man, its been just too much fun! We are laughing out butts off the whole time! But we are getting better at staying on track when we need to get things done. And after this morning we have some actual goals and such. So, no need to worry. We are four good missionaries adjusting to a new environment! I will send some pictures with this email to show you what's we're up to.

We went out with the Heppler's with a lady we do a ton of business with to a place called "The Shack BBQ". Dad, put it on the list! Holy cow!!!! Unreal stuff!!!!! I had me some moist brisket and some ribs. The brisket was second to Blackland Smokehouse when Blackland is having a normal aka good day. However this stuff beats Blackland when they are having a little bit of an off day. Oh man, I love being here. The bbq is just unreal in some places. Hopefully I can hit up the Big Texan up in Amarillo after zone conference next transfer!

Well, I am terribly sorry that I don't have more to say. I don't suppose that I will have very long emails for the next good while. Maybe I can figure out some other way to say some more things about my life down here. But for now, y'all will have to miserably suffer with this. 

I love y'all and hope y'all have a wonderful week! 

God bless ya!

Love,
Elder Reed Ericson


Monday, August 22, 2016

Hobbs is in the Rearview Mirror!


August 22, 2016

Hello my wonderful friends and family! Life has surely taken a turn here the last couple of days. You never know what is in store for you! I will begin by quoting a phone call I received on Saturday:

Me: "Hello this is Elder Ericson!"

Pres Heap: "Hello son, this is President Heap! How are you doing?"

Me: "I am doing wonderful President."

Pres Heap: "That's good. Well son, is your life boring?"

Me: "No not really! Its pretty exciting!"

Pres Heap: "Well I'm about to make it a little bit more eventful for you!"

President Heap then went on to mention that one of the senior couples in the office will be leaving here pretty soon and the new senior couple that will fill their positions won't be here for over a month. So, I have been assigned as the Texas Lubbock Mission Vehicle Coordinator! The new couple will be here on October 9th and so I will probably finish my mission in the office as the vehicle coordinator! My oh my. What a rush. This is going to be the worst yet best. Its going to be terrible because I have to sit in an office from 9-5 everyday and won't get to do nearly as much proselyting, but at the same time awesome because I get to be with President Heap all the time and will probably go to zone conferences and stuff next transfer. So it will have its ups and downs. However, I feel like I am just now figuring this whole missionary work thing out, and then I get yanked from it. However, we still get to proselyte from 6-9 every evening with the Lubbock Zone Leaders. So that will be good to still be able to work a bit! We shall see how this goes! My new companion is Elder Hawes. He is from Meridian and went to Rocky Mountain. So we are basically neighbors back at home. It'll be a good time, he is a good guy that will be fun to be with! So that's my life.

 

I am pretty sad to leave Hobbs! As you could tell a few weeks ago, Hobbs was not on the top of my list for desirable places. However, in just 3 weeks I grew a lot of love for that place! Man, we have done some sweet work over the last couple weeks! Like, I don't think I've ever gotten that many new investigators in that amount of time my whole mission! We weren't even focused on finding new people to teach, we were trying to get our service hours in every week and then just making the most of our finding time. And when we did get out finding we were just led right to people! On exchanges on Wednesday my boy Elder Nebeker and I were out knocking for a little bit, and we literally hit a stretch of 3 straight golden doors. First one, got in and taught a lesson. Second door, would have gotten in to teach a lesson but there wasn't another adult male there. Third door in a row, got in a taught a sweet lesson. Oh man, it was so sweet. Plus we have actually taught two young couples multiple times each. Just sweet stuff going on in Hobbs. Plus we have two less-actives that have been picking up steam in the last couple weeks since I got there. And now I'm gone...... so that's my sob story for the day. The ward was pretty darn good too and I really enjoyed my three sundays at church! But I hear that the Canyon West Ward (ward I will work part-time in) is super legit! So I am excited for that!

 

I learned a lot in Hobbs as well! Lots of good things that I was able to learn there. I learned how to be a better companion in a few different ways, and I learned how to be a better finder and teacher, and I learned how to just be a better missionary along with being a better leader although I wasn't in a leadership assignment. But I am sure being around President Heap I will have the opportunity to learn a ton! So I am thoroughly looking forward to that!

 

Well, I am super sorry that I don't have more to say. I usually look through my journal to look for things to talk about, and my weeks are a blur these days so I basically rely on my journal, and my journal is currently in one of my bags at the mission office. So I don't have too much to talk about. I look forward to tell you what sitting in an office for 8 hours a day is like next week!

 

I love y'all! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support! I truly feel it! Keep the faith and know that both the Lord and I love you!

 

God bless ya!

Love,

Elder Reed Ericson

My new address:

5402 66th St #722

Lubbock, TX 79414

 Hit me up! I would love to hear from ya!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Land of Enchantment

August 15, 2016
 
Hello again from Elder Ericson down here in Hobbs, NM. Time keeps on flying by down here in the great American Southwest. Zooming right along, indeed.
 
This past week was pretty sweet if I do say so. I'm just going to go through my week a little bit and go chronologically for the sake of my organization in my head.
 
The first highlight of the week happened on Wednesday evening. The day that I got here the missionaries talked to this young black dude with dreads and all out walking down the street. His name is Devin. We've been trying to meet with Devin but pretty much the only place he can ever meet us is at his church, which that wouldn't be the best situation. So, instead of trying to set up a lesson, I recommended that we just go to a service with him and go from there. So we headed on down to St. Helena's Catholic church on Wednesday evening and hit up Mass! It was quite the deal. Devin had said 5:00 so we showed up at like 4:50, but it turns out that it didn't start until 5:30, and we had a dinner appointment at 6:00 so we were only able to stay for 20 minutes or so of the service. I quite enjoyed the experience. It was much different than what I am used to obviously, however I am thankful we went. Devin is just the sweetest thing in the world! He told us we had his word that he would be at out church. And sure enough, yesterday on our way to church a couple hours early for meetings, we were stopped at a stop light and he was walking right by us, so we rolled down the window and talked to him and he said that he would sure enough be back up to the church in a couple hours! And he sure enough came! Hahaha that guy tore it up after sacrament meeting was over! I'm pretty sure he talked to half the ward by the time he left! He is just so incredibly friendly and just went up and introduced himself to everyone he could pretty much! Hahaha it was so sweet! What a champ. Hopefully we can teach him one of these days.
 
We go and do some service at the animal shelter every week. And this week we had to wonderful opportunity to walk the dogs! That was a blast! Walked some big ones, some medium sized ones, and some tiny ones. Some of them just pulled you through the park and some of them you had to yank out the door. It was good stuff. Made a lot of new friends. Probably the most intense part of that service was as we were trying to get a dog back into his kennel thing. this dog shared a kennel thing with two other dogs. We had taken the other two dogs previous to this particular dog, so they had already been out and walked. Anyway, you have to swing the kennel door in to push the dog back and keep the opening small to both get the dog out and put it back in. However, the other two dogs made life interesting. They were doing all they could to escape. So here I am standing at the opening of this kennel, trying to push one dog in and keep the other two dogs from escaping. I finally got the one dog in, but the dang leash was still around its neck. So my hand is getting yanked and twisted by this crazy dog with me trying to get the leash off, while at the same time I had two dogs trying to escape. At one point I think I had both of the other dogs necks pinned up against the side of the kennel with my leg using all my strength to keep them pinned there so they can't get out, all while struggle to still get the leash off of the other stupid dog. Oh my heavens. I think one of the escaping dogs actually got loose, but luckily Elder Hanson got it pinned to the ground before it got too far, so he was occupied with that dog and couldn't save a second escaped dog. So I really had to keep the other escaping dog in there! Long story short, after what seemed to be an eternity of craziness (I didn't even describe most of the story), all three dogs were locked in the kennel and the outside of my hip was barking at me because it was the contracted muscle that was keeping my leg pinning those retched beasts up against the wall. Good heavens. Quite the afternoon I had.
 
We went up to Lubbock on Thursday evening for Zone Training on Friday. That was quite the trip. We took Elder Despain and Elder Farmer with us because they have no miles to drive to Lubbock and back. Oh man, I love those guys! Such a good time. One thing about our mission is that you will always have sweet road trips to enjoy because of how spread out we are! Anyway, zone training was alright. It was pretty sweet to just show up and participate and not have to worry about anything. That was a nice little change. Other than that I don't have many comments on the meeting. Then on the ride home we were having a good time until everyone fell asleep. So the last half of the drive was rather boring. Oh well. However it was good to go up and be around all the other missionaries. I have gotten so used to seeing other companionships basically every day for the last year+. Being in Hobbs we see the spanish elders once for some service and at church, and then we see the Lovington elders at church. So we spend a lot of days with just us. Which is nice sometimes. Don't have to worry about anyone else. However we will have meeting every week from here on out so we will see every one a little more often. So that was good!
 
We went to eat dinner yesterday with some members on the ward and upon entering their house I saw their book shelves and immediately began to scan for Harry Potter as I usually do. Well, I couldn't see anything UNTIL I saw the two full shelves designated for their Harry Potter stuff! They had it all! All of the books, wands, miniature quidditch set, the cup that was the port-key in the Goblet of Fire, the monster book that they had in the Prisoner of Azkaban, and many other books of all sorts relating to Harry Potter. Oh man, I was happier than could be. I had so much excitement blowing up inside of me. This was unreal, man. Just unreal. And I need to stop myself right there before I go any further with this.
 
As for the work, things are going well and picking up. Upon my arrival we weeded out all of the time wasting people and got our lists down to people we can actually focus on. And as we've done that we have had more people to focus on come into the mix! The last couple days have been very good for us and we are starting to really build up some solid work! However, I know that you wont' remember names and lessons that we taught them so I will wait for a bit to tell you about them. When someone starts getting close to being baptized or is just super sweet and legit, like Devin, then I will tell y'all about them.
 
Well team, I'm gonna close this puppy up! I hope y'all have a wonderful week full of blessings and joy! The Lord is good and will bless us as we allow him to by our actions! May you feel his love in bountiful amounts!
God bless ya!

Love,
Elder Reed Ericson



Friday, August 5, 2016

Headed West to the Land of Enchantment

August 1, 2016

Hello my friends! Another transfer and area are in the books! Tomorrow I will be leaving Abilene and headed west to Hobbs, NM! Oh man, what a trip that was! Hobbs is the place that you hope that you never get transferred to.... and then you get transferred there.... hahaha but I am surprisingly pretty stoked! I will be surrounded by a lot of super awesome missionaries! So it should be a good time. My new companion will be Elder Hanson, who was in my MTC district and he also served here in Abilene my first transfer here. He even lived in my same apartment complex. He's a dang good kid and I am looking forward to working with him! Going to Hobbs..... still can't believe it.

I will miss Abilene. I can't say that Abilene was my favorite place I served but I definitely grew a lot here and learned a lot here! Being able to serve all of my missionaries here for the last three transfers was such a wonderful experience and I grew a lot of love for my missionaries! I think a lot of my growth came in my personal self. My missionary work improved, but I feel like I changed in few different aspects as a person that I will take away from my time here. I didn't feel like I had a particularly large impact on the members here or anything, however yesterday a lot of members actually expressed a lot of appreciation towards me with an actual personal sentimental touch! I learned that just being happy and being nice and friendly with people when they come to church can go a long way! There are a lot of good people in the ward that I am happy to have touched in some way. It is a little sad as well to leave what we have going on right now. We have been teaching more lessons then I ever have on my mission and the Lord is just helping us right along! But its not too hard to leave things like that anymore, you get used to leaving things and people by this point in a mission, so its whatever. Its just always good to affirm that you had a positive impact on many people's lives!

Speaking of being out for this long... this past week I flew past my 3 months left mark. So I am now 2 months and change from hopping on a plane. Crazy.

So something crazy about this transfer. We found 5 long lost members of the church! I mentioned last week how we had run into some, and we ran into another this week! Its so crazy! We found out Erica was a member at the beginning of the transfer, then we contacted Tiffany on the street, then we knocked into Jocelyn (haven't met with her yet though), then we found out Tiffany's husband Don was a member, and then we found Terry on the street last Thursday! They're just flying out of right field at us. Erica hasn't gone anywhere, and we haven't met with Jocelyn, but Tiffany and Don are going strong and were at church yesterday! They are so legit. Some of the most fantastic people ever! And then we visited Terry on Friday night and that was super awesome as well. He doesn't remember too much specifically about the church but says he has nothing but wonderful memories with the church and his few years being in it after joining. We briefly talked about the sacrament since he was talking about repentance and stuff, so we asked him if he would come to church, and he was super all in for it! He said, "Its time to get back to what I need to do, brothers!" He is just one of the greatest men I've met! I feel sad leaving after just barely visiting with him once! Oh yeah, he wasn't at church. But, that's not to say that he won't be at a later time! We also have another less-active, Casey, that we've been meeting with that is coming to church consistently! So that's been a success! And another member has made it to a different ward to take the sacrament the last few weeks after not taking it for a while. And just all around we've had a lot of success with less-actives lately! We also had an investigator come to church yesterday, but we took him to the YSA branch. Heck yes. We also ran into a lady on Saturday, and we sat our bumms on her cement porch and taught her right there, and she was going to come to church. We went by 30 minutes before to remind her and she was out on her porch all ready to come waiting for her ride, but then she didn't show. So that was a bummer. Anyway, lots of good stuff going on............. that I'm leaving.

We had a nutso bike day on Thursday. We planned a doosy of a day. Probably could have been a little smarter with that, but hey, its in the past. If  the storm that came through wouldn't have cut out a solid 6-7 miles we would have gone 30 miles. Ugh. And it was coming off me still recovering from being sick. But hey, I survived. I think the 23+ miles we did ride may be the most I've ever gone in a day. You think you go a lot more than that but a good solid high day is usually about 18 or so. You may get to 20 sometimes if you are in a bike area and bike every single day. So 30 would have been insane. Anyway, there's my sob story for the week.

Anyway, I need to get going. There are a few more things I wish to share but I don't have the time! So this will do for the day. I love y'all! I am so thankful to be down here in the Texas Lubbock Mission and doing what the Lord needs me to do. There is no greater work to be doing!

God bless ya!

Love,
Elder Reed Ericson