Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cotton Fields and Sunsets

October 8, 2016

Hello once again all my wonderful friends. It feel like I was emailing y'all just yesterday! Probably because I was.... basically. I mean, it was like 5 days ago. And by my standards these days, that was yesterday. Anyway, it was a wonderful week. I don't know what made it wonderful, but sometimes things are just wonderful, you know.

First things first, I will give you a glimpse into the cheesy life of a missionary. So we did p-day last Monday right? So that meant that we did p-day with all the other missionaries for the first time in a while. Well, we all went to a park type place to play some stuff because the church was closed for stupid carpet cleaning so we couldn't go and play ball. Anyway, we played some ultimate football for a little while and then just kinda hung around for a bit. At one point, however, a massive game of "pull down the socks" broke out. So basically you had a bunch of elders running around this field trying to pull each other crew socks down to their ankles. Stupid, right? I bet you are thinking that sounds like the stupidest idea of a game you have ever heard. But I am here to testify that your perception of this game is dead wrong. Greatest game I've ever played. I basically just chased Elder Schroeder down (former companion) and we just stood there with our hands on each others shoulders keeping our ankles away from each other until one of us would shoot in for the socks. I wrecked him a couple times. He almost got me, but somehow I whipped out every bit of athleticism I have left in my body to avoid getting "socked". And then at one point I escaped Elder Schroeder with some nimble moves only to be attacked by like two others before I even got up off the ground. I don't remember what I did, but I remember I pulled some super quick move and then was somehow up on my feet running away not even knowing how I got up on my feet so fast. I was very proud of myself and was very pleased with the athleticism I used. Don't know where it came from, but it was super sweet. So anyway, I would love to invite anyone and everyone to a big game of socking when I get home. Its so on.

My vehicle assistant, Elder Dalley, who is a senior service missionary who lives here in Lubbock, took us out to lunch a few days ago. The first place he mentioned that we could go was Longhorn Steakhouse. Before he made any other suggestions I said, "Let's go!" and started walking out the door and he and Elder Hawes followed without argument. Elder Dalley recommended the filet, but I had to go with the 18oz bone-in Outlaw Ribeye. Good choice. I probably would have tried the filet, however you could only get a maximum of 10oz so I wasn't up for that garbage. No way, I need more than that. I love going to eat with people who have money and literally encourage you to get whatever you want. Its wonderful. I think all of our steaks were over $20. Life will be rough when I go to college and people don't spoil me. But hey, life is rough. Anyway, Elder Dalley is quite possibly one of my favorite people. My goodness, I love that man! He is a ton of fun to have around and he is a wonderful man! He has served in just about every calling in the church. You name it. Bishop, Stake Presidency, Temple Presidency, Young Men's President, etc. The only thing he said that he hasn't really had is being called as a primary teacher. But that'll come. Apparently they make jokes in stake meetings about making sure he receives every calling before he dies because he is basically close enough. In fact, the other senior service missionary in the office came in and was telling Elder Dalley that despite his age he's still been praying for him to be the next stake president. Elder Dalley wasn't having anything to do with that. He said he's too old. I guess we'll see. Anyway, that's my good friend Elder Dalley.

Speaking of office senior missionaries, the finance guy is Elder Byington, and him and I have had it out for each other the last week. He always comes in and gives us a hard time, so Elder Ericson decided that he isn't gonna take it and leave it anymore. I get in and talk smack to him every chance I get. I usually try to ruin his day within 5 minutes of me getting to the office. "Elder Ericson! I don't want to hear it! Your just as bad as me these days, and that's BAD!" Hahaha its been a good time. Whenever I have a business question for him I have to say, "Elder Byington, this is a business item and has nothing to do with our personal relationship so please excuse the politeness." The Byington's are so great. Such fun to work with them! Sis Byington is absolutely hilarious. She always says stuff to people out in the main office area and Elder Hawes and I just quietly bust up laughing in our room. They are the greatest!

On Tuesday Elder Hawes and I got to take a sweet road trip down to Snyder and back. I got a call at about 4:00 from the sisters saying that they locked their keys in the car............ yup. And get this, when we got there and got in the car, they were still in the dang ingnition! Oh my. Bless their hearts. It was fun though to take a spur of the moment road trip down to Snyder and back. Its about an hour and a half down there and then an hour and a half back. Then throw in getting through town, waiting for them to call us back to tell us where their car was, getting to their car, driving it to their place, and getting gas (and Cheetos and lemonade for dinner), our trip was lengthy. We left at like 4:15ish or so and got back at about 7:45. Great fun! After serving in West Texas a road trip like that is nothing. Unfortunately, I've made the trip between Snyder and Lubbock a million times so it was nothing new. It is right in the middle of Lubbock and Abilene so it was just another trip. I think I counted and I decided that I had driven from Abilene to Lubbock and Lubbock to Abilene about 18 times. I love that drive, very scenic in my eyes, but it would have been cool to see something new! However, when we got back into Lubbock, we found some killer cotton fields and got your typical "the field is white, all ready to harvest" photos. Classic. It took me 23 months, but I finally got some!

So, we were supposed to have a mission tour with Elder Keetch from the quorum of the 70 this past week. They had an MLC meeting scheduled for Wednesday, south half of the mission in Midland on Thursday, and then north half in Lubbock on Friday. However, we got word on like Tuesday that Elder Keetch got a new assignment from President Nelson to take care of in Salt Lake instead of coming to Lubbock those days. However, he was still scheduled to come down for the Lubbock North Stake Conference on Saturday/Sunday. So ours got cancelled. It was dramatic. AND THEN, we got word on like Thursday that the mission tour was back on for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday! So I will have my last (and only my second) mission tour with Elder Keetch on Tuesday! I don't even really get all jollied up for members of the quorum of the 70. They are great men and all, but if I am to get instructed by somebody for 3 hours I would much rather have it be President Heap. But, I am still looking forward to having Elder Keetch here and it should be a good time and I should learn some good stuff!

I gave my last district meeting instruction yesterday in replacement of the mission tour. That was kinda sad. I hadn't done a district meeting in a long time so it was fun. I believe I had sisters in one of my district meetings in San Angelo while Elder Ramos was stuck in New York doing Visa stuff, but the rest of my many district meetings were all elder meetings. So, yesterday I had 5 sisters (should have been 6 but one of the sisters was super sick and at a members house) and Elder Hawes. So it was quite the change of scenery. Even in Abilene we only had one set of sisters in our zone so I instructed mostly elders. But it was super fun though! They were being super funny yesterday and I laughed more than I probably ever did with my all elders districts! It was an interesting district meeting to prepare. Right at the end of my last stint as a DL we started to do all of our trainings on fundamentals from the 12 week training program. I only did a couple of those instructions and I had done so many district meetings that I literally spent 5 minutes preparing them and they were pretty bomb. But I was actually struggling putting together something for "We invite, they commit, we follow-up". However, the good Lord pulled through once again as I sat in deep pondering on Thursday night. He told me that I needed to basically just focus on the invitation to read the Book of Mormon. So to start off I posed a series of questions that pertained to the faith that we need to extend commitments, and also the role that the investigators faith plays in receiving invitations. But then I spent the rest of the time focusing on the invitation to read the Book of Mormon. It was pretty good stuff. I think that it was actually super applicable and was something that will be a benefit to them and that they will remember! I always try to make things applicable when I instruct, and I think that I accomplished that task yesterday.

Anyway, I am now probably officially done with instructing, so that is super sad. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned a lot through instructing and I hope and pray that my thoughts and words as directed from the spirit and carried to them by the spirit have helped the missionaries that I have had stewardship of over the months. But, time to move on. It surely has been fun. I have learned a lot having a bunch of sisters in my district this transfer. I don't really know how to describe my learnings, but I know that President Heap was inspired in the reorganization of the districts in our zone and in the structure of our district! I believe that it will help me a lot in later times!

Well peeps, I'm fixin' to get out of here and go eat lunch (we were just told to go to one of the church buildings to eat some... the good Lord pulls through again). I am trying to make "fixin'" a part of my vocab before I go home, but it hasn't been going to well. I am really quite sad about that one. Elder Despain uses it like a champ and I am super jealous. Y'all is in the vocab pretty well by now, but there are some others that haven't caught super well. Sad. ANYWAY, I hope y'all have a good week! I love ya!

God bless ya!

Elder Reed Ericson

Elder Reed and companion in a cotton field.

Elder Reed and his companion in the office.

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