October 3, 2016
Holy cow team, it’s been a while. I felt like I had a whole new world full of email topic opportunities with the additional 2 days I had between p-days. My goodness. Anyway, this past week was pretty good, I guess. Nothing too crazy happened but life was good nonetheless.
Let’s see here. I will just tell you of a few things that were pretty sweet. On Sunday evening one of the wards here in Lubbock put on a musical program that was a tribute to the Prophet Joseph. We attended and I wasn't expecting too much from it. I was expecting your typical po-dunk try-hard musical program that doesn't turn out very well with a whopping crowd of about 10 people. However, we showed up and I was pleasantly surprised by the fairly crowded parking lot and a chapel full of people. In fact, they had to open up the partition to the gym at the beginning of the show. The music stuff started and it was actually pretty good. They put on an actual program. They had the spotlight things coming from both sides of the chapel, and it actually seemed like I was at a real performance. The music was pretty darn good and there were a couple of darn darn good musical numbers throughout. Their last song was obviously "Joseph Smiths First Prayer". HOLY. COW. That song is sung all the time but my heavens they performed that song like I've never heard it! HOLY. COW. It was SO intense. There was a projector sitting right by the pulpit the whole time and it wasn't used at all so I was wondering why it was there. But then the organ (which they hadn't used all night) started playing bell chimes, and then the singing started along with a video of Joseph Smith. The video went right along with the song perfectly and it showed Joseph being attacked by Satan and all. Then, the screen went completely black for a second. And then of course, a tiny dot of light appeared at the top of the screen that slowly enlarged as the song hit the intense part. BOOM. My entire body was overcome by the Holy Ghost in a way that I don't think I have ever felt it in my life! My entire body from head to toe was feeling intense tinglies and had a nice good buzz going on throughout. I felt like my spirit was being taken away to some heavenly place. My goodness people, Joseph saw what he saw and is a prophet of God. I will never forget that experience. Good on ya, Monterey Park Ward choir. Good on ya. They tore it up.
We had Zone Training on Tuesday last week. The training was just another zone training, but my goodness I got to experience the Elder Despain/Elder Ericson family at work! It is crazy how in sync we are with each other. Every comment he makes is just spot on in my head and half the time I'm thinking it before he says it, and then he experiences the same thing that I do! In fact at one point we both had our hands raised to comment on something and I got called on to go first. I delivered an original comment that was probably something that most of the missionaries have pop in their heads. You know, just a good solid comment. Then they went to Elder Despain, and he just puts his hand down and says, "I was going to say the exact same thing as Elder Ericson so nevermind." Heck yeah, son. We just see things the same, which is really funny because when I trained him we definitely did not see many things the same. So it is fun to see it happen now like a year or more later! I'm proud of the missionary he has become! He has come a long way. Plus, he makes me laugh more than just about anyone in the mish so its just a jolly good time.
Funny story about Wednesdayish night. So we took our dinner hour from about 5:45 to 6:45 right? Well, by about 6:10 we were both in bed ready to zonk out for a nice nap before our work commenced. So we set an alarm to get up and all 3 of our phones had sound on. Pretty safe huh? Well, I woke up randomly, looked at the clock, and it said 8:20. No kidding. So I checked out my phone and I had a missed call, a voicemail, and a text message. All came in with sound on. I woke up Elder Hawes and he checked the other 2 phones and one had 2 texts that came in and the other one had a text or two I think. Plus, he checked the alarm and sure enough it was sure as heck must have gone off. It wasn't set wrong or anything. So, we concluded that we must have really needed that good of a nap since we slept through all that. So we didn't feel bad at all. It was a darn good nap too. I felt rejuvenated for sure. However, it kept me up late so then I woke up tired and had a crappy morning. But, that is beside the point.
In between sessions of general conference on Sunday we needed to go to the mission office to get two of the assistants certified to drive the mega van since they couldn't drive it yet. So we were on our way to the office when they called and told us to come to the mission home for grilled cheese. Oh yes. We totally went to the Heap's and had grilled cheese for lunch between sessions! But the Heap's don't play around with their grilled cheese. (I just took an hour plus long break for our office meeting... but I am here to resume). These things were no joke. My grilled cheese was potato bread, sharp cheddar, sharp white cheddar, black forest ham, and grilled onions. Oh yeah. So good. I feel like I have been revolutionizing my life as far as grilled cheese goes lately. Lately I have been doing my normal honey wheat with garlic salt and parmesan, and then cheddar and pepperoni. These things are lights out, but these grilled cheese at the Heap's were far more deluxe than what I make. Nonetheless, I can't eat a normal grilled cheese anymore. It’s just not the same.
General conference was good. I know most of you watched it so I'm not going to recap it all for you because that would be pointless. You already know what talks were dynamite. However, Elder Cornish came up big for us missionaries. I think we all enjoyed that one and it helped us all a lot. And, I just love seeing President Monson get up and speak despite his weakness. He is a champ. I love watching him walk out after the sessions and stop and wave to the crowd and give thumbs up to everyone. What a guy.
I have been working on "My Plan" this transfer. My Plan is the program that the church has put together to help prepare missionaries that will be returning home. (Elder Evans just caught a snake right outside the door of the office. Sweet stuff. Sis Heap was freaking out over the tiny thing. She hates snakes. Super funny.) Each week you spend an hour on the computer going through making visions, goals, and plans so that you can go home and have the path set to continue on in your progression in life. The first week I recorded the spiritual truths that the Lord has taught me and the Christlike attributes the Lord has helped me develop. The second week I made a one year vision and some goals. And then this past week I made plans for "Continued Discipleship". The last couple weeks have been really good because I have been able to realize that my progression in life doesn't end after I go home. I have been able to recognize that there are so many opportunities to grow and learn and continue on in my progress. It actually gives me a ton of confidence going home knowing that the good part of life is only beginning. I know that it will be challenging and not as easy as being a missionary, but greater work and more effort will only bring greater growth and progression. So it has been good. I think this week I will be making plans for education and career and then the week after will be dating and marriage. So I have a lot of fun ahead of me. We shall see how this goes.
Anyway, I guess that will be it for me today. I don't have too much else for y'all. Thank you for all of your continued support and prayers! I feel it! Keep the faith and carry on with the many joyful things of this life! I love ya!
God bless ya!
Elder Reed Ericson