This week seemed to go by quicker than most weeks do, it's already P-Day again, it's blowin' my mind. I did get my contacts, thank you much, and I got your email this week mom, so that was good, haha. It sounds like you guys had an awesome time in Vegas! I wish I could have been there, you'll for sure need to send me some pictures.
This past week was great! We had 4 of our investigators at church, so that was amazing, we struggle getting 2 to church every week, and that's the mission standard, so church was gooood. Our investigator Stephanie was sitting in the back with one of the recent converts, Eric ( Frayser 1 Elders baptized him last transfer). I was speaking, so I was at the pulpit, and I look out, in the back, and see Erik just completely passed out and sleeping on Stephanie's shoulder, it was soo funny, Stephanie is really quiet and reserved, and by the look on her face you could tell she just didn't know what to do, but Eric slept on her shoulder like all of sacrament. He works the night shifts at a Mapco gas station, but he still makes it to church every Sunday morning, he's a stud.
Another surprise during church, we were in the Gospel Doctrine class, and near the very end of class Sister Riley walks in and sits down in the back. Elder Badger and I went over to see her about 2 or 3 weeks ago, she hasn't been to church in almost 10 years, and she's really involved with another Southern Baptist church, and when we went to visit with her she basically told us there was nothing we could do to convince her to come back to the Mormon church ( we found out she got offended by another lady in the Memphis 1st Ward) I went up to her after class, and I honestly was so suprised, so I was just like "Sister Riley! It's so good to see you here, I'm so glad you came!" and she talked to me for a while, and she said that while she was in her other church earlier that day, she thought about us, and she felt like she needed to come over and visit her "Latta Day Sains" as she would call it. But it was so amazing that she was there yesterday, that made me so happy.
We're struggling finding new investigators, we're mostly working with this woman named Star-neesha, her daughter Kamitra and this 17 year old that lives with them named Deonte'. They are all awesome. Star is probably the smartest investigator I've met here in Frayser. She has soo many questions, and a few times we've dipped into some deep doctrine with her, but she picks up information really quick. She has committed to doing everything she needs to to get baptized, and get this- the other day she called us to ask what chapter of the BOM we left her to read. That right there blew my mind. She reads the chapters and she writes down questions to ask us afterwards, it's insane. I love it. She told us about this experience that she had, where right before she went to sleep she prayed and asked God to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and that night she had this dream where she was sitting under a tree and all these Bible's were falling out of the tree, and then something hit here in the head, and she reached up and grabbed it, and it was the Book of Mormon. She said she took that as an answer, and apparently she keeps having these dreams about the Book of Mormon. She's honestly like the golden investigator. Star and Deonte' are getting baptized on the 9th, and so is Stephanie actually, and that's after transfers, so I might be out of Frayer by then, but hopefully President will let me come back over here for the baptism, because I dont want to miss that, they're so awesome, I love them.
This morning before we came to the Library to email we went to this "Get Motivated Seminar" at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Bro Floyd had like 20 tickets and he gave them out to missionaries. We only stayed for some of it but it was pretty cool, we got to listen to Terry Bradshaw, and Mayor Rudy Giuliani (the mayor of NY during 9/11), and a few other famous people, Laura Bush was there but we left before we could here her speak. It was all about motivation, and Memphis TN sure could use some of that. It was good though.
I don't have a lot of time today, we have a lot planned. So i'm sorry this is short. I love you guys, have a good week. Oh, and I'm gonna send a letter home sometime soon, because this Lady in the ward wrote a note for "Sis LeBaron" that she want's me to send home. I guess it's notes she took on my talk in sacrament that she wanted you to hear, but I promised Sis Ginn I'd send it home. Love you.
I bet you guys are pumped for your little trip to Vegas, have an awesome time! Take some pictures so you can send them to me later. Thanks for getting my contacts, and you said you might want to wait to send them in case I get transferred, I'm gonna say send them to the Frayser house anyway, they'll probably get there before Transfers, This is the start of week 5 of the tansfer, so we still have one more week after this. Mom, I didn't get an email from you again, I'm guessing it didn't go through because my email acount never seems to be working right, but just send it again so I can read it next week.
Sarah, I just wanted to tell you that you're right. No matter how perfect the 1st lesson is going, everytime, without fail, things start going crazy when we start teaching the restoration and the first vision. It's so frustrating, Satan is so good at making sure he interrupts, every single time. Last week when we were teaching this family we found, and a repair guy came in the house just when we started talking about Joseph Smith, and so the mother of the family left to go talk with him, and everyone was distracted, and it killed the spirit and the lesson. This week we had a toddler throw up all over the floor during the 1st vision, we constantly have phones going off. This one lady decided to start breast feeding during the 1st vision once, that was a really interesting lesson. A test tornado siren went off during the 1st vision when we were teaching Demarcus, and people are always knocking on doors and coming in and out of the house. It usually turns into madness when we get to Joseph Smith. This past week though, we were teaching a lady named Star, and even in the midst of this crazy lesson with little kids screaming and swearing and running around, she said that she felt like she received an answer that this message was true, through the feelings she had during the lesson. I thought it was amazing that even in the midst of all that, the spirit was working on her. Satan does what he can, but all you have to do is bear testimony, and he is powerless.
This past week was good, our numbers struggled, but we're teaching 3 great families that all want to get baptized. The sad thing is, none of them came to church yesterday... ugg. We went over to Shan's house at 9 a.m. and woke her up, and she said she was gonna go get the kids ready and that she'd see us at church at 10, but she didn't ever get to church. I'm not sure what happened. We can never get Star and her kids to wake up in the morning, They promised they were coming to church for the past two weeks, we always stop by Saturday night and remind them they need to get some sleep so they can get up and come to church, and then Sunday morning we call Star and go knock on the door, but we can never get her to answer, but she loves it when we come over and teach her, and she expresses to us all the time that she wants to come to church. It's rough waking people up in Memphis on Sunday morning, it's just not how they do down here in the South. So we have to keep pushing their baptismal dates back... I guess sometimes it just has to be a slow process, but the goal is to get them in the water as fast as possible, because the longer it takes the more time satan has to work on them.
About transfers though, I most likely am getting transfered. I had an interview with President this week, everyone does at least once a transfer, and he told me some surprising things. I guess he has a lot more confidence in me than I do, but it sounds like I'm going to be senior companion next transfer... I know right? I'm only 3 months out. It sounds like I'm going to finish Training Elder Warro, he's finishing up his first transfer right now, but his Trainer kinda dropped the ball, I guess they only taught like 4 lessons in a whole week, 3 of those being lessons to members. So it sounds like I'm going to be getting a lot more responsibility here real soon. We'll see though, President changes his mind sometimes last minute, maybe he'll come to his senses. Either way, I will gladly accept the opportunity to grow. I'm freaking nervous though, lol. but I am almost for sure leaving the Frayser house. No matter what happens I'll be happy.
We've been riding bikes like crazy, because missionaries have been abusing their mile limitations, so President is making a huge push for everyone to cut their miles in half. So we always ride our bikes or walk now, which is okay, but it's starting to get really hot here in Memphis. So we always show up to people's homes sweating like crazy, lol, but they understand. I hear it gets over 100 degree's here usually in the summer, plus the humidity, and we're sweating when it's 70, I think i'm gonna die. I also hear it's suppossed to be the hottest summer they've had yet. So that's exciting news.
I'm really excited for General Conference, which is something I've never experienced before, I've never been excited to watch General Conference, I guess the mission is changing me.
I'm trying to think of some crazy stories that happened this week but nothing comes to mind... but last night was dumb, we were biking to see this potential investigator and so we get to his house and lock up our bikes, he doesn't end up answering his door, so we go back and get on our bikes, but my back tire wouldn't move at all, I un-hooked the back brake thinking it was the brake, but it still wouldn't move, my bike was working just fine before we locked it up, so I was a little stumped. I looked at it for a few minutes and realized the piece that switches the front gears is jammed up in my tire, I don't know how it got there, but it was too dark outside to mess with it, and it was like 8 30 and we needed to get back before curfew, so I got to carry my bike 25 min back to the church. We drove it back to the house and I took the back tire off and fixed the little gear piece, it works fine now, it just got jammed somehow.
Oh, also, I dont know if I told you this, but I lost my driving privaledges until May. I didn't do anything on my mission, but some elders got in an accident a while back and President is just crackin' down on who can drive and who can't, and I had a speeding ticket within the past year, so I can't drive until May. As long as I have a companion who can drive until May comes I'll be happy, lol.
Well, I love you guys, we're gonna play some ball with some investigators today, it should be fun. Love you! Have fun in Vegas.
So this past week was great! Thanks for keeping Thomas in your prayers! I know they helped, because Thomas James was baptized Saturday night, and confirmed yesterday in church! Saturday night was the best night of my mission. I got to baptize him, and Elder Badger confirmed him, it has just been a great weekend, and I've never seen Thomas so happy. He hasn't smoked in two weeks now!
This week is our bike week so we've just been riding our bikes everywhere, I've been exhausted, and fall asleep right after planning every night. We've found 7 new investigators this past week though, that's a lot for this mission. I think I told you about the basketball game on the street Elder Badger and I played a couple weeks ago, well one of the kids we played, named Chris, decided to come to our weekly tuesday night basketball at the church, and he brought his mom and his 2 brothers. I talked to his mom for about an hour about religion while the kids played ball and she talked to me about how she felt like she needed to get closer to God, and she let us set up an appointment with her. It was great. After ball we always have a spiritual thought, and Bro Floyd decided to bear his testimony on the church and bascially told everyone there they need to take the time to talk with the missionares, It was really spiritually powerful, Bro Floyd is the man, he was the last bishop of the Mempis 1st Ward. After that Chris' mom was even more excited for us to come visit her. We brought Bro Floyd over with us the next day and had a great 1st lesson, hopefully we'll be able to set a baptismal date on the next visit with her and her kids.
Elder Badger taught this girl Monecia, I've only met with her once, and she actuallly had a baptismal date, but she dropped it and things got a little crazy, but anyway, she lives in GreenBriar Apartments, we teach a lot of people in there, and there are two member families in there, but we found out on Wednesday that Monecia's apartment got shot up, there was bullet holes all threw her car outside and her walls and her windows were all broken. It's nuts. I guess there was about 5 people in there when it was getting shot up, but they all hit the ground, and some guys had a bullet hit the tip of his ear and that was the worst of it. This girl we call "White Jessica" I'm sure you can figure out why, she's the only white girl in GreenBriar... but she told us she thinks it was Vice Lords, which is a huge gang down here. So that was kinda crazy, I'm just glad monecia is okay.
We've also been teaching this woman named Star and her 13 year old daughter Kanitra, and her nephew Deonte', they are way awesome. We actually found her from contacting a woman at Taco Bell named Melissa, and she lives with Star. Melissa isn't very interested anymore, but we found 3 golden investigators living in her house, it's interesting how the Lord works. Star is so interested in learning more, and trying to better understand our purpose here, and The Bible, and the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, so I love meeting with her, she always asks so many questions. She wanted to know if we could help her to better understand The Book of Revelations... and besides the help from the JST and D&C 77, I don't know much about how to interpret it, but she seems satisfied with most of our answers. lol.
I'm almost done with The BOM again, I want to hurry and finish it and move on to The New Testament, I want to study more on the life of our Savior, I wish I had more than just 1 hour to study everyday.
This transfer is going by way fast, we're already half way through it. Most likely, Elder Badger is going to get transfered out of the Frayser house, i'm guessing he'll go to the other side of the river and they call either the District Leader from Lakeland or Blythville to be the Zone Leader on this side and take Elder Badgers spot, but I'm excited to see who my follow up trainer will be, but I'm gonna miss Elder Badger for sure.
Funny story, so last night... I suddenly wake up in the middle of the night, and I look up, and Elder Badger is freaking sitting on my lap in his g's. I dont know what the hecks going on, so i'm like "dude, what the freak are you doing!", and he just crawls off my bed back into his, and whispers "sorry". I was too tired to care, so I went back to sleep. When I woke up I kinda felt like it was just a dream, and I wasn't sure, but I walk into the kitchen, and Elder Badger is eating cereal on the couch, and he's sitting there giggling and he's like "Bro, did anything wierd happen last night?" lol... come to find out he was running from something in his dream and he somehow ended up in my bed. We were laughing for a long time. He's the craziest sleeper ever, he's constantly giving commitments for baptism and church in his sleep, it's so funny, lol. This was the first time i've ever seen him sleep walking though. He said it scared him, because he woke up when I yelled "dude, what the freak are you doing!", and he didn't know what the freak he was doing, he just woke up sitting on top of me lol... that guy.
My mission birthday is tommorow, I turn 3 months old, can you believe it? I met Elder Badger when he was at 8 months and now he's at 11. It blows my mind. 3 more months and I wont be a greeny anymore, that'll be nice.
I got your packages, thank you very much. Elder Peay actually found them in our bushes, I guess the delivery guy put them in the bushes so they wouldn't get jacked, I'm glad Elder Peay noticed they were there before the rain started coming, because it's been raining hard the past couple of days. and yea, just get the contacts here when you can, don't worry I'll be fine until they get here, I have my glasses. When you send my SD card back I can send you guys the pictures from Toni's baptism AND Thomas' baptism.
I haven't sent a letter out to anyone in a little while, I'm sorry, bike week gets a little crazy, and it can be hard to find time, but I'm gonna get a couple out this week.
Alright, well I love you guys, you have an awesome week!
Hey there. Alright, so you were right mom, I guess I skipped over the email from last week, so i went back and read it again, and now I see what I was missing. It sounds like everything is going good. I hope you guys have an awesome time in Vegas, I'll have fun thinking about your vacation while I'm chillin in Frayser. Sarah is like some prodigy child apparently, getting all 1's in solo and ensamble (sp?), awesome job little sister! and winning that art contest, your pictures were awesome. Thanks so much for sending those packages out, you're awesome. I very much appreciate it.
This past week was good. As you know my comp is now a Zone Leader, so Elder Peay and him both have to go to some meetings and also exchanges with District Leaders, and that happened twice this week. On Wednesday they went to a meeting with President Drewes, so they just stuck me and Elder Fry together, since we both live in the same house it makes it easy, but the funny thing is we're both greenies. So I was senior companion for a day. Then on Thursday they went on a blitz with Jonesboro, so that means 2 Zone Leaders or APs go to an area and they each take a companion, and both sets of missionaries work that area for a day. So they threw me and Elder Fry together for another day, so we were together 2 days in a row, lol. Elder Fry is great though, I love him. We did a lot of tracting.
We havent been able to see Thomas this week, which really worries me. We were meeting with him everyday to help him with his smoking, but he didn't answer the door once this week, and we'd stop by mulitple times a day, but we couldn't get in to see him, and he doesn't have a cell phone. He wasn't at church yesterday either.... so it's not looking good. His baptismal date is this Saturday... so keep praying for Thomas, I'm praying he's been keeping his commitment with this 15 step program. I want to see him get baptized so bad... If that's the one thing I do this transfer, I will feel I've served my purpose in Frayser, he is so ready to make these convenants. I love that guy, hopefully we will be able to see him tonight.
Elder Badger and I have been talking a lot lately about something that President said in a Zone Leader meeting (I wasn't there but I heard about it) and I guess President was just emphasizing the importance of loving the people. This may sounds silly, but I feel like I've finally figured out something I"ve been missing this whole time, and that's just how important it is to love others. Not just say you love others, but sincerely, honestly, and endlessly loving others. Like Jesus says in Matthew 22, the GREATEST commandments, are to love the Lord thy God, and then to love thy neighbor. There is no greater commandment. When you meet someone for the first time, it's so easy to judge them without even realizing that you are. You look at their appearance, and you put them into a category, whether it's a thug, or a nerd, or someone who's stuck-up, or mean, or ugly, or anything. OR you can put them into a category as one of God's children, and God has an eternal love for them, just like I should. This sounds so simple, to the point where it is really easy to forget. I dont know if you've looked at the Ensign for this month, but it's definately something to check out. In there the Prophet talks about Mother Teresa's quote (I think mom actually has this on the fridge) "When you judge someone, you have no time to love them". I've been striving to apply this into my life as a missionary, when you show sincere love for the Lord, and for the people, everything else will fall into place. If I love them I'll find a way to get them closer to baptism, and if I love the Lord, and these people, I wont even be tempted to be lazy, but anxiously engaged in helping them and moving the work forward. I challenge everyone back home to read this months Ensign, there's an article by a member of the seventy and it's all about love and how we can be healed through the blood of our savior. It's really good. Also, there's an article for future missionaries, about the emotional demands of a mission, and how to prepare, that's a good one too. So Dakota and Ben, you both should read that.
I know this email is short, but I have to get going. I love you guys. Stephen, I wrote you a hand written letter, hopefully you'll get that soon. Please keep Thomas in your prayers. You'll hear from me next week.
Something I forgot to mention. If you go to Mormon.Org, look up the profile of Dennis Pegues, he's from our ward, the Memphis 1st ward. He started the Tuesday night basketball at our church building, and we play ball every Tuesday with any kids in frayser that wanna come, it's pretty cool. Blue and Darion are both in his little movie clip, and just a bunch of people I've met, and our church building. I thought you might be interested in watching that.