Monday, February 29, 2016

Tornados

It's good to hear from you guys! This week has been crazy. On Wednesday we had three tornados touch down our area, I was told three people were killed. We didn't see the tornado over in our area but it was still crazy. The clouds were moving super fast and it was really warm and windy. Elder Everett and I rode up the street to see
Robert and while we were talking it started to drizzle. We decided to head back home so we didn't get rained on and only made it about 30 feet before it just dropped water from the sky. The phrase 'pouring rain' doesn't do this storm justice. I couldn't see 10 feet in front of me there was so much rain. By the time we made it back to the house we were drenched and I had water overflowing from my shoes. Elder Everett slipped in the mud and got super dirty so when we got into the house he went straight to the "washroom", as our Canadian roommate Elder Galvin would say, and took a shower in his full proselyting clothes. We were probably wetter than we would have been if we'd jumped into a swimming pool.

On Friday the Spanish Elders came up and spent the night. Their area includes all of the Greensboro and High Point Stakes so they go around a lot looking for more Spanish speakers. To put it simply we had 6 Elders in an apartment meant for 2, one bathroom, and a bunch of Nerf guns. It was a riot. Elder Prado is from Mexico but speaks perfect English. I really like him and I'm excited because we'll both be in the same zone next transfer (p.s I'm getting transferred). Elder Johnson is from California and is also really chill and fun to hang with. He came out a few months after me and wasn't originally called to be Spanish speaking, but when he got here President Alexander decided to make him one. He's doing really well with the language considering he never got trained for it in the MTC. While they were here they were able to find two new Hispanics that are willing to learn more.

So I'm leaving Danville tomorrow. Sad day. I'm going to an area down in Charlotte called Matthews. It borders Wedington, which is where Michael Jordan lives.  Yesterday and today I've just been saying goodbye to everyone. There are a lot of great people here I'm going to to miss. 

Alright I love you guys and love hearing from you! Till next week,

Elder Earnest


Got caught in the rain

The Clays

Monday, February 22, 2016

Quick week



Dang, this week flew by! The whole Tuesday p-day thing threw me off, but it was still a great week! Saturday Johnny and Robert both went to the temple in Raleigh. Johnny was baptized and confirmed for his father and grandfather.  Robert is afraid of water so he just did a ton of confirmations. Sadly Quill and Sienna couldn't go. Yesterday we took Johnny to Brother Martin's and he blessed the sacrament for the first time. It's been really fun to see Johnny progress this far so fast.

We also had zone conference this week in Greensboro. They talked a lot about working with members and our stake president, President Hyatt, came and spoke. Elder Galvin and I also did a piano/organ duet of 'Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy' for the musical number (see video below). Sister Alexander gave a training on dinner appointments and proper behavior which we actually got to use this week! We had dinner with the Tuckers, the Wileys, and the Christensens this week.

So I've been explaining American government to Elder Glavin this week. (He's the Canadian). Everyone seems to be talking about Trump here and Elder Galvin has been pretty lost about how it all works.

I'm still on track with finishing the Book of Mormon by Easter! 10 pages a day isn't easy but it's totally worth it. The other day we were eating at Chiros and the movie "Dances with Wolves" was on one of the T.Vs and I kept getting glimpses of it (you have no idea how hard it is not to look at a movie when it's on, try it sometime) and ever since I've been reading the Book of Mormon and picturing the Nephites being more like the Northern Native Americans. It's like reading a whole new book and super enjoyable. After I finish the Book of Mormon I'm going to spend more time in Jesus the Christ and the New Testament. I've also been studying Preach My Gospel a lot, too. I love the big copy you sent me, thank you so much. It's really helped me learn a lot of new skills for teaching and training. 

Well, time to go play some basketball. Sure love ya'll!


video

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

President's Day

Hey everyone...

Yesterday was Presidents' Day so p-day got moved to today. They wanted us out proselyting because people would be home from school and work.  Sadly most of the people we teach are not in school or employed. Sunday night it snowed and then all day yesterday it was freezing rain which meant we couldn't use the car because the roads were a sheet of ice. So we walked around and delivered cookies and had FHE with the Webb's.

Yesterday we were talking to Quill and she said she's going to make me some real "ghetto black southern food" before I leave. They said they're making pig's feet, chitlins, turnip greens, fried okra, ox tails, and pig's face. Like literally the face of a pig. That should be an interesting night for my digestive system...

Johnny was in the hospital all last week because his leg got infected, but he should be going to the temple this Saturday along with Quill and Robert. Robert was ordained to the office of a priest on Sunday and we're really excited for them to all go do baptisms for the dead. 

It was really cold here for a few days, but now it's in the 50's and really nice out.
 
I wish I had some good stories for ya'll but this week was pretty bland. I do want some stories from dad though! I realized I don't know like any of his mission stories at all, so if he has a chance I'd like to hear some. Also I wanna know if he ever trained or was a district leader or anything like that. 

I can't think of anything else to tell you guys about. Next week should be better. Thank you so much for all the love and support you've shown me! I really appreciate all the letters and packages you've sent me. Till next week,

Elder Earnest 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cold baptisms

This week we had two baptisms! We ended up having to get special permission for Robert to get baptized because he had only been to church twice, but a few weeks ago church got cancelled because of the snow. We have a temple trip coming up and we want him to go, so President Alexander said we could have him baptized. This was the guy that's reading Jesus the Christ and has already finished a ton of church material so he was pretty ready.  Baptisms for missionaries are pretty stressful. Robert showed up 30 mins before the baptism as
planned, but the baptismal pants we had didn't fit him. So me and Elder Everett scrambled around for about a half an hour looking for baptismal pants in his size. Luckily, a guy in the ward had some we could borrow and it all worked out. Elder Everett baptized Robert and Bishop baptized Shequilla. I confirmed both of them yesterday. We also messed up on the water temperature and it was freezing cold. That was pretty funny to watch.

I also had interviews with President this week. He gave me the feeling my Danville days may be over soon, but that's okay because I'm starting to wonder what the rest of the mission looks like. Seven and a half months is a long time to be in an area.

Okay funny story: so there's this guy in our neighborhood we've talked to a few times named Larry, AKA the local drunk. And me and Elder Everett were walking on the sidewalk and see him stumbling along ahead of us. He's got a beer in one hand and a cigarette in another. He keeps swaying back and forth because he's super drunk and then all of a sudden he just stops in the middle of the sidewalk and we see a pee stream splatter out between his legs. He's literally peeing in the middle of the sidewalk on Washington Street.

I've always loved the parable in Mark 4:26. It applies really well to missionary work in that we plant gospel seeds and invite people to do things, but ultimately the spiritual growth is out of our hands just like the planter can't really control the sun and soil of a plant. All that we can do as missionaries is invite. Then it's up to the investigator to act. I've been really fortunate to have been able to find a lot of people here willing to act. Heavenly Father wants to bless us more than anything, we just need to use our agency so he can do that for us.


Sure love ya!

Elder Earnest








Some beautiful (but unidentified) buildings in Danville:





Thursday, February 4, 2016

Still alive



I've had a pretty good week here - the snow finally melted so we could actually get out and see some people. We've got a baptism this Saturday and another one on the following Saturday which is pre dope.  Yesterday our recent convert, Johnny, was given the priesthood. That was super exciting for me. We starting meeting with him at the beginning of December and now he's going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead at the end of the month. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had to watch his conversion. One of our investigators that is getting baptized next week, Robert, is progressing really, really well too. He's keeps telling us how this is going to be a lifelong thing for him and how he wants to progress in the priesthood and he's read the Book of Mormon and the Gospel Principles manual and the Howard W. Hunter Sunday school book and now he's on Jesus the Christ. So you tell me.

Last night Elder Everett was sick. That was fun... The best part was we had a dinner appointment with Sister J, who's an amazing cook, so we still made him go. He took a nap on the floor the whole time, way to take one for the team buddy but today he's been feeling really crappy so we'll  probably have to stay in all night.

I can never remember what I wrote last week, but I finished the Book of Mormon last week, great book by the way, and I've made a goal to read it again by Easter. Our stake has stake intervals where every three months they have a new challenge or goal, and this interval is to read the Book of Mormon by Easter. I didn't think I was going to do it because I had a late start having to finish it first, but this morning I realized I only have to read like ten pages a day, which only takes a half hour, and I can be done before Easter. I'm pretty excited for that. Me and Elder Galvin have also been reading 4 pages of Isaiah every day and talking about it, which has some REALLY good stuff in it and also some stuff I really don't understand, but I really want to read all of the Bible by the time I finish my mission so I figured this was a good was to jump on the Old Testament.

Being with four missionaries in an apartment is so fun. We're always getting in fights or throwing sweet potatoes at each other or shooting each other with my cross bow. Elder Galvin is a true homie. We've been
writing music together in our free time and the four of us have been playing some pretty intense games of Munchkin.

But yeah I'm still alive and doing well.

Sure love ya!