Monday, March 28, 2016

Queen City

Happy Easter from Queen City! Sounds like you guys had fun! My Easter was very rainy and foggy, but it was still pretty rad. We had dinner at the Grants and were able to teach a few people. Brother Grant is the young men's leader and is a super cool guy. They have 5 kids all under the age of 7 so we had a pretty hectic house too,  reminded me of home. They also has a friend over who teaches contemporary dance at UNC and wanted to know everything about what Bend is like. Bend, Oregon seems to be pretty popular here, lots of people either are in love with it or are dying to go there soon. One of the guys we taught yesterday was pretty interesting; he claimed Muslim but believed that Christ was the son of God and was 100% convinced that the wheel in the sky described in Ezekiel's vision is a giant city that floats around in the sky and the United States is denying the existence of it. He did committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon though so I'm pretty curious was our next appointment will be like. Also, thank you so much for the Easter package! I was looking pre slick in my new tie yesterday and it was really fun to build Legos. I'm not sure if told you guys already, but back in Danville I started a tradition of buying a Lego set the night before every baptism so maybe this is a sign

We had a pretty cool experience this week. Me and Elder companion tried something called Harvest where you lay your area's map on the ground, pray to know which half of the map has a prepared individual in it and then receive an answer. Then you pray to know which half of that half you need to go to and so forth until you get down to a few streets. Then you go there and pray for more advice and then go knock on a door you feel prompted to and find a new prepared investigator. So we tried this out and were lead to a really nice wealthy neighborhood, classic Providence. We didn't feel particularly prompted to go to any specific house so we started walking around and knocking. We went on getting rejected at every door for about an hour, and then went in for dinner. Both of us were pretty confused because we really felt we were lead there for a reason. I thought maybe Heavenly Father was just testing our obedience and wanted to see if we were willing to follow promptings. So two days later we were praying about where to go and I got this feeling we should go back to the area, so we did. We parked our car and walked up to the first house we saw and the guy listened to our message, took a Book of Mormon, and promised to come and visit our church soon. It was crazy awesome! So if you get a prompting to do something and it doesn't make sense or seem to bring any fruit do it anyways.

I also finished the Book of Mormon this week! Very exciting. I started over again today and this time I'm going to read through it very slowly, looking at all the footnotes and focusing a lot on how the Bible and Book of Mormon support one another.

This week we taught a guy that's super into Charlotte's African American history and I learned a ton! So Charlotte used to be an Indian trading post and played a big part in the Revolutionary War. When the British reported back after losing Charlotte to the colonists, they said "they were all over us like hornets" thus the Charlotte Hornets. The actual name of the city is named after Queen Charlotte who was an African princess that married into German Royalty so that's why they call Charlotte is called Queen City. All the street signs have a queens crown on it, check out the picture.

We're starting to see this area grow and I'm really excited! Danville was in a pretty similar situation when I got there so I'm really hoping I stick around Providence long enough to see it get to the point we had Danville at. Also I had horchetta for the first time at a recent convert's house this week! It was SO good. This family was baptized about a year ago and they are so converted to the church, it makes me want to baptize a family here.

Well we have district activity today so I'll write you guys next week!

P.S you should have taught me that dish soap is NOT the same as dish
detergent before I left.... (in my defense, he didn't always listen....)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Busy week, long bike ride

Dearest Family,

Yesterday was really busy hectic with appointments, meetings, dinner at the Andersons, and FHE at Bishop's house with less actives. I think I'm starting to understand how bishops feel on Sundays. Weeks are so busy and exhausting that by the time Sunday rolls around I just want to take a nap and relax. Often I have to keep myself from falling asleep in church. I do, however, really like this ward. The people are really nice and there's a lot of big families with young kids. There's also a ton of businessmen so I'm learning how to be more "professional" as I talk with them. Charlotte is the banking capital of the U.S so a lot of people from my ward work for Bank of America or Wells Fargo selling and trading bonds and stock and that kind of stuff. And for the first time on my mission there are people who know where Bend Oregon is! And some even know where Redmond is. A lot of them just go there to golf, which makes good conversation since I worked on a golf course.

Right now we're teaching a guy named Steve who's reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it's true and someone named Pattie who wants to get baptized but she just had hip surgery and has to wait 10 weeks to heal. We actually went up to uptown to see her in the hospital with week. Uptown Charlotte is really nice, it's like Portland but cleaner. We're also teaching a family of three, the mom Brandy is all down for coming to church but they're pretty busy and haven't been able to come to church yet. David is another investigator who we helped stop drinking and stop chewing. He'll be getting baptized soon but they're moving into Matthews ward before that which borders our area but is in a whole other stake so that's kind of a bummer, but we're really excited for him. There are a few others we're teaching but those are our regulars. We spend a lot of time finding though. On Saturday we biked like 20 miles to go see a referral we received. We would have waited till we got the car back but we're supposed to contact referals within 24 hours of receiving them and they didn't have a phone number. So we spent like 2 hours riding way the heck to the other side of the area and they weren't even home. So we went and got dinner at Cookout up the road and then came back and they still weren't home. Then we biked 2 hours home, it was great! For real though my quads are off the wazoo right now though.

On Thursday night we were biking home from an appointment in the dark and we cut through a local park to get home faster. Elder Snyder was in front of me and we hit this stair set and at the bottom he wrecked hard and almost flew into the pond. After I knew he was okay it was super funny. I honestly thought I was going to have to jump in the pond and save him😂

We also helped some of the senior missionaries at the mission home this week with a bed frame. Elder Zwich of the seventy is coming in a few weeks to speak and I guess he's staying at the mission home. Its pretty crazy how close we live to president.

So now I'm just getting really excited for General Conference. I've been listening to a lot of past General Conference talks in the mornings. I listened to the "Purifying Power of Gethsemene"! It was really really good! 

I hope you guys have a great spring break! Don't do anything too crazy without me!

Love ya!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Settling in to Providence

Hey y'all,

First off, thank you so much for the wonderful birthday presents! My birthday was kinda wired because no one really knew it was my birthday, but for some reason the family that brought us dinner that night brought a cake too no knowing it was my birthday. Tender mercies from the Lord! It was pretty great and overall I had a wonderful birthday!

This week things started getting a little better. We put two people on date for baptism and last night we had dinner with a family we're teaching. It seems like missionary work here is a lot slower and requires a lot more patience, but has a greater reward. For example, one of the recent converts here is named Abel, and he is one of the most spiritual people I've met. He's great to take to lessons and his whole family is going to the temple to be sealed together in a few months. The baptisms here are harder to come by, but tend to stay more active.

The ward members here are really fun! Saturday night they had us judge the pinewood derby and it was great. Tons of people were there and they even had a GoPro hooked up to a tv screen so you could see the finish line from the crowed. I had to ref who won. Luckily there weren't too many close calls so I don't think I've offended anyone yet.

I also went on exchange with my district leader to Weddington. That was pretty fun. We also had zone conference and they had us skype one of the sister missionaries that was on The District videos. She talked a lot about how we can fulfill our missionary purpose in any situation and also about how The District was filmed. It was a pretty cool zone meeting, a lot different than any I've ever been to.

Yesterday we also talked to some drunk dude that showed is his detailed sketch of how the assignation attempt on Ronald Ragan was fraud. So that was cool.

But yeah I'd love to hear how you guys are doing! I really like reading your emails so keep sending them! 

Elder Earnest

Monday, March 7, 2016

Providence Ward, Charlotte, NC

Hey y'all. 
Glad to hear everything's well back home. I'm in my new area now and it REALLY different from Danville. In Danville I was teaching starving children that didn't have any food in the cupboards; the other day I walked past a kid that couldn't have been over the age of 10 complaining that he couldn't get his email set up on his new iPad. It's so different from what I'm used to. I talked to Elder Clarke (my trainer who just became an assistant) last night and he said he had to adjust quite a bit as well coming from Danville to Sharon, the area just north of ours. All of the homes here are huge and people actually have cars and work...I feel so out of place😂

The missionary work here is really slow too. People are really busy with work and family and don't always want to listen to us. Our evenings are usually pretty full but the afternoons and mornings are rough. The good thing is the ward is really big and there's a lot of ward missionaries to go out with us. We have dinners with ward members
most nights of the week and the families are nice. Outside of a missionary perspective, I really like the area. It's similar to the area that Danford and Beth live in and is just up the way from up to Charlotte. Our teaching pool is really small and there hasn't been a baptism in a while but we'll change that up right quick.

We also live right around the corner from the mission home. In our interviews this week President Alexander said we could have investigators over to his house to teach and we actually went to one of those firesides last night with a recent convert! It was pretty great; president talked all about Christ and Easter.

My new companion is Elder Snyder from Ogden Utah. He's only been out 3 months and was trained by someone I came out with, but we get along well enough.

But yeah I really miss Danville. I always knew it was a great area, but now I really know how great it was. On my last night there I said goodbye to my friend Keith (guy in the McDonalds shirt bellow) and he was really sad that I was leaving because he's getting married to his girlfriend this summer to work towards baptism and wants me to be the best man. I'm gonna miss Brother Barker a lot too. (He's the super southern high priest group leader) and when I left he told me "Elder Earnest, I have enjoyed my association with you" then he gave me a hug and said in my ear "go home and make lot's of babies, boy"😂😂

Well, I'm not really looking forwards to this week; it's gonna be a whole lot of walking around looking for people to teach but I'll just have to make the best of it.