So first things first, I was able to go to the baptism on Saturday (back in Romeo) and it was awesome! President Holmes came and personally picked me up. It was about an hour drive but it was totally worth it. There is nothing like a baptism to make you feel like a missionary. She was pretty nervous at the service though. It took a lot of encouragement from Elder Ragle (my former mission companion) and I to get her to finally go and sit down for all the pre-baptismal service talks and events. It turned out to be a really good service though. I’ll send pictures home today…hopefully.
Howell has been a pretty good area to me so far. My new companion’s name is Elder Loutensock (lot-en-sock; people sure have a hard time saying it) and he is a pretty cool guy. He’s an acoustic guitar player too but doesn’t have one out here. He’s a big change from Elder Ragle though that’s for sure. Elder Ragle was more a lot more free spirited and Eldler Loutensock is more a by-the-book kind of guy.
Howell is the first ward I’ve served in and it’s been a pretty big change. I got up to bear my testimony yesterday in church and the first thing I said was “Woah, there’s a lot of people here,” and of course everyone laughed when I told them I’m only used to serving in branches. Howell has maybe…150ish members that were at church yesterday. So it’s a pretty big change from Romeo where we had 40ish people at church and in Detroit where we had anywhere from 10-30 people at church every week. It’s been tough learning everyone’s names. I’m still no good at it so far. Plus it doesn’t help that people have such weird last names in Michigan. I guess a lot of people here are of Polish decent so there are a lot of random weird last names out here that I can’t pronounce.
It has been hard leaving Romeo behind. A lot harder than I thought it would be at least. Like I said in my last letter, it’s like leaving your family again, but this time I’m leaving 40 instead of 7. I had a really hard time my first 2 or 3 days in Howell and the days seemed to stretch on for forever. I was homesick all over again both for Utah and for Romeo. But I’ve met some cool people out here now and I’m doing better. Plus I got to see everyone in the Romeo Branch again at the baptism on Saturday which was good.
So far the biggest change I’ve seen in this area is the amount of dinners we get. Not that the Romeo branch never fed us, there just wasn’t a lot of people around. But last week we got fed every day but 3 I think. And two of those dinners had a non-member or less-active there too which was awesome. The area itself isn’t much different from Romeo. There’s more people, but the area isn’t as rich. There’s a lot more ghetto areas around. But just like Romeo, I’ve only met one black person out here.
Teaching wise we have about the same amount of investigators here that I had in Romeo… So not much. But we have a lot more people we can stop in on so we’re not tracting for 5 hours a day like I was in Romeo. I’m so tired of tracting so much!! I want an area where all we do is have teaching appointments every hour of the day but I’m pretty sure they don’t exist here.
Right now we have a couple investigators that have baptism dates. One of them is really cool. She is about 23 and has a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old daughter. She’s come to church twice now. Her kids were pretty crazy yesterday in church and she ended up having to leave after Sunday school because they both were having a hard time in Primary. But she’s pretty cool and hopefully will be baptized soon.
Well I’m running out of time so I’ll have to be off soon.
Love you guys! I’m glad Luke liked his present.
Hey guys. I’m now in Howell Michigan and my address is
602 Curzon Ct Apt# 301 Howell, MI 48843
I’ve been in Romeo for 6 months and now I’m leaving. It’s a very strange feeling. It’s like leaving your family again but now instead of leaving 7 people, I’m leaving 40. I’ve been in Romeo for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day and St. Patrick’s Day. I was here when Dairy Queen closed in November, and I was here when it opened in March.
We have a baptism on Saturday which is super super awesome. I’m really hoping that I get permission to come back to Romeo for it. I’m calling President Holmes today so cross your fingers.
This week was really a pretty great week for us. We had some pretty good follow up from the Gladys Knight fireside and everything just went really well this week. Sunday was a pretty sad day for me because I had to say goodbye to everyone. I’ve really loved my time here and Romeo and it’s tough to say goodbye.
On Saturday I had my last breakfast with the Robertson’s. They cook us breakfast every Saturday morning because Bro. Robertson is our branch mission leader and we have a meeting with him every Saturday morning.
It has been super good weather here lately. We’ve been in the upper 70s all week and it has been awesome. Parts of Michigan had some tornado scares last week but nowhere near me so don’t worry. The church keeps really good watch on the weather and warns us of everything. I am hoping to be in one tornado warning while I’m in Michigan though. This is the closest I’ll ever live to tornado alley!
Tell Luke Happy Birthday for me! I sent a present home last week so it should get there either today or tomorrow. I can’t believe that little bugger is eleven! That’s crazy! (he sent him a Detroit hat and Luke was stoked!)
Well, hope everyone at home is doing well. Tell everyone in the Family and Ward hi for me. I miss you guys a ton!
Yesterday was probably one of the coolest Sundays ever. The Gladys Knight fireside was super sweet!
The Choir she brought was called the Saints Unified Voices choir. Most of the people in the choir were either white or Tongan which was kind of funny because they were singing all these southern Baptist songs. In fact, when Gladys’ husband got up to speak, the first thing he said was “what’s gotten into these white people?” Both Gladys and her husband spoke and they both bore awesome testimonies. I just found out this morning that we got over 800 referrals from non-members at the fireside. We brought a non-member we have been doing service for and both he and his wife loved it and are looking forward to getting a Book of Mormon to read.
This past week overall was a great week for us. We taught a ton of lessons and we hit almost all of the goals we set for this week. On Monday we went over to a members house in Lake Orion for an activity with our missionary district. I actually already knew these members because I sat next to the mom on the plane when I flew out here in October. Anyway, they have a big home theater in their basement and we watched 17 Miracles. That movie was pretty sweet.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all just same old same old. But Thursday night one of our investigators went into the hospital so Friday morning we drove down into Troy to give her a blessing.
Next week is the last week of the transfer and will most likely be my last week in Romeo. I’m not really sure if I want to leave or stay though. There are really cool members in this branch that I know I won’t see for a long while after I leave, and we have a couple super sweet investigators that are really close to baptism. Plus on top of that, I’m not looking forward to learning a whole new area. That’s a lot of new names and faces to remember! But I guess wherever the Lord wants me, that’s where I’ll go.
Well, hope you guys are swell!
I didn’t forget to push the “send” button this week. That was a screw up on my part. (so we got 2 emails this week)
This weekend is the weekend we’ve all been waiting for, The Gladys Knight fireside weekend! It’s going to be huge. Originally, the church had only planned six shows; two on Friday, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday. But I guess this is the first time they’ve done this fireside that every single showing sold out in less than three weeks so they ended up planning another show on Friday. We’re going to be going on Sunday with some investigators so it should be pretty fun. Hopefully we get a bunch of referrals from it.
This past week was a pretty good week for us. We were able to see almost all of our investigators which is great and we had one of our most solid investigators come to church. We still weren’t able to get our investigator family that have baptism dates set to come to church which is SO FRUSTRATING!!! It sucks when you have investigators that read, pray and do everything you ask them to except come to church. They’re progressing in the gospel so well, but they still don’t come to church. We’re going to make a push on them this week and hopefully get them to go next week for sure.
On Wednesday we had Zone Conference which was fun. I think it’s always fun to go to a big meeting with a bunch of missionaries. We learned a lot more about the Gladys Knight fireside and how everything was going to go down. We got to see all of the stuff that comes in the gift bag that people can order after the concert and we had some really good practice at contacting those referrals by phone. Our mission President told us to plan on getting anywhere from 10 referrals to 40 referrals per area. Although in Romeo we might get less because our area isn’t as populated as others.
Other than that our week was pretty normal. Lots and lots of tracting. I think I’ve tracted everything within a 5 mile radius of our apartment now. All we have left are the country roads way out in the wilderness where you can tract for an hour and only knock on 10 doors– haha. The next transfers are on March 20 and by that time I will have been in Romeo for 6 months so I will most likely be transferred but you never know. There is a missionary out here who was in his area for 11 months.
The weather here has been pretty crazy. We had a huge windstorm pass through on Friday that was pretty freaky. It knocked the power out a couple times and I guess the tornado sirens sounded in some southern parts of Michigan. Not in Romeo though so mom doesn’t have to worry. Michigan is probably the closest I will ever get to living in tornado alley though. I’m kind of hoping I get to live through one tornado while I’m here. Or a least a serious tornado warning. It’s on the bucket list. I guess last year a tornado passed through Romeo and the sirens were broken so everybody go surprised. That would be freaky.
Well I hope everyone at home is doing well. Thanks for everyone’s letters. Tell Luke I haven’t forgotten about his birthday and I have a present to send him. Have a great week and I’ll talk to you Monday
Side note from mom: (Erik’s Mom would not be happy with a tornado in his area! )
This week was another pretty typical week in Romeo. We were able to teach thirteen lessons this week which was pretty good. We average around eleven a week so it was good to be above average. With the weather warming up now I bet those numbers will be going up even higher. When I first got to this area back in October, Elder Erickson and I were averaging around twenty a week. But as soon as the weather started getting colder our lessons started dropping and we started finding less and less people to teach. I’m pretty sure that everybody in Michigan just hibernates in the winter. It’s supposed to be a pretty warm week this week though so hopefully we can find some new people.
Everybody here is gearing up for the Gladys Knight fireside that’s coming up. So far our branch has ordered nineteen tickets which is AWESOME! There are a lot of less actives going which is good and at least two non-members are going. Hopefully that fireside will bring more activity to this branch. We have a lot of less actives in this area and about half our lessons each week are lessons to less active members. Sometimes I think my calling as a missionary is to work with less actives because I feel like that’s where I’ve had the most success. We have a couple that are on the track to reactivation so hopefully they keep progressing.
On Wednesday we went on companion exchanges and I got to go to the Rochester area again. It’s always fun to go on exchanges to a different area and get away from yours for a day. While I was there, we had a dinner appointment with a member who used to live in the Grand River Branch which is the branch I served in when I was in Detroit. She remembered me and it was good to see her again.
Sunday was kind of a let down. We had four investigators who said they were planning on coming to church and then none of them did. It’s always really frustrating when people don’t show up to church because then it feels like all your efforts are in vain. It was especially frustrating because three of those four have a baptism date for the end of March and unless they come to church three times they can’t be baptized. So far they haven’t come at all. But hopefully this next week will be better. We’re usually able to pull one or two investigators to church.
Well other than that not to much else is happening here. Romeo is a slower area but I still love it. Not going to lie though, sometimes I can’t wait to be transferred to a new area. But I still love Romeo and the members here are awesome. There are investigators I’m excited about (if they would just come to church!) and hopefully we can have another baptism here before I leave.
Thanks for all your love and support! I love getting everyone’s letters throughout the week. Tell Alexa and Luke thanks for the pictures! Oh and Luke, I didn’t know I’d be coming home in a rocket-ship 😉