This week was a tougher week for us. For starters, we’re coming up on the
end of the month so we had to cut back on our car miles. On top of that,
the Fowlerville fair was going on all week and I swear EVERYONE in Howell
and Fowlerville was there. It made tracting almost useless because nobody
was home. We couldn’t go walk around the fair like we did for Balloonfest
because you had to pay to get on the grounds and the city told us we
weren’t allowed to pass out cards or pamphlets or anything. So that made
things a little tough. We did get to go check it out with a member for a
little while though. It was reeeaaaally big and we got to hang out by
the monster trucks for a little bit. I wish I would’ve brought my camera
but I completely forgot it.
We had to sit through 3 crazy thunderstorms this week. They all dropped A
TON of rain and Friday morning our apartment complex had to send some
people out to drain out the bottom floor apartments because they flooded.
They also ripped out all the rain gutters and put new ones in. I guess the
winds got pretty strong one night too because there were a ton of downed
branches everywhere on Saturday and the power was out all over the place.
The power in our apartment never went out but the lights in the courtyard
kept shutting off and on. Also, somehow my bike got a flat tire sitting out
on the deck. I haven’t even ridden the thing in over a week!
Our teaching this week was not so great. Our two most “solid” investigators
have mysteriously disappeared. Both of their phones have been shut off and
they live so far away from us it’s a pain to stop by everyday. So now we’re
stuck only being able to potentially contact them when we’re in the area.
It get’s really frustrating watching people just up and disappear. Our
investigator teaching pool is getting really low so we’re probably going to
be doing some serious tracting this week.
We did have one really cool miracle this week. About 3 weeks ago we ran
into a less active at the library that nobody knew lived in the area. He
recently moved out here and is living in a 3/4 house for alcohol and drug
abuse recovery. Anyway, he found us at the library and told us that he
wants to change his life around and he knows the only way he can do it is
through God. We’ve invited him to attend church like 6 times but he’s been
going to a whole bunch of different churches to see what is out there. He
hasn’t actually been to an LDS church for about 6 years so he doesn’t
remember a whole lot. Anyway he showed up at church on Sunday and loved it!
He could only stay for sacrament because he had to get to work, but he
came! After sacrament the Bishop went and introduced himself and he is
going to meet with him this Thursday to get all his records transferred out
here and everything. It was pretty sweet!
Well I gotta bail but I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for the letters
This week was a pretty good week for us. We had a lot of success even though I had to leave the area for two days this week to finish spending a day with each missionary in my district. I like all the missionaries in the district and I’m glad only one of them is leaving for the next transfer.
On Saturday we had two graduation parties in the ward that we got invited too. At first we weren’t planning on going, but then we realized that there would probably be a lot of non-members there as well. We ended up being able to talk to a lot of new people and it was awesome to have a lot of people from the ward there too. It was our chance to show members that we are capable and confident as missionaries. We got a couple potential investigators out of it as well.
We had a missionary return home from Mexico a couple weeks ago and he had his homecoming talk in church yesterday. We’ve been taking him out with us a lot and he is a huge help. Plus he’s having missionary withdrawals too and I guess he went out knocking doors by himself in his neighborhood. It was pretty funny but I can kind of relate. Missionaries always talk about how their ‘home life’ seems like a fantasy after they’ve been out on a mission for so long. I never really believed them when they said stuff like their family felt like a made up dream and stuff like that. But I’m starting to get that way too. I’ve come to a point where all my dreams are about missionary work, I sign my name ‘Elder’ instead of ‘Erik’ all the time without realizing it, I think in ‘transfer periods’ rather than months, and I celebrate when we drive less than 30 miles in one day. So yeah I can definitely see how it’s hard for a lot of people to go back to normal life after a mission. You get to a point where nothing else really matters anymore. I forget to even check the mail most of the time. Elder Mayfield is always the one to run back downstairs and look in our mailbox. It’s not that I don’t care about letters or anything, it’s just that they’re not at the front of my mind anymore.
The ward has been getting better and better for missionary work lately. I think the baptism we had last week really helped spark it. We’ve been getting a lot of less actives back to church as well an hopefully we’ll be able to count some reactivations really soon. I really like this ward a lot and would be happy spending the rest of my mission here but this will most likely be my last transfer here. Howell’s apartment is easily the best in the mission too so I don’t want to leave 😉
Other than that not to much has changed. I’m having a lot of fun in Howell and we’re starting to see some true success. I’m really excited for the next transfer. I hope all you guys are doing awesome!
July 16, 2012
Erik Preaching in Hell, Michigan.
So last Wednesday I spent a day with another missionary in Chelsea. When we met the next day to switch back to our normal companions, we met in Hell! Yup, Hell Michigan. I’ll attach the pictures.
Saturday went really well with the baptism and everything. We had a lot of non-members show up as well because there was a Child of Record baptism that day as well which was cool. I felt kind of like we were stealing an easy baptism because the girl we baptized was only 9, but the spirit at the service was awesome. There is a spirit at convert baptisms that just isn’t at Child of Record ones. After the confirmation on Sunday, there was just a different attitude all around in the ward. Everyone just seemed really happy and we had 3 members give us new referrals right after sacrament meeting. It was really cool. Hopefully this baptism will help spark the ward and lead them to even greater missionary work.
There’s a Bigfoot loose in Hell…Michigan!
Other than that things have been pretty much same old same old. Michigan is in a REALLY BAD drought this year. It looks like Nevada out here just with more humidity. Our emergency preparedness guy in the ward told us that all of the farming is really bad. The farmers are already calling the corn and apple crop a complete failure this year. The only thing doing ok are blueberries. But Michigan is a HUGE corn supplier for the nation and the corn sucks this year. It grew way to fast and had to little of water. I’ve seen some of the corn they are already harvesting and it is really small. Only about half as big as it was last year. It’s pretty crazy.
Last night we got invited by a member to go to the beach of a local lake. We couldn’t swim or go on the boat or anything but we had some awesome food. They cooked these BBQ ribs that were amazing! The Howell ward has some pretty awesome cooks in it and they feed the missionaries pretty dang well. Another member is having their mom come up from Mexico and stay with them for a little while and they told us she’s an amazing mexican cook so we’re definitely going over there for a dinner.
Well, I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying summer. I can’t believe I’ve been out a year and I can’t believe I’ve already been in Howell for almost 5 months. It’s crazy!
So the 4th of July was pretty insane! It’s weird hearing firework explosions without any mountains around. The mountains make them echo and sound really deep. In Michigan it just sounds like you’re in a war-zone! We went down to Thompson Lake where a Member’s family lives and hung out with them and their son’s family and two non-members. We just sat on the shore and roasted hot-dogs and smores while all the boats on the lake launched off fireworks. It was really cool because only the rich and retired people own homes on the lake so they all bought the really expensive fireworks. There was one house that kept shooting this one that was like an artillery shell!. It would shoot really high and then explode with just a “bang!” that felt like you were getting punched in the stomach. It was pretty cool. We’ve had SOOOO many members offer to take us out on their boat’s lately it’s crazy! It’s been really tempting too but water sports are outlawed in the missionary handbook so we can’t… they all say to come back and visit and we’ll go out on the lake then but we will see.
We have a baptism that we’re 99% sure will happen this week for our nine year old investigator. It almost feels like cheating for a convert baptism because she’s so young but rules are rules I guess. Hopefully it will help spark the ward and lead to more convert baptisms in the future. We have a couple really hopeful investigators that are really close but just won’t live that one last commandment. That’s been the story of my mission though so I guess I’ll keep trying to find a solution. We have been getting more and more support from the ward council and Bishop lately. I’ve made it my goal to show the ward council that Elder Mayfield and I are competent missionaries that know what we are doing. So I’ve been giving highly overly detailed progress records and copies of investigator teaching records (both of which have received comments from other missionaries that they’ve never filled progress reports out so fully). We’ve also showed them that we actually care about things in the ward by being involved in ward council discussions. I’ve had companions in the past (I won’t name names) that fall asleep in ward council and Sacrament meeting and I know that doesn’t help. For district meeting 2 weeks ago I lead a 30 minute discussion on how, as missionaries, we can’t afford to look bad at church by falling asleep at church or not being involved in classes or ward council. If we expect our investigators to come to church and have a spiritual experience, then WE need to come to church expecting to have spiritual experiences instead of looking at church as a 3 hour break for the week. I’ll probably never attend church the same way again after my mission.
The other big news this week is that Elder Mayfield’s family is moving to Wyoming and he is not happy. 🙁 Apparently Texans are very proud of being from Texas. Who would’ve known?
Erik covered in sweat after a service project.
This week was crazy busy for us. We had 3 people call us with service opportunities and we took them all. On Wednesday we helped a memberfamily take their last load of stuff from their old house to there new house. He had a TON of wood that we needed to haul and it was really heavy
because it was all Oak and American Cherry. He had a portable mill come and
cut those trees down and turn them into boards for $600. We asked him how
much the wood would be worth if he sold it, and he said it’s about $10,000
On Friday we had another move with a family that I have been trying to get
a lesson with for a long time. They were moving everything out of 3 storage
units and hauling it to there new house. They had some WAY heavy stuff too.
The father had this cool way to move his fridge too that I helped him with.
It’s called the ‘forearm forklift.’ Basically it’s two orange straps (made
of the same material as the straps we use on the Jeep top) that have loops
on both ends. You put the straps under the fridge then put your arms
through the loop and brace your hands against the fridge. Then all you do
is stand up and extend your arms straight and the fridge goes up fairly
easily. It’s a pretty cool system because you can move almost anything with
just two people. The only downside – blood blisters. I took a picture of
how beat my ams were after we moved it so I’ll attach it to the email. It
doesn’t hurt at all, just looks cool haha. I’ll also attach the picture of
how sweaty I was after the move. That’s not water, that’s sweat.
In just the month of June alone, I have helped 5 families move. Luckily
though the two families we moved this past week are staying in the
ward boundaries so our ward won’t shrink at all.
We’re not having a ton of luck with our investigators right now. Everyone
is sill kind of at a stand still except for the 9 year old girl we’re
teaching. She’ll be getting baptized on July 14 so everyone in the ward is
pretty excited. The Bishop and Stake President got together this week and
redid the ward mission plan and it looks like it will be a lot better now.
In Elders Quorum yesterday, the president went over the new mission plan
with the group and we came up with some good ideas in how to implement it
and hopefully get some new converts and some less active members back to
Well I gotta bail but I’ll try and write a letter to you guys this
afternoon too. Hope everyone is having an awesome week and fun summer!