The Paducah Spanish District.
Back row from left to right: Elder Porter, Elder Stange, Elder Dobson,
Elder Van Valkenburg, Elder Peery, and Elder Nez.
Front row from left to right: Sister Curtis, Sister Gates,
the district mascot Harry Porker, Sister Ellis, and Sister Hess
Okay! This was a fun week and very fitting for the last week of the transfer.
Fun little nightmare of ALMOST running out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
This is a screenshot from a video I made for last week's email. If you didn't get it, let me know.
So Monday was very eventful. I sent a video all about it in last week’s blog, but I'll re-tell this story. So we were heading down to this national park called Garden of the Gods. It's a unique rock formation in the hills of Southern Illinois. One of these days we will go back and get some pictures. Anywho, so as we were heading down, my GPS took us on a wrong turn and tried to tell us to get on this certain road that didn't exist. We probably spent a good 15 minutes looking for this thing until we finally decided to get back to the main road and continue south. Right about that time I looked down and saw that we didn't have too much fuel left. But we were close, so in my head I thought we could make it.
As we neared the actual entrance, I decided to pray in my head about it and felt that we needed to find a gas station first. The answer was confirmed by the low fuel indicator light coming on right as I made my decision. Praying and doing my best to remain calm, I drove about 12-15 miles to a place called Equality, IL where a gas station supposedly existed. Once more, my GPS fooled me. Continuing on course with an especial need for prayer, we finally reached Eldorado about 12-15 minutes later and were able to fill up there. Our GPS would get us lost again as we headed to dinner later on Tuesday.
Downtown Carmi, IL
Tuesday we headed up to Carmi, IL with a member who lived near there. We visited some of the people we saw the last time. Like I mentioned last week, the main reason they don't come down to church is the distance. It's sad but understandable.
A cool looking building in Carmi, IL.
This was on some sort of historic street,
but I have no idea what the significance of this building is.
We literally went to the very top of the area, driving along side the border, and tried to see a member who lived on the top line. He wasn't up there but it was cool to almost be in the neighboring mission.
Whole lotta fields. Currently all that stuff is dead crop. There should be some wheat growing within the next few months. What you are looking at is the mission that is north of my mission. The pole towers shown off in the distance are in the neighboring county just outside the border of the Tennessee Nashville Mission, but we have a member who actually lives just before the poles.
Driving back, we stopped in this town called Norris City, where we saw a referral. This kid was 23 years old and was looking for direction in his life. He had been to church once and was very, very interested. Everything we taught made sense and connected with him. The only downside? He lives in Carmi. But he was willing to drive to Norris City to meet us there. We would've seen him yesterday but he was in jail. I can understand that he's looking for a sense of direction. He reminds me a lot of my younger self.
Contacting less actives who live in the middle of nowhere.
This building used to be a school a while ago. Now it's kind of in ruin.
Fun Photo of The Paducah Spanish District.
Back row from left to right: Elder Porter, Elder Stange, Elder Dobson, Elder Van Valkenburg,Elder Peery, and Elder Nez.
Front row from left to right: Sister Curtis, Sister Gates, the district mascot Harry Porker,
Sister Ellis, and Sister Hess
Wednesday we went down to Paducah for district meeting. It was the last district meeting of the transfer. Elder Stange trained on commitments and extending them. It was Elder Porter's birthday on Thursday, so we surprised him by singing Happy Birthday for the closing hymn. He was very surprised by the apple pie we gave him.
It was Elder Porter's 23rd birthday Thursday, so at district meeting on
Wednesday, we sang Happy Birthday, threw a surprise birthday party,
and gave him an apple pie.
Later on, we visited a member who was in the hospital and had a great conversation with them. Their son had gotten baptized about a month or two ago and he was there as well.
Thursday we essentially met with a bunch of random people. We dropped a few people who were no longer interested and also had a fun talk on charity with an elderly lady. We met with our favorite law of chastity lady again this week as well. Bright side is she is actually doing really well and understands the gospel a lot better. She agreed to come to church if we could get her a ride.
This is the bridge over the Ohio River. It connects Illinois to Kentucky.
We cross this whenever we are heading to Paducah, KY.
Later that evening we drove down to Paris, TN, since we had to get a ride to the temple the next day. The elders we were supposed to go with in Calvert City bailed on us, which was why we had to drive so far.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, TN. This one is about 2-3 stories high.
We stopped by here when we were on our way back from
the temple with the Paris Elders.
When we went to the Nashville temple on Friday I had a good experience. I got to see President and Sister Andersen there, which was great, and overall had a wonderful time. I definitely want to make the temple a priority when I get back. Serving in an area that is 3-and-a-half hours away from the nearest temple right now makes me grateful to live in a home that is just 30 minutes from the Washington DC temple--or in Rexburg's case only 5 minutes away.
Saturday was another interesting day. We were asked to go visit a member who was currently in jail and drop off a Book of Mormon and a Bible for him. When we asked if we could talk to him, the guard asked if we were preachers or pastors. When we explained that we were missionaries, he wanted to see some credentials. Instantly I thought of the ministerial card every missionary is given when they go to the MTC. On the card it basically says, "This is to certify that the person whose name is above is a qualified representative of the church. We invite all to hear his message." The card is signed by the President of our Church. I showed that card to the guard, who was surprised to see I actually had credentials for being so young, and he let us enter.
We had a good conversation with the member. It was very interesting giving a lesson over the phone looking through a window. He was grateful for the visit. Later that evening, the Branch mission leader's daughter had a missionary homecoming party. She had just returned from the Utah Provo mission and a lot of her non-member friends and family were there. We had a fun time talking with her friends and former companions who had made the trip. Makes me wonder if any of my mission buddies will be able to see me at my homecoming.
Sunday I gave a talk following her homecoming talk. I spoke on the question, "How can I find out what the Lord's plan is for me?" It was a very personal talk and if any of you are interested, I will be more than happy to send you my talk since I wrote the whole thing down. Just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
After church we went over to a less active's home. He wasn't too big a fan of missionaries forcing him to come to church, so because we didn't even address the topic, he warmed up to us a lot. He even allowed us to help him out in a few weeks with his yard. He said "I hope ya'll feel special, cause I rarely let anyone help me." My mind was recalled to a verse in the Book of Mormon: "...I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants...that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words." (Alma 17:29). He's a great guy and I hope he comes back to church.
Everything is going pretty well out here. As for transfer news we are both staying in Eldorado. I am excited for another six weeks here that will hopefully be even more eventful, and much less cold.
I appreciate any and all letters that are sent to me. The few that I do receive I am grateful for.
Thanks so much for your prayers,
So recently there was a gigantic flood. What you are seeing is not a river; it's actually supposed to be a giant field. You can see an oil reserve through the trees. Many fields have been covered with water.