It's the Bible Belt. You have to get a chocolate Jesus fish to celebrate Easter!!!
Wow. So remember how I said last Monday I went hiking? Well, we went hiking with a part member family at this beautiful place called Bell Smith Springs. Most of my pictures this week will be from there.
Picture from Bell Smith Springs near the entry area
Another picture from Bell Smith Springs about halfway to the canyon
Bell Smith Springs canyon entrance (we climbed up to the ledge on the right)
From the canyon area looking back (it's about 7-10 feet from the water high)
The end of the canyon slide
Me sitting at the top of the canyon area (I was not in the water.
The water was a few feet down from me).
The place has been around forever and the water used to be a lot higher than it is now. The family we were with chose to walk off the trail and right next to the water so I got to take a lot of fantastic pictures.
It was such a beautiful hike. We also got to do some rock climbing as at one point we had to get back up to the trail for a little bit. It was slightly challenging since the rocks were mostly wet, but it was so much fun. Totally would do it again.
I feel terrible cause these pictures don't even justify how gorgeous this place was.
Afterwards we had dinner with the family and hopefully we will get to hang out with them again sometime.
Tuesday we went down to Paducah, KY again for a zone meeting where we received more trainings on iPads and other stuff as well.
After that, we went over to the Burrito Shack where there is a "Shack Attack Challenge" of eating three giant burritos in thirty minutes. When you get a bunch of dudes together, you know that it's going down.
Paducah Zone (#borntowin)
Front row left to right: Sister Gates, Sister Curtis, Sister Hess, Sister Ellis, Sister Tangataolakepa,"Sister T.", Sister Trask, Sister Peterson, and Sister Phillips.
Middle row left to right: Elder Blazzard, Elder Peery, Elder Dalton, Elder Danelson, Elder Hernandez, Elder Fore, Elder Berryhill, Elder Nez, and Elder Sykes.
Top row left to right: Elder Rasmussen, Elder Hunsaker, Elder Senatore, Elder Porter, Elder Nimmer, Elder Stange,and Elder Van Valkenburg.)
Fun Paducah Zone picture (see above for who's who)
Two missionaries attempted it and both barely made it at the end. It was super, super funny. Later that day we tried to visit a bunch of the people we usually see and most were out of town or in the hospital. We did have a good lesson with one of our less-actives in the hospital. She is elderly and was going through some major issues. We had found out she had been hospitalized by some neighbors and went right away to check on her. She was so happy to see us and loved us visiting. It was great.
Wednesday we did some more less active hunting and didn't have too much success. However we did get to see another one of our usuals which was good. They had been struggling with strep throat which isn't that good but were happy for the visit.
Thursday we had another meeting this time in Eldorado, IL. I gave a training on listening through distractions. My role play got really crazy, but there were still a lot of spiritual experiences. I basically had all kinds of distractions for missionaries to deal with. The district leader was a fun distraction for the sisters when he acted like a little kid wanting attention. It was super hilarious. It was great ‘cause the district leader trained on asking inspired questions which followed up mine really well.
Friday was kind of depressing, and not just cause it was Good Friday. We barely had any doors open up to us and we also got put under tornado watch. The weather was really, really terrible then and we were grateful that we got to spend time with a recent convert and his family. We went back later the next day to give their baby a blessing.
Saturday was pretty hectic. It seemed like almost none of the members near us were watching General Conference due to work. But we finally figured out how to set up conference at the church and watched it there. We ended up missing half of Saturday afternoon but still got to see Priesthood. I was super excited to see Elder Renlund of the Seventy speak. I got to shake his hand personally when he came to the mission last December. It was also awesome to hear about President Clark being named a member of the first quorum of the seventy. We got to see the afternoon session at our branch president's house after his family left. I will be catching up on what I missed later this week.
Giant chocolate bunny that I paid with loose change collected over the course of about a month.
Sunday we saw General Conference at another recent convert's home in Harrisburg, IL. They had a giant projection screen which was great as well as a fantastic lunch. We did some Easter egg hunting with their kids (we hid the eggs), and it was entertaining watching them go. My favorite conference talk was a tie between Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf's talk Sunday morning. Grace was something I've studied a lot on lately so I was excited to hear someone else talk about it.
Elder Holland is one of my favorite speakers. I also enjoyed President Monson's talk in priesthood session. It was meaningful and hilarious. He is amazing.
I also finished the Book of Mormon again for the second time on my mission. This time I made a genealogy and plates transition chart similar to what I did with the bible. It was lots of fun. Basically I started by marking out genealogies. It gets complicated when it starts to say "and so and so was a descendant of Nephi.." Since that person wasn't immediately from Nephi, I would make arrows connecting him back to Nephi and so on. I starred who the plates were given to and in the Book of Ether's case put a circle. When the plates of Ether combined with Nephi's I put the circle around the star. If you follow the arrows it makes relative sense. The names that are boxed are important names to remember or important people.
Book of Mormon genealogy and plates transition.
(It took me about two-three months to read and copy down names and transitions).
Things have been going well -- minus the weather. The area is still pretty slow but I still really enjoy it. I am looking forward to the day this place will explode with miracles just like Hendersonville did. It's only a matter of time. Please pray for us and pray for the people in our area.
I hope everyone had an awesome Easter. It's a fantastic time to remember the Savior, His atoning sacrifice for us, and His Resurrection. Have a great week.