Monday, April 25, 2016

First Weird Meal and Spiritual Guidance

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tracting, Tracting, Preacher

Honestly I'm not sure how to start off this email, so I'm gonna kind
of skip to the enjoyable part of reading this email.

Monday: Most of the day was Elder Ross packing and myself cleaning up
the apartment. We did get to eat at the Hutchisons place for dinner.
It was good. It was called Captain D's. It's a fast food fish place
that the south has.

Tuesday: Brother Cook (just moved into the branch) took us to
Nashville and dropped off Elder Ross and picked up the new one, Elder
McCoy. Elder McCoy had a lot more stuff than Elder Ross, I didn't
think it was possible. When we got back to Russellville, we got a
referral from Bowling Green. We tried him and he lived at a homeless
shelter and he was a huge talker! We said like 7 things to him and he
would always interrupt. It was great though. He is a less active and
we are trying to get him back to church. We saw Mary and Marilyn and
we answered any questions they had on the gospel. We shared Ether
12:27 with them and I saw Mary's mouth moving at the same time Elder
McCoy was reading and Mary had already memorized that scripture!!! It
was so awesome!! We gave them a couple of scriptures to read too. We
went to Miss Lynda's and Elder McCoy was dying of laughter at her. She
kept on yelling at the cats and it was just hilarious. When we got
back to the apartment, Elder McCoy had a huge thing of whey protein in
his bag. I guess you could say that his bags were "wheyed" down! Haha.
But no he had a lot of stuff in his bags.

Meet Elder McCoy
Wednesday: We went to district meeting and I have a training on
teaching skills. It went okay. Then we saw a bunch of people and then
dropped them like they were flies. They weren't progressing and Elder
Ross never would drop them. We went to a fundraising auction that our
branch put on. It was for girls camp. Someone paid $100 for her Mom's
own pecan pie. It was great. We went because I wanted the branch to
meet the new elder. People kept giving us food too! It was very nice
of them, but it was also like "no! We have no room in the fridge!" So
we ended up taking lasagna, a cake, a brownie and something else that
we ate home.

Thursday: Besides tracting for two hours that day, we saw Mary and
Marilyn and let them know what they need to do in order to get
baptized. They are willing to do whatever it takes, but it may end up
taking a long time. We went to Sister Wiebe's and ate dinner at her
house. It was good. It was a tater tot casserole.

Friday: Not much happened. We ended up moving the Sweet's into their
new home and took up the entire day. It was fun though. It reminded me
of my old job.

Saturday: We did weekly planning and then went to Sister Wiebe's and
mowed her lawn. Afterwards, we read some of Joseph Smith History. We
did so much tracting like maybe two hours of it. I also realized it
was becoming hot so this was the first day I wore my shirtsleeve
shirt. We went biking to Humpy's house and when we got there, his
preacher was there. So Humpy wanted us to tell him about Joseph Smith
and the Book of Mormon. So we start kind of teaching and of course, he
counter argues with it. So we start debating basically, and the only
good that came out of it, was that I realized I could probably answer
anyone's questions. I need to realize when to stop though because it
never did anything. We weren't like yelling at each other though, it
was just a friendly discussion. He wouldn't let us answer any of his
questions though because he kept interrupting. He also told me I was
going to be a baptist in the future because "I look like someone who
was raised that way" and whatnot. It was almost insulting really.
After that we talked to Humpy and my favorite part was he took a
bottle of orange juice from the back of his truck and there was a dead
snake that he killed and he showed us and he scared the preacher and
his wife, so it was pretty great. We talked to Humpy and now he is
doubting Joseph Smith. He also told us that he felt like we were
ignoring his problems. He said he wasn't mad at us or anything, but I
feel like the preacher said something to him. Because I have done
nothing but be concerned about him. I'm really sad though because
Humpy is one of the investigators that I absolutely love. I love him
as if he were my own brother and I wouldn't doubt that if we left on
bad terms that I would cry. I hope that he is willing to listen next
time we go.

Sunday: We had church and it was nice. We did 2-3 hours of tracting
and it was so hot! Man I'm not looking forward to summer. The only
thing really worth mentioning is that Elder McCoy got to experience a
Pentecostal church for the first time. It was kind of a disappointing
service, but still enjoyable.

Okay so now I feel like I have to explain a couple of things. So the
reason why we did so much tracting is because we dropped a lot of
people and don't have a good teaching pool anymore. So we needed new
investigators. Another thing, Elder McCoy is pretty cool. He is a
health nut, but has a weakness for sweets. He ended up eating the
entire brownie sheet in two days by himself. I get along with him very
well. He is from (yes you guessed it) Utah and really likes hunting
and fishing and any outdoorsy stuff (the opposite of me really). Also
since I've been in Russellville longer, I get to be the designated
driver, which is not fun because I want to relax in the car! Haha

But this has been a good week and I'm glad I got to share it with
y'all. Something I learned from my studies this week is this
scripture, Ether 12:6. Remember that we may hope for things to happen,
but we do not witness it until after the trial of faith. We must act
to gain that faith, not just sit and wait for it to happen. I hope
y'all have a good week. Bye!

Elder Craig

The view from the church building - glad I don't have to mow this!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Man what a week! A lot happened this week! So I hope y'all enjoy it.

Monday: We ended P day pretty early. We went to go to Mary and
Marilyn's apartment to help them pack some stuff up in boxes. As we
were there, their niece or something wouldn't do something for them,
so they started arguing and the kid was screaming and stuff and man it
was just super awkward being in that. After we helped with that, we
saw some random older couple cutting up branches from a bush and so we
asked if we could help. They accepted and after we got done we asked
them if they've heard about our church and their reply was, "honey
everyone knows Mitt Romney." And we were just....I don't know. Then we
went to Humpy's and read the Book of Mormon with him. We asked him to
pray about it every time we read it and he agreed. He even prayed it
in front of us which is a huge step!

Tuesday: We got to see Dick that day and showed him the Easter video.
We went to a Mexican restaurant and ate with him there. I ate my
entire huge 10 inch burrito and was stuffed, but then Dick wanted to
get some flan. And I hate flan and was not looking forward to it, but
they were out, thankfully, so he got us some fried ice cream. Fried
ice cream is not that great. It's just this scoop of ice cream with
corn flakes on it in a fried tortilla bowl. The corn flakes threw off
my ice cream. We didn't eat dinner because we were so full. After
Dick's, we went to the Sweet's new house to help build a fence around
A FORTY ACRE PROPERTY! We didn't do much, so I'm not really
complaining. All we did was put barbed wire around some of the fence
and then had to dig two holes for two poles. We didn't have an auger
unfortunately, so it was really difficult. After that, we mowed both
lawns at Sister Wiebe's before it got dark. It was an exhausting day.
We went to bed early.

District photo: From left to right Elder Ross, Elder Anders, Elder Mecham, myself, Sister Merrell, Sister Mortenson, Elder Haley, Elder Neyman

Wednesday: We went to district meeting for the last time with those
same exact people because this week was the end of the transfer. We
got to play that game where you alternate using a sentence and drawing
a picture of the sentence. It was fun and I wish I knew what it was
called. We went to Sister Summers afterwards and shared a video with
her. We also gave her a blessing of the sick while we were there
because she has been going to the hospital a lot lately. We got a text
from Sister Coots asking if we would like to come over for pizza,
cake, and ice cream. And how can missionaries say no to that?! It was
very nice of them to feed us, but in return we helped them move in a
roll of carpet and a trampoline in their house, so not too bad. The
reason why there were those food was because it was Caleb's birthday.
It was fun seeing the Coots though. We also had Book of Mormon class
and it was nice.

Thursday: We went transcribing first thing in the morning then helped
Sister Wiebe with some shopping. We saw Brother Stockton and his
friend Shirley was there. We were talking to Brother Stockton for a
long time and Shirley would ask us about our lives, but then Brother
Stockton would answer rudely for us, to the point where Shirley didn't
talk to us the rest of the time. It was a little awkward. We went to
Mary and Marilyn's and this kid, who we found out is Marilyn's great
grandson, asked us who we were. Once we told him who we were and how
we were going to do "bible study" with them, he joined. We taught them
about following the prophet and showed President Monson's short talk.
During the entire lesson, the kid kept interrupting and just asking
questions at the wrong time. The kid left halfway through thankfully.
We gave him a Book of Mormon. We answered any of their questions and
then left basically. We went to Sister Wiebe's for dinner and I gave
her my testimony book so that she can write in it.

Friday: We had our weekly planning session that day. So our entire
day's plans went down the drain because we saw everyone the day
before, so basically we tried seeing people we didn't get to see. We
went to Mimi and Blue's and shared the talk from President Monson.
Blue asked us afterwards if we were doing anything the next day. We
had a free spot in our day so we said no. He asked if we could come to
their 4 year olds birthday party because he wanted "good influences"
to be there. So we agreed.

Saturday: Today was the transfer call, but for whatever reason, the
zone leaders took forever to tell us. So I'm gonna go in order for the
day. We went to Sister Wiebe's and made a puzzle with her. It was fun.
We left and went to Mimi and Blue's to go to their kids birthday
party. And it was not a fun party. We spent two hours there! First
hour was us playing with the kids with balloons and the other hour was
literally me getting hit on! Let me tell you some things first, Mimi's
Dad and his girlfriend came (I'm fairly sure they had a 30 year
difference between them) and this neighbor kid and his 21 year old
relative came over too. The 21 year old liked to talk about her ex
boyfriend and how he was awful. The dad kept talking about how he
doesn't know how many children he has because he was with so many
different women. He even told us a story about how his wife stabbed
him in the back five times with scissors. And apparently he knew the
relationship was over, not when she stabbed him, but when he took the
scissors out of his back. So anyway, the 21 year old (she's black, the
reason I say her race is really important, so write it down so you can
remember) talks to Mimi a little bit and Mimi just says, "Elder Craig!
It sounds like you got an admirer!" And I thought it was her 3 year
old daughter at first, but then Mimi points to the 21 year old (I
never got her name). And then Mimi says, "she likes the tall handsome
ones!" And well I just took it as a compliment the first time, so I
didn't really react to it, but it got worse from there. Mimi is still
talking to her and then, "Now she's planning on your children!" "Yup!
A mixed baby named Jerry Ray." And I just thought, "that's a terrible
name." So she decided to talk to me for awhile. She got my attention
by saying, "Yo! Jehovah!" I really couldn't help but laugh at that. I
told her I was from California and she said she stayed at Chico State
and the Bay Area, she also mentioned how much partying she did with
drugs and how much money you can get selling drugs in California. Then
Mimi asked if I wanted vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I said vanilla
and the girl says, "you don't like chocolate?!" And I just....I
can't.....Anyway the dad comes up to us at the end and talks about how
wrong it is to have an all boys or all girls school and how
homosexuality is wrong and homosexuals shouldn't have children. And
just....what even was this party? We got the transfer calls after that
and the results are.............Elder Ross is leaving and I'm staying.
He is going to Galliton, Tennessee. I'm getting some nerd named Elder
McCoy. I hope he is cool. I'm a little stressed taking over an area,
but I'm sure I can do it. We went to Sister Wiebe's and finished the
second 3D puzzle and made frosting.

Sunday: We went to branch council and it ended really early so we
ended up talking to the youth for 45 minutes before church. After
church, we got to see Payton Covington get baptized! It was so
spiritual! I couldn't believe how awesome it was! I could tell Payton
could feel the spirit so strong. The Covingtons invited us to Payton's
and Mackenzie's birthday party. We obviously accepted! The Covingtons
are awesome! The entire party was full of Disney things and it was
very cool. The rest of the day was just kind of visiting people that
Elder Ross wanted to say bye to and packing.

That's my week. It was super weird! But interesting. I enjoyed it
though. So I'm staying in Russellville and I will be getting a new
companion. As much as I am stressing about taking over an area, I know
the Holy Ghost will guide me. After all he is my constant companion
and I know that he will direct me in the way God wants me to go. I
hope y'all have a good week! I took a lot of pictures this week for
once. So look forward to that! I love y'all!

Elder Craig

Elder Ross is a shopaholic!
I found a bagged pickle and am thoroughly disappointed with the world.

Elder Ross has a shrine of photos above his bed. 
I found Dio's house!
At Mimi and Blue's party.
I don't know this child. It's that neighbor kid of theirs.
3D puzzles we did at Sister Weibe's 

At church with Keige Shoemake (left) and Caleb Coots (right)
Covington's birthday party
Spoon room
Tall one is Haleigh Covington, bottom left child is Payton Covington, bottom right is Mackenzie Covington