Week 7: Y'all have a blessed week
So. Wednesday. Woke up at a brisk 2 AM and headed to the Mexico City Airport. When I finally got through customs, security, and all that other junk and made it to my gate, I was ready to catnap it up. It was by then 4:30 and I was alone at my gate. After a while more passengers started coming. I was sitting with three mexican men who were on their way to Houston. I got a little background and they mentioned that one of them was a professional boxer. Hmmmm. I naturally asked if they had heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the boxer answered that he had. I asked what he knew and oh boy did he know a lot. I tried to place a copy of the Book of Mormon with him, but to no avail because he produced one of his own copies from his bag. I asked if he had read it, but he said he had not. I encouraged him and left him with some reading for the plane. TO BE CONTINUED
Landed in Houston. Waiting for my flight to the land of promise, Tulsa Oklahoma. I am sitting down, minding my own business and eating a cinnamon roll, when a woman sits down next to me. Her name was Sue. I talked with her for a long while and eventually placed a copy of the Book of Mormon and some pamphlets for more in-flight reading. TO BE CONTINUED
Anyway. Finally got to Tulsa and the Mission President and his wife were at the airport to greet me. I was soooo excited and they are sooo cool. Eventually, myself and a group of about 14 others were taken to the mission home. Marvelous. We got there and my bicycle was there, assembled in pristine condition. The Assistants to the President were super cool and I got to talk to them a lot about all kinds of stuff. They pretty much already knew who my companion was going to be, which was exciting.
To continue. We had orientation sessions and at the end of the night were assigned our companions and areas. I was assigned to labor in the FORT SMITH ARKANSAS area for the next probably 12 weeks with my wonderful trainer Elder Brown. It was also made known to me at that time that currently in the Only True Mission (Oklahoma Tulsa Mission is abbreviated OTM and there are many, MANY acronyms that will accompany my letters in the future) 12 Spanish Speaking Elders. Santa Vaca that isn't that many. My area covers a very large geographical area, but we have limited miles so we generally stay within the two cities of Van Buren and Fort Smith.
Our address is as follows for mailing or for any other arcane purpose: 9510 Meandering way #9 Fort Smith AK (whatever the ZIP code is here). I have one request: pictures that are autographed. My picture collection is small and treasured, but it needs to soar to new heights, just as the missionary work will. Thank y'all for your support always and I'm super grateful for all of everything that I get!
The days are blending quickly but some notable things were that we were going to have a baptism on my first Saturday here (woohoo) but the candidate fell through and we had a nice testimony meeting with a water feature. The members brought the spirit and it was good, but we had no clue where our friend was. He hadn't called and could not be found prior to or during the service. We found today that maybe he had some issues before his baptism. We will find out and make sure that he comes to Christ ready to be cleansed.
Church yesterday was... interesting. Mothers' Day means talks about mothers, and both of the sons of the Branch President spoke, about the same mother. Interesting. Anyway. we were all just sitting, minding our own business when phones started going off (really annoying during meetings, right) but they were unusual. Then the sirens. Yes. Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters, Children of all ages, TORNADOES. Everyone just kind of looked at each other and we kept going with Sacrament. Then all of the members in the English Sacrament meeting started walking down the halls, a little bit too early for Sacrament to be out. Then someone interrupted our meeting to say that we were instructed to get into the hallways because there was one coming. I have probably never been so excited in my life for a single event. Elder Brown and I (this was his first tornado warning in his mission- 1 year in) sprinted for the doors to see the evident doom that would surely be coming our way. Outside, the tempest was raging, but alas, no tornado. The English Elders were not far behind and were looking for the same. Nothing. Regardless, church ended a little early and we got to bond with the members, which was awesome.
After church, we went to a member's house to have dinner and Skype our mothers because yesterday was the 2nd best day of the year, next to Christmas- MOTHERS' DAY!!! I got to talk to my family for a solid 45 minutes (the best thing ever) and meet Elder Brown's family. Anyway. Dinner was awesome and we left their house at about 9:00. After leaving I checked the phone to find that our luck was so good that not once, but twice IN THE SAME DAY we had a tornado warning. Pretty much the best thing ever. It was raining so hard we couldn't see through the windshield, but we made it home safely through the sirens and rain and wind. I like to think sometimes that I live in a fairytale world. Definitely true here in the AK.
Anyway, thank y'all (I now have actual permission to use that) for your emails and love and just know that as often as the missionaries are in people's prayers, the families of the missionaries are in people's prayers. Stay strong and help the missionaries the best you can.
Y'all have a blessed day
(Native Arkansas-an saying)
Elder Matthew Busi