It's been a crazy week and I can't wait to tell you about it. I finally bought a card reader so hopefully I'll be sending more pictures in future emails. Dad, it may not hurt to put some of these on the blog, facebook, or whatever. Do as you wish! Speaking of memory cards, do you still have the one I sent home a little while back? The first picture is of me on my birthday trying to fix my flat tire. The second is a member's truck with two hilarious bumper stickers. The third is one of Brother Baggiore's cows. They have a few cows they're raising and will later be slaughtered for meat. I couldn't resist taking a picture with one of them. I immediately shouted HEY COW when I saw it. For those fo you who don't know what "Hey Cow" is, it's a game you play in the car. When you see a bunch of cows, you roll down the window and scream HEY COW as loud as you can. Whoever can get the most cows to look at them wins. I play it with my family, and it's always good for a laugh. I'm sure my family will appreciate that photo more than anyone.
Mom, thank you so much for the letters. I'm glad things are going well with the yard. Any grass yet? Even when it happens, I still won't believe it until I see it. I'm having a hard time rembembering grass, everyone's yards here are either sagebrush or rock. Any "grass" I see is yellow and burned. Grass doesn't survive well here. Dad, thank you for the letters too. How's everything going with school? Sis, how about you? I'm sorry I haven't been writing as much as I have. I promise I'll get you a letter or two sometime soon. I really want to hear how you are enjoying volleyball, school and soccer. I know you're busy, but if you have time I'd love to hear from you. I even got a letter from grandma and grandpa! I laughed so hard because grandpa told me he doesn't usually write letters. I could barely read his writing but I got through it. On the other side grandma told me I should feel honored because grandpa NEVER writes letters. I certainly do feel honored!
It's P-Day once again, and I'll explain how that works. Preparation Day, or P-Day, is kind of like our day off. We still have morning study schedule, but from 10am-6pm we do what we want/need to do. At 10 we go to the Avondale library and use the computers to send emails. After that we go to Fry's Grocery and buy food for the week. After that we do whatever we agree on as a district. We usually go to the stake center and play sports or something. Sometimes basketball, maybe football, ultimate, whatever we feel like playing. Today we're going there and playing Deathball, which I've never heard of but I guess is really fun. It's Elder Nuttall's birthday and he requested that. We have a dinner appointment in the evening and then at 6pm it's back to mission schedule. We tract, teach lessons, contact on the streets just like we do every other day of the week. P-Days are also the only time I'm allowed to write letters. Anyone who writes a letter, I promise I'll write back as soon as I can, I just have to wait until Monday.
Edgar hasn't been progressing. He still shows an interest in being baptized, but hasn't come to church for two weeks in a row now. We're still working with him, because we can see he wants to move forward. It just takes a little bit of work and patience. Robert is keeping commitments, and is no longer under our stewardship because he's technically considered a young single adult. We passed him along to the YSA Elders and hopefully they'll work well with him. John still wants to meet with us, but hasn't been answering the phone. We haven't been able to contact Crystal for three weeks now, but week keep trying.
We met a woman early this week named Michele. She was walking on the street and we talked with her. She doesn't look healthy at all. She looks like the result of a lifetime of drug abuse and poor choices. She's maybe 40, but looks in her 60's. She's skin and bones. She invited us over to teach her. We brought Bro. Smyth, the Villa de Paz ward mission leader with us. Her house is a pit, and that's putting it kindly. The carpet is stained, furniture is destroyed, dirty dishes all over the kitchen and we're welcomed by the lingering smell of her husband Bob's cigarette smoke. She hasn't had running water for three weeks. Neither she nor her husband work and she lives off of disability. They are literally starving in their own home. Bob doesn't love her at all. She is miserable, lonely and lost, and fights through tears every time we talk with her. She even said there have been times when she's considered suicide. Every time we leave I can't help but want to sit and cry. She loves having the missionaries over and loves the message we bring. We invited her to church on Sunday and she accepted. She was a little apprehensive because she hasn't showered in a while and didn't have good clothes. The Smyths offered to help.
Fast forward to church yesterday. I'm walking around and see her walk in with the Smyth's. She had a blue flowered blouse, jeans and her daughter's shoes on. Her hair was combed and pulled up. She was happy to be there, and I was straight up ecstatic to see her there with a smile on her face. I started talking to her about what would happen at church when I was politely interrupted by numerous members introducing themselves and saying hi to her. You can tell she loved that. I didn't mind, I just kept smiling. I was explaining more about church and she asked me, "Do you ever get angry?" I couldn't help but laugh. I was just so happy to see her happy for once. I sat with her and the Smyths, and she eagerly listened to everything that was going on. She even sang the hymns! One of Andrus' daughters in front of us said that she liked Michele's singing voice. The bishop came over and introduced himself. We went into his office and he asked her a few questions. Hopefully the ward is going to be able to help her get a plan to get her life back in order. We went to gospel principles and Relief Society with Sister Smyth (who happens to be the Relief Society President). Mom, you would love Sister Smyth. What an awesome lady. We went to see Michele after church was over, and she was helping put away chairs with a gospel principles book under her arm. We could barely talk to her because of the other sisters in the ward who were introducing themselves to her. It's amazing what a little fellowshiping can do. I can tell she had a good time. The Smyths took her home and she left church with a huge smile on her face. We're seeing her again on Tuesday.
I really can't complain. Things are going great. The work may be slow at times, but that doesn't mean it's not going well. I'm seeing what a little bit of our Father in Heaven's love can do for one of his daughters who can't find the strength to go on. It really is a miracle. I think of all of the hate we get and brush off from the masses of people every day. I hear their completely ignorant, asinine, foolish and downright pathetic assumptions about the missionaries, the Church, me, and worst of all, my family. Yet for some reason I seem to have forgotten all of that when I sat by Michele yesterday in church. No one person can stand nose to nose with me, look me in the eye and tell me that what I'm doing is wrong. I dare anyone to try it.
I love you all and hope you're doing well. Take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner