As you read in last week's email, Elder Abel and I are no longer companions. He got the call Monday saying he'd be transferred, and that I'll be staying. On Tuesday we drove up to the transfer building in Glendale. Just before the announcement of the transfers, all the trainers met their trainees in a classroom. My trainee and new companion is......drumroll......Elder Joseph Malmberg from Logan, Utah! We clicked right when we met and we're excited to work in the Garden Lakes and Villa de Paz wards. The first few days were rough because he had no food and no bike. Wednesday we got all that stuff for him. Thankfully we were in a car, because it rained harder than any day thus far on my mission. It rained all day! Thankfully we got him a bike. It's the same kind as mine, just a different color. A mighty fine bike if I don't say so myself! Thursday was our first day of real work, and it was terrible. We stepped outside and it was below freezing! What's up with that?! Poor Elder comes into the field on his first day and it's colder than Provo. We had shirts, ties, sweaters and it was brutal. We made it about half a mile from the apartment when we broke down and decided to buy some gloves. We went to Sports Authority and bought some good gloves to keep our hands warm. After finally preparing for the cold, we've been working hard.
I'll be honest, I was a little worried at first. I had no idea what kind of greenie I'd be getting. Thankfully we get along, but he's worried about teaching. He knows the doctrine pretty well, just kind of struggles as he teaches it. I took him tracting on Thursday, and his first door turned out to be a new investigator. First door! Look at him, worried for nothing. On Friday we met a man named Kentrell and he invited us over on New Year's Day to teach him and his wife Laquisha. The lesson went very well. Honestly I don't know what Elder Malmberg's worried about; he's going to be just fine. I'm sure all new missionaries have the same general feeling. I know I did. I keep reassuring him that the Lord wants him here, and that he'll qualify him to do the work. The wards like him too. Elder Abel was here for a year, and when they saw a new Elder they were a little caught off guard. They like Elder Malmberg and he's starting to get to know the wards a little better.
President and Sister Beck gave the mission an interesting challenge at Christmas. I think I mentioned it before, but we all received crisp, new copies of the Book of Mormon. Starting New Year's Day, we're to read the Book of Mormon in 60 days. Our focus is the Savior. We circle every reference to Christ, highlight in one color everything He said, and highlight in another color everything related to His ministry and mission (birth, baptism, Atonement, etc). After three days of study I'm in 1 Nephi 15. I can't believe I've grown up reading the Book of Mormon without noticing so much focus on the Savior. The Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Christ. My testimony of His divine role as our Savior is growing stronger each day. My outlook of the gospel, the sacrament, the temple, everything is changing for the better. I feel embarrassed for having taken the Gospel for granted for so long. I love being a missionary. I know I say that every week but it's true. Those men in white shirts and ties you see knocking on doors have a wonderful message. The Gospel has been restored to the earth in our time. Families can be together forever. Jesus is the Christ.
I love you all. Write soon, I miss you and hope you're doing well. Take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner