Monday, February 28, 2011

Golfing in February....Sorry Dad! (Feb. 28, 2011)

Hey everyone!
I apologize for the email coming a little late today. Our P-Days lately have been more and more fun. I jokingly called Elder White as the district P-Day coordinator because of all his ideas for P-Day activities. Two weeks ago we played basketball. Last week we went bowling. Today we went golfing. The Villa de Paz golf course lets missionaries golf for free, so our whole district went this morning at 7 am to play the back 9 holes of the course. We went to Savers to get some clothes to wear to look like we knew what we were doing. I found a golf shirt for cheap and it fit great. Elder McCarty found gray pants, a purple, red and orange striped shirt and a sweater vest. He looked hilarious, but pretty awesome too. We've been golfing all morning so that's why I didn't email earlier like usual. Dad, you'd be proud, I did pretty good for not having golfed in a while. Elder Tameilau won, but it was close. The other two pictures are of me when I went on exchanges in the Agua Fria/Independence area but forgot my tennis shoes and socks, so I wore black socks and shoes to a service project. As for the last picture, Marlee, you have every right to make fun of your brother. What happened was I was coming back from exchanges and was waiting for Elder Malmberg. The Wheeler's ten year old daughter left her Justin Bieber books on a table. I had Bro. Wheeler take a picture of me holding them, to show their daughter. She thought I looked pretty dumb, and Bro. and Sis. Wheeler just laughed at me the whole time.
Elder Malmberg and I didn't get a whole lot of sleep on Saturday night. On Friday night, Bro. Overton of the Villa de Paz ward called and asked us if we would speak in church on Sunday. Well, all of Saturday was spent on exchanges so we had no time to prepare anything for Sunday morning. As many other members of the church do when preparing for talks, we started the night before at 9 PM. My topic was "The Importance of Missionary Work." It wasn't particularly hard, there were just so many ways I could have gone about doing it. I spent a few hours looking at scriptures, conference talks and Ensign articles, until I came up with an outline I was happy about. I spent the next little while actually writing it out. Outside the wind was howling and the rain was falling sideways. It was pretty cool but also a little distracting. I finally finished my talk and made it into bed around 2 am (oops). I was up at 6:30 like always and made it to the church for Villa de Paz sacrament meeting by 8. Elder Malmberg spoke first on The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and did a great job. I know how hard he worked on it and it went very well. I spoke and felt very comfortable with what I was saying and doing. Personally I think it was the best talk I've ever written. Considering how much time we had to prepare, I was very proud of myself and Elder Malmberg. The rest of the day we received wonderful comments from the whole ward. We were exhausted during the remainder of our meetings for the day, but we kept working hard and did some good work.
Speaking of the work, things have been getting a lot better this week. We've been finding a lot more people, and even tracted into a family of new investigators. We went tracting on Friday morning and a couple let us into their home right from the start. I've never been invited inside while tracting, except for once back in August for some water. Usually we try and schedule appointments so that we can bring local members of the ward to get to know the people we teach. They let us in, and invited us back for this Friday. Cool, huh? Lots of opportunities are suddenly sprouting up! Last night for exchanges we went with Bro. Call into Villa de Paz ward and tried by two houses. We didn't have any scheduled appointments, so we said we'd try these houses and see what we could do. The first house we tried, nobody was home and it was really dark. Elder Malmberg said, "Why don't we just try it?" We get out of the truck, knock, nothing. All of a sudden their car pulls in the driveway. They couldn't talk for long, but invited us back for Tuesday morning! We drove to the second house we wanted to see, The Beasely family, and they were home. The invited us in and we shared a brief thought. Just after we started, their oldest son (maybe 20 yrs old?) walked in the door and passed by. I stopped what I was teaching and invited him to sit in on the rest of the thought, and he said ok! Not only did he sit in, but he asked questions and participated! We have an appointment with them again next Sunday. Devante Rodriguez, a recent convert, asked if we could stop by sometime because his sister's friend is living with them and wants to learn about the church. We're going tonight. In church yesterday, the Phillips' thirteen year old son invited his friend Brenden to church like he's done once or twice before. He asked us if we could meet with his dad because he wanted to be baptized and wanted Bro. Phillips to be the one to baptize him. I was completely caught off guard. We got his information and we'll be stopping by their home immediately to meet with his father. I feel like I'm only beginning to understand how the Lord prepares His children to receive the message of the restored gospel. I kept asking myself lately, "What am I doing wrong? Why are we not successful?" I felt pretty selfish for having asked those questions. It's not my work. It's His. Success isn't defined by numbers, it's defined by desire to serve the Lord. I've been selfish and impatient and haven't been understanding that when His children are ready,  He'll guide us to them. Until then I need to be diligent and obedient. The Book of Mormon repeats the principle of obedience. I've likened that to missionary work and the blessings that come with it. Doctrine and Covenants 33:9 kind of puts things into perspective for me. The way I see it, inasmuch as we are obedient to the commandments of the Lord and the counsel of our mission president, we shall be laden with sheaves upon our backs. When we're obedient and diligent on our part, the Lord will uphold His.
I hope things are going well at home. Thanks for all of your love, support and letters of encouragement. Take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner
Golfing at Villa de Paz (dressed in Tiger Red!)
Service project attire?
The elder has got Bieber Bieber Fever!

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