I survived Judgment Day! Let me explain. There's this giant billboard up on Bell Rd. that says that judgment day was supposed to be on May 21. This may be hard to believe....... but it didn't happen. I know! I was surprised too! Some guy has been pushing this campaign since last summer about how the end of the world was in May 2011, the 21st to be exact. Well, Saturday turned out to actually be a gorgeous day. Not too hot, slight breeze, no judgment and I even got a letter in the mail! Not a bad day at all! All week we had random people ask us if we thought judgment was this weekend. It opened great doors to talk about the restored gospel. I attached a few other pictures too. One day we were driving home from a meeting and the clouds looked pretty cool. The last picture is of Elder Angelos with his 30 day countdown chain that Elder Custance made him.
Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to do an exchange with Elder Alvis, one of the new missionaries in the zone. He's only been out for a couple weeks and it reminded me a lot of training Elder Malmberg. Elder Alvis was pretty solid. He had lots of questions and talked to everybody he saw. He'll do very well, plus his trainer is a fantastic missionary. I took Elder Alvis into old Surprise to go tracting and we talked to a lot of people. We picked up three new investigators that night! After we finished tracting there we went to a potential investigator's home to see if she was there. Her husband answered the door and said he thought it was funny we stopped by. His sister in law has been investigating the church too. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he wants to go on a tour of the church building. In the two and a half hours we had to work on the evening of P-Day, we got a lot done. Elder Alvis and I had a great time working together.
On Wednesday we had a specialized training at one of the stake centers in Peoria North. The afternoon portion of the training was for me and Elder Angelos to put on a zone meeting. Three zones were there. Ours went into the Relief Society room and of the planned 2 hours, we only had about 1 hour 20 minutes. We were very rushed. It went ok I would say. We had a few great discussions about things we were trying to improve in the zone, a few good talks and a very helpful skills training. I even joined in (was dragged into) a special musical number with Elder Custance and Elder Cava. The three of us sang together and it honestly sounded terrible. Now I know why I don't sing in front of people. Ugh. Never again. The zone meeting was really pressed for time and everyone could tell. It wasn't anyone's fault, the morning session of the training just went over. I guess it was good that Elder Angelos and I overplanned, that way it was easier to remove parts of the meeting on the spot than having to fill time at a moment's notice like that.
We had a few great lessons this week too. We saw Bro. Masch again and he still has a great desire to be baptized. He had a few questions and we taught a lot about repentance. A lot of concerns were brought up and as we continue to meet with their family, I'm sure he'll be ready for baptism soon. Bishop Smith is probably the best fellowshipper for them. He may be a new bishop but he's sharp and to the point. He's one of those guys who tells it like it is, and expects the same in return. All in a loving way. We saw Amber, the mom of Zack and Gabriel, two boys who have been coming to church. We took her on a tour of the building with Sis. Beals and it went very well. The whole time Amber kept talking about how good she felt. As we taught about the Restoration, you could feel the Spirit so strong. Testimonies galore brought tears to Amber's eyes. She really wants to come to church but can't get Sundays off. We're promising miracles to her as she prays and reads that the way will be opened for her to come to church. I believe in a God of miracles, and she does too. We're eager to meet with her in the coming weeks to see what happens.
The best lessons we've had this week were with Victor. Victor is 15, and a really good friend of Sam Alger, one of the boys in the Copper Canyon Ward. Sam called us one day to say he had a friend who wanted to learn about the church. Victor has not only been going to church and mutual for the past three weeks, but early morning seminary too! We told Sam to set up a time and we'd be there. On Saturday we went to the Alger's home to teach Victor. Sam was there, along with Bro. and Sis. Alger and another friend of Sam and Victor's. The lesson went better than anyone could have planned. Everything we taught made sense to him. When we asked him questions to check his understanding, he practically taught the principles back to us. For a 15 year old, Victor gets it. He had a Book of Mormon already and was reading it. We left him with more chapters to read. He even said his mom is ok with him going to church and meeting with the missionaries. When the time was right we invited him to baptism and he said yes. We asked the Algers if it was ok to schedule another time to meet, and Sis. Alger said, "How about tomorrow?" We didn't think she was serious until she said, "Yeah! Come over after church for dinner and another lesson!"
So last night after church we went to the Alger's home again. All of their nine kids were there, along with some friends. It was pretty crazy. Sis. Alger made the best dinner I've had in months and I ate a ton of food. We went into the other room, and a lot of the younger kids went upstairs to play. We taught the plan of salvation to Victor and once again, it just clicked to him. He taught everything back to us along with expressing his desire to be baptized. I asked him what he felt like he needed to do to prepare to be baptized and he said, "Repent." Elder Angelos and I were blown away. Most adults whom we ask that question to don't even have an answer. After the lesson Elder Angelos said to me, "In the two years I've been on my mission, that's the best answer I've ever heard." Like I said, Victor gets it! He's been reading the Book of Mormon and he loves it. The Algers are like a second family to him so I'm not worried about support. On our way out, we scheduled another appointment. Victor said, "How about tomorrow? School's out, and we've got nothing to do." Sis. Alger said, "Tomorrow it is!" So tonight we're going back to teach Victor lesson three, and we may even dip well into lesson four. Victor, to me, is the definition of the scripture that says, "Mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts." He's ready. The Lord has been preparing him and he's ready.
There's lots of good things going on in Surprise. This morning Elder Angelos and I had our weekly call-in with President Beck to review the work in the zone for the past week. President couldn't believe it. He asked us if it were true if the zone really had ELEVEN baptisms scheduled for this coming weekend. It does. It was the most happy I've ever heard President Beck. The list of who's being baptized where, when and by whom was so big that we wouldn't have had time to explain it over the phone. We had to fax it to him. Cumulative baptismal dates are up and so are new investigators. I just hope we can hold onto it in the coming weeks.
I love you all and hope to hear from you soon. Take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner
|Oops! Still here on May 23!|
|The clouds look cool on Judgment Day!|
|Elder Angelos and his 30-day chain|