Monday, June 27, 2011

Thank you President Beck!! (June 27, 2011)

Hey everyone!
What a crazy week it's been! First thing last Monday morning I get a call from the mission office. Sister Cherry, our mission office secretary, calls me and says, "Elder Turner, do you have a moment? A friend of your just walked into the mission office and is looking for you. His name is Benjamin Fussner. If you would like to contact him, you may. Here is his phone number." I literally could not believe what I was hearing. I called Benn and he asked where I was. He didn't have much time left in Phoenix but wanted to say hi. I gave him the address to where we shop for groceries, and he rolled up just as we finished emailing. Boy was it good to see him. He and a few of his buddies were in town for some reason or another, and on their way out wanted to see me. He went around Walmart for the next half hour while we were shopping and we just had a good time. He had been in Afghanistan for the past 8 months(?) or so. We had fun telling stories about what we've been up to for the past year. We knew we didn't have a whole lot of time to see one another, but this was still a pleasant surprise. I snagged a quick picture with him in the parking lot and we were on our way.
This week sure had its ups and downs, because I found out that JJ wasn't going to be baptized after all. His mom had another fit and said he couldn't be baptized. I was pretty upset when I heard that. But it's ok, the seed is still there. I shouldn't complain too much, because Sandee Pearce was baptized this weekend! Her brother in law Chris Cannell baptized her. She had great support from the West Point ward. I think she'll fit in great with the ward. We've really developed quite the friendship with Sandee and the Cannells. They had us over for dinner on Friday night and we had such a fun time. It had been pretty hot that day, and it was nice to just sit for an hour and have a good steak dinner. Trust me, it was hot this week. Don't believe me? Check the picture of our truck's thermometer reading. The last picture is just me having a little fun with Elder Halligan. He didn't like the picture when I showed it to him though!
Joumana, an investigator of ours, speaks Arabic and very little English. We've had lessons with her while Bro. Housari (West Point ward mission leader) translated for us. We saw Joumana on Saturday morning and gave her an Arabic copy of the Book of Mormon. We had a little struggle without a translator, so the lesson was really simple. We read the Arabic Introduction to the Book of Mormon. The paragraphs were the same, so I could follow along in English. She came to the part about praying and receiving an answer by the power of the Holy Ghost. She said the Arabic phrase for "Holy Ghost" and asked in English, "What is it?" We had no idea how to explain it...but the scriptures did. Neither Elder Halligan nor myself could read Arabic, but I know how to read Arabic numbers. It took me a few minutes to thumb through the pages to find the book, chapter and verse I was looking for. I finally found Helaman 5:30. I had her read it and asked her to explain it to us in English. She thought for a moment, until the light bulb went off and she pointed to her heart and said, "Feel!" She got it! Despite the maze of language barriers, Joumana understood! Only the Spirit can teach and testify so powerfully that teacher and student can understand one another and rejoice together. It's no wonder that Doctrine and Covenants 50:21-22 is our mission scripture for the month of June. I just can't believe it took me a month to actually witness it firsthand.
So now we jump to Sunday. We had a very stressful sacrament meeting in Cooper Canyon ward. Joumana comes to church and brings her two kids, ages 2 and 4. Holy cow... Sacrament meeting was very difficult for Joumana not only because she could barely understand, but her kids were being so loud. They were climbing over the benches, throwing hymnbooks and screaming Arabic words in mine and Elder Halligan's faces. Joumana felt so embarrassed and I kept letting her know that people understand, their kids are noisy too! In all honesty though, those kids were being pretty difficult. The 4 year old tried climbing up on my shoulders and kept yelling in my face during the sacrament, and the two year old tried pulling Elder Halligan's fingers apart while scratching him. Mom and dad, I don't know how you managed to keep your cool with me when I was that age. I hope that we can still meet with Joumana in the future, thankfully the ward was very nice to her and very welcoming.
We had a great lesson last night with Amber at the VanTienderen's home! Bro. VanTienderen called us out of the blue last night and said, "If we call and invite Amber over tonight for dessert, could you Elders join us for a lesson?" OF COURSE WE COULD. High fives to the VanTienderen's for stepping it up! The VanTienderen's made cupcakes as a family, and wanted to share them with someone, so they called Amber! We joined them and had a very great lesson about the commandments. The Spirit was strong as Amber expressed concern in asking her boss for time off work to come to church on Sunday. We taught, testified and promised her that she would we able to come to church if she showed that she was sincere about it. Amber understood and said she will ask for time off. On the drive home from the lesson, Amber texted us and simply asked, "What do I need to do now to be baptized?" That was nice to see! We had talked with Amber numerous times about baptism, and she said she might, but still wanted to come to church, which is the reason why we hadn't set a date with her. Yes, I'm repenting for that! This week we're meeting with her again and we're extending a baptismal date.
On Wednesday this past week we had our last zone conference with President and Sister Beck. Toward the end of the conference they presented information about President and Sister Taylor. They had a little slide show on the difference between change and transition. Their departing testimonies were very powerful. You can tell that Sister Beck just absolutely loves being the mission mom. President Beck said something that quite frankly, spiritually smacked me in the face. He said, "Elders and Sisters, I want you to know that this week you will be receiving a new mission President. I will then remove my mantle and will return to what I was--nothing. Elders and Sisters, I am nothing, but the mantle I bear is everything." I'll simply say that for those of you who don't know much about President Beck, he's sure appears to be more than nothing. But I thought about it and the Spirit bore witness to me the exact same thing in my own case. The mantle we bear is everything and we need to live worthy of it. In not a very short time, it will be gone. We're working really hard and many more little miracles are happening each day. I love my service, even in the heat. Write back soon everyone, take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner
A surprise visit from Benn Fussner
It's hot out there!
Sandee Pearce's baptism

Elder Halligan...Future Assistant to the President!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Elder Mason Halligan! (June 20, 2011)

Hey everyone!
A lot has happened this past week. On Monday after emails we took Elder Angelos to this mission home. The whole house drove. President and Sister Beck came outside and said, "Wow, how many missionaries does it take to send one Elder home?" That's what the first picture is, the house sending Angelos home. It's taken at the mission home, in front of the tree I simply refer to as "The Personal Pineapple." I miss Elder Angelos like crazy but I know he's doing well back home. As far as I know he should be on his way to Provo right now for summer term. So now that leaves a vacancy in my companionship...cue transfer meeting. At transfers on Tuesday, I had no idea who my companion would be. They were calling three new zone leaders, so it was just up in the air. President announced, "In the Peoria North/Surprise zone, in the West Point and Copper Canyon wards, Elder Eric Turner will continue to serve as a zone leader with Elder Mason Halligan as his new companion." I knew Elder Halligan already from a few past meetings, and I was ecstatic to hear he was my new companion! We met halfway between our seats and he scooped me up in a huge bear hug. President got a good laugh out of that. I can't believe it! Elder Halligan! He was previously serving as a zone leader up in Prescott for the past 4 months, and now he's here. He's from Tooele, Utah, and has been out on his mission for about 13 months. The two of us hit it off immediately. Instant buds. Picture Elder Abel's knowledge of the gospel, Elder Malmberg's sense of urgency, Elder Angelos' wisdom, all bundled together in Chris Farley's body. That, my friends, is Elder Mason Halligan. He's so great. The past few days have been so much fun, and we've been working so hard. All we do when we drive is laugh and sing really loud. When it comes to teaching, we work in such unity. I am so blessed to have Elder Halligan as my new companion. He and I are going to do wonders together.
We've been working closely with our investigators with baptismal dates. Sandee is going to be baptized this weekend and she's really excited. She had her baptismal interview a few days ago with Elder Johnson and he said she was so ready. She came to church yesterday for a great lesson on Gospel principles on the gift of the Holy Ghost, which I think is a great transition into her baptism next weekend. We're still meeting with Bro. Masch, and we finally established a baptismal calender with him. So many appointments have been cancelled and now he and his family have something right in front of them to help them remember to keep appointments and various other commitments.
Two things happened this week that meant a lot to me. The first was our window of heaven we had set on Friday night. A window of heaven is, briefly, a space of time at a particular location we pray about where we will be led to meet someone whom the Lord has prepared for us to meet, hopefully a new investigator. In our planning the night before, we pick the time and place, and set empty brackets in that time frame of our schedule. If we are obedient and on time, we will find someone. It's sort of an informal covenant we make...and it works. So we pick the area to go and the time to be there. 7:00pm-7:30pm was our time frame. We pull around the corner to our street to contact, and it hit me--I had already contacted this area a few weeks ago. We thought about it and wondered, "Should we go to a new area?" Elder Halligan said these simple, but profound words: "Elder Turner, we made a promise and felt inspired to come to this area, and the Lord has someone here for us to see." He was right. So we step outside and start knocking doors. The very first door we knocked, a man came outside and spoke with us. His English was terrible. He talked about how much he loved his church already. We could only understand every 4th word or so, and even then it was still difficult to understand what he was saying. This went on for 26 minutes. He said he wouldn't mind if Spanish missionaries wanted to come by, so we'll pass them off to them. We only had 4 minutes left for our window of heaven! Almost right at 7:30, we met a woman named Rosemary unloading her van. We offered to help her, and she said no thank you. I noticed she had a rug still in her van, and I offered to carry it in her garage for her. She said that would be ok, so I did. She recognized us, because she had met with missionaries before. Just this past week she moved here from California, and said that she had lost contact with the missionaries back there. She already knew about church, about Relief Society, all that. She told us how she really wants to bring her grandchildren to church, and thought it was funny that we happened to run into her. I told Rosemary about how we specifically prayed to know where we were to go, and when we needed to be there. I bore testimony to her that this wasn't just a coincidence, and how we'd love to pick up where she left off with previous missionaries. She'll be moving in for the next few weeks, but asked us to stop by again sometime. Hopefully this will go through. Sometimes they don't, but the lesson here is what's important. Our faith was put to the test. Maybe not to the extent that the world wants you to believe, but simple faith brings forth great blessings and answers to prayers. The best part is that this has happened multiple times this week. Specific prayers about specific times and places, and the Lord provided. Little miracles.
The second thing that happened was during Sandee's baptismal interview while I was waiting in the foyer. I received a phone call from the zone leaders in Peoria/W Maricopa, my last zone. I answered and heard, "Hey Elder Turner, this is Elder Malmberg!" I jumped out of my seat when I heard that. I haven't spoken to him since I was transferred back in March! He called to give some some news. He told me that JJ just passed his baptismal interview. I asked if it was the JJ whom we had taught all the lessons from when we were together, then his mom said he couldn't get baptized? It was! JJ is going to be baptized this Saturday an hour after Sandee's baptism. Elder Malmberg told me that JJ requested that I come. I heard his voice in the background saying, "It's mandatory, man!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I thought that was lost. I didn't have a single baptism in Villa de Paz, and at times I kind of thought my effort was in vain. No effort is wasted. But now I'm thinking, what other seeds were planted? What other fruits will come forth from Elder Malmberg's, mine and Elder Abel's service? I was so happy when I heard that news. You can bet that I'm going to be there.
Blessings just keep coming in this great work. I'm trying to see the long term results in my efforts, even on those rough days. I wish I had more time to explain in greater detail everything that's happening, but just know that miracles happen. The Lord sees our efforts and doesn't let them go to waste. I'm happy and I'm enjoying the work in the vineyard. Write back soon, everyone. Take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner
The Surprise House saying goodbye to Elder Angelos
Halligan and Turner......on the road
Your guess is as good as mine!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm a Killer (June 13, 2011)

Hey everyone!

So it's official, today is Elder Angelos' last day in the mission field. He goes into the mission home at 4:30 today where he'll have his exit interview with President Beck, spend the night and he'll fly back to Columbus, OH tomorrow morning. He'll only be home for a few days before he'll be off to BYU for summer term. He's been an awesome companion these past two transfers. I've learned so much from him and I'm sad to see him go but I'm happy for him. He told me last night that he's happy with his mission. No regrets. So now that means I'll be getting another companion. This morning in our weekly call-in with President Beck, he told me that I'll be staying, which we all figured would happen. I don't know who my companion will be until tomorrow, so you'll all have to wait until next week to hear the news. President didn't hint at anything, so I don't know if I'll be getting a brand new zone leader for a companion or if I'll have someone who's experienced. Of course there's speculation but from what we've heard already, none of our guesses are right. Are they ever? We know for sure that in the house Elder Johnson has been called to be the new district leader! I'm so happy for him. He's nervous as all get-out but I have great faith in him. He's really stepped it up these past few weeks within the house, and I'm sure he'll have a great influence on the district. Elder Custance, our current district leader, will be transferred. I'll be sad to see him go too. He and have built quite the friendship. He's been in this area longer than I've been on my mission, so this will be good for him too. One of the Spanish missionaries in the district is being transferred, and as far as the zone, only one other Elder will be transferred and one sister will be going home. Our district is getting changed pretty good and I'm excited to see the outcome.

So pictures this week. The first is Ivan and Nicole, the recent convert couple for whom we've been pouring concrete these past few weeks. They took us out to dinner at a nice Mexican restaurant and we had a good time. We've got Elder Angelos' HAP-24 cake! The house went all out on this one. Yellow cake, chocolate frosting, Oreo cookie icing, toffee bits and cookies and cream drops. The next few pictures are of us presenting Elder Angelos with his cake. It was a party. He kind of saw it coming but he still liked it, as you can note by his facial expressions. Elder Cava found Elder Angelos' Disneyland ears and put 'em on. Too funny. Faithful Angelos put on his Ohio State jersey and took a few pics before he packed it away. He's all packed and ready to go.

This week has been pretty good. We've been on a few exchanges before the transfer cam to a close, so I didn't get to do a whole lot of work in my own area. I spent a day with Elder Abel on bike, just like good old times. Holy cow Peoria North is hilly. We didn't have hills in Avondale, so this was strange. We had a dinner with a family in his area that had invited their daughter's friend over too. She had questions about the church and wanted to meet with us. The dinner was fun, big family, and she had one question, "Who was Joseph Smith?" Elder Abel and I originally planned a simple dinner thought, but it turned into a lesson real quick. Just like old times! We taught just like we taught when we were together back in Avondale and it flowed sooooo smoothly. The Spirit was strong and she understood what it was. I extended a soft baptismal invitation and some of the brothers in the family had looks on their faces like, "What is this guy doing?!" What? I'm a missionary. We teach and baptize, it's what we do. What caught them even more off guard is that she said that yes, she would be baptized. I wish I could be there to keep teaching her, she was really interested. She doesn't even live in our zone, so I'll have to find a way to follow up with that.

Sandee is doing very well, she's still excited for her baptism on the 25th. What's really frustrating me is another family we are teaching who keeps dropping appointments. The father has a date for July 11 and isn't keeping commitments or appointments for that matter. I wish I could go into greater detail but I don't feel like I should. This has been a pattern that has occurred with numerous investigators we have dropped in the past and I don't want to see it again.

It just makes me sad when I see someone who knows what they're supposed to do, knows that it's true, has all the potential to make it happen but doesn't do it. Doesn't put forth the effort. I've seen this in investigators, missionaries and even in myself in some cases. I think being a zone leader these past few transfers has helped me see that a lot more. Elder Angelos and I have had numerous discussions about this. We have certain investigators and missionaries who have so much potential, and you just know that they can step it up even more. I wish I could say we were perfect. Well, Angelos might be but I'm still trying to be a better example and a more Christlike leader. It's certainly motivated me to work harder, to be more obedient, to live my purpose and to serve those in my stewardship. Bishop McLaws was talking about that yesterday in PEC and I took that to heart, especially in preparation for becoming a future husband and father. I can't really explain what this personal revelation was like, but it just stuck. Does it make sense? We receive callings and responsibilities and we are expected to magnify them. The Lord has blessings in store that we can't even imagine and it just takes a little pride here or slothfulness there to hinder our growth. We cannot let this happen. Today is the start of a new transfer and good things are in store.

I love you all and hope you know that all is well. Tonight I'll be joining Elder Johnson and Elder Ward in their adventures and then I will meet my new companion tomorrow afternoon. Write back soon, I can't wait to hear about everyone back home. Dad, have a happy birthday tomorrow! Take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

With Ivan and Nicole

The Hap 24 Cake

Celebrate Angelos' 24 months!

Who wants cake?

Elder Angelos and his cake

Why? Because I like you!

THE Ohio State University

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer is Here to Stay (June 6, 2011)

Hey everyone!
Well, let's see, what's new to update since Wednesday? It seems like I was just here emailing everyone. No new pictures since then, but mom and dad you may want to check out Sister Beck's blog. She took a few pictures at last zone leader council (last week) and there should be some good ones in there.
We've been working real closely with Sandee in the West Point ward. She was referred to us by her sister in law in the ward and has a baptismal date set for June 25th. I'm confident she'll be ready by then. We sat down with her and planned out a calender of things she needs to do and lessons that we'll be teaching. She came to church yesterday and Bishop McLaws was really happy to meet her. Her sister in law even took her to the nearest Deseret Book to look at picking out her own set of scriptures. Our next appointment is tomorrow at the church and we'll be helping her even more to get ready for her baptism.
On Friday I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Brase, one of the AP's. Just like the zone leaders go on exchanges with their district leaders, the AP's go on exchanges with us. Elder Brase and I spent the day in our area while Elder Angelos went with Elder Perkins in the AP's area. We had a really good time together, which isn't anything surprising. We spent most of the day just visiting potential investigators and tracting. We met a few people who were, for lack of a better term, sufficiently hard-hearted. It just irritates me when some people can be so difficult and horrid to us, especially when they claim to be Christians. Would a follower of Christ seek to destroy the faith of another, especially in such a hostile manner? He would not! All of that frustration was gone when we met with Julia and Ingrid, a mother and daughter who haven't been to church in probably twenty years. They have a strong desire to come back into the fold and to make some changes in their family life. They were very sweet and I'm eager to meet with them again. It's so nice when you have experiences like that to make a difficult tracting session seem so small and not worth worrying about.
Saturday was the groundbreaking for the Phoenix Temple!!! After three years of planning and compromising, construction is finally underway. I wish I could have been there to see it live, but it was by invitation only. The groundbreaking was broadcasted to stake centers around the area and I got to see it there. Elder Rasband of the Presidency of the 70 was the presiding General Authority at the groundbreaking. When it came time to break ground, the stake presidents in the area all had the chance to help. President and sister Beck got to go out too, and it was cool to see them on that broadcast moving dirt to make way for the temple. Now I'm curious as to when the actual construction will be done. I'm hoping it will be done by the end of my mission, but I'm not getting my hopes up. It's possible though!
This is Elder Angelos' last week in the mission. Next Tuesday he flies back to Columbus, OH. Since he'll be leaving, I'll most likely be taking over the zone. Three zone leaders are going home this transfer, which means three more will need to be called. I'm curious who my new companion will be. They way it's looking, I'll probably become senior zone leader and will be training a brand new ZL just like Angelos trained me. It's all just happening so fast. This will be President Beck's last transfer meeting as our mission president before President Taylor comes in. I'm sure President Beck wants things to be in good working order for the new president. I know he's inspired, and I'll sustain him in whatever decision he makes. Taking over the zone will be very interesting. As far as responsibilities, I'm not worried, but it's still weird to think about. Within the next month it will be an entirely different mission as far as leadership is concerned. Change is good, right? I'm spending a lot of time in prayer and study to learn how to become a better missionary and a better leader.
That's what's new down in the APM! Not a whole lot has been happening since I last emailed on Wednesday. Mom and dad I'm looking forward to your package. I'm happy, healthy, hydrated and loving the work! We now have four baptismal dates in our area and we're working really hard to help them be ready. I love you all and hope to hear from you again really soon! Take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blessings, Baptism 'n Baseball (June 1, 2011)

Hey everyone!
Mom and dad, I'm glad you had the opportunity to speak with Sister Turville. She isn't paid or anything, and it's not a calling. She just volunteers her time out of the goodness of her heart to help any missionary with anything. Her husband passed away a few years ago, and all she does now is help people in the mission, in her stake and anywhere else she is needed. President and Sister Beck give her the utmost thanks and praise for her kindness. She's one little ball of energy and it was so good to see her at Victor's baptism.

I hope everyone is doing well back home. Sorry you had to wait until Wednesday for the email. Monday was Memorial Day, and all of the libraries were closed. Tuesday (yesterday) was very busy. From 10-3 we had zone leader council at the mission home, then we had back-to-back-to-back-to-back appointments from 4-8 pm and had no time to do emails. This morning we had a district meeting to attend way out in Peoria North and we had a few more things to do after that. So we had to wait until 3 pm on Wednesday to send our emails. To me, I see that as a good thing, being so busy that we actually have to wait to send emails home. But now I can take a breather and actually write about our adventures this past week.

So Monday, like I said, was Memorial Day. We knew that the libraries would be closed, but we had a zone activity planned! At about 10:30 that morning, our zone of about 28 missionaries met at a park in our area for a good old fashioned game of softball. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend. Elder Angelos and I called President and Sister Beck the night before to invite them to come. I'm sure Sister Beck had a heavy influence in their decision to come. She played softball in high school and really wanted to play with us. Just before we got started, President and Sister Beck rolled up ready to play. We had already brought some watermelon to put under our shade tent, but President and Sister Beck also brought popsicles, peanuts and licorice for everyone too. Now if that's not Memorial Day weekend, I don't know what is. Hot dogs would have been ideal, but we can't be too picky, can we? The game was so much fun. We played for a good 3 hours. Sister Beck was out in the field catching pop-flies and President hit here and there too. I even managed to get a few good hits (note the Ichiro at-bat pose). The funniest was when I came up to bat one time. Sister Beck was on second, and Elder Custance was pitching. First pitch and I crush it out into deep left-center field. This thing was gone. One of the Elders in the field was running after it and I was moving around the bases. By the time I rounded second, Sister Beck was at third, to which I yelled, "GO SISTER BECK GO GO GO!!!" She reached home and I followed about half a second behind her. President said, "Nice job Elder Turner, best hit of the day!" That glory was short lived because in the next inning Elder Angelos did the same thing. Everybody had a good hit somewhere. It was all just for fun, we didn't keep score, and we all loaded up on watermelon, licorice, peanuts and popsicles. It was an awesome zone activity. I think everyone who came had a good time. A couple companionships, including all of the sisters, left early, and we got a group picture of everyone who was still there. Notice President Beck in the Reds hat and the T-shirt with a tie printed on it.

On Wednesday last week, Elder Angelos and I had the opportunity to go to the Mesa Temple. It was Elder Angelos' last time before going home, and Brenton Beals and his brother Stettson in the Copper Canyon ward took us. It was a great way to spend the day. We gave up our P-Day for it, and our P-Day for that week became that Wednesday when we went to the temple. I hadn't been since Christmas, and this was great. At one point we, the four of us, pretty much had the Celestial room to ourselves. We all were enjoying the feeling. Yeah, there's things that are fun, but this was much more than just fun.

I'm sure most of you have heard already about Victor. Let me tell the full story. So we all know about the awesome lessons 1 and 2 last Saturday and Sunday in the Alger's home. We had set up another appointment for last Monday evening to teach lesson 3. He for sure knew when he wanted to be baptized, but when was the problem. His best friends in the ward would be going out of town, and the day before they would come back his other friends would be gone too. He wanted everyone to be there. We joked about just being baptized tomorrow (last Tuesday) and then we thought about it for a minute...why not? It could be done. It would be rushed but we could do it. We asked him, "Victor, when do you want to be baptized?" He had a huge smile on his face as he nodded and said, "Tomorrow." Instantly I got up to make some calls about scheduling the stake center and everything, while Elder Angelos answered questions and continued with the lesson. We asked if we could come back in a few hours to teach lesson 4, because we had another appointment, and the Algers said ok. At about 7 on Monday night we came back to teach all of lesson 4 and then reviewed the baptismal interview questions. The next morning he was interviewed by our district leader in the area, and he was baptized that night at 8 pm.
It was a busy Tuesday trying to get ready for the baptism. All morning we were inviting the ward, making the programs, setting up the baptismal service and all that good stuff. A ton of people from the Copper Canyon ward showed up to support him. Even friends from school who attend other wards came too. It was the most well attended baptism I had seen probably my whole mission. What made the baptism especially meaningful for me was that Victor asked if I could be the one to baptize him. I felt so honored. I had never had that opportunity to baptize anyone before, and it meant a lot to me. The service went really well. He asked his two best friends Sam and Travis give a few short talks. They were simple, powerful talks that invited the Spirit into the room with such great force. Everyone could feel it. After a few talks had been given and a few musical numbers performed, I took Victor into the font and baptized him by Priesthood authority. It was a fantastic thing to see. Elder Angelos confirmed him in church this past Sunday, and now Victor is preparing to receive the priesthood and go to the temple with his friends. Looking back on it, it went like this:

Saturday-Lesson 1   Sunday-Lesson 2   Monday-Lessons 3 and 4    Tuesday-Baptism

He had already been coming to church, mutual and early morning seminary. He was just that prepared! It wasn't anything we did, he was just ready! It's certainly the fastest baptism I've ever been a part of. Strange, don't you only hear about stories like that in the Ensign and Church magazines? But wait, it gets better. Yesterday, Elder Angelos and I set three more baptismal dates. This past weekend alone, our zone had ten baptisms. We also found out that for the month of May, the Arizona Phoenix Mission set an all-time record for baptisms in a single month. President was so happy. He had nothing but good things to say yesterday in zone leader council during our return and report for the month of May. We're baptizing at 90% efficiency, meaning that 90% of baptismal dates that are set are going through. Last month we were at 50%. This was just incredible. We're seeing blessings everywhere and they're continuing to come. But we can't just stop there, we have to keep it up.

Time is running short and there's so much more I wish I could say. I miss you all and it's so good to hear from you. I'll try and organize my thoughts a little better in next week's email, it's just that this week has been going so well. I cannot complain at all! Why should I? We've been so busy and we've been so blessed. I love you all and hope to hear from you all very soon. Take care and be good.

Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

With Victor at his baptism

Outside the Mesa Temple with Elder Angelos


Get out the rye bread and the mustard Grandma.....!!!

Memorial Day 2011 Missionary Softball Game