Monday, July 11, 2011

In Arizona We Don't Have Fog, We Have Dust! (July 11, 2011)

Hey everyone!
So I guess this past week's dust storm was kind of a big deal? It wasn't here long, but it was still pretty cool. That Tuesday I was on exchanges with Elder Ward (who lives in the house with us). The day itself was brutal. We were on bikes since they cover a bike area. It was the first time I had really been on a bike since Avondale back in March. The biking itself wasn't the hard part, it was the heat and the humidity. I think it may have hit about 116, and it wasn't deep south or Washington DC humid, but still too humid for Arizona. We've hit monsoon season, my friends! I'll admit that there were parts of the day where I wanted to just stop. The only things that were keeping me going were the cold water in my Camelback and my singing of various hymns and primary songs to keep myself motivated. We ended up having a really good day. We taught a few good lessons and then we went on exchanges in the Surprise 1st ward. The ward member with whom I was on exchanges had received a phone call saying a dust storm was on the way. Even when we got back to the church to end the ward exchange, the air was still clear. We went back outside after ten minutes and BOOM! Dust. I took a picture with flash on and you can really see how thick it was. I snapped a picture of Elder Ward with the church about 60-70 meters behind him, and myself in the middle of Sarival with Grenway, a major road behind me. The picture of me in the road was taken when the storm was clearing up. We rode our bikes home and we pretty much inhaled the dust the whole way there. Then cue then rain. The rain/dust combo could only be described as "raining mud." We were only in the rain for about 2 minutes and then we were home. A pretty cool thunderstorm started right after that. The second picture I included was of myself and one of the sisters in our district, Sister Kolo. We both wore purple to District Meeting and I thought mom would appreciate a purple power picture.
Interviews with President Taylor were great this week. It was a little more casual in how we ran the meeting. It reminded me very much of Baker. The whole zone (28 missionaries) sat in a circle and we did introductions of everyone. Each missionary stood and introduced themselves, then their companion said something about them, then their respective district leader, then us as the zone leaders. It was like this for every missionary and it was so fun. President Taylor used it as a way to get people excited to learn about one another, but also to understand the importance in following the chain of Priesthood authority from their district leaders, to zone leaders and so on. Elder Halligan and I had fun saying things about everyone. It also really helped me and Elder Halligan realize the importance of individually knowing our sheep. Sister Taylor is such a sweetie. Everyone loves her. She always has a big, bright smile on her face and just loves to talk and tell stories. She's going to be a great mission mom. When we had a little bit of down-time, Sister Taylor had what she called, "Sister Taylor Story Time," where we could ask her any question and she would answer it so we could better get to know them. My interview with President Taylor was brief but went very well. We set a few goals and talked about some plans that we have for the zone. Like I said, I'm REALLY looking forward to working with the Taylors.
This week I went on an exchange with Elder Perkins, one of the AP's. He looks exactly like a Goodey, like he'd fit right in with Ben, Sam, Josh and Jacob. He came into our area and we just worked hard. We had a lesson with Joumana, the Arabic speaking woman and her husband Johny. We had Bro. Housari come and translate for us. It was fun for me, because I've done it before. I think Elder Perkins was kind of out of it at first, but he caught on really quick. We taught very simply and powerfully, and we taught Joumana how to pray. Later on we went tracting in the neighborhood where Elder Halligan and I fulfilled our window of heaven last week. After two hours of nobody being home, interested or even polite, we were exhausted. At the very last house on the street was a man washing his car in his front yard. He had a Colorado license plate, which is where Elder Perkins is from. Turns out they're from the same town! His name was Scott, and he asked if Elder Perkins knew someone from a certain ward. He said "ward," and I asked if he had met with missionaries before (thinking to myself he was already a member of the church). He said no, but they had been meeting with missionaries back in Colorado, and were even considering being baptized but didn't go through with it because they knew they were moving to Arizona. My jaw nearly hit the pavement. He said we could come by on Wednesday and get to know them a bit more. Why is it always the last house on the street?! Elder Perkins and I just had to laugh because seriously, what are the odds? We know it's not the odds, and we're especially grateful for being diligent in our efforts that day.
Amulek, Ammon and Aaron. What patient, humble missionaries! I'm losing myself in my studies and in my work and it's starting to show for itself. President Taylor and I had a good chat about it in my interview, and it's something I will be focusing on for the coming weeks.
Once again I'm running out of time. There's so much more I wish I could share, but it will have to wait for another time. Write back soon, I hope to hear from you all. Take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner
In the massive duststorm, taken in the late afternoon
The dust caused the streetlights to come on
Cue the rain
With Sister Kolo, sporting the purple power

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