Monday, August 29, 2011

118 Degrees on One Too Many Days (Aug. 29, 2011)

Hey everyone!
It's been another pretty good week. We've still been busy with lots of stuff, and this week is going to pile on top of that. Tomorrow we have zone leader council all day, a leadership training meeting on Wednesday, and then combined district meetings on Thursday and Friday with the two respective districts in each stake of the zone. Bring it! Transfers are next week, so you won't get an email until Tuesday, which is when we receive transfer news. I have a good feeling I'll be staying, but we'll see how that goes. Let's review this week's pictures shall we? Elder Johnson gave us a friendly reminder that we need to be emptying the dryer lint from the dryer, as noted by the small sweater (for the Prescott missionaries, perhaps) we could knit from the collected lint. On Saturday I went on exchanges with Elder Stephens in the Sun Valley ward, which is one of the most spread out areas in the zone. It's all desert, and the houses are like a 200m to a quarter mile apart. Tracting was fun that day, you can see our bikes parked outside the fence of the property. The house that Elder Stephens and his companion live in is with members of the ward. They're an older couple, and their even older aunt needs a special chair to get up the stairs. If I remember right, Grandma and Grandpa Goodey have one right? Oh yeah, I rode it! The last picture is of me and Elder Burden playing ping pong in the Surprise House living room. We're having a ping pong tournament for a zone activity today, and we set up one of the tables we're borrowing in our living room. Needless to say companionship study was time well spent!
Dad, I haven't found out anything about an Arabic hymnbook. My guess is what you have on the distribution center's website is what you get. A brother in one of our wards helped with the translation of the Hmong Book of Mormon, which he said took ten years with all off the technology they had (and this was only a few years ago). They may or may not be working on an Arabic hymnbook, but it might take some time. Interesting that it took a bunch of professionals ten years to translate the Book of Mormon form English into Hmong given the resources they had, and in the 1820's it took Joseph Smith roughly 60 working days to translate the plates into what we now have as the Book of Mormon. Testimony builder, much?
It was another one of those weeks where the days seemed to drag on but now that the week is over, we wonder where the time went. We had three consecutive days of 118 degrees or higher, and we tracted in it. I was very well hydrated and we even found some new investigators. The funniest was Wednesday morning. We didn't have any meetings in the morning for the first time in about a month. We went tracting, and both had very high spirits about everything! As we were tracting, we were smiling and happy, and we both commented on the coll morning weather, which we later found out was 105 degrees with a light breeze. The day I went with Elder Stephens, I got to ride my bike again! I haven't ridden my bike since I was in Avondale back in March. Just a few weeks after being in Surprise, Elder Johnson rode my bike and the back tire exploded (yes, exploded) on him and sent tire slime everywhere. Since then the bike has been sitting in the back yard collecting dust. I didn't have any reason to fix it any time soon. This week I found where I could get a new tire and tubes for a good price, so I did it. The next day was the exchange. I was exhausted the whole day. It was a lot of bike riding on the dusty roads of Sun Valley ward. We had a good day together though, and it was good to ride my bike again. Elder Allred and I want to more utilize our bikes come fall time so we can talk to more people on the streets.
I'm sad to say that we dropped two investigators of ours this week. The first was Steve, who Elder Halligan and I were teaching a few months ago. He's made some choices that are influencing his decision to want to meet with us and come to church. I'm sad, but it needed to happen. The other was Scott. Appointments had fallen through, so we stopped by to see what was going on. I asked him up front if this was still something he wanted, to which he responded, "I think I just need some time." I understand that, and we've done everything we could do. Missionaries have been over there for years. We'll let the ward take over until he's ready again.
This week's letter is a little short and I apologize. We've been working really hard lately. It seems like recently we've been falling into an elevator mindset where we have spurts of action, then nothing, then another spurt. We need to be in the escalator mode where it's a continual thing, always finding and teaching. The zone did not set a  new record for baptisms in a month, but we came very close and President Taylor told us that we've been leading a great zone. It's such a special place down here. I had the opportunity to speak in Elder Mortensen's district meeting this week. I prepared very little, which made me a little nervous at first. It was about our purpose, how the gospel blesses families and why we need the Holy Ghost in our teaching. I turned it a little different way by helping missionaries see, as Elder Jospeh B. Wirthlin calls it, "Concern for the One," one of my favorite talks by him. We were all in the process of setting goals for September, while holding ourselves accountable for August. Long story short, we all felt something powerful as we reflected on the long term impact of one soul's mighty change of heart. I related it to what Dad told me last week in his email about his own conversion. It was a very spiritual experience in that district meeting. I only wish I had written it down.
Thank you all for your letters of love and support. I hope to hear from you all very soon. Take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner
The attack of the dryer lint

Nice front yard....Arizona style!

On the chair lift

Ping pong in the Surprise House

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