It's been such a great week! I wish I had a lot of time to tell you about everything that happened, so I'll get as much in as I can. I've included a few pictures too. The first picture is of a weird storm we had a few days ago. All around us were clouds and wind, but off in the distance was a funnel of rain that hit Festival and whatever little towns were out there. It looked like a tornado, kinda'. On Thursday I hit my year mark, or as we in the house refer to it as my HAP-12. IT was Elder Johnson's HAP-12 too. I made him a cake during our dinner hour and hid it, and then brought it out at night before bed. As we were celebrating, Elder Nelson and Elder Cava came out with another cake for me, to celebrate a joint HAP-12. WAY too much cake for one night, but no complaints. The third picture is of Joumana's 4 year old son, Emmanuel. Recently he's been so excited when the missionaries come over to teach his mom. He rushes into his room, changes into a white shirt and tie and runs out to sit by us. We can't help but laugh! I gave him my name tag to put on his shirt, and then he held up the Arabic copy of the Book of Mormon. He looked just like a missionary! Who knows, maybe 15 years from now that might happen. Joumana's family speaks Arabic, but their native tongue is Assyrian. So we speak in English, Bro. Housari translates to Arabic, and then Joumana translates to Assyrian to speak to Emmanuel. Lessons are always a hoot with so many languages being thrown around. The last picture is of Elder Allred. I walked into the kitchen this morning and laughed when I saw what he was eating. He had a pop-tart, an Airhead and a glass of milk. I'm so happy we're going grocery shopping right after emails today. The two of us have a great time together, and we teach well together too. Once again, I'm so grateful that I've had such awesome companions on my mission.
Well let's see what's new this week, shall we? On Tuesday we had zone leader council for the first time with President Taylor and with the newly arranged zones. Return and Report was a little chaotic because none of the changes were made to the zones, so that took a lot longer than expected. We have great things in store for the month of August. Both the zone and the mission have the potential to set all-time records for baptisms in a single month. Elder Allred and I are pushing hard for baptismal date retention.
Last night we were low on gas, and we knew we wouldn't have enough to make it to the end of the day. So we biked. Oh my word. What an evening. We biked four miles to our first appointment (who cancelled on us when we got there), five miles to the appointment after that, three to the one after that, and then six miles home. We were sweaty and gross, but we had an awesome evening with appointments so we had no reason to complain. I've had the chance to work a little with Elder Johnson's new missionary, Elder Burden. We went on exchanges on Saturday and had a good time. For a new missionary, he's so prepared, far more prepared than when Johnson and I were at the beginning of our missions. He was teaching me more than I was teaching him! Lately he's been having back problems and hasn't been in the best shape for much, so today we're heading out to the chiropractor to get him checked out. A stake president out east is a chiropractor and works on missionaries for free, and he said he'd be able to see him today. P-Day will be a little short today, but we need Elder Burden happy and healthy. Not a great way to start a mission.
So remember what I said last week about Tristen wanting to be baptized? It didn't happen this weekend, only because we had a few more things to teach him. We pushed it to next weekend, the 13th, and will be helping him this week be prepared for it. Amber and her son Zack had their baptismal interview on Friday and they passed! Both of them were really nervous, especially Zack. While Amber was being interviewed, Elder Burden and I took Zack into the gym in the church and shot hoops for a bit. That helped him calm down and he had a fun time. He said that he thinks it would be cool to serve a mission someday, and we encouraged him to do it. President Morris of the mission presidency interviewed Zack and Amber, and when it was over he invited us in for a prayer together. It was a great experience, and now they're pumped for their baptism this weekend! We went to church yesterday and to my surprise, I saw Amber in sacrament meeting! She's been struggling trying to get time off of work to come to church, but she told me that she took a two hour lunch from work to come to sacrament meeting. She's so awesome. I can't wait for their baptism this weekend!
We had a cool experience after coordination meeting this week. Just as we finished we saw Tyler, a youth in the Cooper Canyon ward approach us with a friend. Her name was Kaitlin, and she simply asked if there was a time we could meet together and answer some of her questions. Of course! right after they were done with mutual and we were done with our appointments, we met at the church and had a lesson with Kaitlin, Tyler, and Tyler's sister. We set up a few chairs and taught her a little bit about the Restoration. It wasn't what we had originally planned on doing, but Elder Allred and I both had a strong impression to go with it. It ended up being a very spiritual experience that evening. She came to church yesterday, and we set up another appointment to mete with them again on Wednesday. I love how the youth down here catch the fire of sharing the Gospel with their friends. It started with Sam talking to Victor, now Tyler and Kaitlin, and just the other day a youth named Joey asked us if we had a spare Book of Mormon for him to give to his friend. It's been awesome bringing the youth to appointments with us, and they really get a taste of what it's like to be a missionary. Honestly, it's the best mission-prep class any youth could take.
Elder Allred and I were talking about this the other day, and there are so many good things happening to us right now. So many miracles. Our studies have been so focused on the needs of others that we hardly have time to learn the things we want to learn. And yet in some roundabout way, we end up receiving so much personal revelation that we weren't even worried about our personal wants. Elder Angelos often said that one of the hardest things as a missionary is to describe to someone what you are feeling. It's tough to put into words, but every little moment of every day is strengthening who we are. Just last night as we were biking home, a flood of memories rushed into my mind of me and Elder Abel riding around Avondale and contacting everyone we saw. I just smiled the whole way because of how much fun we had together and how much joy we brought into the homes of those we taught. Write back soon everyone. Take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner
|A rain funnel|
|Turner and Johnson celebrate their HAP-12 (one-year mark in the mission)|
|Emmanuel the little missionary|
|Allred's healthy breakfast|