Monday, October 24, 2011

Avondale Surprises (Oct. 24, 2011)

Hey everyone!
With transfers this past week, a lot has happened. Two of our four district leaders were transferred, one of whom was elder Johnson who was called to be a zone leader in Glendale with Elder Wilson. He'll do great, and I'll be seeing him at zone leader councils. In his place is Elder Pugsley with Elder Burden. That was the only change to the house. Elder Tameilau is training out in Phoenix North zone, and I'm pretty happy for him. I wonder what his trainee thought when he saw a massive Tongan walking towards him as his companion. The two new district leaders are Elder Nelson (who lives with us in the house) and Elder Juchau. Elder Nelson had a fantastic district meeting this week. For his first meeting, I was very impressed. My district meetings were always terrible, and it's good to see that new district leaders suddenly get it, you know? Elder Juchau was released as a zone leader from Prescott, and is now training and a district leader in the newly created Wickenburg district. He's just what that district needs. He's a solid leader.
The first picture I've attached this week is of me and Elder Brame. He was at transfers, and I had to send home a picture of a little Tri-Town pride. The next picture is of the MTC gang, Elders Johnson, Buttars, Turner and Bennett. I think this is the first picture of the four of us for the first time since the MTC 13 months ago. It's been so long since the four of us were together, so this transfer was a fun reunion. The third picture is of Wes' baptism this weekend. With the boundary realignments, the Sisters had been teaching him and preparing him for his baptism. He asked if I would baptize him. The picture is of me and Elder Allred, Wes and the kids, and Sisters Falke and Rohner. Amber showed up just before the baptism started, but we didn't get picture with all of us. The baptism had a huge turnout, with people from the old ward and his new ward. Amber and Wes looked so happy together after the baptism, it was definitely one of the highlights of my week. The last picture was a long time in the making. Back when I was in Avondale, I taught a woman named Michele. She had a baptismal date at one point in time, but it never went through. Eventually, her son Zac came home, and we started teaching him. Eventually he was passed to the YSA to be taught, and then I was transferred. Here we are at his baptism, Michele, Zac and me. I got permission to go back to Avondale to see his baptism on Saturday, and then permission to go back to Avondale on Sunday to confirm him in sacrament meeting. I couldn't believe it when I saw both Zac and Michele together. The both of them have really made changes for the better.
Bonnie's been having her ups and downs. Tuesday night she had a seizure in the middle of the lesson. Elder Allred and I knew how to handle the situation until the ambulance arrived, but I'm sure our member who was present at the lesson was freaking out the whole time. We called 911 and they showed up really quick and took her away. We're starting to get to know the paramedics by name, seeing as this was the second time we've had to call them...would you believe me if I told you that we had a third? Friday night she had her baptismal interview with Pres. Morris of the mission presidency. It was a good experience for the both of them. Bonnie loved the conversation with Pres. Morris, and he's always good at making people feel comfortable and eager for their baptism. After an hour of interview, Pres. Morris stepped outside and asked if we would grab her roommate Barbera (from the ward) and join us for a few last minute post-interview things. We all went in and sat down. Pres. Morris said that Bonnie was having headaches (which we now identify as the red flag for seizures) and wanted us there in case she had another seizure. Pres. Morris said that we (me and Allred) would give her a blessing. As Elder Allred was starting the blessing, she went down. She hit the floor and began to seize again. We both got down and started holding her, moving the table out of the way and then Elder Allred called 911. They showed up and took her away again. We met them out front and on their way inside I said, "Good to see you guys again!" A few of them chuckled at that. She wasn't at church yesterday but we saw her last night. She still wants to be baptized. We're both amazed at her faith. We talked with the Bishop and discussed what to do on the day of the baptism. We certainly don't want to risk a seizure in the font. We'll be seeing how she's feeling during the day, and if she still feels well, we'll have the baptism be very small, only a few families and we'll have our PA and RN in the ward there just in case. This whole situation is so crazy and confusing, but Bonnie's faith seems to trump all of ours. She's a pretty awesome lady.
Time is short but I want everyone to know that all is well down here. My heart was full as I saw Wes and Amber together at Wes' baptism this past weekend. Wes looked so tired from work but so relieved to have made it as far as he has in the Gospel. The rest kids are planning on being baptized soon, too. They are aware of the temple, and I told them that when they go it doesn't matter where I am, I'd walk back to Phoenix to see it happen. I'll admit that when we started teaching their family, I didn't think this day would have come. But now they have so much more in store for their family. I love it here.
Write back soon, take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner
Elders Turner and Brame. Two Richland boys doing work in Arizona!

MTC buddies, reunited after 13 months. Johnson, Buttars, Turner, and Bennett

At the baptism for Wes. He asked Eric to baptize him.

At Zac's confirmation. He asked Eric to perform the confirmation.

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