The week started off well with me. After last week's email I drove Elder Hall out to Mesa for a doctor's appointment. On the way back, we got Slurpees. There's no 7-11's in Surprise! The nearest one that I know of is in my last area on 99th and Indian School. Circle K and QT are nice, but you need a good Slurpee here and there. On the way back to Surprise, we made a Slurpee run. My HAP-18 was last Saturday, but an error in communication prevented a HAP-18 cake to be made for me. On the 10th, the house made up for it. I was sitting at the table with Elder Mortensen wrapping up and exchange, and then the front door opens. Elders Nelson, Hall and Pugsley walk into the living room, and Elder Hall had a camera. I didn't think anything of it. They were distracting me when all of a sudden Elder Duke appeared in front of we with a cake that said HAP-18 PLUS 6 DAYS. Gosh I love the Surprise House! The next picture is of Elder Wood with some boxes. Elder Trussell goes home next week and asked us to pick up some boxes for him at the post office and take them to his apartment. We did, and we grabbed as many boxes as we could take (and we should have taken more!). We had a little fun with it and took all of the food in their house and put them in the boxes. All of the food in the fridge and all of their cupboards. We had a few extra boxes and boxed up their bedsheets, blankets and pillows too. That night we received a lovely phone call from Elder Trussell and Elder Jones, and I don't think Elder Wood and I have ever laughed so hard in all of our companionship. The last picture is of the older two of the Stringam's three kids. We have dinner with them every so often to talk about the missionary work in Copper Canyon. Their oldest son is 5, their daughter is 3 and there's a nine month old not in the picture. They love to put on our backpacks and pretend to be missionaries. The two older ones usually fight over which missionary gets to sit by them at dinner. This week it was me. Just being goofy, the kids call me Elder Turnip. The two of them were going back and forth about who gets to sit by Elder Turnip. Sister Stringam asked their son, "Well why don't you sit by Elder Wood?" Without missing a beat, their son said, "But Elder Turnip's the nice missionary!" Oh we all laughed pretty hard about that one. I think Elder Wood thought it was funnier than everyone. He's such a stud.
We weren't able to meet with Eric this week, nor did he come to church. I'm concerned. I hope we can make contact with him this week. We did get to see Tim, and he's doing very well. He's still struggling with quitting smoking. He committed himself to quit by a certain date, Feb 29th. He said he's going to pray hard about it and try to commit to quit sooner. I admire his dedication. It's leaps and bounds ahead of where he was just a few months ago.
The week was busy with zone conference and exchanges. Zone conference was held in Surprise for the first time...ever? To clarify, it was held at the Surprise North stake center. All zone conferences are combined with other zones, and we've always gone to Peoria or Glendale for 'em. President wanted smaller conferences in other places to share the love with the members. The Relief Society of some Surprise North wards made lunch for us. They decorated the tables for Valentine's day and had little Valentine's colored by the Willow Canyon ward primary. President paused during lunch to read some of the Valentine's out loud. They were pretty cute. We'd all laugh here and there at something a primary kid wrote and we exchanged lots of Valentines here and there. It was so much fun! President would keep reading through some of them and he paused when he turned a particular one over. He got a little quiet and tears ran down his face as he read it out loud, "To Elder Trussell and Elder Jones! Happy Valentine's Day! Thanks for serving a mission!" One thing that I love about President Taylor is that he takes time to teach. He pointed out how much we as the missionaries are adored by the people we serve. He said that if we don't believe it, that Valentine was proof that Elder Trussell and Elder Jones have had such a great impact on the Willow Canyon ward that the primary kids know them by name. President committed Elder Trussell and Elder Jones to go into the primary on Sunday and thank them personally for the Valentines.
I'm short on time again but I want you all to know that I'm happy and well. Next week is transfers...oh boy. I would like to think that I would be blessed with one more transfer in Surprise, but I just don't know. It's up in the air. Because of recent transfers and trainers in the zone, the major companionships susceptible to change are those in the Surprise House. I know that President is inspired as to what needs to happen. I have a testimony of the power of personal revelation. Neither this work nor this church could not function without it. Next week's email won't come until Tuesday but until then, take care and be good.
Elder Eric James "Turnip"
|Missionaries and Slurpees. 'Nuff said.|
|Eric's HAP 18 (+ 6 days) cake|
|Anybody have any extra boxes?|
|"We love Elder Turnip!"|