Monday, April 9, 2012

Nama Kamissoko (April 9, 2012)

Hey everyone!

So I know there's been a lot of wondering what has happened after
transfers this week. I'll start by saying that packing to leave
Surprise was pretty tough. I didn't have a whole lot of time to say
goodbye to anyone, so I apologize to anyone from Surprise who might be
reading this.

My new companion is Elder Nama Kamissoko. Say what?
That's right, Elder Kamissoko! (Pronounced "Kaw-Mee-So-Ko") He's from
Mali, Africa, been out in the mission for about 8 months, is a convert of about two years
and is amazing. I'm serving in Glendale Stake, in the La Pradera Park
ward. I took Elder Brame's spot here, and now he's in Prescott! It's
fun telling everyone that I'm from the same city as their last
missionary. I'm no longer a zone leader, but I'm a district leader
over a district of six missionaries including Elder Johnston and
Sister Jeanfreau, two missionaries who served out in Surprise a while
back. It's good to be out here. I'm on a bike, which is going to be
awesome once the summer hits! In all honesty, I love being on a bike.
There are a TON of people on the streets to talk to. I'm learning the
area pretty quick and I have a feeling I'll be here for the rest of my

We live with the Cathcarts, a family in the ward. Cool story
about that, because they have a son on a mission in Texas right now.
His name is Tanner, and we lived on the same floor while we were
together in the MTC! He comes home about five days before I go home.
It'd be pretty cool if I were to see him. I'll need to write him and
tell him that I'm living with his family. They're a great family, they
have three other sons still at home, Preston, Devin and Nate. It's
like having brothers!

I'm happy out in Glendale. I was pretty nervous
at fact, a lot nervous. I had been so used to how things
worked in Surprise. I was really thrown out of my comfort zone there
for a bit. The first night was pretty hard because I didn't know the
area, ward members, nothing. I feel like it needed to happen. If I
were to grow at all, I needed to be put in a situation that would make
me grow. I think that's how all of us progress, by being put in
different situations and then figuring out how things work. I'm pumped
to be a district leader again. I feel like I can take some of the
things I used in Surprise and put it to work out in Glendale.

Leaving Surprise was tough especially since Chris is going to be
baptized on the 14th. Coming into Glendale, I met Rob. He has a date
for the 21st and is beyond ready. He just passed his baptismal
interview yesterday, and we meet with him nearly every day. He had a
blessing to help him quit smoking, and he said that the next day he
felt sick to his stomach when he was around others who were smoking.
He's talking about his baptism a lot, and even about preparing to go
to the temple. I feel very blessed to be able to have the chance to
work with Rob, and everyone else out here. Like I said, there's so
many people to work with that I can always be busy. New people seem to
just appear out of nowhere. What a blessing!

I wish I had hours to go on about Elder Kamissoko. He is easily the most
humble man I have ever met in my life. Everything he says or does is
pure humility. He's so positive all the time. He takes an extra hour
of study every morning for studying English, and it's fun to help him
along. Every once in a while I have fun trying to explain certain
things to him. In the past four days I've explained: whales, moose,
The Wizard of Oz, jelly beans and Nerf guns. He saw a picture of a
deer and asked, "Is that a moose?" Close! I'll have to have the
Cathcarts google some pictures of those things for him. Every day is a
new adventure. We have a good time out on the streets. I have to laugh
because nobody can say his name. The other day we were riding across
the street and some guy leaned out of his car and yelled "KAWASAKI!!!"
Elder Kamissoko just laughed and waived back. He gets called,
Kassimoko, Kamasumi, Kawabunga, Kamisookoo, but he just lets it
happen. Every time he prays, you can feel the power of his humility in
seeking the Lord's will. I love the man. He's a great teacher and I
look forward to every chance I have to work with him.

 I stand in awe of the man more and more every day. He's one of only four members of the church in Mali, and the first missionary from his country. He was introduced to the church when he came to America a few years ago to learn English. He has a sponsor family in Boulder, Colorado, and emails them every so often. He has no contact with his family in Mali. Talk about sacrifices to serve the Lord. I feel compelled to be humble every time I look at him. I genuinely love him and we have so much fun together. I can't help but feel like dirt when I'm around him sometimes. I look
at all of the junk I've acquired over my mission and then I see how simple he is, but he's beyond happy all the time. He's really given me the opportunity to think about some of the priorities in my life.

Not a whole lot to update on this week. I'm still trying to figure
everything out and I'm having so much fun. I hope to hear from you all
soon! More to come next week from Glendale but until then, take care
and be good.

Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

Last day with Elder Wood

With new companion Elder Kamissoko

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