Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Farewell to Elder Kamissoko--Bring on the Trainee (May 15, 2012)

Hey everyone!

As you can probably tell from the email subject, Elder Kamissoko will
be transferred tomorrow. The reason why is because I will be training
a new missionary! The hardest part about the past 6 weeks was not
telling anyone...say what? Yup, I've known for six weeks that this
would happen. The day I was notified I'd be leaving Surprise,
President Taylor called me to tell me he's trying something new.
Instead of having zone leaders and assistants "flushed" into new areas
and train, he's going to have them come in for one transfer with an
existing companion. After that, he'd have them train. He told me,
"You'll be going to a new area with a companion who is already there.
You'll be with him for six weeks to learn the area and the ward. After
that, he will be transferred and you will train for your last two
transfers until you go home." He told me not to tell anyone,
especially Elder Kamissoko. Elder Buttars is doing the same thing, but
out in South Phoenix. The phone call came on Saturday confirming that
I would train.  I told Elder Kamissoko and he wasn't too surprised.
He's been here for nine months, and he felt like he'd be leaving soon

The pictures this week are of me and Elder Kamissoko calling home. The
picture of him is him calling his sponsor family in Colorado. He
called Africa at the mission home on President Taylor's land-line. I
got to hear him speak in Bambara, one of the dialects of Mali. I got a
video of it too and I'll have to show you all someday! The last
picture is of a woman we met outside after our phone calls home. Just
south of Glendale Rd we met a woman from Sudan who spoke only Arabic.
We went and got her an Arabic copy of the Book of Mormon that we had,
and we got a picture holding our books. It was tough trying to
communicate with her. Both her and us were all laughing most of the
time, so we had fun!

Mother's Day was a hoot! We biked to church that morning just as the
ward that met before us was leaving. We walked inside and everyone was
saying, "Church is cancelled." Huh? We went inside and it was dark,
and hotter than outside. The power was on the fritz and the air
conditioning was broken. When we went into the chapel, there was a
funny smell in the air. Just then our bishopric came walking around
the corner telling people to evacuate the building. The smell was burning
cables and wires, the early signs of an electrical fire! They
called the fire department and the building was cleared. No fire was
started, but church was cancelled. Elder Kamissoko and I spent the
next twenty minutes outside telling people that church was cancelled.
Remember that lesson we had last week where our investigator wouldn't
come to church? He came! He came just in time for us to tell him to go
home! He was laughing about the whole thing. But hey, he's going to be
blessed for his effort to come anyways. We then drove with our Spanish
Elders to the mission home in Peoria, where Kamissoko would call
Africa and Elder Zeledon would call Costa Rica. While Zeledon was on
the phone, Elder Kamissoko and I went to the stake center down the
road to take the sacrament. Sounds like quite the sabbath!

We had the chance to pray with a family of eight this week. Talk about
powerful! We were trying to see some former investigators in a
particular apartment complex. These buildings have two floors, with
two doors on each level. This particular person lived in the top-right
apartment. The person didn't live their anymore, and the door was
slammed in our faces. As we went downstairs, I remembered something
Elder Johnson told me. He suggested knocking on the neighbors doors of
the people you visit. It's been really good for him and Elder Young. I
thought, hey, why not? We knocked the two bottom doors, nothing. We
went back up the stairs to knock the top-left door, and a girl about
our age named Stephanie answered the door. She very much wanted us to
pray with her, but when the whole family was there. We went back a few
days later and met everyone. We all knelt in the crowded living room
and I offered the prayer. After that, Elder Kamissoko was talking to
the mother of the family while I was talking to Stephanie. She was
nearly in tears as she was explaining all of the poor choices she's
made in her life and how she just wants to change. She was saying that
she had been thinking about all of the things she had done, and how
shocked she was she saw two missionaries knocking at her door. I don't
doubt that we may have been an answer to her prayers. It's tough to
get a hold of them, but we're going to do everything we can this week
to meet with them again.

It was good to talk to you guys this weekend! Mom, did you get the
package I sent you? I really hope you like it. I got the package you
sent. I love it. I'll probably be giving most of those ties to Elder
Kamissoko. His eyes got really big when he saw the gold one! I figure
it's the least I could do for such an amazing companion! I wish I
could put into words how much I'm going to miss him. Last night we
were chatting altogether with the Cathcarts about how awesome Elder
Kamissoko is. I had to leave to go put my stuff in my room, but I
couldn't help but just kind of sit there and cry for a moment. I've
been beyond humbled every day that we've been together. He's just the
nicest guy in the world, and the most sincere missionary I've ever
met. What an incredible man. I'm confident that the remainder of his
mission will give him the necessary experience he will need to build
up the church wherever he goes--especially in Mali.

Thank you all for your support. I now ask only for your prayers as I
begin this next step in my service. I plan to do everything in my
power to help this new missionary feel as comfortable as Elder Abel
made me feel the moment I was put to work. Pray that he will be at
ease with this huge transition in his life, and for patience with me.
I'm eager and enthusiastic to meet my new companion, and one thing is
for sure... I'm going to work that boy until he drops! Take care and
be good!

Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

Elder Kamissoko calling home

Elder Turner calling home

An Arabic Book of Mormon for the lady from Sudan

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