Friday, June 22, 2012

Our Polynesian Tri-panionship (June 18, 2012)

Hey everyone!

Awesome week! Lots of stuff to cover so let's blaze through it! A few
pictures to start us off. The first is of me in an apartment complex
that Elder Nield and I call "Ghost Town." This place is huge, and
there's a few people we see in there, but it's practically empty.
Hundreds of apartments, but probably less than 10 percent have
occupants. Nobody is outside. It's kind of run down and a little scary
(ok a lot of scary) after dark. I'm the one looking confused by the
empty tennis courts, empty pool and empty courtyard. Elder Nield had
to make a phone call, and he found the best shade near him--a palm
tree. I thought it was too funny that he stood directly in the shade
of the trunk of the tree! I don't blame him, it broke 110 that day.
And it's only getting hotter! The third picture is of a dust storm
that hit us on Saturday afternoon. Elder Nield and I were biking and I
saw a huge brown cloud south of us. We only got a little of the dust,
but my guess is Avondale and Goodyear were hit pretty good. It was
enough to brown the skies a little bit. Elder Nield thought it was
pretty funny. Hey, at least it wasn't as bad as the one last year
about this time. That was insane.

The last picture is of Elder Vaoga (pronounced "Vah-own-guh"). He was
Elder Tiatia's companion before Tiatia left for New Zealand, and we
all miss him a lot. Elder Vaoga is without a companion for who knows
how could be a few more days, or it could be until transfers
next week. We just don't know. Elder Nield thinks it could be until
next week, which is starting to look like the way it's going to be.
Anywho, Elder Voaga moved in with us! He's from Samoa, and is a
convert to the church. Nicest guy in the world. He has one of the most
contagious laughs I've ever heard, and one of the most sincere
testimonies to go with it. He has a lot of work going on in his ward,
so a few brothers from his ward take him for the day to his
appointments. Sometimes he'll join me and Nield for knocking doors or
teaching appointments. I like it because I have two big companions to
keep me safe in Ghost Town! Seriously, Elders Nield and Voaga are both
over six foot, and on either side of me we look like the letter "H"
walking down the street. Fun times. We all three sleep on the living
room floor of the Cathcart's home.

So on Tuesday we had a district leader council. I was meeting with the
zone leaders and other district leaders. Elder Nield had the idea that
we call Shane, one of the priests in the ward (16-18 year olds for
those of you not familiar with the LDS term "priest"). We asked Shane
if he wanted to join Elder Nield for a few hours. He said he would! I
let Shane borrow my bike, and he dressed up in a shirt and tie. You
could tell he was nervous. They had an appointment with one of our new
investigators, Kevin. When I came back from the meeting, I heard that
Kevin accepted the invitation to be baptized on July 14th. WHAT?! How
cool is that? At five weeks out, Elder Nield is already taking
prospective missionaries with him to lessons, and inviting people to
be baptized! It's like Nield is training a new missionary! What a grat
experience for the both of them Shane gets a taste of full-time
missionary service, and Elder Nield gets to step up. I wouldn't be
surprised in the slightest if Elder Nield trains a new missionary the
transfer after I go home. In all honesty, it's what Im trying to
prepare him to do. He could totally do it.

On Sunday we had a few investigators at church! One was a 26 year-old
named Jay. He was a little nervous, and I gave him a pair of my slacks
to wear. He seemed to enjoy himself. Elder Nield had a great lesson in
gospel principles prepared on the sacrament. After the lesson, I asked
Jay what he thought so far. He said, "It's a lot to take in...and now
I feel like I've got some repenting to do..." That was good to hear.
We'll most likely be having the YSA teach Jay, but I'm happy that his
first experience at church was good for him. We also brought a 16 year
old named Cesar to the cottage meeting last night. He enjoyed it a
lot. We have an appointment with him on Tuesday to teach him more
about baptism, because he has a lot of questions about it. It was just
a good week to give people a little taste of the gospel in their

Dad, Happy Father's Day. And Happy Birthday at that, too! I'll be
honest, I don't have anything to mail home for your birthday. I tried
looking for something, but nothing seemed right. However, I do have
something I'm going to email you. It's just for you. I obtained the
audio files of Pres. Bingham's songs that he wrote. They are "If I
Believe," and "The Tie That Binds." I want you to listen to them. I
feel very strongly that you will enjoy them. You and I have always
listened to different types of music over the years, and I find myself
singing these songs to myself lately. I think of you when I do. Thank
you for your example to me, and may these songs bless your life as
they have blessed mine.

Until next week's Tuesday email, take care and be good.

Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

Ghost Town

Elder Nield in the shade

Elder Vaoga on the ukelele

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