Monday, June 11, 2012

Stop and Smell the Cacti (June 11, 2012)

Hey everyone!

It's been a week jam-packed with meetings and specialized trainings.
Wednesday and Thursday there were leadership training meetings at the
transfer building. It was good to see friends from other areas. I
snapped a few pictures but I just had to send home one of Elder Wood,
Elder Peterson and myself. I love those Elders. The meetings went all
day and there was a huge focus on accountability and general
instruction of stewardships. I took pages and pages of notes and
impressions that I plan to use in the coming weeks with the district.
The best part of the meetings was when President Taylor played a video
compilation of a few talks by Pres. Eyring and Elder Holland, along
with some piano arrangements of hymns and clips from "The Lamb of God"
DVD. It's called, "Missionary Work and the Atonement," and you can see
it on YouTube. It's about ten minutes long, if that helps narrow the
search. It talks about the value of work, and about the struggles of
missionary work, but most importantly our need as missionaries to
depend the Atonement to keep working hard. Very powerful, I encourage
everyone to watch it.

Oh no...we just got word about Elder Tiatia. He's in the zone out here
in Glendale, but he's waiting for his visa to serve in New Zealand.
He's been here for six months and just now got word from President
Taylor that he leaves in two days and he needs to pack. We're all
pretty crushed. Elder Tiatia loves Arizona and said that he doesn't
want to leave. Talk about losing yourself in service. He's a big
Polynesian boy and he's certainly loved by people out here including
all of us. We're going to miss him but he's going to do great.

Elder Nield and I have been working a lot lately. Despite the work,
you've got to take time to stop and smell the cacti, as shown in my
other photo this week. My whole mission I've never had the chance for
a "hugging-cactus" photo. Got one! Joking aside, we really have
been working hard. During Friday's specialized training put on by
Pres. and Sis. Taylor, we learned about a focus of helping families
AND prospective families, namely, older teenagers and young adults. My
mind flashed back to teaching Victor, seeing the enthusiasm he had for
the gospel. That boy is going to be a great missionary and priesthood
man very very soon. During that part of instruction, Elder Nield and I
both had the impression to ask the youth leaders in the ward about
doing a Sunday lesson on missionary work. Earlier in the week we
planned on asking the bishop for permission to instruct the ward on
the fifth-Sunday lesson in July. During this instruction from Pres.
Taylor, I turned to Elder Nield and suggested that we try the youth
instead. He said he had the exact same idea come to his mind too.

So, Juan. What's going on there? We're not teaching him anymore. He
said that he's just not feeling as enthusiastic about being baptized
anymore. Our lessons with him are spiritually explosive by the end of
it, but he's not recognizing that, no matter how much we try and
explain it to him. He just needs time. He said he might still come to
church (he didn't come yesterday) but he wants to continue "walking
his own path" right now. Elder Nield and I are both a little sad about
that. We're giving him some space and said he could contact us when he
feels ready again. He was doing so well!

Again, it's tough, but I keep tucked in my mind something I heard a
few years ago from Elder Wirthlin in general conference. Probably one
of my favorite talks, "Come What May and Love It." I've never
forgotten this talk. I read this quote in the most recent Ensign:

"[One] we can do is understand the principle of compensation. The Lord
compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from
those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While
it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that
every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears
of rejoicing and gratitude."

It's just like when Elder Allred and I dropped Randy. Shortly after
that, work picked up tremendously. You just need the faith.

Recently we met an African man named Robert. He pointed to the house
he lived at, the one on the corner, and said we could come back. We
went back, and a white woman answered the door saying she'd never
heard of Robert. We knocked all of the nearby houses. No Robert. We
had to be there for some reason! While we weren't able to find Robert,
I still know in my heart that there's a Robert out there who's ready
for the gospel, and many others just like him. Why be discouraged? The
members of my district have been happier and happier lately, and
they've been busier as a result. I read Alma 29 the other day. This
jumped out and grabbed my attention:

14 But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full
because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of

The only thing I conclude is that others are doing well too. I feel a
sense of accomplishment in assisting them. Solano ward is doing better
than they have been in a while. I love building them up every chance I
get. I look forward to district meetings because I'm being driven by a
hope that good things are coming...maybe not for me particularly, but
for everyone around me. The work moves forward!

Until next week, take care and be good.

Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner


Elders Wood, Peterson and Turner

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