Monday, July 9, 2012

At Least It's a Dry Heat (July 9, 2012)

Hey everyone!

The "dry heat" subject this week is given with a tad bit of sarcasm.
When the heat is mentioned down here, people always respond with "Well
at least it's a dry heat!" It's been nearly double the standard
humidity lately and it's quite...sticky. Whenever we walk into a home
or the church, there's a lovely glow of sweat on our already
sunkissed skin. Or in simpler terms, it's just plain hot. Dad tells me
that home has been touching the triple digits. Sounds nice!

No pictures this week, not even any from the 4th of July. The day was
a little odd. It rained all morning, then I had to be at a district
leader council. Elder Nield took the corner a little too sharp and ate
it on the wet parking lot of the stake center. He's ok but there was a
nasty black streak on the right shoulder of his shirt. After the
meeting we were biking home when I heard a gunshot from behind me. It
sounded like a gunshot, or a firework or something but it was loud.
Turns out it wasn't either of those...Elder Nield's bike tire popped!
We couldn't help but just laugh. Bro Hess came to pick us up and then
took us to his place for a BBQ with a few other families from the
ward. We were in by 6 pm, and Elder Nield and I had the house to
ourselves. The Cathcarts have been at the lake all week and just got
home last night. It was an empty house, but we had fun together and
with the Cathcart's dogs.

Saturday night we were walking to Bro. Bluhm's house to review some
things from the week. It was a nice night and since the Cathcart's
live just around the corner, we walked to Bro. Bluhm's instead of riding the
bikes. Across the street from the Bluhm's are a set of apartments. We
heard someone call out to us and saw a hand waving from over a 6 foot
fence. We went over and a man opened his gate to speak with us. His
name is Paul. Big guy. Tattoos all over his face and body, very
muscular and very intimidating. He let us into his back yard, sat in a
chair and said, "Ok guys, teach me." He may have had a beer or two, but
we figured we'd try anyways because come on, how people just flag us
down and ask to be taught. He had a few questions which we clarified,
and then he told us about his beliefs. He's certainly been humbled by
some of the choices he's made. He asked us to pray with him. I offered
the prayer and towards the end of it, he began to pray. I just kind of
stopped and let him go. He began to ask for forgiveness and for help
with some things he's working on. He kept promising how he would
change. It sounded very sincere.

After the prayer he asked what he needed to do next. Elder Nield
barely mentioned the word baptism and Paul interrupted him, put his
hands out to the side and said, "Baptize me." We explained that he had
to learn more, and he put his head down and said he figured as much.
By this time his 13-year old son came out and sat by his dad. Elder
Nield invited them both to be baptized, and they said they would. They
asked us to come back and teach them more, and we said we would. We
left the yard and both felt pretty good about the situation, but also
a little confused, almost a "Did that really just happen?" kind of
mindset. We went by the next morning at 9 am, just like we told
them...not there. Ok, maybe it was just early. There's got to be
something going on here. We've told ourselves that we're not going to
give up. We've heard too many experiences from other missionaries
where people have been pretty humbled and even under some sort of
substance influence, but that these people recognized the missionaries
as someone who could help. Many of these people were baptized. These
things are real, and we're eager to see what happens.

We saw Cesar again this week! He was the 16 year old we brought to the
cottage meeting last month. Monday night we were able to take him to
the church and give him a tour. He seemed to like it. He was kind of
quiet the whole time. He knelt and prayed and was really nervous about
it. We could tell how sincere he was as he explained how he didn't
want to mess anything up, or even really touch anything in the church
for fear of doing something wrong. After he prayed, Elder Nield
suggested that we just sit in the shapel for a bit. It was totally
silent. We could see Cesar over on one of the benches and he was in
tears. He was sitting toward the back, and his eyes were just focused
on something in front of him. It was a great experience for him and he
said to come back the next day.

So Tuesday we go back to Cesar's...he wasn't there. I began to think
to myself, "Are you serious? Why is this happening?" We spoke with his
dad and he had said how much Cesar liked the church tour. He talked
about how Cesar even mentioned being baptized to his parents, and
they're ok with it! We were shocked! His dad said that he may even
come with Cesar to church just to check it out. So...maybe things are
actually going better than we thought! With a friendly morning wake-up
visit on Sunday, Cesar got ready for church. His dad drove him, and
everyone was so nice to welcome him. The young men's president is
having us over for dinner tonight, and invited Cesar to come too. It
was nice to see the immediate support from the ward. Tonight is the
dinner and we're hoping and praying that Cesar will be home when we
pick him up, and that the lesson in this family's home will go well

About an hour ago I had a neat experience. As I was waiting for a
computer in the library, a thin blonde woman about my age approached
me. She said, "Hey!" I didn't know who this was, we talk to so many
people every day and it's hard to keep track of who I've met. She
said, "I've met you before, you spoke to me outside my aunt's house a
little while ago." I immediately remembered who she was. I remember
everything. Her name was Andy, and we met her just after she had been
completed rehab. She was staying with her aunt until she could get on
her feet. Back when I was with Elder Kamissoko, we met her one evening
when she was helping bring in some groceries from the car. The sun was
setting, the weather was cool. We took the chance to pray with her on
the sidewalk and she really appreciated it. We prayed that she could
work to get her daughter back. She had been attending a friend's
church and started to turn her life around. Today she told me, "Thanks
again for that. You guys are great. I really admire what you do." We
had a little conversation about we as the missionaries do, and I
invited her to the YSA activities. She left with a thank you, and that
was it. Of all the missionaries in the Glendale/Phoenix area, she
stopped and recognized me and said thanks...for a prayer from about
three months ago? My heart just melted for her because of that little
experience. I hope to hear that she's doing well. I'd love to run into
her again sometime and talk with her more. Maybe those little prayers
with people on the street have a longer lasting influence than I

The ripple effects this week have been fun to see. It makes it easier
on those days when nobody is home and you maybe talk to a couple two
or three people on the street. I sure do love this work. I'll be sure
to let everyone know how things go with Cesar, Paul and everyone else
we're working with. Time is short but we're working hard. I love you
all, take care and be good.

Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

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