Monday, July 2, 2012

Dust (July 2, 2012)

Hey everyone!

No, flight plans have not come in. They won't for another three weeks
or so, and I'll let you know. Yes, it's hot. Good heavens it's hot.
The past week have been in the low 1-teens, but it's been pretty humid
a few of those days. Lots of sweat. Lots of water. I'm sucking down
two to three Camelbacks a day, which is anywhere between 6-9 liters.
The fact of the matter is if you're not hydrated and you hit the
streets, you will not survive. President and Sister Taylor
continuously remind us to be hydrated. Anytime people we tract into
offer us water, I take it. A) They need the blessings and B) I need
the water. If we have more water than we can carry, we give it to
people we talk to on the streets, which they appreciate.

Fun pictures this week. Remember last year's dust storm, or "haboob"
as they're called? We had another one this week. It wasn't quite as
powerful as last year's, but there was quite a bit of dust. Elder
Nield and I had just come home from splits, and we still had a good
amount of daylight. We wanted to walk the neighborhood before dark. We
put the bikes in the Cathcart's garage and by the time we came to the
front yard, we saw what you see in the picture. A massive wall of dust
headed or way. Our plans quickly changed when about 6 minutes later,
it hit us. The first two pictures are of me and Nield with the dust in
the background. The third is about 15 minutes later when we went out
on 45th and looked down the road. It's like fog, except it gets in
your eyes and isn't too fun to breathe. The dust last year (July 5th)
came the day before one of our current investigator's birthday. We
texted her the other night and said, "Your birthday storm came early
this year, sorry to ruin the surprise!" She liked that.

Well with transfers this past week, we lost Sister Jeanfreau. A few
hours after I had emailed you all, the AP's called to say Elder
Zeledon was being transferred too. Seriously? That was a crushing blow
to the whole zone.  Elder Zeledon was probably the most humble,
fun-spirited Elder we had. Sister Graves and Elder Lemon came into the
district, and already they're doing great work. The district went
from zero to seven baptismal dates over the course of 4 days. Oh yeah,
transfers ain't slowin' us down a bit! Sister Graves and Elder Lemon
are fantastic missionaries and are already working wonders in the

This past week has been tough in that nobody is keeping appointments.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: these weeks happen! Within
the past 12 weeks we may have found at least two dozen people with
whom we a powerful first lesson. When we schedule the return
appointment (usually no further than two days away), we lose them.
Just...gone. No phone call, never home, nothing. Remember Kevin, the
investigator whom Elder Nield brought Shane to see and set a date?
That was over three weeks ago, and Kevin hasn't been home or returned
a single phone call since then. What is going on?

Yesterday was a breath of fresh air. An older brother from the ward
asked us to come to his home to see his daughter who still lived with
him. She had been inactive most of her adult life. We went over and
met Crystal. She recently had foot surgery and has been in bed for a
while. We went over, prayed with her, chatted for a bit, and we want
to try and meet with them regularly to help her come back. When we
scheduled a return appointment she said, pointing to her foot, "Well
it's not like I'm going anywhere anytime soon, so come on by!" While
we were talking with her, she brought up the temple. I asked if she'd
ever been inside. She said she had been inside for open-houses. I
asked if she'd ever done baptisms for the dead, and she said no. I
asked, "Would you like to?" She thought for a moment and said she'd
never had the thought cross her mind, but it would be something nice
to do someday. Elder Nield and I left that home with a goal to help
her to go to the temple with her father by the end of the year.

Lately my studies have been in Alma 31-33. It's taken me several weeks
to get through these chapters. With our relentless mission focus on
the Doctrine of Christ, I've given a lot of study to these chapters
with my investigators in mind. Honestly, I can't get through more than
two or three verses a day. I'm cross-referencing so many scriptures,
writing so many thoughts, and finding so many talks that it's tough to
get through at the rate that I want to! I find it almost comical that
my studies have been so much on faith, and this sentence appears in
chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel:

"Seek to strengthen your faith that God is preparing His children to
receive the message of the Restoration."

With all of our return appointments falling through, it's no wonder I
find myself in this study of faith. I don't feel discouraged at all
(though maybe a little frustrated), and I feel it's as if my faith is
the only thing keeping me moving forward with this little dry-spell
we're in. No effort is wasted, seeds are being planted. I love you all
and hope you know how much I love being a missionary. I hope to hear
from you soon. Take care and be good.

Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

Dust storm on its way!

Bring on the dust!

15 minutes the dust storm

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