Okay first I'm going to start with some random information. President gives us two hours every week to use Mormon.org and LDS.org so we can be familiar with it and help investigators if needed. On LDS.org I can look up the ward directories for our stake in Las Vegas and you can see all the missionaries that are out. Not only from our stake but you can see the missionaries that are assigned to each ward. So I was looking at all of those as well seeing if I knew any of them from the MTC and I do! Elder Cook was in my district and he is assigned to our home ward! So you have to tell everyone there that I know him. Sister Brog also had people in her district in the MTC and so she was looking at them with me. Elder Patterson is in the Arbor View ward and knows sister Brog so you have to tell Allison! Here is the list of all the Elders in Las Vegas right now: Elder Walker, Elder Schlesinger, Elder Peterson, Elder Browning,and Elder Cook. Lastly, you can look at a map of all the mission boundaries on a map and my mission borders Blake Truman's. Depending on what area he is in right now we could be like 30 miles away from each other.. kind of crazy!
Last week I told you how President really wants us to take time to get to know the ward. So we have been trying to visit families every night and I love being in their homes. It is so nice to feel the sweet spirit in the members homes but it also a cool experience when we teach them. Everyday we make choice that determine if we are going to move toward God or away from him and as we talk with these members we help them find ways where they can improve each day. We commit them to doing things that will help them improve and then one of my favorite parts about being a missionary is promising blessings. We give a challenge and then always testify of the truth and blessings that will come from being obedient. And the spirit is always backing us up as we make those promises. It is the Best!
Tuesday we were driving to a small town, Hooks, that is in our area and about 10 minutes away from home I realized I didn't have my name tag!!! I felt so stupid, but we were already so far away we didn't want to turn back and waste that time so for half the day I didn't have my name tag on. Anyway we went and saw an older lady in the ward who hadn't been coming to church. She was the sweetest lady ever and the reason she hadn't been coming is because she had been with her daughter in North Carolina all summer. And then she also had to find a ride because she can't drive anymore. So we called Bishop and let him know. They found someone to pick her up but didn't get a hold of her soon enough so she wasn't ready Sunday morning. But now she has a ride every Sunday and she will be coming! We visited with her for a while and then took her little dog on a walk. It was a good time and she was so thankful we offered because she can't do it herself anymore.
We also started running this week. I hate running! and sister Brog loves it so at first I wasn't so sure but we found out that the high school keeps it's track open to the public so we go there and she can run at her pace and for as long as she desires and I can do what I want. It is really nice. I am soooo out of shape though! I thought I was going to die on Tuesday. And running in the humidity is the strangest thing hahaha In the mornings when we run it is so humid we have to drive with our windshield wipers on so we can see. By the time I'm finished with my first lap every part of my body is dripping wet. Gross!
This week we started doing this thing we call Chalk Talk. It is so fun! There is a park we go to that has a walking path and we bring chalk and write inspiring things. The first night we didn't see anyone but we have gone a total of three times and have talked to people about what we are doing! It's pretty cool.
Tracting this week was rough and there weren't a ton of people interested. But we tracted into one of the members and she has been awesome! Her name is Sister Ward. She is an older lady and her 20 year old daughter was over. Her daughter isn't active and I made a total fool of myself! We left them with a scripture and sister Brog asked me if i wanted to shard one. I was all excited because I had one to share from my study that morning. As I began to share it I realized how bad of an idea this was. I had read in Alma chapter 41 I believe. And it is all about how Alma is calling his son to repentance and that he needs to remember the things he was taught as a child. I had already started sharing the scripture and so i just kept going with it. Her daughter didn't say anything but hopefully she doesn't hate me now and hopefully it was what she needed to hear and will start coming to church again. Sister Brog after was like that was a brave scripture to share.. hahaha
Wednesday night was went over to a families home for dinner. Our GPS got us lost so we had to call her and ask for directions. Before she hung up she said, "See you soon, I have dinner ready on the stove." When we get there we see that she has boxes of pizza on the stove, we were laughing pretty hard! But their family is awesome. The wife is a convert and she has got a crazy background, I never would have guessed. But we enjoyed visiting with them! They have two little kids. A 7 year old boy and a 5 month old girl. She is a ward missionary and we are excited to work with her.
Friday we did "Thirsty Thursday" again and I now know that my blue skirt is not a biking skirt! It was such a bad idea!! Sister Brog kept laughing at me. And then it started raining, that made things even worse!
Saturday night we had a ward ice cream social. We show up and they have removed everything from the chapel and set up chairs like a gym. Well it isn't actually a chapel, it is called a multipurpose room. Me and sister Brog were a little skeptical at first but there isn't any where else to do it. The young women sponsored the activity but because there are so little youth me and Sister Brog helped scoop ice cream. My fingers were so numb by the end. When everyone had finished eating they had minute to win it games. It was a really good activity and the ward seemed to all enjoy it. One of the games was to keep a balloon of the ground but you could only use your head. They did a group of adults and one of the men in the ward was trying to be funny, jumped really high, and came down and sprained his ankle... It was one of those things I probably shouldn't laugh at but it was funny. Later that night they did the cookie challenge where you have to place it on your forehead and then try and get it into your mouth. They did a couple rounds of that and so there were random cookies all over the room. The wife of the man who sprained his ankle got up toward the end of the party and started walking to the back of the room. She then stopped, took two steps back to a random table, broke one of these random cookies in half (she has no idea where that cookie has been), and ate it! Me and sister Brog just stared at each other. The only other weird thing that happened at the party was that one of the primary aged kids was having a birthday party that night so the mom just brought all the kids from the birthday party to the ward party. Our ward is definitely one of a kind and I love it.
At the end of the party we had to set up for church service the next day. Our bishop is so particular on how he wants the chairs. He steps off how far apart each row is and he had this laser pointer thing he puts on the ground and lines up each chair just perfect.. It was stressing me out. I couldn't help or I would do it wrong.
Sunday was a little more normal this week. The only strange thing they do here in the south is that you don't have to go to the pulpit to share your testimony. You can if you want but a lot of people just stand where they are and give their testimony from the congregation.
The last thing I want to talk about today is the investigator we found while tracting. His name is Joey. He is a single man and so we have to find a woman to go with us when we teach which has been nice because it allows us to work with the members. But Joey is this really depressed guy. He says he has been looking for the truth in all things and hasn't been able to find it. He has created this theory that God hates us and that agency is a curse instead of a blessing. At the end of his first lesson he asked what we wanted him to do so he could get these answers. So we challenged him to start reading the BOM. We scheduled an appointment for the next day. We came back and he had listened to it and read all the way to 2 Nephi 16. We were so excited!! We kept talking to him and he had kept all his commitments and had lots of questions. But the more we talked he gave us his theory. He has mental problem called solipsism. Basically he thinks he is the only thing that truly exists in this world. And he thinks he is God.. Yeah me and sister Brog were like.... uhhh you aren't God. we didn't say that but we have a return appointment on Tuesday and we are going to say it.. in a nice way. So please pray for us. He is really sad and depressed and we feel like we can really help him be happy in this life. We are meant to be there!
I love you all so much! Thanks for the prayers and support!
Love, Sister Erika Kelly