Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tucson, There and Back Again: A Tale of the Death of Elder Tyler

So by the time you read this I will have a new companion and Elder Tyler will be going through the temple with all the other departing missionaries. Then on Wednesday morning he will be hugging his family! Crazy how time flies and I am grateful that he trained me so well, 2 times. It was such a pleasure to spend, in total, 4 1/2 months together as companions. 

Monday: We went to City of Rocks! It's a national park I think. But it was a ton of fun! We played capture the flag! I was part of the "Mountain Goat Club." A club of those that would always be running and jumping and climbing. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken this round but it is New Mexico Zone tradition to have our last P-Day there, so next time I will take pictures. The zone exceeded our goal of finding news but no one brought buckets to dump water onto me and Elder Tyler, it was a bonus incentive. We then had a cookout with hamburgers, carne asada, and guac. I made the guac. I cut the jalapeƱo but then rubbed my face, yeah smooth move I know... Reminds me of when I rubbed roasted red pepper hands onto my face when I worked at Great Harvest. My eyes were stinging so bad and I was just screaming in the back of the bakery... Oh good times :) We then emailed and shopped after a shower at the apartment. At Walmart we saw the Sisters in the checkout line next to us. I was really sore from jumping and running at City of Rocks so my knees really hurt. I made a joke about me being in pain and how it is because I am old and that I am getting joint pains. The cashier that was ringing up Elder Tyler's stuff was a little older and she just busted up laughing! She thought it was hilarious that I was making a joke about how I was old and that my body doesn't work anymore. She said that she understands. She has has a knee surgery or two. Then dinner with a member family. We then traveled across our whole area to have a meeting with a member that was dumped so that we could help his neighbor fix the water pipe so both he and the members could shower. It was really cool to talk to his neighbor. His neighbor is named DJ and he is super amazing! What we call "Golden." Golden means that he is super prepared to hear the gospel. The only slight down side is that he only speaks english. We are all on the same team serving the Lord but he will be taught by the English missionaries and he will be a super awesome member! 

Tuesday: We were not able to do laundry yesterday since the machine wasn't working so we did it at the other elder's apartment while doing studies. I started falling asleep. Then we had to go fax a paper and my head and eyes hurt. I wasn't feeling well. Elder Tyler has been saying that I have been super tired this transfer. Like more than usual. So I had to take a nap during lunch. I took a nice nap on the floor and I looked like I died. I took my name tag and planner out and put it on the floor next to me. So then we had to go drive down to Columbus. I drove, don't worry I was feeling better. So we stopped by a less active member's home on the way. As we knock on the door, I realize that I am still wearing my sunglasses. He wasn't there but his mom answered. As she went to grab something from the kitchen I told Elder Tyler how I still had my sunglasses on. He kind of laughed then said that I didn't have my name tag or planner either! I FREAKED OUT!!! So we drove back to grab those necessary items. I was kind of out it and the nap just like froze my brain. So then we finally got down to Columbus. We visited the Montes family and gave the Hno a blessing because he was having kidney and heart problems. We had a nice lesson with him and his daughter. We then tried to visit some less active members in Columbus but none were home. We then went to the church to download a mormon message to share at our dinner. We had dinner and had a nice message focused on being an example of the believers 1 Timothy 4:12. We then went to visit a less active family from the branch and we had a great lesson with them. We have learned that it is one thing to learn but another to apply and teach. So we brought the Liahona, the church's family magazine that has messages and articles, and had then choose an article, read it, and teach about it for about 3-5 mins. It went really well! We then met with a less active father as he watched his kids at a park. We had a nice talk with him about his scripture reading. Then we had an awesome lesson with our main investigator family! Yesterday, when we were at Walmart, I bought a picture frame. We felt that this family needed The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It is the church's declaration about the importance and divine role of the family and of its individuals. How marriage between a man and woman is God's chosen way for the family. How fathers and mothers are to work together in unity of purpose to raise their children in righteousness and to help them be good fathers and mothers in the future. It is a beautifully written declaration. So I actually chose a good looking frame that matched the paper, my mom would be proud. So we talked about it with them and they had some awesome questions and comments. 

Wednesday: We had an apartment and car inspection this morning. I am proud to say that I have passed both inspections every transfer! Then we had our district meeting, Elder Tyler's final district meeting. It went well then we celebrated by eating at a wonderful place called China Restaurant. Then we went to our lesson with our main investigator family and we talked about their desires to be baptized. We wanted to see and we were surprised to see how strong their desire is to be baptized. They just need to act on that desire, but they are getting there. As we were walking out I noticed that right next to their door they put of the framed Proclamation to the Family that we gave them! Also, following their tradition, Elder Tyler gave them a goodbye gift. 2 other missionaries have left goodbye gifts. I just have to think of what mine will be! We then visited a less active father and read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with him to help him in his personal reading. We talked a lot about the Second Coming and Resurrection. We then had a great dinner with an awesome family from the branch. They made us choco-flan for dessert! We then went and had a first lesson DJ, our member's neighbor we met Monday evening. We taught the first lesson to see if he was interested. We only got through half of the Restoration lesson because he was sooo interested! It was super awesome! The spirit was so strong and I know that he is ready to receive the gospel. We then tried a potential but he was not home. Then we made a delicious guacamole but after cutting the jalapeƱos, I touched my eye...

Thursday: Oh boy! So we left Deming around 10am. At 8am we had a mini exchange for just an hour with some elders. It was nice to get an update on them and see that they are doing well but just need some guidance. So, at 10am we drove to Benson, AZ. It was about 2 hours. We had to stop in Benson to get our Tiwi replaced. The Tiwi is the "black box" driver accountability program tacking box thing on our windshield. It was malfunctioning so the company had to fly someone down from Salt Lake to replace it. We met other missionaries in Benson for the same purpose. We all finished the guac with a bag of chips. I then drove from Benson to Tucson and around Tucson. It was about 1:30 to 2 hours. We had some time in Tucson so we wanted to help some Spanish Elders out. We heard that one Elder was super sick and they had both been in their apartment for a week and a half, not able to leave. We visited them. Elder Tyler went and did work with the healthy Elder while I stayed with the sick. Nothing contagious. We then visited a recent convert of Elder Tyler. We did so with the Sister Missionaries in that area. It was nice to meet the young woman. She is going through a rough point in her life and I think it really helped that Elder Tyler stopped and visited. Later, we spent the night with the Assistants. 

Friday: After getting ready, and on the way to Mission Leadership Council, we stopped at Jamba Juice. They give half-off to missionaries. We beat all the other Elders and were the first ones in and out. Then the meeting. It was shorter than before. This one was 10am-3pm, with an hour or less for lunch. It went really well and I was able to talk with my new companion, Elder Elton, and we were able to start getting some plans rolling for our zone. We then had to get on the road. I drove from Tucson to Duncan, AZ so we could do a baptismal interview. The person never showed up after we waited for an hour. So with 2:30 hours of driving under my belt just for Friday, I also drove the next 2 hours back to Deming, NM. I love driving long distances, and just driving in general. I am grateful I received that trait from my dad! We got home at about 10:30pm. 

Saturday: Back in our own area! We did studies, I planned a bit with Elder Elton and our Sister Training Leader, then I organized the transportation for missionaries getting transferred out of New Mexico, then I took care of other business while Elder Tyler started packing. I felt like I was running a business with making many various phone calls and coordination different tasks and projects. We were then taken out to lunch at this amazing little gem of a Mexican restaurant by a member. Then we started visiting members, so that Elder Tyler could say goodbye, until dinner. We then had dinner with this awesome young family from the branch. We visited a few more members then we to see Daniel and Manely, our investigator family! They made us a big dinner and we had a great time talking with them. The Sisters were there too because they help out in our teaching of them. 

Sunday: No one showed up in Columbus. We went to church and had some meetings. GREAT SACRAMENT MEETING!!! Elder Tyler sang a beautiful song, great testimonies were shared, and Daniel and Manely came to church!!! We had a great rest of the day at church then a great dinner with an awesome member family, the Loyas. They had a tres-leches cake for dessert :D. We then tried to visit DJ with the English Elders to pass him off but he was sick and left a note on the door. We talk with the members of whom he is the neighbor. We then visited Elder Tyler's favorite members. We then came home and Elder Tyler finished packing. 

Monday: Back to Tucson! The second time in a 5 day period. Unfortunately that means about 2 more full days outside of our area. We started by playing sports for a little bit as a district. We then got ready super fast to go get the oil changed and the tires rotated in our Nissan Frontier. Nope! Just got a call once the car was finished that I wasn't going to be driving to Tucson and that I was going to be staying in Silver City. So we pack up and drive up an hour to Silver. I spend the day visiting people with Elder Driaza. We visited some awesome people! First, we visited two guys from the Virgin Islands. We had an awesome lesson and they shared special spiritual experiences from their lives. We then had an early dinner at a nice burrito stand. I got an amazing Carne Asada burrito. Then we tried to visit a less active woman but she was busy. As we were walking back to the car this little gang of 10 year olds, 8 of them. We then talked with them about Jesus Christ and the message we share about him. We shared a video and they really felt the Spirit. They then showed us where some people lived that speak Spanish. It was the aunt of one of the little boys but it turns out we are already teaching her. Then we went and visited a family from the local ward. Remember, I am in Silver City on an exchange right now. We shared a scripture and talked about angels and how we can be angels and help others. They said that their neighbors speak Spanish. So we went over and the Spanish speaking husband wasn't home so we talked with the wife on the porch. She has had a lot of medical issues so we talked with her, she shared her testimony, we shared ours, and we taught her portions of the Restoration. It was amazing and the Spirit was super strong! We tried to see some less actives but they weren't home. We then went to visit an active family. The husband was gone so we talked on the porch. She lived in Florida for 10 years and Elder Driaza is from Florida. So we had a nice talk reminiscing about the southeast. We then sang her a nice song to finish our little visit. It was a ton of fun! It was great to spend the day with Elder Driaza. It was sad that I wasn't able to drive Elder Tyler to Tucson. It was nice to spend actually half my mission with him! 4 1/2 months! He is awesome!

Hope you all have a great week! I am staying in Deming for another 6 weeks and my new companion is Elder Elton!

Elder Dallin Baker

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