Monday, July 13, 2015

Welcome to The Far Side

Hey folks!

This week was weird. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we did a whole lot of not very much. A lot of people weren't home, and we only had a couple of lessons. Friday was district meeting, which was really good, and we ate at La Lupitas afterwards (it's a Mexican restaurant in Louden that's super delicious, I don't know if I already mentioned it. It's the most authentic Mexican restaurant I've ever eaten at. The Spanish-speaking elders and sisters have to help everyone order because you have to order in Spanish). We ate with a family in the branch named the Balls (yes, jokes were plentiful). They are pretty normal people, they just look a little Southern, live out in the middle of nowhere, and have like a thousand dogs. And they fed us biscuits and gravy. But other than that they're pretty normal.

I've realized that we haven't really eaten anything very southern yet. Most of the active branch members are pretty normal people, and feed us pretty normal food (like, we had lasagna on Saturday). Pretty much all the crazy Southerners are also inactive. I have yet to eat grits and I think this is a problem.

Saturday was super busy. We had a bunch of referrals (names people have given us of people who might maybe be interested in listening to us -- although names is a stretch, about half the time it's "the log house out in the field" or "that double wide trailer over on the hill there") and we decided to visit a bunch of them. We ended up getting like 4 more, and contacting 5 of the ones we had. And then we had that amazing lasagna, and then we visited the in-laws of a less-active and they were super open (although they seriously look like they just walked out of a Far Side cartoon, oh my gosh, it's hilarious). All in all we ended up with 4 new people to teach - a friendly guy in a trailer, the Far Side family, a neat old lonely guy who is hard of hearing and super poor (he breaks my heart... oh my goodness), and a guy who came up to us on the street while we were talking to the lonely guy and asked about coming to our Church.

Sunday I gave a talk, and after church we had dinner with a family named the Woods. We love them, they're really fun and cool. Mom and Sarah, Sister Woods reminds me a lot of Liz Visick.

We've had a couple lessons with Austin. He's awesome. He's preparing for baptism still, and he's super on track. We moved his date to the 25th so more people could come, a lot of the branch was going to be gone on a temple trip on his original date. We're really excited.

Today has been crazy. We went to Walmart and Elder Merrill forgot his wallet so I paid for the groceries (he'll just pay next week). Then we went home, and got our bikes, and went to Austin's. The plan was to bike with him down to the church because we can't give nonmembers rides in the car. But we'd forgotten to drop our bags off at the church, so we went and did that, then came back to Austin's. But then our helmets weren't in the car, so we went clear back home to check there, but they weren't there. So we went back to Austin's again and just walked to the Church. We found Elder Merrill's helmet at the Church, I guess he'd taken it in with him and left it, but not mine. We think it got left on the ground outside the house when we were putting bikes on our car's bike rack, and then got stolen. :(

But now we've been at the church playing basketball, and that's been fun. So I guess it's okay. At least it wasn't my iPad, or my bike.

My spiritual thought from the week is stolen from our zone leaders. They shared this at district meeting. Compare the stories of Moses, Enoch, and Nephi (in Exodus 4:10-15, Moses 6-7, and 1 Nephi 17:8-9, respectively). 

The Lord commanded Moses to prophesy; Moses responded with fear. The Lord encouraged him to have faith; Moses continued to fear. The Lord then called Aaron to speak for him. Moses didn't really grow, at least not much and not yet. 

The Lord commanded Enoch to prophesy; Enoch responded with fear. The Lord encouraged him to have faith; Enoch responded by exercising faith. He then went on to move mountains. Enoch grew from this experience.

The Lord commanded Nephi to build a ship; Nephi responded with exceedingly great faith. Nephi went on to become a great prophet and the father of an entire race. Nephi grew the most of the three. In fact, the Book of Mormon is full of examples of people like Nephi - people who exercised exceedingly great faith.

Let us all try to be more like Nephi. When the Lord gives us a command, let us respond with exceedingly great faith. Fear not; remember the words of Nephi: "Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him." (1 Nephi 7:12)

I love you all!

Elder Swindler

P.S. Hey folks, one last thing. I need y'all to pray for the Williams family and Austin Kelly. There is some mega opposition that's come up just now... They need all the prayers they can get.


1) A two-lane road built for wagons, not cars.

2) The Jennings have a kitten. It's my favorite.

3) Tennessee is liberal. The sign on the door of one of our less-actives and the sign in the front yard of said less-actives.

4) Gotta love the South. More liberal media on a random person's gate.

5) Just in case I forgot which side of the Mason-Dixon line we're on.

6) Monster house on a hill. The view from a ginormous house in Kingston. (It had a turret.... Seriously, this house was huge)

7) A shack we found. No one lives in it, sadly; we actually ended up talking to the owner right after we saw it and he just uses it for storage. I was disappointed, mostly because I was really excited to meet the kind of person who would live in a shack like this.

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