Anyone that really knows me understands that I love weather. I have always been terrified yet fascinated by tornadoes. When my son was called to this mission one of the first things that popped into my head was he is going to have to deal with severe weather and possibly tornadoes. Now that he is out in the field, I have to admit that I check the weather where he is at almost daily. Not that I worry about him but because I love weather and want to know what type of weather he is dealing with. I do have to admit though that I do have weather alerts sent to me from his area. Surprisingly, I don't worry (too much).
June 22 was a severe weather day that led to multiple tornadoes in Illinois. I watched the weather radar quite a bit and prayed for the safety of not only my son but for all of the missionaries serving there. I thought about the fact that he lived on the top floor of his complex and that he was not aware of any basements near him. (Yes, I asked him about that when he moved to the area.) He also lived on the edge of town with the fields next to him going for miles. But...I did not worry (too much) and I knew that he would be safe.
This picture shows the closest tornado to him. The tornado is the blue mark in Pontiac. His apartment was below and to the right side of where Normal is. This is what Elder Eddenfield wrote to me about the storm:
We got a test from our zone leaders saying that
there was going to be some really bad weather coming and to remember the power
of prayer. Elder Jepsen and I immediately went to our knees to say a prayer of
safety. When we went to bed we looked out of our window and saw the clouds
maybe a mile away. They were super dark and lighting filled the clouds nonstop.
The storm stayed there pretty much the whole night, it stayed so close yet
never touched us. Multiple tornadoes touched down in the area, but because of
our prayer the storm passed us by. Right once we got the text I told Elder
Jepsen "well, my mom's probably freaking out right now because she already
knows about this." Hahahaha. It was a really cool and testimony building
Monday, July 25, 2016
This week was pretty great! Not a whole lot of visible success came until around Thursday when we had a lesson with a less-active/recent convert that went really well. We texted him the day before and he said we could meet so we stopped by and had a lesson about baptism with him. When we got there he was watching the churches Bible videos and told us that he needed to go back to church. He said that he wants to feel changed like he did at the time of his baptism and wants to work towards that. Right now we are working with him to get Sunday's off of work and to start reading the Book of Mormon daily. Pretty cool experience that strengthened my testimony that the Lord is always working with people.
I went on an exchange with Elder Reyes this Friday and it went really well. I learned a lot about laying everything on the table and letting God do what he needs to do to help me grow. The exchange was on my year mark and I don't think that was a coincidence. I've learned a lot in a year and have become a completely different person, but if I want to continue to grow and change I need to step up my game and the exchange taught me a couple of important things that hopefully will help me to progress faster and learn more in my last year than the first.
We found a really solid potential investigator on Saturday. Her name is Michelle. We were riding our bikes and stopped to ask her where a street was, we already knew where the street was but Elder Atkinson felt inspired to start off with that so good for him for listening because it worked. We got talking and it turns out her family just recently started feeling like they needed to find a church. They both have religious backgrounds but have been out of it for a while and don't agree with everything their past churches taught. We shared Alma 7:11-12 with her because of some health issues that are occurring within the family and afterwards she asked if she could keep the Book of Mormon and of course we said yes. We offered to come and share what makes our church special and she was more than happy to agree. We have an appointment with them on Thursday and are in the process of making a plan to get them into a members home. Very exciting! The Lord is always preparing people.
Now for some not necessarily funny but funny to me stories. On Wednesday we did something called a District Blitz. It's where we all go to one area in the district and work the heck out of it for a couple of hours. Elder Barnes got put with Elder Atkinson and I and we had some creative ideas to do some finding. The main big one we did was chalk art. We picked a very central busy location in a park and drew a huge plan of salvation. As we were drawing it we would talk to people and have them guess what it was and discuss it with them, it was really productive so we decided to go somewhere else and draw another picture. As we were walking away a police officer drove by on his four wheeler and asked us if we knew who drew the picture. Of course we said that we did and it turns out he wasn't too happy about it. Apparently its considered tagging and we almost got in some serious trouble. Luckily he knew some members of the church over his life time which softened his heart towards us so he let us off easy. It was pretty terrifying at first. I thought I was going to jail!
The other night we were riding our bikes doing stop by's. It was 8:30 and we stopped by a ladies house. It had a no soliciting sign on the door. Next thing we know this guy opens the door and starts screaming at us for not being able to read the sign on the door, which we did read. The funny part was that he closed his door and then opened it right back up and started screaming at us again and we just kept walking away. We probably woke him up but hey, the truth doesn't care if you're asleep. You need it!
One last thing. I'm sure most of you were anticipating me bringing this up but I just want to say how fantastic Pokemon Go is. Not because I can play it, because I can't, but because of how fantastic of a missionary tool it is. Practically every other person we see out walking is playing it and it is a fantastic conversation starter, especially for me. We haven't gotten an investigator from it yet but I'm sure we will at some point.
Alright. That should be all for this week. The Lord is hastening His work each and every day regardless of whether we are helping or not. I want to be a part of it and am excited to be able to be His servant here in Illinois.
Have a great week!
- Elder Eddenfield
Monday, July 18, 2016
It's another beautiful day in Saint Charles! The weather is a little humid with clouds in the sky but the spirit is strong, so I guess I can handle the humidity. Last night we saw the coolest storm pass right by us. We stood on our balcony and watched a ginormous cloud go right by us. It was really cool because it was right under the moon and every once in a while a bit of the cloud would cover the moon and it gave off the coolest light. Lightning was striking nonstop throughout the clouds. Mom would have loved it. I tried to take a video but it didn't do it justice at all.
Anyways! This week was great. Elder Atkinson is a stud and I am super excited to be serving with him. He's got it all down to a T. Next assistant maybe? Hahaha, I'm just kidding. We aren't supposed to speculate that sort of stuff anyways. He's awesome though. He works hard and is always thinking of ways to improve and that's just what I like so I can tell this transfer is going to be a great one.
We basically dropped all of our investigators in the time that I've been here, no one they were teaching is anywhere near ready, and they all have been taught for months now with no sign of progression. One guy wouldn't even commit to pray, at all. We weren't even committing him to ask God if the Book of Mormon is true (it is by the way) we were just asking him to pray in general and he said no. It's just how the work goes I guess. We are now down to one investigator who has a little more potential to progress. I'm excited to try to help him in the coming weeks. I haven't met him yet but when I do I'm going to try to get everything about him so I can study according to his needs and figure out, with Elder Atkinson, on what to do. I'm pretty pumped. We have a bunch of potentials as well but have slowly been dropping them as well.
We met a nice lady who was walking her dog and did the whole "can I pet your dog" approach to contact her. That one always works, unless they're grumpy. She let us pet her dog and then we got into some good conversation and eventually gave her a Book of Mormon. She wouldn't give us any information except for her email, which is really all that we need, so we'll see where it goes.
Met a lot of the members of the Ward at church yesterday. It's a really good sized Ward, probably the biggest one I've served in out here. The members are all nice (like always) and they seem to be pretty pumped for the Work. They have had some great missionaries in the past serving here so we have some big shoes to fill. As long as we keep being ourselves and working hard we can't go wrong (I hope.) The awesome thing is that most of the members here have already given us the names of their friends and neighbors they would eventually like to share the gospel with so that makes it a lot easier on us.
We actually had dinner with a family last night and they invited one of their non-member friends to it and it was a great dinner with wonderful gospel conversations. We were unable to share a message because of time constraints (I've repented, don't worry) but it was still good overall. She texted us later that night saying she gave that friend a Book of Mormon after we left and that was super exciting to hear. We hope she realizes how awesome that is.
After that Dinner we went to an assisted living home and sang for them. We tried to get lots of members there but only the young women and like two dads came so it was a little weird but we all sounded good. The people loved us being there. They kept asking if we were going to be coming back in the future so I guess the answer is yes. I love doing things like that. Most of the people had tears in their eyes after we left and I know most of them don't get visited by people very often and it just really makes me appreciate the good things in life. I'm glad we were able to make a difference in someone's day yesterday. I hope all the members that came felt the same spirit I felt because it sure felt good.
So a little bit more about the area (because this email isn't already long enough.) We are in a car share with the other Elders in the Ward, their names are Elder Barnes and Elder Noble. Just kidding his name is Elder Moore not Noble. I can't take credit for that one, it was Bishops idea. Elder Barnes came out with Elder Atkinson and Elder Moore came out a transfer before me so there are no old Missionaries around me anymore. I guess I'm going to be pretty old in a few days. I can't believe it's almost been a year, but I'll talk more about that once I actually hit it. When we don't have the car we ride bikes, so I guess I'm going to start getting thin here pretty soon. Hahaha, probably not. It is really hilly though so its rough. But it's what we have to do to hasten the work so so be it. Also, a large sort of our area is very wealthy so not much different than my last area on that since. At least we have a little ghetto here.
Well, I think that's probably long enough. It sufficeth me to say that I'm excited to be serving here. I see big things in the future. I'll keep working hard and I expect no less from all of you. I hope you all have a great week!
-Elder Cody Eddenfield
Choose the Right
New companion, Elder Atkinson:
Sunday, July 17, 2016
This week was pretty good. We taught a couple lessons. We had one with Pavan, Sue, Greg Alberts, and Rick. Most of them we had a member present for except for Rick. The reason that was is actually a pretty cool story. Due to how things worked out earlier in the day our plans got kind of messed up so we just followed the spirit on knowing what to do and we felt like stopping by a less-active, they weren't home but happened to be right next to Ricks house. So we "just walked by"
and his wife was outside and started talking to us, we started to teach her a lesson and Rick came out and was fine with us being there so we taught him as well. Considering that he didn't want us to teach him at his house and the spirit led us there and he ended up being fine with it, it was pretty awesome. We also went to one of our outer lying cities called El Paso to see if anything cool would happen. We actually were able to set up two appointments for next Saturday and we already have someone to take us out there so we are excited for that.
Elder Jepsen and I have been working a lot on following spirit more and we have seen good results. As we've followed the spirit more on planning for lessons we've felt the spirit more as we teach and we have seen better acceptance of what we teach, it's pretty cool.
We also had Zone Training and learned a lot about planning and how our desires are really our choice. When I don't have a great desire to do something. For example, talk to that person over there, it makes me think more about why I don't want to do that. If I truly love my Father in Heaven then I will desire to do His will, and His will is to talk to that person. I very much enjoyed that training.
We also went to someplace called Blaze Pizza and had a coupon for a free pizza but we just so happened to be in front of a member in the other Ward and he bought us both a pizza so that was awesome! The Lord truly provides for his servants.
So, transfers are here and I am being shipped off to Saint Charles.
It's a suburb of Chicago. My companions name is Elder Atkinson and I am going to be serving him in any way that I can. This is his second transfer out so I will be finishing his training. I'm definitely a little stressed and not really sure what I'm doing but I trust that President Griffin receives revelation from the Lord and know the Lord places me where I need to be. No matter how inadequate I may feel I know the Lord will carry me once I do all in my power to help him. He hasn't been out very long so it's going to put a little more stress on my shoulders. Hopefully he's already got everything down so I don't have to worry about stuff so much. It should be fun though!
I hope each of you strive to do your best this week. As we keep the commandments and use the Atonement and saving Grace of Jesus Christ we can take our shortcomings and turn them into strengths. Fear and doubt may and will come but as we do this I know that God will help us with whatever trial come before us. My question to each of you to think about is: How can I use Christ's Atonement more fully this week?
Please ponder and pray about this question. It is one that I have taken much thought about and have felt a pure sense of peace come as I have applied the things that I have learned. I love you all and pray for you every day!
Have a great week!
-Elder Cody Eddenfield
Choose the Right