Monday, August 24, 2015

 Chapter 4:  Where's the Time Gone?

Our new companion, Elder Melon!

August 24, 2015

Where do I even start?....the days don't feel like days anymore. 
It feels like one long time period! Let's see... Oh yeah! My exchange 
in Tompkinsville was super sweet. It was kind of weird being with the
district leader. I mean he still is a regular missionary but...he is
the district leader. The house they live in is too nice though. They
live in a mansion compared to our homey little trailer. But they had
NO FOOD! Elder Briscoe and Elder Richins ate like happy, fat kings
here! They had five meals in one day! How despicable. 
There are a lot of members up there though. They are super nice 
and helpful. We did go tracting a lot because the elders there literally 
have nobody to teach. We had one couple we talked to try to give us money. 
We said we couldn't except it so we asked for water and got soda. 
It was nice going back though. It felt like coming home to family. 
All we really have done this week was going around and doing referrals 
from the fair. We found a few good people that we feel are pretty 
interested. There was this one time that was pretty cool. 
We were trying to go to this one house for a fair referral. 
We made an appointment there just a week before and when we get there, 
no answer. So we were wondering what to do next. I had a subtle promoting 
to go across the street and knock on the door. The people who lived 
there were also referrals from the fair but we could NEVER get a hold 
of them. This time they FINALLY answered. That lesson we had then and 
there was probably the most I had ever felt the spirit and felt inspired 
what to say since day one of my mission! It truly was a miracle. 
I am glad because I don't feel like such a greenie anymore, 
even though technically I still am. 
We also have been really focusing on trying to clean out our the 
other trailer. We are in the sisters old trailer because it is a lot 
nicer and since Livingston sisters is closed we need to clean out the 
elders trailer...I did find Yugioh cards underneath the couch cushions! 
That was a crisp treat. 
We have been trying to teach Fred, a 75 year old man that has 
Alzheimer's. We were going to drop him but somehow he miraculously 
has a baptism date! We just kept talking about baptism and then finally 
asked him if he wanted to. We have been trying to go to all these 
antique shops and we did find some cool ties and what not. 
There are a ton of mystery items and shops in this area. 
For the most part we have been having a fairly good time here. 
Except for yesterday. We were at Fred's and his anabaptist(basically 
Amish) friend came in with his family. They all looked like they were 
from the 1800s. He tried to politely bible bash us and it went on and 
on and on... He kept saying he wasn't interested even though we never
tried teaching him and tried to say all this junk about Joseph Smith
and how he wasn't credible and all sorts of mischief. I was just
trying to be nice and end it, but Elder Richins was trying to stand his
ground and ask him questions. After about an hour his family finally
left. Elder Richins apologized to Fred for the contention in his home
and how the spirit was gone. Fred said that we still had the spirit
and that the other guy did not. This is why the south is hard, because
everyone believes they are right and nobody wants to be wrong. They
put their lives into what they know and they don't want to change
because they are afraid. The guy was nice though somehow through it
all. The biggest thing I learned from that though was JUST MOVE ON. 
We have had a fruitful week this week. Livingston is great. 
It has all you need. Good food, a warm hearth, and all the comforts 
of home. (Ten points to who can guess that quote.) Anyway, that's all 
for me today. It's good to talk to yal. Catch ya next week!

~Elder Weight

Jesus Christ

A strange fortune Elder Richins got at a Chinese buffet and he let me have it.
on a church we found...

the mansion!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chapter 3:  The Days Turn to Months


Elder Weight at the Nashville, Tennessee Temple

August 17, 2015

This week has been quite the week! It started with a hike on P-day with
other Elders from Jamestown to Standing Stone State Park. Super
beautiful! I learned three things on that hike. 1. Tennessee is one of
the most beautiful states ever! 2. Hikes take longer when you get
lost... 3. Hiking makes missionaries VERY tired..... after that we
went to the Koehlers and unloaded lumber with nails in it from a truck
and cleaned horsey poo! Yay! After that long day me and Elder Richins
felt like we were going to die. 

We also went to the temple this week!
It's so cool here and it is a tiny tiny tiny temple. The church next
to it is twice as big as the temple itself! It is so beautiful there.
I hated to leave it. Apparently before I came here the county fair was
going on. The missionaries set up a booth and had people fill out a
survey and basically asked people if they wanted to know more about
the church. From this we got about 100 so now we have about 200
investigators total. We haven't been doing much tracting...The rest of
the week we have been going around and trying to see the fair
referrals. We went on a lot of exchanges and broke the record for
members present in lessons in Livingston with 17! Crazy. That's really
what we've been doing lately. 

It's a weird to think I've been out here
a month. These days really blend together. It all just feels like one
big day. I'm excited because later today I am going on a three day
exchange with the district leader up in Tompkinsville, Kentucky!
Hopefully I can find turtleman but if not I will settle for Neil. We
are trying our best out here and are hoping that everything is going
well for everybody back home. Love you guys!

Elder Weight~


Here is a picture while hiking Standing Stone Park.

Here is another couple of Standing Stone Park photos.

 A giant frog we found outside a members house.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Another Amazing Week!

It's Glorious!

The Elder's Home
August 10, 2015

Mmmmmmmmmhello! This is Elder Weight. 
This week has been pretty crazy.  Elder Snow in our trio got E.T.'d. There was an Elder up in Foxcroft, Illinois that got super sick and had to go home. And he was one of the missionaries that came out with me! So president Anderson transferred our Elder up to Illinois. He was super sad and emotional about it.  Livingston is honestly the best area. Everybody wants to come here apparently and he was real upset that he had to go. So guess what that means? We drove him to the mission home up in Franklin, which is close to Nashville. It was weird being back there a week later. Most don't see that place again for two years. We stayed the night there and had to say goodbye to Elder Snow in the morning. We ate Olive Garden the day before as a departing feast. Oh yeah, we had to get our car fixed, because the door handle was busted so we spent awhile at the dealership.  I wanted to eat at Bojangles across the way, but we went to the Olive Garden. 
The next day we went to my favorite investigators house, Betty and James. They are golden which is very VERY rare in the south. They are getting baptized at the end of this month in a river and they might even ask me to do it! (it doesn't seem to likely though.) We gave them both blessings and James was shaking afterwards and kept saying it was the power of God. I love James. When we talk to him it feels like he is teaching us. He agrees 100% with everything we say doctrinally. He says it makes sense and he doesn't see why everyone else can't figure it out. All we need to is help them stop smoking.  We've got a plan for that though.  Everybody smokes here.  One of the south's favorite pastimes is sitting on their front porch smokin.  And for some reason the men are always in their undies. The southern states are some of the most challenging and hardest missions in the world. True fact. There is a saying that the missionaries have here.  "They send boys to foreign countries to become men. They send men to the states to become leaders. They send leaders to the south to become legendary."  
After Betty and James, we went tracting in the rain.  Apparently, if you tract in the rain your wife loses ten pounds (not sure who came up with that one) anyway during the fairs they have here, the church sets up a booth where people come and fill out surveys.  If they want to know more about the church we go and find them. Because of this and because the sisters were taken out of our area, we are left with 200+ investigators total.  Our teaching pool is now a teaching ocean!!! While tracking we had our big rain coats on.  We knocked on this guys door with the paper he filled out in our hand and I think he thought we were cops with a warrant. 
Anyway, were going back to talk with him later. That was the experience teaching there. He was smoking right in front of us and he had some movie that I'm sure was rated R blaring loudly on TV, but somehow I testified of Joseph Smith and felt the spirit. That to me was really amazing. The next day we had zone conference in McMinnville.  Driving to that and back plus going to the mission home ate our miles for the month even though we had some approved. 
And oh yeah zone conference is LONG. From 8am-5pm.  I keep getting the feeling that there are a select few who are ready to be taught but we aren't sure where the spirit is trying to push us.  We seem to end up in the same place every time but we keep getting no and no thank you'd.  We did met this super sassy older women who had a cat named buttons.  She would ask random questions while we talked like does your church have any music? Like tambourines and gospel choirs? It was funny.  This is the north part of the south so almost everyone is old.  Old people set in their ways. But they are fairly kind.  There are little to no kids here.  
The seminary only has five kids in it!  The people that seem most willing to talk to us are the sweet old ladies.  They treat us like their grandchildren even if they aren't interested.  We met this nice old lady named Norma and we talked for a good long while. She was kinda interested but seemed to want to talk.  Another man is Fred. He is like 75 and we think he is going to die soon.  He has severe Alzheimer's and dementia. He reminds me of grandpa dorm before he died.  It's hard to teach him because he forgets everything. Apparently he was taught the restoration 6 times.  All we need to do is commit him to baptism and he'll be all set.  But everytime we talk to him about it he gets scared and backs out.  I think he says no because he doesn't want us to stop coming.  He is very lonely and really likes the company.  He should be baptized though because he comes to church more than anyone else!!!  He is always there on Sunday. 
Speaking of Sunday, I spoke on Sunday!  I gave a really nice talk(or at least I thought I did) about the importance of missionary work.  It was funny because there was a tiny spider on the microphone and it kept trying to jump on me and it looked funny because I kept trying to flick it off.  Elder Richins spoke after me and did a good job as well. After that we also taught the gospel principles class.  We never had time to prepare for it so we 'winged it' but the spirit did most of the work and it turned out great!  
Oh by the way, I don't live on a lake.  The trailers sit in the middle of this grassy little field and it only looks like a lake when it rains a bunch.  There are a lot of creatures here like red wasps, mosquitoes, slugs, frogs... Every night when we come home there is a little frog on our door.  Oh yeah, after the field floods and the water drains...there are frogs EVERYWHERE.   I'm not talking about a lot, I mean ALOT.  It's like in Exodus where it's the plague of frogs!!!  
I can feel your prayers and I feel the prayers of the temple while being out here. I have grown a lot from being out here in this short time. I've been more outgoing, more willing to share, more willing to speak up and more willing to show people the way Jesus Christ would act. I've seen a lot of little miracles while being out here.  I've had the chance to give blessings and hear of blessings where people have been healed. The same way Christ healed others.  I've seen to much to doubt that this church is Christ's true church.  Any person would be wise to come to it so they can best prepare themselves for that wonderful day where we see Jesus Christ again. This place builds my testimony and shows how much people in the west take the church for granted.  It's everywhere there, but these good people who love their Savior are not blessed with that gift. Look up Vaughn J Featherstone and his vision for the south.  It's neat that I get to be here fulfilling that and essentially making history!  I love you all and pray for you all. I hope you can feel my prayers the way I feel yours!
Elder Weight~
Making fried green tomatoes at Sister Huddleston's house.
Elder Weight and Elder Richins with their masterpiece. August 9, 2015
Seminary breakfast Early Morning Seminary in Livingston, TN.   August 10, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dinner Appointments!

August 6, 2015

"Mmmmmmm what's for supper? Pinto Beans, fried taters, chicken n dumplings and cornbread. Mmmmmm delicious is what Elder Richins and Elder Weight says." --Mickey Ledbetter, the Branch Mission Leader, posted this on his Facebook page last night and thanks to Sister Huddlestone, we found out about it.  We love seeing our boy happy and well fed!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Looks Like Elder Snow is Leaving....

Elders Richins, Weight, and Snow (in that order)

I received this picture via text from Sister Huddleston.  She let me know that Elder Snow was being transferred out to be with another companion somewhere else in the mission to replace an Elder who went home sick.  Elder Richins made a cake and it looks like Elder Weight dropped the knife.  Oops!  Sister Huddleston also told me that they love Elder Weight.  She said he is a "joy" and a hard worker.  I just LOVE that!

We also received another AMAZING surprise.  Guess what?  My brother traveled to Tennessee today for work and met with Elder Weight's Mission President.  The Mission President said a lot of very nice things about him.  I couldn't be more grateful today for a wonderful son!

August 4, 2015

More Pictures!

The Branch building in Livingston, TN.  Elder Weight is helping to set up chairs and
getting the building ready for their first Sunday.

Oh...In true Adam style, the tour of the building includes the men's room...

The views...

A cool picture for Dad!

Could this be the Elder's house?

Elder Weight's First Letter From Tennessee!

August 3, 2015

Livingston reminds me of long winded from baptists at our barbecue...people and all.  Anyway hey everyone!i do love it here. It's ssooooo pretty here. The complete opposite of Arizona. It is very much of a change from going to a large church building with a lot of members to going to church in a refurbished commercial building with about fifty people. Teaching is a bit challenging here though. This town is mostly oldies set in there ways. This place is like Utah except every church on the corner is baptist, Pentacostal, Church of Christ or something like that. We have done more service than teaching so far. My first day we drove out to this person's farm a mucked horse stalls. Take a guess at what that means? To some that would be sad, but I strangely enjoyed it. Horses are cool creatures though. I really enjoy how open people are about talking about religion. If you do that in the west it gets  uncomfortable. Yay south! Speaking of south the food here is crazy  good. They don't really believe in vegetables though and when they serve them they are usually breaded and fried in lard... Deep fried.  Everything is deep fried. Good for you? No. Tasty? YEAH!!!   I really like my companions. My trainer is Elder Richins. He is skinny and blonde. He reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite. He even sounds like him too. Elder Snow is my other companion. He is a large guy with brownish black hair from Utah. He is a Disney fanatic. He loves everything Disney. He used to live by Disneyland and go all the time. He can quote all the movies and knows all the secrets. He can even quote word for word the narrator guy on the Mickey and friends team to the park! My trainer is very patient with me. Teaching is hard to do. Harder then I thought. I want to be a great teacher, but it isn't coming to me very fast. One thing I've learned while being here is patience especially for myself. We can be our worst enemies at times biting know God doesn't want it like that. He wants us to do our best and try, learn more, fail even, because that's how we grow. You try, you fail, you try, you fail. The only real failure is when you stop trying. The spirit speaks to all the lords missionaries and I know he speaks to even me. There are good people here. I love them already. And this is just the beginning! I challenge you all to read the scriptures, pray like you mean it,have that rock. Because the day will come where you need to have that testimony. Don't get caught in the storm without your umbrella.  I love you all and hope you got my photos. Thanks for the packages and letters and emails. They mean a lot to me and it makes it feel like you are right here with me. Thanks for everything. I love you all more than you can comprehend. May the Lord bless you all! Elder Weight~

One of our investigators described modern day music. It sounds like a metal barrel filled with monkeys and somebody is beating it with a stick.  Also, it isn't breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's breakfast dinner and supper. Lunch is like a light snack between breakfast and dinner. He also said to keep your eyes open, your mind open, and use some common sense. I found out that this is actually the strictest mission in the world. Not a joke.  The animals are crazy cool. Lots of big bugs. Some I've never seen before. Every night there is a little frog on our door. I hope you got the pictures I've sent.  I love you all so much.  Tell Emily and Allison that I miss them and love them a "Norwegian llama" sized amount of love. I hope they are stepping up and helping at home. If not I will send them a box of the Tennessee state bird, the giant mosquito. Tell Matthew that he is a great bro and that his big brother will be back soon and that he is trying to make him and the family and God proud. Thanks for all your love. I hope I can hear back from you and get pictures from you also. 

Adam Weight
Your loving son~

Elder Weight in Livingston, Tennessee on his First Sunday!

August 2, 2015

Here is Elder Weight with our new best friend, Sister Huddleston.  We love her!  She is so wonderful to send us pictures of our missionary!  Livingston, Tennessee has a small branch of about 50 members that was established about a year ago.  This is their first Sunday in their new refurbished building (a VFW building).   So where is Livingston, Tennessee?  It's about two hours away from Nashville by Cookeville.

Elder Weight Arrives in Nashville, Tennessee!

July 27, 2015

This was an amazing day for our family, because we were able to talk to Elder Weight on the phone! Since Adam didn't let us know when he would be flying out, we went about our business as usual. We went to the gym and no sooner did we set up for our weightlifting class, but Elder Weight called us!  We ran out of the class as fast as we could.  Everyone thought there was some horrific emergency.  While outside the gym, we accidently lost his call trying to add another line to the call. We frantically tried calling him back and with a huge sigh of relief, we were able to reach him.  We raced home with Adam on the phone and got the whole family in the car so everyone could talk to him.  We only had just 15 precious minutes total and it was the best 15 minutes ever!

Thanks to Sister Huddleston, the Branch President's wife, we received our first picture of our son in his first area, Livingston, Tennessee!  He is with Elder's Richins and Snow.

What Elder Weight Left Behind...

When we arrived home after taking Elder Weight to the MTC, we were drawn to his room and this is what we found.  How did he know that we needed this as parents?  What an amazing son!  We are so blessed!!!

Anyone Ever Heard of the Legend of the Smelly Tree???

So my companion told me this strange story that there was a tree in the MTC campus that smelled. ( his cousin told him and he had know idea) Anyway if you looked closely you could see two missionaries awkwardly walking up to every tree smelling it. Finally, we found it and it smelled really good!  It was like a cream soda/vanilla smell.  Then we noticed every body little by little would go up and smell the tree... the legend of the smelly tree is quite popular among our district and even outside of it. One time, we walked up and smelled a different tree to see if it smelled good as well but it didn't. Then these two sisters looked at us funny and we thought they thought we were weirdos. But then they said,  "Oh are you looking for the tree that smells good?" The smelly tree is now an MTC you bye.   

July 25, 2015

July 25, 2015

Good day 'yal.  I have been having quite the enlightening experience. My companion and I got the chance to teach lessons here. Some a tricky because half of them are on Skype. It can be challenging   because you can't give them anything or have them read for you. Although we did get some of our investigators to download the gospel library which came in handy when using Skype. (they don't tell us if they are already members or not.)  My foot is getting better. Its a bit challenging trying to find time to clean it because the schedule is so precise.  My roommates are pretty funny guys. They tell me I have a soothing voice and sometimes when they cannot sleep I talk to them about random things. I did talk about rocks and told some Jim gaffigan  jokes and it worked. My flight to Tennessee for Monday is going to be a little strange. We are flying to Atlanta for how ever long that takes then we take a ten minute flight to Nashville. Not sure why but  oh well.  Teaching people is challenging but it is a beautiful experience watching people change even in the short few days I have been here. We had a devotional and William R Walker spoke. afterwards I went up and shook his hand and I asked him if he remembered the cultural celebration. He said, "Yes and that he liked it so much that's why he talked about it in conference!"  It was cool meeting him. I also got to semi-celebrate pioneer day. There was one missionary who was from Canada and he didn't believe in pioneer day so the other elders tried to help him not be a pioneer scrooge and eventually he changed.One night me and the people in my room were talking and we talked about all the things we were going to miss like music, movies(star wars) and mostly family. After a moment, we thought about if we never went on a mission think about how  much we would have missed there. You would regret it for the rest of your life.  We also talked about how the apostles have that witness of Jesus Christ. I remember a story that Bro. Cardon shared once. He asked a general authority that question and he told him to pray as if Christ was standing in front of you. I've tried it and it is one of the most special experiences I could ever hope to have.  Being on a mission is wonderful and i'm just in the training center! I have felt more of God's love, not just for me but for everyone, while being out here. I know he lives, I know he loves us and I get the chance to tell let everyone else know that also. You are in my prayers and I love you alot! I encourage you all to pray and if you already do that keep doing it until your knees are purple from kneeling so much. May your fondest dreams come to pass and may God bless you!

Elder Adam Weight~