Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Week 8: Nametags, Flight Plans, and Unfortunate Events

October 8, 2016

Hi again Everyone!

This was a totally crazy week. To start off, General Conference was great (except for so much sitting, but it was worth it). They talked a lot about the Atonement. We all need the atonement.

Some things my mom sent me this week--I like the picture of the Savior on my photo album
Monday was a huge day for me too. We had an incredibly powerful lesson with one of our investigators, Suada. She is a Muslim, and thus we had to teach that Christ is the Son of God, not just a prophet. Also, as background, she's been super resistant to praying about anything we teach. During this lesson we asked her to pray to know whether or not Christ is the Son of God. As stated in my journal, "She grew still, then quietly said that she could be killed for that. I don't remember the following details, but Elder Leach was most certainly crying. We gave all the heartfelt promises and testimonies we had. We could not promise her Earthly safety but only that if she did pray about this and was killed, that God would welcome her home with loving arms. And that was almost all we could say. We bore so much testimony, though. I know she felt the spirit so strongly, and she knows what she must do. I only pray that she overcomes her fears and that God protects her for her faith. As Elder Leach said the closing prayer, I also could no longer help but cry." What I learned from the experience is just how much God loves us, and how important it is for us to do our best to draw nearer to Christ, no matter the cost. It'll be worth it.

Tuesday we had a Devotional from Linda K. Burton and her husband. Her husband first talked about the mantle placed upon us when we become missionaries. He reminded me of what a cool thing it was to get set apart and officially be a missionary. Before that, I'd been having some irrational worry about going on a mission. Just general stress. But as soon as I received that blessing and was officially a missionary, I felt an incredible sense of peace. Heavenly Father always helps us to do that which he asks us to do, even if it seems really hard.

For Wednesday I had a pretty funny experience at the end of exercise time. I had been playing volleyball, and most of the other people there were super good, and were going at it pretty hard. Near the end, I was in the back row when the other team spiked it... directly into my face. (Before I go any further, I'm 100% ok. and he didn't meant to hit me like that). It popped my neck, knocked me all the way over, blanked my mind for a few seconds, and then I couldn't feel my face for about 3 minutes. For the next hour I'd felt like I'd been in a car accident. But then I was totally fine! It was super funny, really. Call me Scott Sterling.

Thursday we started off by getting our Serbian nametags! They all look super cool. Sometimes when people see the Serbian nametags, they ask if we're going to Russia. Cool stuff.  

Top: Serbian nametag. Bottom: Croatian nametag
Also on Thursday, and it was very unfortunate, we found out that our branch president, President Wiseman, passed away the night before. It definitely shocked everyone. We all had a special meeting with a member of the MTC presidency, and talked about where to go from now, and how President Wiseman would want us to continue working hard. Some people had a bit of a hard time with the news at first, but after that, and now, it seems like we're all quite alright. One pretty unique thing about this church is the Plan of Salvation, also called the Plan of Happiness. It helps us understand our purpose in life, and that we know that after this life we'll be able to live with our loved ones again. The most spiritual thing that happened this week was during the meeting that our branch/zone had with a member of the MTC presidency. It was a story from Melvin J. Ballard, and he got permission from the 1st presidency to tell the story. Apparently he saw the Savior. He was escorted to a room where the Savior was standing in the center of this incredible brightness. When he entered the room, he met eyes with the Savior, who promptly stood, ran, and fell upon his shoulder in a tearful hug of love. That hit me hard. Not even in the way that it was relevant to President Wiseman's passing.


Yesterday, Friday, we also got our travel plans for getting to Croatia! Apparently we're leaving the MTC at 3:50am on the 17th and getting to Croatia at 11:30am on the 18th. And we have a layover in Frankfurt Germany! So that's super cool. Only have a bit more than 1 week left here. For your reference, the last days I'll be able to get mail here are the 14th and 15th. "No post on Sundays!"

 Anyway, it's kinda been a crazy week, but I'm sure there will be crazier weeks later on in my mission.

Your homework for this week is to study the Plan of Salvation. A super easy help for that is this pamphlet:
Usually I'd give you a hard copy that has pictures and everything, but that's not an option =P Let me know what you learn from your studies.

 I love you all! Have a great week. I know you can do hard things.

Elder Ryan Echols
2005 N 900 E Unit 232
Provo UT 84602

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