My dear, eternal family :) hehehehehe – but seriously.
SIX DAYS!! :) I have my paper chain counting down, and it is so short!! I started it like, 30 days ago, so it's been fun to see it get smaller and smaller. I am so excited! :) The plan is that we are going to be using our cell phone that we have. Are you planning to call me back after a few beeps? That would be nice, cuz with our phone, we have to buy minutes, and it is ridiculous. I don’t know how people have cell phones here. I know I wouldn't have one if I had to buy my minutes. RIDICULOUS! (not to be confused with RIDIKULUS - the Harry Potter spell :) haha) But I will most likely be calling around 8:30 my time? so like 6:30 your time. I hope that works with everyone. I don't know when Riss is going to call though; hopefully around then, if no, I can call later so we are all on at the same time :)
Congrats to Cole for going through the temple! How exciting! I can't believe that so many stressful things happened before that! I thought it was stressful when mom forgot her recommend in the car!, but wow, what a crazy day!
I WAS MENTIONED IN A MEETING AT STAKE CONFERENCE?! WOW!!!! I feel so honored. Next up - GENERAL CONFERENCE! that is one of my goals. I wanted to email Brother Richardson and let him know to just mention my name somewhere in his next general conference talk. Do you think he would do that for me? It's on my bucket list, as of today :) But, I do remember our meeting about that. I don't remember that happening, but I will believe him; cool, cool. Let my legacy of greatness go down in history :) haha
I was not aware that you were going to D-Land again! How fun. I wanna go with Riss when we get back. We are going to plan a trip together before we both get married (if that all works out with the other guys :)) <– double chin! wow. But yeah, we were thinking of maybe a study-abroad or something? Who knows, we're not really talking about it since we still have many moons here in paradise.
But as far as transfers go, Elder Reeder is the "ayudante del sur" to the president and he is in our area, so we knew about transfers on Saturday. He guessed that Gamez was leaving, and we were staying and Matteson was training, and he was right. I really was hoping to open an area and train, but that is what Gamez got. She's been here for almost half her mission, so it's good that she's leaving.
And Saturday - the baptisms and the open house... well...here's the story about that. So we spent the whole week last week planning and getting the chapel and church clean for the open house. We scrubbed everything down, and the only thing missing was the Chicago music playing in the background. But we spent hours cleaning, because the members never showed up (they are VERY unreliable, sadly.) So day after day, we spent our lunch and like, two hours cleaning and preparing and decorating. It wasn't anything fancy, but to the Dominican people, it is really impressive when you can curl ribbon with scissors. So they didn't have high expectations. It's so different to see the cultures' differences, but anyways. Also, the elders printed off about 1200 invitations. We expected A LOT of people to come. So finally, on Saturday, we went out to eat - and Kendri calls. He's still in the Capital, and can't make it. Gamez was very sad, since she knew she would be leaving. So he wouldn't be able to get baptized :( Hopefully this Saturday! But, continuing on with the story – we go and clean a bit more around 2, because it started at 4:30. We set all of it up and then people showed up. Adabertino (our investigator who is rock-solid) came first, half an hour early. So, we gave him a Liahona to read. More people start showing up, and they gather into the main part where we were going to start the tour. Then, the members start directing things and taking charge. It would have been more successful if the members would have attended the planning meeting earlier in the week, but NO ONE came.
We ended up having only 140 people come!!!! ONLY 140!!! and only 32 of them were non-members!!!!!! So that was annoying. And then we had the baptism, and the people were all interested, but the baptismal room is super small, and not everyone could fit. And you know what happened?!... most of the investigators didn't get to see it because the members took their spot. So yeah, it was a small success. On the bright side, Denny and Angela got baptized. :) so two more souls are saved :) Mission accomplished :)
We had a tiny miracle this last week. We have these 2 investigators that we always teach together - Robert and Margarita. They are friends. And nothing more. (One is 28 and the other is 52.) We wanted to teach them separately, since they are on different levels with their relationships (Margo's man doesn't want to get married, and Robert doesn't want to be with his wife - he wants a member so they can "get sealed in the temple" haha, what a funny guy.), but didn't know how to bring it up... Then, we had a cita with Robert, and Margo was in her house, and she called us over and told us that she wanted us to come to her house and start teaching her, instead of at the water tank where Robert works. MIRACLE! So we have taught her a bit, and tomorrow night, we are doing a FHE with her and her "husband" and kids :) we're excited.
Another miracle. I was walking by a mango tree, and I was craving a mango. So I said, "Heavenly Father, I really want a mango. If it be thy will, let one fall to the ground so I can eat it, within 5 seconds, please." and we continued walking, and I watched anxiously, and right when 5 seconds hit, nothing happened :( so we continued 2 more steps, and then someone hollers at us, and they are holding a bag full of mangoes, and they just give it to us :) MIRACLES! The temple roll works, thanks dad :) haha
We had Adabertino and Carlos come to church again. They are so great. So prepared. They are the best. I will get a pic of them so you can see them. But the members keep asking them when they are going to be baptized, and they say, "May 18." so they know. That happens to be Mauri's Birthday, yay. But yeah, they are so prepared, and love the gospel, and always give us fruit and tell us how grateful they are. Luckily, they don't have any marital problems, they are both single, so that is a relief. We are going to teach the law of chastity next time, and that should be exciting. Like it usually is... :)
Argelis – we went to see how he was doing with the no coffee thing, and he said that he gets headaches, but is trying really hard. Then, we asked him why he was doing it, and he said he was doing it because it was a commandment, and he knows he should follow the commandments. So, we are going to continue to work with him :)
Last night, we had a fire on our roof; we made it, and it was great. We roasted hot dogs and made smores with strawberry mallows and chocolate frosting, since there is no chocolate around here, haha. It was really fun. We also told stories and had a good time. I like the little things like that on the mission. It makes everything so much better.
Well, I am out of time. It's crazy that the next time we talk will be in person!!!! I am so excited. I love you all so much. Thank you for your love and letters and support. They mean the world. Keep studying the scriptures and having family prayer.
I know this is the true church and am so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I love Him and know that we can find happiness through Him and the gospel. I am grateful that we are an eternal family. :)
Have a lovely week. Talk to you on Sunday :) :)
-Herm Erickson 1 :)
PS – here are some random pictures. The random lady in the picture with us and the elders is Denny. She's changed a lot. Received many miracles from the church. But the one where I am at the table is at the open house. We had tables full of resources (as much as we had) to give to the investigators.