Monday, September 29, 2014

29 Sept 2014 "We are now on foot with fishin' poles lookin' for fishin' holes."

       So I will not complain about the work too much but ya'll might just get a kick outta this. We was movin' some people out of our branch, they are fixin' to go to Florida. Well anyways, as we were moving we found some wood off to the side (apparently the man wanted it packed up because there are no trees or ways to obtain wood in Florida).  I have never seen so much literal junk in my life!  Like anything from a door shim to fly traps to plants to a smashed tin can. In other words: I packed my first horder up.

        We also found ourselves in exchanges 2 days in a row.  First with the district leaders, then with the zone leaders.   I spent 2 days away from my companion. That normally does not happen, but it was so good to see him again after the two days and to catch up on what is going on in the Ash Flat Branch.

       We are now on foot with fishin' poles lookin' for fishin' holes. That's what happens when you're out of miles and money and we don't have borin' preparation days. :)

       Love all ya'll
       Elder Caldwell  

Monday, September 22, 2014

22 Sept 2014 "Crazy Arkansas, normal day."

Hey all ya'll!
    This week has brought some real Arkansas people about.  We did service for a guy moving into the branch. He had a 36 foot box truck (he rented just for his tools) and a trailer filled with steel. This day starts out with us walking to the pick up point where Ed Sojourn picked us up.  While we were walking to the pick up point, our Jehovah Witness neighbors stopped to pick us up. They drop us off and Bro Sojourn hops out of the Budget truck.  He asks us if we have ever taken a Box truck off-roading?  Well, obviously we said no.  He quickly responded, "Well, today's your lucky day!" (ha ha)  We drive a few miles on this dirt road, he stops and says "There she is."   We are looking around thinking, there what is??

       Then we hop out of the truck and here is this little four-wheeling two track road through the trees.  Here is where Murphy's Law comes into play.  We have an old Chevy van and a trailer hauling steel through mud.... Van gets stuck.  We go get the backhoe to pull it out.  The tire is flat.  The Air Compressor is in the box truck down the hill.  So now is the point where Ed goes to buy an Air Compressor from Walmart, 20 miles away...We started to unload all the steel from the trailer by hand (we being Elder Zachary Smuin, Rob, and me.)

       Ed gets back with the Air Compressor (this compressor is to put all other Air Compressors to shame!  There is a bike pump in Ed's hands and a pancake compressor that only holds a gallon of air?!?  Understand that this is a tire almost as tall as I am, and we are to use these tools??  After about a half hour of pumping, Ed realizes that the tire is off the bead. As Rednecks are, no problem, we have starter fluid and a match, "that ought to seat dat tire really fine."   Well, lets just say we all walked away from that one with all our fingers and toes.  Children do not try this at home.  If the tire blows off the rim, you are gunna be in a world of hurt!  In a bind, it works well. Too bad, I did not have my camera for all this.

       Now, it is time to finally get the backhoe out after another two hours of pumping to get it to 32 psi. Everything went fine from there.  We got the box truck up the two track with no problems at all.  Thank goodness!   I can't imagine trying to push that beast with a backhoe (yes, that was the plan all along.  If it got stuck, just push it with the backhoe?!?)

      Then it was all just unloading.  But that has got to be the best day that describes Arkansas!  I Love serving here and being able to see the effective things that people do to get by.  These things are pretty normal here. After all that, we got to see the best streets and the best sunsets in the world.   I love Arkansas,  if it had mountains and jobs I might live here in Ash Flat.   Maybe it will be my retirement in the future, when I cant climb the
Mountains anyways.

Elder Caldwell

Monday, September 15, 2014

15 Sept 2014 "This week was incredible"

  I don't know if I have ever worked this hard in a week on my mission, and yet the numbers are kinda low. I feel like I served my best and did the best I could with what I was given. We did lots of service such as split some good oak trees and after being split some of the Logs were a good 80 lbs.  I am so glad that we got to do this great work.

      Our Branch President has 5 girls so in order to stay sane he buys Jeep Cherokees and turns them into these crazy radio towers that have so many gadgets in them.  So many different things that you could only buy in Arkansas like radar jammers and satellite jammers.  They are way cool.  He also Smiths his own guns and all. He is a pretty funny guy.

     I don't know what more to say.  Oh, we tried to save miles by riding our bikes.  We came around a turn and hit gravel!  My companion went down and I was sliding sideways when I saw his feet under the frame of my bike.  I realized that it was not going to end well.   I finally found a way to stop and his head was maybe 4 inches from my rear tire.  I think bike riding in this area has no benefits.  We rode for 3 hours, made it to one place, ripped up my companion, and saved us maybe about 10 miles.  Haha. 

                                                                Elder Caldwell

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

10 Sept 2014 "Service is how we forget ourselves"

      This week we did lots of service as usual here in Ash Flat Arkansas. I am so glad that I get to serve here.  The people are fantastic. Sadly, I have not met all the people yet but hopefully in the next couple weeks we will be able to meet them all.

       I am so blessed to have such an amazing Mission President.  He kept it short and to the point when he told me that my Grandma Jan had passed away. At the time I was standing on a ladder painting a neighbors house. There are so many Tender Mercies in this world.  I really think the situation and where I was and what I was doing was super inspired.  I was able to calm myself down by serving someone else through the rough.  I was talking to my companion about what happens when we die that morning.  I had some time to think while I was painting and it put me at peace with it all.

      I Love the Atonement and how much of my purpose as a Missionary is to help people understand how to use the Atonement in there lives. We were teaching the M Family (they are amazing recent converts) after fishing and we taught about the Atonement and how we all get judged.  We can look at it two ways, one we can give up or two we can make a difference and let our light shine which will eventually give them nothing to judge you by.  I love the M Family.  I am in good hands and expanding my family because that is what we do on earth.  The people we affect are the people that affect us.  All become our family.

      I know that Service is how we forget ourselves.  My hands are torn, my brain is tired, my arms are sore, and my back is killin'.  However; I hardly notice it when I realize that I am able to help people in ways I never thought possible. I am just a man. I hurt. I do have pain.  Being a Missionary does not make you unhuman like some Members may think. It teaches you to control the beast inside better then ever before.

      I am so glad that I am out here and able to see the progression in others as they feel the spirit and make covenants and try hard to keep them.  These are the days that I have been looking for.  To help others, which in turn makes me grow and see more light.  You can not help someone travel a path that you have not been on.

                                          Elder Caldwell 

Monday, September 8, 2014

01 Sept 2014 "What a Fun Week"

This week has been a lot of good byes and a lot of hellos and I have just loved it all. The Angel kids are amazing and I will miss them but I also know they are in good hands there in Aurora, Mo

I am sorry I am running out of time, I only have an hour this week and lots of pictures can tell the story better then words, anyways. I got the opportunity to hold a Boa Constrictor the day before I left Aurora and headed to this great place named Ash Flat, AR.   I am so happy to be here, where what they do for fun is fish with the Mansfields, who are recent converts. The Mansfields story is pretty amazing.  He is an ex-gang member and now he is the nicest man. I never would have guessed.  His wife and daughter are pretty funny. I already love all the people here in Ash Flat.  They are those who know they have problems and know that they need to fix it. They really seam to love everyone. I love fishin'.  Good way to enjoy life is to fish.

My life has definitely taken twists and turns. A lot of these other pictures are of people from the Harvest Church where we worked each week with food bank things. (That's also the Church that the preacher gave me a Guitar.) I will definitely miss them, but I Love Ash Flat already.  It's so much fun here.  

I have helped in the building of homes and in building chicken houses. I got here and some non members came over and took us out for  ice cream.  I am impressed in this place and I need a picture of the school here it is literally the Rebels.  Yes, that is the Mascot. 

My Branch Mission Leader pranked me into believing that he did not want us coming around no more and told us that we could shove our book of Mormon where the sun don't shine.  Then I found out that he was our Branch Mission Leader.   It was pretty comical at how well he played that part.

Well I will tell ya more next week but for now just know I love all ya'll and God Bless.

Elder Caldwell