Monday, February 1, 2016

Transfers & Singspiration

Well, there are two big things to be talked about in this letter: Transfers and something called Singspiration!  Also, on a quick side note, We got some snow this morning!  The weather is predicting 3 inches in certain places! 

I'll start with transfers and come back to Singspiration later. 

It's crazy to think that it's transfer time again already!  It seems like just yesterday that I got to Dolan Springs.  We found out on Saturday that I'll be staying here for at least another 7 weeks, and Elder Andersen will be heading back up to Las Vegas.  I'm definitely going to miss Elder Andersen, but I'm sure that my next companion will be amazing too!  I don't know too much about him.  His name is Elder Aitchison, he's been out one transfer less than I have, and he's from England!  I guess I'm destined to never have a companion who comes from west of the Mississippi, haha. I'm super excited for him to come and experience Dolan Springs and see how he reacts to one of the most hicksville American towns I've ever had the pleasure of being in. (For those of you who may not know, Ty's dad grew up in a town much smaller than Dolan Springs.  When he speaks of "hicksville", it is a term of endearment.  He knows that great things come from small towns!)  I'm also super excited to stay in Dolan!  Seeing Elder Andersen say goodbye to some of the people here yesterday made me realize how hard it's going to be to leave this place when the time comes. 

I've had some people ask about the couple we set with a baptismal date last week.  Their names are Terry and Julie.  They're a younger couple for Dolan Springs, only early 50's.  They're a couple who the missionaries have been teaching for a long time, and they've finally decided that they're ready to be baptized!  They're so excited and determined to make their date! I love working with them!

So on to the big question: What is Singspiration?  I'll be honest, I'm not sure if I can describe it and do it justice, but I'll do my best.  I've mentioned before that there are more churches in Dolan than there are houses.  Just try to imagine representatives from almost all of those churches getting together every 5th Sunday for a big combined potluck where everyone gets together and sings worship songs.  Now as you can imagine, some churches worship differently than others, so the singing varies greatly.  We heard everything from punk Christian rock to Johnny Cash to someone who yodeled for Jesus.  I realize that this isn't a very adequate description, so I'm going to send some short videos clips to give you an idea of what our Singspiration experience was like. It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life, but also pretty cool to see a whole community come together and worship together.  It also gave us the opportunity to talk with people, and the Mormons who were there even sang. There were a couple of ladies who sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and we had the chance to join in on "If the Savior Stood Beside Me."  Definitely a memorable experience!
As always, I'm so grateful for all of your love and support!

Elder Excell

Ty was impressed with the vast variety of performances at "Singspiration" - everything from Reverend Howard from the pink church, the aforementioned "yodeling for Jesus", and several songs that were featured in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" to a member of the Cowboy Church" which he described as basically a normal church, but they all dress like cowboys.  It's been a great experience for him to be exposed to such a vast variety of believers!

Q&A - 2/1/16

1.) Since this is transfer week, I'm really curious to hear how transfers work in your mission. -- We get what's called transfer doctrine on the Saturday before transfers.  For most missionaries, this means meeting up in the local stake center and the zone leaders pass out a sheet of paper that has your new assignment and companion, as well as that transfers desert disciple (mission newsletter). The desert disciple,  among other things, has the names, pictures, and hometowns of all the missionaries that are coming in and the ones that are leaving that transfer.  The process is a little different out of valley.  Because of the distance between areas, instead of meeting up, the zone leaders just call everyone and tell them the information over the phone.  Then you have a few days to get packed and say any goodbyes that you want to, and you go to your new area the following Tuesday.  For most areas, people just meet at one of a few different stake centers and make the switch there, but if you're out of valley the mission sends a van down that all of the missionaries ride in and out of valley together in.  So for me, I'll just be going to the Dolan Springs chapel Tuesday morning to pick up my new companion when the van drops him off.

2.) How often are you supposed to communicate with or report to President Snow or to your 
district or zone leaders?  Is that usually done on the phone or via email?  -- We communicate with Pres. Snow every week.  This is done over email.  We also get calls from our district leaders 2 or 3 times a week  to see how things are going.

3.) What was your best moment of the week?  --  Something called singspiration.  More about that 
in the main letter!

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