North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

6/10/13 "If I had a million dollars"

Tuesday of this week was a car fast day, which meant that we had to use our bikes in a full-car area. It was an experience not to be missed; we biked about 28 miles that day. On the way home, as we biked up a hill with me in front, a truck slowed down and pulled beside us. A man handed me and Elder Collinwood some cash and then drove off.

At first I felt bad, since missionaries aren't supposed to accept money, but then with delight I realized that, behold, this man had handed me none other than a MILLION DOLLAR BILL!

As I turned it over, however, I saw that the back of this million-dollar bill had a large section of writing, flanking of picture of Washington crossing the Delaware:
"Here's a million-dollar question: have you been saved?"

I got a good laugh out of this as I biked the five miles or so home. At first I had thought the man was being nice, then I thought he was being funny, then I realized that he was actually trying to anti us. The million-dollar bill now occupies a place of honor on my desk.

It's been a quite entertaining week. We saw a man riding his lawnmower to the supermarket the other day. We also went to go find a less-active in a literal trailer park, the sort of trailers that you pull behind your regular truck. You know, the one that people take on camping trips. It was the most ghetto place I've ever been in my whole mission.

This Saturday we devoted a few hours to help a member and his friend build a shed on his property. We leveled the ground, built a foundation, and made a floor on top of it. It was good, satisfying work, and we were going to start on the walls, too, but unfortunately we had to go teach an appointment. We'll probably work on it a little bit later. I have to say, it was a pretty good looking piece of shed.

We have been teaching the nonmember son of a recently activated sister. His name is L_____, and he's set to join the Church on the 29th of this month. The Young Men's leader had invited L_____ last Sunday to teach the lesson in Young Men's, so we came by a few times this week to help him out.

For those of you who've been paying attention to this sort of thing, the lesson this last Sunday was on the difference between priesthood power and priesthood authority. As L____ is not a member and his dad is out of the picture, he's never even heard of this stuff before. We had a very entertaining lesson with him, when we were having him read D&C 121:37 and explain all the things that turned off priesthood power. We had a little lightbulb on a stick with us to illustrate this point. His 13-year old mind was having difficulty understanding a lot of the concepts in there, so I was desperately searching for anything that I could use to get him to understand.

A transcript of the lesson would go somewhat like this:

"Okay, L_____, so as we read through this, I want you to write down a list of all the things that turn offthe Priesthood. Alright? Okay. Start reading."
" 'That they may be conferred upon us, it is true--' " 
"Okay, pause. What does that mean, 'that they may be conferred upon us, it is true?' "
"It means that somebody might give you the Priesthood, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll have anypower." (turns lightbulb on and off for emphasis.)
"Oh. Okay."
"We're good? Alright, keep going." 
" '--but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride--' "
"Ooh! There it is. Write that down. So what does it mean, L_____, to 'gratify your pride?' "
"Uh, I dunno."
"Do you know what 'gratify' means?"
"Do you know what 'pride' is?"
"Well, if someone has pride, they're really stuck up. They're arrogant. They're full of themselves. They're a stuck-up jerk."
"Oh!, so they're like Vegeta."
"...Yes, L_____, exactly. They're exactly like Vegeta. He is the perfect example of pride. Real stuck-up jerk." (draws picture of Vegeta next to 'Gratify our pride.') "Whenever you think of pride, just remember Vegeta. Keep reading."
"Okay. Uh...'to gratify our pride, our vain ambition--' "
"There's another one. What was it?"
"Vain ambition?"
"Yes. Write that down."
"But what does that even mean, Elder Fisher?"
(Mind races desperately.) "Well, have you ever seen Star Wars?"
"What? You've never ever seen Star Wars?
"Only, like, two of them."
"Wow." Shoot. "Well, how about The Lion King?"
"Once, when I was very little. I don't remember much."
Darn. "Well, how about The Emperor's New Groove?"
"Yeah, I've seen that."
"You know Yzma, right?"
"What did she want to be?"
"She wanted to be the queen, or whatever."
"Right. That's what we'd call vain ambition."

I could go on and on with this, but suffice it to say, it was an interesting lesson. I have to say, I never ever ever thought I that I'd ever see Dragon Ball Z used in a gospel setting. Anyway, all things considered L______ did a pretty good job when he gave the lesson himself on Sunday.

Life is good. Elder Collinwood and I are getting along great. The Church is still true. I love my mission and everything about it. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pineville pics

More pics from Dobson and Pineville

Hard at work

 Love it.


 So many cool signs in front of all these churches.

 A snake?!?

Again, another cool sign. 

Christmas tree from mom! 

President and Sister Craven Claus 

Elder Fisher and his trainee, Elder Shumway.

He glows with the spirit...

MTC, Charlotte, and Dobson pics!!!

Super late, but here's some early pics from Elder Fisher's mission.

Hooray for missionaries!!!

MTC District

These elders have skillz...

The power of prayer.

Off we go to North Carolina!

Touchdown of the plane!

Mission HQ

Danny's trainer, Elder Molina

The sword of Laban

Elder Fisher's first area!

Nuff said.

Elder Fisher always finds the dogs!


6/3/13 "It's a universal greeting!"

"I'll give them the Universal Greeting. Bah-weep-grana-weep-ninny-bong!"
"It's a universal greeting!"
Last week I was in a bit of rush due to a variety of factors. Elder Fulton had been asked several months ago to find a new apartment for the missionaries to stay in, mainly because the Huntersville missionaries were not living in the Huntersville area. The move was scheduled to take place after transfers, which was okay since we were assuming that Huntersville would be remaining an Elder area. However, with the sisters coming in, the cleaning had to take place on an earlier day, so Elder Fulton and I, assisted by our magnificent District Leader Elder Parker and his companion Elder Wilkinson, desperately cleaned and packed for Monday and Tuesday. Also adding to the confusion was the fact that President decided Preparation Day should be Tuesday, not Monday as usual. So it was all a bit hectic.

Huntersville was a very nice area. In one of our last member-home dinners there, I played O Divine Redeemer on the piano while Elder Fulton and Sister McDonald, the mom of the home, sang. It was a wonderful experience.

Now a little bit more about the current situation:

I am with Elder Collinwood, who is two transfers away from going home (so, about 22 months out). He's been a senior companion ever since he finished training, and he is a very seasoned missionary. I'll probably be his last companion. He's been having a lot of success in the Shelby area. He's a great teacher, gets along great with the members, has a good knowledge of the scriptures, and knows how to work smart. I am going to learn a lot from him.

As for Shelby itself, it is a small town about forty minutes west of Charlotte, near the border with South Carolina. We have a ward here that probably should be a branch, meeting in a cute little Stage 2 church building. The bishop is great, and the Stake President lives in our ward. The Shelby area is full car, which is a very different experience than what I am used to. For your information, Shelby is not in the Ashville Zone, so I will be staying in the North Carolina Charlotte mission for the remainder of my time.

Shelby reminds me a lot of my first area, Dobson, since both are fairly small country towns. A major difference is that Dobson was a lot of farmers, so while the people in Dobson and Shelby have around the same economic level, the people in Dobson had a lot more dignity about them. As in, both sets of people were rednecks, the sort of people who'll sit shirtless on the front porch of their podunk house while they smoke cigarettes, but the Dobson people seemed to have this inbred sense of pride to them while the Shelby people do not. Deep down, the Dobson people say inside of them, "Y'know, I might be sitting here on mah front porch half nekkid with mah tuhbakka, but my mamaw darn well raised me good," while a Shelby person would say, "Hey, any of y'all got a light?"

I've noticed a lot of billboards here in Shelby. The majority of them advertise three general things:
1. Bridal stores.
2. Divorce lawyers.
3. Diamond pawns.

Another fun thing about Shelby is that there are a ton of churches here. I thought there were a lot in Dobson, but oh boy, there are more here. I've noted Baptists, First Baptists, Second Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Missionary Baptists, and Temple Baptists, and I've also seen Methodists, Presbyterians, Wesleyans, and many other kinds of churches. Some of them have their own sorts of special names, usually sounding something along the lines of Memorial Grace Journey United Love Church of God, and I've willing to bet my nametag that nobody could tell you how they came up with that name.

In other words, to quote little orphan Annie: "I think I'm gonna like it here."

The Shelby area has been very successful the last few months. Elder Collinwood does a lot of work with part-member families and less actives, which is probably why he's been doing so well. The last few days have been a game of Catch the Less-Active at Home. It's pretty fun, except when the less-active cheats.

For example, on Sunday we went to go visit a certain James B_______. We arrived at the address to find a small, disheveled home, with all the windows and doors open and junk spilling out of it. The interior looks like something out of a crime scene show and there is a vapid odor about the place. It looks like not a soul has lived here for years.

We call out hesitantly: "James B______?"

Not a sound is heard.

In my mind's eye, I could just imagine a scene at the beginning of a horror movie when two young missionaries get eaten by the evil monster in the abandoned house, the scene just before the opening credits begin.

So, Elder Collinwood and I took a smart step across the street to the well-kept house and lawn on the other side and politely knocked on the door. After a brief conversation with the kind older lady who lived there, we asked where James B________ was.

She gave us a curious look and replied, "Honey, James B________ is dead."

Afterward we marked his address on the Garmin with a skull and crossbones and moved on. We'll let Alma and Amulek play Catch the Less-Active at Home with James.

The last major highlight of this week was a Mission Tour where Elders Evans and Nielsen of the Seventy came and spoke to our mission. One of the major things they told us was that knocking on doors is one of the most ineffective ways of doing missionary work, and that we need to stop doing it. I kind of felt like an idiot since that's basically all I've been doing since the beginning of my mission. I guess that's why the Lord has paired me up with Elder Collinwood.

Finally, my new address in Shelby is this:
1635 South Dekalb Street #1014
Shelby, NC 28152

Sorry for the big read, I guess that it kind of averages out if you combine it with last week's. Love you all! Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Sunday, June 2, 2013

5/28/13 "Nigel... Call the lawyers"

So. News:

1) I am getting transferred out of Huntersville. We got a call from President Craven Saturday informing us that I was going to be companions with Elder Colinwood, one of the mission's senior missionaries, down in Shelby. I am not quite sure where this is. Elder Fulton is also leaving Huntersville after 7 months here, and he's going to be training, opening up a new area in Rock Hill. This leads me to...

2) Huntersville is going to become a sister area. This one I actually found pretty funny, since Dobson became a sister area right after I left it, as well as Pineville. I am, quite frankly, cursed. Most of the men in the ward were rather disappointed. My ward mission leader's response was the best, though: "Are you freaking kidding me?"

3) I went on exchange with my district leader, Elder Parker, on Friday. My Exchange Curse is still in effect. Basically, the Exchange Curse is as follows: all appointments will fall through, and all events will conspire so that my exchange will be a solid day of finding people to teach. It doesn't matter what area I am in; people will cancel and the end result will be hours and hours of knocking doors. And so it was with Elder Parker.

With the exception of my very first exchange with my very first District Leader, Elder Hyer, the Curse has been in effect ever since. It has affected: two exchanges with Elder Collins, two with Elder Jorgensen, my exchange with Elder Stringham, Elder Larson, Elder Howell, Elder Steenson, two exchanges with Elder Brown, two exchanges with Elder Christensen, two exchanges with Elder Merrill, two exchanges with Elder Wright, and my exchanges with Elder Risenmay, Elder Wilkinson, and Elder Parker. That's a total of 19 exchanges. I am truly cursed.

There's a plus to this, though: whenever I get cursed, the other exchanging companionship experiences loads of miracles. And so it was last Friday.

4) speaking of miracles, the Stevens family came to church last Sunday. Everyone was gone because of Memorial Day, so I played piano for Primary. The Stevens had a great time. They are super elect and very prepared, and theywill get baptized. (When people start making you cinnamon rolls for your appointments, you know that they're elect.) I am happy to know that the coming Huntersville sisters will have success in this area.

5) I have been writing Douglas Green, my RLDS investigator in Pineville, since I came to Huntersville. President Craven informed me that Brother Green was baptized and confirmed last weekend. That was just the icing on the cake for me. I am so happy to know that I got to contribute to his coming into the Church. I have been praying for that man constantly since November 7th, and on May 26th he joined the Church. The best part is, he will have be able to go through the temple before I leave my mission. I have said many a prayer of thanks over this news.  

Well, I don't have all that much time to write. Since yesterday was Memorial Day, President Craven decided to have Preparation Day be today. Unfortunately, today is also transfers, with the result that many people won't actually get a real Preparation Day. We have to boogie off to transfers before too long, so I'm sorry if this letter is super short.

I love the Lord, and I hope you all are doing well. Love you! Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher