Monday, October 26, 2015

First Week! - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

So here I am in Tennessee now :) The ground is green the trees are red the skies are grey. It was so awesome to meet my mission president finally. Although I only actually spent like 20 minutes with him and then I was send to bed and then on my way to a new area.

My trainer is Elder Tolman. He is from a farm town in Idaho. When I first met him he ran at me, picked me up and then spun me around. All I could think was "Nick is on the other side of the country yet I still managed to have him as a companion." It actually made me happy.

Our area, Green Hills, is interesting. It's actually right in Nashville. Which is nice because I was wondering if I'd go two years without actually going to the city of Nashville once. Our ward boundaries go from the center of downtown by the Cumberland river down to Brentwood in the south. Brentwood is full of really really nice billionaire houses. Like ridiculous Victorian mansions with columns and 20 rooms. And then downtown is full of homeless shelters and housing projects. We live in the middle, in a part of town called Green Hills. It's pretty nice and safe and whatnot, but as far as the inside of the apartment ... I've heard it only gets better in other areas. Actually it's not that bad since I started cleaning and organizing it. I have my own desk with a big leather rolley chair! There is also this great picture of the last supper above my desk.

Most of our investigators live up by downtown so we have to bus over there. Buses are actually kinda fun. I'm learning the schedule and routes rather quickly. We get lots of interesting contacts on buses. There was a scientist from Brazil studying tuberculosis at Vanderbilt hospital and then a crazy old man talking about how the bible verses are full of math that describes music theory physics and everybody in between. The other day we missed a bus so we decided to walk 12 miles up past the train tracks to an appointment and then another 12 back. It was quite fun actually. I got to see so many different kinds of places and buildings.

So I've been in Nashville 6 days and I have already heard 7 special musical numbers featuring guitars and country singing. There was one at every church meeting, including the baptism. The only exception was sacrament meeting (thank goodness). It'll take me a while to get used to "Come Come Ye Saints" as a country jam but oh well.

Oh and I've already seen the Nashville Tribute Band in concert. Yup. One week and it's already happened. They are in our stake and did a fireside for our ward. They performed their Redeemer album for us. I had already had to hear it about 26 times thanks to Elder Tolman, so I was getting used to it. And seeing it live was actually really cool. Now that I understand what they were trying to do with their songs it is a lot better and I actually kinda like it. For those who don't know, they tell the story of Jesus from the New Testament but from everyone else's perspective. It's a very different style of music than the hymns I'm used to but I can appreciate that they are praising the Savior in the way they love to. The really weird part is that they performed in the chapel. We were sitting in pews watching a band. It felt so sketchy.

Side note: I'm in Alex Boye's ward. But I haven't seen him because, in the words of Tim Gates,"he's gone off all America's Got Talent crazy and 'I'm famous' nonsense." Other side note: Tim Gates (leader of Nashville Tribute Band) reminds me of Taylor Anderson. Just in his happy talking and mannerisms. Link to I'm a Mormon Video about Tim Gates here.

So that is all of that stuff. Now on to other stuff. We had the most amazing sacrament meeting yesterday. There weren't even enough people to fill the pews but everyone in the ward felt so close and kind. We did an impromptu choir. Which is where anyone from the congregation just goes up and sight reads the piece as the director just goes for it. We actually sounded really awesome. We sang "Oh My Father" which is one of my favorite hymns ever. It was super great. Then the talks were just phenomenal. My favorite was on John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." She talked about how this is not another commandment, but rather an explanation of how to live the gospel. If we truly love the Savior, keeping His commandments will be entirely natural. It won't be a list of things we must struggle to keep; it will just be who we are. Then she quoted Interstellar, "Love is the only force we can perceive that transcends space and time. I'm drawn across the universe to a man [I've never seen because He died for my sins]."

I know I did a terrible job of capturing all the awesomeness that was in her statements but I hope it can touch one of you somehow.

Anyway that is all for this week. Ttfn! ta ta for now!

Elder Basham

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