Monday, February 29, 2016

- Green Hills, Tennessee


This week has been pretty fantastic. It turns out training is fun. My new companion is elder Torres. He is from Oklahoma. Which is funny because that is not very far from Tennessee at all. And all the weather is the same there as it is here. Speaking of weather, Nashville is the weirdest place on earth. It was blue and sunny in the morning and warm enough to go out without a sweater or jacket. Then it snowed in the afternoon out of no where followed by rain all evening. Then on another day, it flung down frozen hail for 17 seconds and then went back to normal. I don't get it. Anyway here are cool weather pictures.

Snow actually looks like snowflakes! Excitement!
Because there is no excuse to not have fro-yo.
This is actually super convenient because it is
like a little cooler which keeps it from melting.

And on the subject of pictures, this is elder Torres. We did a service project so we aren't wearing Sunday clothes. This is the first time in over four months that I wore jeans. It felt weird. Anyway, elder Torres is a fantastic missionary. He is a perfect example of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13. He truly loves the people he serves. Both the members and investigators. It is amazing how he already knows all the names and the cares of the people within a week. Some missionaries never seem to learn to care about the people. So the fact that elder Torres already has such great charity will make him an amazing missionary as he continues to grow in knowledge. I am so happy to know him.

Service Project!  Elder Basham & Elder Torres
So a funny thing happened the other day. We were walking down the street on the way to a finding activity when we were stopped by two people. It was a father and son. They asked us questions about what on earth we were doing and why we had funny black tags. We were more than happy to tell them all about it. As we continued to talk they asked about the Book of Mormon so we proceeded to tell them all about it. We taught the whole restoration lesson and it went so well. They had such great questions and were super involved. I was so happy to have found such great investigators. We were planning a return appointment when they surprised us. It turns out they were members visiting from out of town. They thought it would be a fun idea to give us some teaching practice and hear an uplifting message.

As soon as they said it I could see that they had been dropping hints the whole time. Comments like "so the Apostacy of the early church is like a glass table that broke and now every church has a small piece of the glass?" And better yet, pointing to a picture or president Uchtdorf, "that guy looks like a pilot." Anyway it was all super hilarious and I had fun. It really was great teaching practice, especially for elder Torres on his fourth day. If I am ever on a vacation and see two missionaries walking by I may do this same thing.

Anyway guess what day it is! You may have guessed leap year day, which is exciting because I get one more day of mission service than the other half of missionaries. However, this is much more exciting than that. Today is two days before the two year anniversary of the Gilbert temple! Here is a great picture by Brother Anderson just because it is so beautiful.

Gilbert Arizona Temple 

If that doesn't prove that Gilbert is the best place on earth then I don't know what would. I also love this amazing keychain I get to carry around with me to help me remember.

I love to think about the temple, especially the one in Gilbert. There are so many beautiful memories there which just make me happy in all ways. My favorite part about all the memories is that they have to do with my family. That is the wonderful blessing of temples: families. The temple is so holy and sacred because all of the work done there is to organize and build families after the laws of God. The wonderful feeling and spirit of love and learning found therein comes from the Holy Ghost testifying that the family is of God. I know that the temple truly is the house of the Lord and the house of His family.

This knowledge goes hand in hand with another eternal truth. The only place on earth that can be a holy as the temple, is the Home. The spirit of love and learning can exist within our own walls as we strive to organize our family after the teachings of Jesus Christ. A house becomes a home as a family unites in faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

Jesus Christ is our lord and savior. He died so we could be cleaned and strengthened to have our own eternal families, create sacred homes on this earth, and live with The Father and Him in the next. I love Him beyond words for that and will spend my life in gratitude for His sacrifice. Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lamb! In His holy name, amen.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Basham

Monday, February 22, 2016

Stake Relief Society President - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone,

Once upon a time, my junior year, I went to a party. Previous to my arrival, there were only about 11 girls at the party. Once I got there, the comment was made: "look we have a boy, this is a real party now!" That was quite funny and we all laughed. Then it was the standing joke for a while and I was the only guy who showed up to parties except that one time when Hannah's cousin came to the mall with us, which was quite fun. Eventually, Nick joined us and then there were two guys at parties. Good memories.

Anyway, the reason I bring this story up now, is that this same story seems to have happened to me again. I'm pretty sure that district meeting is not exactly a party, but it's close enough. Transfers are this week, and they have reorganized the district again, adding two more sisters. I am now the district leader of seven sisters. Elder Brown made the comment that I am more like a stake relief society president than a district leader. I have no response to that. Anyway this will all be exciting. I'm really quite happy with it actually. It feels just like home and sisters give better trainings anyway.

Speaking of training (though in a different sense of the word) I have been selected to train a new missionary this transfer. Elder Brown is going home to California after two very long years. On Tuesday I will be saying goodbye to him and meeting a fresh new missionary straight out of Provo. I am quite excited and nervous. I really wonder what he will be like. He could be like me and immediately begin doing everything and acting like he is the trainer and not the trainee, or he could be completely scared to talk to anyone. Either way, I will definitely have to work on my humility and patience. I really hope that I can be a good enough leader for him and the district.

So there is a member of our ward who owns and "escape experience." It is exactly like one of the adventure, puzzle video games, only it is in real life. You have to find all of he clues and pieces to progress through the environment and escape. This one is prison themed. We had to break out of our cell and into a guard room and then hack the computer to get through a magnetic door. It was awesome. The zone leaders and us went together. They handcuffed us all in a chain and locked us in the room. We just barely finished with three minutes to spare. It was by far one of the coolest experiences ever. I cannot wait to go back and try the other puzzles. There is a zombie apocalypse themed one. Here are some funny pictures:

Handcuffed Book Club
How many missionaries does it take to screw in a light bulb?

So unfortunately I do not have enough time to write a big spiritual thought this week. I decided to devote more time to emailing my direct family. So we'll make that the spiritual thought. Families are essential. They are the most important unit in time and eternity. I know that all of the commandments God has given us are meant to strengthen and protect the divinity of families. The atonement of Jesus Christ was given to provide the way for our families to live together in pure love and righteousness.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Love you all
Elder Basham

Monday, February 15, 2016

Presidential perfect poached eggs - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

So much happened this week and it has been awesome. Remember Elder Trujillo? Well I finally remembered to take a photo with him after forgetting for two exchanges and three transfers.

Elder Basham and Elder Trujillo on exchanges

It snowed Monday through Thursday last week. Fortunately none of the snow ever stuck to the ground ever though. It was weird. Almost more like cold rain than snow. The only difference being that when snow is flung into your eyes by freezing wind it really hurts. Speaking of eyes, Elder Trujillo needs eye surgery so he is going home. I'm definitely going to miss him; this guy is awesome. Fortunately he will be back in six months and he should be able to see then so it will be great.

With this change in our district we have had emergency transfers. It's really weird. Now Elder Brown and I are the only elders in the district with five sisters. It's pretty much just like home now I suppose. Anyway, thanks to that fun, I am now a district leader as of 106 minutes ago. That's exciting and scary. I now get/have to plan a district meeting and two trainings and assignments by Wednesday morning. Wish me luck.

So this week we got to visit President Andersen's house. It's great living in the same ward as the mission president. We are pretty much the center of the mission. Anyway, his daughter and granddaughter, who is three, were visiting from Utah. It was super cute listening to her talk about her friends and other silly things that three-year-olds talk about and watch her get her nails painted by her grandma. The hardest mission rule by far is not holding babies or playing with children. Oh well I can survive for another 18 months, although I may squeeze Abby and Sophie to death then.

While we were visiting, they were having breakfast. And for breakfast they were having poached eggs. But not just any poached eggs, I was informed; these were "grandpa Andersen's perfect poached eggs." And they were actually very well made. Having only been able to successfully poach duck eggs, I asked president what the secret is and he told me. I can now add making eggs to the list of things I have learned from president. Unwilling to let this new talent go wasted, I have had poached eggs every day since Friday. However, I could not just stop there, so I made this deliciousness for lunch today.

Eggs Benedict for Elder Brown

Bam! I bet none of you made that on your mission. Elder Brown had never had eggs Benedict before and I wanted to have the fun of making it so I thought it would be a great parting treat. He might as well eat well the last week of his mission. He said he had never tasted anything like it before in his life. Hopefully he means that in a positive way...

Many months ago, sister Anderson sent me a few scorpion lollipops. I have been putting them off for a long time and probably would never have eaten them. Elder brown was far more determined than I and came up with the great idea of doing a time lapse. You can decide for yourself who won.

Anyway I will have to send the last half of this email in a little bit. Have a great Monday until then!

Honorary High Priest
Hello again!

This week we also got to go to the temple. It was a really great experience in many ways and it especially helped elder brown and I a lot. The strength gained from the temple is truly amazing and it helps me see so clearly how I can better help the lord. It was a very small temple, but the same spirit could be felt there. I definitely miss the Gilbert temple a lot. After I get through squeezing Abby and Sophie I'll probably go straight there. But that is far to long off to think about. Anyway here are some pictures. This is what our district used to look like before today.

This Sunday we went to high priest group at church with an investigator. We had a rather stirring conversation about adversity and how it is part of God's plan for us. My favorite part though was when someone made the comment about opposition In all things, our investigator turned to me and casually stated "that is second Nephi chapter two." I was quite happy to hear him talk about the Book of Mormon and when he saw my excitement he just waved it off saying "everybody knows that one." I could not help but smile at that. This guy is hilarious.

Anyway, as we all engaged in the discussion brother Tolk - who you may remember as laser physics guy - liked our comments so much that he proposed that Elder Brown and I be given the lofty title of Honorary High Priests. That was quite funny and I rather enjoyed the whole meeting. We may go back in a few weeks for fun.

And so for my spiritual thought this week, I will just tell you the comment that earned us the title. The question was proposed: what is the deciding factor between those who become bitter from affliction and those who become better from affliction?

I believe the answer can be found in the one who is the example in all things, our Savior. Jesus Christ suffered all affliction that mankind would ever be faced with. As alma chapter 7 states

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

As a result of all this affliction, he became our Savior. With his stripes we are healed and by his suffering we are saved. Because of the affliction he suffered for us all, he is now exalted above all else. So how was he able to do it? The answer is charity, which is the true love of Christ. There would be no atonement without the character of Christ. And the character of Christ is charity, humility, and selflessness. So if we wish to grow and become better from our afflictions, we must have a small part of the character of Christ. Moroni 7:48

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."

I know this promise is true. God will bestow charity upon all those who are true followers of Jesus Christ and pray for this great gift with all their soul. This is made possible through the enabling power of Christ's atonement. With this great gift of love from our Father and our Savior we can overcome affliction and grow better because of them. This is the gift of the atonement and the greatest act of love ever shown. I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and all he does for me and those I love. I know he loves you and wishes all the same blessings upon you and say so in his holy name, amen.

Elder Basham.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Books - Green Hills, Tennesee

Hello Everyone!

This week we got to go on exchanges. I went with Elder Trujillo again to the Spanish area. Unfortunately we did not actually get to teach any lessons in Spanish. In fact we only spoke Spanish three times during the whole 24 hours. But we got to knock a lot of doors. ... a lot of doors. But that was still cool because that gave us a lot of time to talk. Elder Trujillo and I are super similar in so many ways. We would totally be awesome friends back home. It's probably best that we aren't actually companions because we would always be talking and never get work done. Either way it was awesome to talk about books. I have not had anyone to have a good book conversation with in months. We talked about all the ones we had both read, gave each other suggestions on new ones to read, and just had an absolute blast going through every storyline ever.

After walking around in the freezing wind for hours knocking on doors, we went to a Mexican super market. It was fantastic!! I was totally reminded of being home and going to Mesa or El Rio bakery in Tucson. They had all of the treats and sweetbread and empanadas that I love. I had to stop myself from buying a whole tray of those shell kind. However, they did not have those little molasses-flavored, pig-shaped cookies. That was slightly disappointing but oh well. Side note: ten bonus points to the first one who reminds me what the name of those pig cookies is. Apparently my memory isn't perfect after all. Anyway I had an apple soda and nearly bought a pound of fresh white cheese to munch on but thought better of it. Side note to Katelynn: do you remember that conversation we had about apple soda about three years ago? Why do I remember things like that but not the name of pig cookies?

Completely switching topics here. So yesterday we had an investigator come to church. This is always quite exciting on its own but the story gets better. (We have only taught this guy three times and he has only read the first 4 chapters of the Book of Mormon. He has been a Baptist his whole life and is actively involved in doing everything at his church.) He goes up and bears his testimony at the end of the meeting. Everything he said was wonderful and true. He talked extensively about how the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. He spoke of how well it fits hand in hand with the Holy Bible. Even in just a few chapters he has been able to see how every single verse points back to Christ, and bears a clarifying witness of everything the Bible teaches. He is so grateful for the Book of Mormon and all it has taught him in just a few short weeks. He declared boldly that the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon are three witnesses of Jesus Christ and with them all together we have the foundation upon which to build the true church of Jesus Christ.

After Sacrament meeting, he said hello to everyone in the ward and then left to attend his home church. He went there with the Book of Mormon and the Bible together in his hand to tell all of his friends about it.

I was completely shocked. I hadn't taught him any of that. I had actually been quite nervous about what he was going to say. God has taught him far more than I could ever hope to. It was a huge testament to the truth and power of the Book of Mormon and prayer. He was able to be taught by the Holy Ghost because he prayerfully opened his mind and read the book looking to learn more about Jesus Christ. And that same promise is available to everyone. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. It unfolds the plainness of His Gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a way that allows us to understand and feel His love so much more. My invitation to everyone is to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in your heart the message it contains, and then to ask God in the name of Christ if it is true. I can promise that doing so will bless your life in every aspect. I leave that witness and promise with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week
- Elder Basham

Elder Brown showed me this picture and I laughed a lot.

I went to this book store today. I believe that Ryanne went here also last year. Here are some cool pictures.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Of things and places - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone,

Sorry I am very short on time this week. Last week was quite a week. Of all the weeks I have had on my mission, it has been one of them. Things happened and it was awesome. Other things happened and it was not. So here are some photos of the park today.

So my spiritual thought today comes from a few things. One is this talk (not included in his email - hopefully later...)

The second is this scripture.

1 Peter 1:6-11

And so, if you read both of those, you may be able to figure out why I was filled with exceeding joy, even to the point of laughter and tears because I was sprinting half a mile in a full winter coat and Sunday dress to chase down a bus. I knew I looked ridiculous. I knew my legs would hurt for days. And I knew my asthmatic lungs were not happy with me at all. But despite all of this, I was happier that I have been most of my life in any comfortable situation. And that is just awesome.

To quote so many of the wonderful Baptists I meet here, "God is good." That is such a profoundly simple way to put it.

Anyway I hope you all have a fantastic week and know that I love you all!
Elder Basham