Monday, April 25, 2016

An Unexpected Party - Green Hills, Tennessee

Good Monday (Meaning that it is a good Monday whether you like it or not)

Thank you all so much for your birthday cards and wishes. It was wonderful to receive them all from you. I was glad to hear from family, friends, and Ward members - Bashams, Johnsons, Andersons, Andersens, Lamoreauxs, Hawks, McKees, Espersons, and Proudfoots. Eleven and eight years has not been enough time to know such pleasant and honorable people, and to the members of the ward I must admit that I know more than half of you less than half as well as I should. For this I must apologize. However I am very grateful for all the kindness you have shown my family and me throughout the years. I am especially grateful for all the support I have received for my mission and what a pleasure it is to serve for you all. 

As the title of this email may suggest, I am beginning to miss Tolkien books. However, more importantly, I was presented with a surprise party of sorts. To be completely honest, I entirely forgot about my birthday until Elder Torres reminded the ward mission leader and his wife on the way to church. The Eiseles, being the amazingly kind people that they are, took it upon themselves to make me a cake. In the middle of our correlation meeting after church, I was confronted with a rather delicious carrot cake. Since we cannot have fire in the church, there were straws instead of candles; this was actually really fun in then end. After they finished singing, they made me "blow out the candles." Because they were straws, they made funny whistling noises. So I played a little tune with my cake. You may have already gotten a picture of a rather red and embarrassed me holding the cake in our meeting. If not, here is another one of a much less red me.

This Saturday, we volunteered at a book sale for the local library. This involved us moving about 127 boxes full of books from a storage room to the sale where we had to sort them by shelves. This was surprisingly fun, and even more surprisingly, my back doesn't even hurt. Old library people are really funny and very nice, so I enjoyed being with them. The bast part though was they gave us the option to take a bunch of stuff for free. Unfortunately, I could neither read any of the books, listen to the music, nor watch any movies. I decided that I could ship it home if I wanted and that CDs weigh less so I got a bunch of those. Some of the treasures include The Music Man, Tchaikovsky, Buddy Holley, and (ironically) Les Miserables original London cast. In the end it will cost about $6 to ship it all home and I got well over $100 of free stuff so I am not going to complain. 

In other news, I am now the institute teacher for the Book of Mormon class. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. They were discussing who to give the calling to and everyone in the room pointed at me. I'm not even entirely sure that missionaries are supposed to get callings like that, but oh well. At least it is good to know that the ward likes and trusts me. It will be a good opportunity to serve and learn more. I was studying the manual this morning and it looks like it will be a fun class. I just wonder what they are going to do if I ever get transferred. Maybe I have been here so long the ward forgot that I actually don't live here. Also, it is funny how seminary and institute are full classes with their own buildings and programs out west, but here they are given by volunteers in homes or chapels. 

The last thing I will talk about this week is names. Do you remember that video by Kee and Peel titled substitute teacher. In it the class has a substitute from the inner city and he mispronounces all the names. He says things like A-A-Ron, Dee-Nice, or Jay-Quelin. When I first saw that two years ago, I thought it was extremely funny and laughed a lot. However, after having been in the inner city of Nashville, I get it now. It is actually super hilarious because it is so incredibly true. People here actually pronounce names like that. I met an A-A-Ron. I am not even kidding; that is how they all said his name. It wasn't even a joke! The other great one was a referral named Tequila. Now, I know the correct way to pronounce that word, and I know you all do as well. Imagine my surprise when I met her and was informed that it is actually pronounced Tay-Quill-Uh. Yea... that just happened. I cannot even begin to name them all. I'm never sure whether to laugh or just be very confused. 

Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic week and I will talk to you all next Monday!
Elder Basham 

P.S. I saw this picture and it made me smile. I invite you to try sharing the gospel in any way you can.

When the rest of your district decides to go to the country music hall of fame even though they don't like country music and it is $25 a ticket...

Did you know that has a bunch of pictures of nature and scenery and stuff like that? I'm not entirely sure why they took the time to get all these images but it is really quite remarkable. I rather enjoyed looking through them. The coolest part was realizing that I have already been to almost every place they have listed. I have to thank my mom for that. All those family road trips to see mountains around the country are pretty fantastic. It was especially cool for me to see all the mountains because there are no such things here in Tennessee - not for miles and miles as far as the eye can see or the plane can fly. Anyway, here are some of my favorite!

Isn't it just breathtaking how much God has created for us. I am reminded of Alma who taught that "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." I am very grateful to live in this beautiful world that God created for us and am even more grateful that he has given us the chance to know him through the scriptures and prayer. Oh Lord my God, how great thou art!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

And it came to pass that Jean Val Jean was all like "Nuh uh!" - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

So has anyone else noticed that general authorities always quote Les Miserables in their conference talks? In any case, I have. President Hinkley and Elder Christofferson definitely do it the most by far. Brother Bedingfield in our ward is pretty convinced - and I would have to agree with him - that the official cannon of scripture is the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the New and Old Testaments, Talmage, and then Les Miserables.

Despite this, President Andersen will still not let me buy the soundtrack. I completely agree with him and the sacrifice is definitely worth it. However, it was still funny trying to convince him otherwise. After my very logical and well sourced petition, he just laughed and then gave me some consolation chocolate cake. It was really good cake so I'm not going to complain.

Anyway, have you noticed that people all the time use a form of the verb "be" and the word "like" to replace expression verbs. For example, instead of saying "She said, 'Hello what is up?'" they will say "She was like, 'Hello what is up?'" Or instead of "I am thinking, 'It is time to eat.'" it would be "I'm all like, 'it's time to eat.'" Anyway, you probably hear this nonsense every day. In fact you probably speak this nonsense every day yourself. And it's not just the rising generation; I hear it from adults, doctors, professors, lawyers, and even English majors. In fact I realized that I do it all the time.

This of course simply won't do for me. I have taken it upon myself to completely purge this pernicious pronouncement that has permeated my vocabulary. Thus far in my endeavors, I have found it to be incredibly difficult. I am almost completely slave to my tongue, which seems to move inescapably faster than my mind. The method that seems to be working best - and I must thank a dear friend for teaching me - is to go back and correct myself and say it out loud a second time the right way every time I catch myself. It is working slowly but surely, and with time and diligent persistence, I have confidence that I will succeed.

Thank you for listening to my self improvement rant. If I feel inclined, I will update you on that later.

Anyway, we had a great lesson in Sunday school yesterday about missionary work. It crazy how much there is to learn about missionary work. We'll never get it all. However, there was an entirely different approach taken. It started with this statement by the first presidency:

"God's Love For All Mankind" : First Presidency Statement


February 15,1978

Based upon ancient and modern revelation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gladly teaches and declares the Christian doctrine that all men and women are brothers and sisters, not only by blood relationship from common mortal progenitors but as literal spirit children of an Eternal Father.

The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.

The Hebrew prophets prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who should provide salvation for all mankind who believe in the gospel.

Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation, either in this life or in the life to come.

We also declare that the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored to His Church in our day, provides the only way to a mortal life of happiness and a fulness of joy forever. For those who have not received this gospel, the opportunity will come to them in the life hereafter if not in this life.

Our message therefore is one of special love and concern for the eternal welfare of all men and women, regardless of religious belief, race, or nationality, knowing that we are truly brothers and sisters because we are sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father.

That is some really cool stuff in there. I had thought about it before but never heard it stated so clearly and straightforward from a prophet before. It is clear to see that there is truth everywhere in the world, no matter where you are from or what religion you were taught. It seems so many times we think of missionary work as a stone coming out of a mountain without hands to roll forth and conquer the entire earth and cover it all up with our mountain. However, we could probably find a lot of joy in seeing it differently. Perhaps the earth is coming together - bringing all of the goodness and truth they have - to build up the mountain of the lord with us. In fact, the matter to build that mountain would have to come from the earth; we couldn't do it without them.  (Sorry for mixing so many metaphors).

Now go out and find the goodness that is already in the world and invite them to help you build up the kingdom of God on the earth in anyway we can. One of the best and easiest ways is to serve our fellow men together. Don't hesitate to ask anyone to help you with your calling or to assist you in showing love to others.

Have a fantastic week! Love you all
Elder Basham

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Happening in Tennessee - Green Hills, Tennessee

Just thought you'd like to see your Elders (your boys). They were in the neighborhood & I like to send pictures to let you know they are doing well. Thank you for letting them serve here! They are wonderful!!! They send their love and hugs!

Take care, Kim =)

(Kim Gawrys)

Monday, April 11, 2016

When you write a whole email and then it deletes itself - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

It would appear that mail and email and pretty much every other form of communication hates me right now. And add cars and laundry machines to that list. So you may find that this email is kind of short and to the point. I am sorry about that in advance.

There is a really cool statue at the children's hospital where you can play ring around the rosie with the children. I'm not sure Elder Torres quite gets the game.
Herding Cats

Anyway the cool part is on the girl's hand:

Toma Mi Mano!

I thought that was a very fun thing the sculptor did. I imagine they enjoyed putting that in there. Anyway the children's hospital is really cool. It even has a model train room!

So transfers are this Tuesday. Finally, after six whole months in my first area, I will now be ... Staying another transfer. Yep that is right. Maybe I will never leave. Elder Lansberry and Sister Johnson will be leaving this transfer so I am now the very last one from my original district. In fact, with Sister Mayer's departure, I am the only one remaining from my second district. I have been left here the longest. If this keeps up, I will have attended Green Hills more than Catalina Ward. Anyway here is our district from this transfer. About half of them are going away.

On Wednesdays we Wear Birds

Every picture I have had with Elder Lansberry involves him either picking me up or jumping on me. It is like Nick all over again. As much as I miss him, I won't miss that part too much. 
Anyway a hilarious thing happened the other night. I was debating with myself about what to cook for dinner when I saw a can of peaches. I jokingly mentioned out loud that I could make a cobbler. From the other room I hear Elder Torres call out "did you say peach cobbler?" Before I could respond he rushes in - the fastest I have ever seen this guy move - and just starts doing all the dishes. He hands me the baking pan and the other things I need for the cobbler. I was laughing quite hard. I took that as a sign that he did indeed want a cobbler. Apparently my peach desserts are something to be excited about.

On Saturday we met a five year old girl on the bus. She was going with her family to the cherry blossom festival, which - as she informed us - has no cherries nor cherry trees. She really loved to talk. We learned that Darth Vader and Batman are her favorite and her favorite toys were a laser gun and a lightsaber. (Her mother was laughing through most of this.) She also showed us that under her Darth Vader jacket she had a ninja turtles t-shirt and that Leonardo is the best ninja turtle. She told us many other things as well and I had an absolutely great time listening to her. Little kids say the most hilarious things. I thought a lot about Abby and Sophie.

After visiting all of our appointments, we had to wait 40 minutes for a bus, so we decided to try contacting at the cherry blossom festival. We quickly learned that the little girl was correct. There was nothing to do with cherries. It was a Japanese culture festival. That was pretty cool except it seemed that there were two kinds of people at the festival and they couldn't agree over what exactly it was about. Many people were there to celebrate traditional Japanese art and living, the history, and the food. Then the other group thought that it was Comic Con. There were tons of crazy anime cosplays and video game booths and all sorts of shenanigans. I saw a pretty great Sephiroth costume from FF XII but there were no kingdom hearts characters. Anyway, it turns out neither group of people was interested in us or family history nor Book of Mormon. However on the bus ride back home we found the little girl again. She now had a fabulously sparkling batman mask face paint and a balloon sword.

So yea, there is your random story for the week... So much for short and to the point :P

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

P.S. On a whim, I decided to add titles to all of the pictures. I'm pretty sure some of them will only be funny to me but you may be able to figure a few of them out. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sleep... - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone,

Wasn't conference just awesome! I could probably write for 5 days about conference so I'm just not even going to start. Go learn your own things :)

So this last week was super eventful. Elder Torres and I have a new apartment. There are positive and negative sides to this but it's mostly good in the end. Anyway, we were supposed to move into this apartment this coming weekend with the help of our ward. However, to our surprise, we received a call Wednesday night informing us that there had been a change of plans and we had to move no later than Saturday but no earlier than Friday. So that gave us Friday evening and Saturday morning before conference to get everything done. That was pretty much the craziest thing I have had to deal with. We frantically began packing everything Wednesday night and then spent most of Thursday doing the same. Then we remembered that packages had been sent to our address. That would have been fine if we would have stayed in the apartment till this weekend like we planned, but this completely messed that up. So we had to go to the post office, only to hear that it was the wrong post office and we had to go to another one. Meanwhile, Nashville has the worst roads and traffic handling of anywhere I have been. Even Tucson is better. Then we had to follow a lagging gps through this traffic to a goodwill which was not a goodwill then to a real goodwill which had no parking and then back home for lunch by 3. I don't like traffic at all. Around this time I was almost too stressed to live. I was shaking the whole time I was trying to eat lunch. Of course I wasn't going to admit that.

The most annoying part of the whole thing to me was that we had to spend our proselyting time packing boxes and cleaning instead of teaching people. Now that all of that work was done, I was looking forward to finally going out and teaching people. I was so ready for that, or at least I thought so. Fortunately Elder Torres was smarter than me. He saw how close I was to falling apart much better than I could. He watched carefully and noticed what I was unwilling to admit for myself. In an amazing act of love and care for me, he spent his lunch praying for me and my wellbeing - seeking what was to be done. God was kind enough to answer those prayers with the inspiration that I needed a break. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with a break, but he was persistent and kind. I eventually realized that he was right and I was very much in need of a de-stress. So I asked for a priesthood blessing. I was very grateful for that comfort and counsel. This only reaffirmed the fact that God actually wanted me to calm down and take the time to connect with him spiritually and feel his love again.

So reluctantly I took a break. I just spent an hour praying and then took a long long nap. It ended up being a really great and well needed experience. It's funny how reluctant I was to do so. I would have much more readily walked to Nineveh than sat down to take a break. It took a large amount of humility to accept God's will for me and follow it. But in the end I am very glad I did. I am even more glad for a loving companion who cared enough to pray for me and to stop me. And to have a worthy priesthood holder who could help me is such a great blessing. I am grateful that God sent him into my life and gave us all the blessing of the priesthood to guide us.

Anyway I hope you all have an amazing week. I love you all,
Elder Basham

P.S. This awesome rainbow happened. It was raining while the sun was shining. Very weird but very pretty.

PPS. Our move went really well in the end and I love the new apartment. It is so clean and organized.


I found this poster in a restaurant. This literally describes my brain almost perfectly. I especially feel ruled by rules 1,3,8,11,12,14,17, and 19. This definitely goes to explain why I was freaking out so much about having take a break. Anyway, this really made me laugh a lot and it was a fun time to reflect on myself.