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!

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