Monday, May 30, 2016

Star Wars - Clarksville, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

So my first week in Clarksville has been pretty fun. It is so different from Nashville. I cannot tell if it is a small town or a city. It is kind of both at the same time. The people here are great and the members are awesome. We actually got fed dinner more than once last week! (Seven days to be precise). Also we now have a two story house, though it is still much cheaper than Nashville. I must admit I'm not actually a fan of large houses. I lose elder McKown all the time. There are so many places to go you can almost never see each other all morning. Also, there is so much more to try and keep clean with all the extra closets and drawers to throw stuff. Believe it or not, I actually really like small houses a lot more. They are cleaner and friendlier. I'll just add that information to my future ideas folder. Right next to the 100,000 reasons to never ever, not at all, without exception, no excuses, no not ever own a dog file. 

Speaking of animals, I met some people who rescue bunnies. They have an entire yard full of bunnies taken from abusive homes. There were so many! Probably the cutest thing ever. On top of that they had about thirty bunny statues on their front path and bunny paintings in their home. That can go in the future ideas file too. 

So one of the cool parts about being a zone leader is that we have a full time car (for exchanges and occasional rescuing, chastising, and/or babysitting the other elders). However, it is not your normal 4 door missionary sedan. Neither is it the epic 12 foot truck the assistants to the president drive. Better than all these, we have the one and only mom van. That is right. Your amazingly useful 7 passenger dodge minivan with automatic doors. Have you ever seen anything as cool as two 19 year olds pulling up to church on Sunday looking sharper than the b scale in a minivan? Then we grab our bags from the back and walk away as the automatic sliding doors slowly close themselves. All of the moms in the ward are jealous. 

On a side note, here is elder McKown (Mic-Cow-en).

Elder Basham and Elder McKown

He is going home next transfer. This is the second time I get to kill a missionary off. However, this companion is still working hard and enjoying his mission. I am very glad to be learning from him. 

Last thing, we found the two coolest lightsabers I have ever seen in the apartment closet. I don't know where you buy these things or how much they cost, but I need them. I am buying two for Nick and I and we will kill each other next November. It will be awesome. Anyway here take a look. Unfortunately I did not get anyone to duel with me so you don't get to see the red one or hear the fantastic collision noises. However, just know that these are the coolest things ever. 

I hope you all have an amazing week! I love you guys :)

Elder Basham

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nashville Hot Chicken - Last Letter from Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

I have finally done it. I tried Nashville hot chicken. It was actually very delicious. The cool part is that the sauce is dry. So it doesn't get all over your hands and face like most chicken wings and like stuff. I decided to order the hottest flavor. This was extremely delicious. However, it became difficult to eat because of how spicy it was. It was actually kind of painful. Totally worth it though.

The reason I finally went out of my way to taste this stuff is actually because I am leaving Nashville. After nearly eight months, my time to be transferred has come. I will be going to Clarksville 3rd ward with Elder McKown. President called me on Friday and asked if I would be a zone leader for him. This will be pretty exciting, besides the fact that I'll now get about an hour less sleep every night. It will be worth it. It is going to be very weird to leave Green Hills after being here so long. It feels as hard as leaving home. I am very grateful for the time that I had to spend here.

So in accordance with tradition, we had our last district meeting, sang our cliche goodbye hymn, and took pictures. However my district apostatized on me. I told them that we could take pictures "as long as it took less than five minutes, and didn't distract too much." Immediately everyone responded that they wanted interesting pictures. They started throwing out crazy ideas. The zone leaders yelled out that we should use their van in the photos. For some weird reason, all of the sisters exclaimed that they had been thinking the exact same thing. (I am still confused about that part). Anyway, twenty-five minutes later and after much shenanigans, we had these photos. They are actually quite cool looking and I must say I am a fan. Hopefully we don't make a habit of this.

Your friendly Tennessee Nashville Toyota Dealership sales team.

Which one of these things is not like the others?

That is a very large bible.

Anyway I hope you all have an amazing week. I love you all!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Redundant Disneyland animatronic song regarding world cultures - Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everybody!

You will never guess what happened. This week I met my second person who I know from home. Well, almost know. Believe it or not it is the second person from snowflake. Sister Hammond went on exchanges with the Spanish sisters this week so I got to meet new people at our Book of Mormon class. Hermana Uchytil is actually one of my cousin Paige's best friends. So just like Elder Nez, I have seen her before in snowflake. In fact, we were at the same stake youth dance together with Elder Nez.  I am at least 51.29% sure that I actually danced with her.... How weird. Who would have thought that you could go to a youth activity in your cousins' stake and meet all the people who will be on a mission with you four years later. It truly is a small world after all.

On a side note: if you want to take a jumping photo, you should do it outside. The first and most obvious reason for this has to do with the way cameras work. There is a setting known as the shutter speed. This simply measures how long the lens is open and collecting light. If there is a lot of light - outside in the noon day sun for instance - the camera can collect enough light really quickly. This means it will only be exposed to a fraction of a second of time, allowing you to take clear and non blurry pictures of fast moving objects (such as a jumping person). If it is not as bright, the photo will either end up very dark, or it will be exposed for a longer period of time and the moving object will be very blurry.

It will look like this for example. The other reason you should take jumping photos outside is that ceilings are not very high and I am pretty decently tall. Hard objects hurt when you jump into them.

The other funny part of our Book of Mormon class happened afterwards. Melanie went around like always and introduced herself to everyone. She went up to one of the investigators from the Bellevue ward and asked him when he would be getting baptized. He informed her he wasn't going to. She told him that he just didn't know yet. She highly recommended it to him and told him all the great things she loves about the Holy Ghost. Melanie is a better missionary than any of us. She remembers so clearly not having the gospel and truly loves the change it has made. I hope she never comes to forget that.

Anyway here is a thought for you. An egg simply cannot remain an egg. It must either hatch or eventually rot. Never become complacent with where you are.

Have a great week
Elder Basham

Monday, May 9, 2016

In which Elder Basham makes a new discovery - Green Hills, Tennessee


This week we went on exchanges with the zone leaders. It was really pretty fun being in another area. The other cool thing is that we actually got to work out in the morning. So as missionaries we are supposed to exercise for 30 minutes every morning. Unfortunately we are not allowed to go to gyms or use Dumbbells, so it really isn't much of a work out. Mostly it just consists of push ups, sit ups, and stretching. On the bright side I finally started doing the physical therapy for my shoulder injury two years ago. Anyway, so when I went to Bellevue with elder Brown, we ran for 3 miles through the Tennessee hills every morning. That was quite the workout. I will admit that I had to use my inhaler and walk a lot of it, but it was still really fun. The coolest part about that is that I was actually awake for the morning. By 7 I felt like it was noon and I was up talking, cooking, and enjoying myself. It was a nice contrast to falling asleep on my breakfast.

Another fun thing on the exchange is that we went past Taylor Swift's Childhood home. Her mom still lives there with round the clock live security guards roaming around the yard. After seeing that I am really glad that I am neither rich nor famous. I would much rather just enjoy myself without a million people following me trying to stop people from following me. Later in the week, we walked by Taylor Swift's music publisher. To be honest I had past it hundreds of times but just never thought of it. This time I suddenly realized, "wait a minute, this is music row. All the publishing studios are here. Which means that... Oh yes it is that building right there. I can't believe I never noticed it." So yea there it is. Number 8 music square west.

The Eiseles live right by it. Music row is really funny. It is all a bunch of old southern houses. It looks just like everywhere else in Nashville. However all of the houses are actually full of music publishers not homes. You can't see it in this picture because SONY and World Productions are the exceptions. They have regular big office buildings. How boring of them. I'd rather have a hundred year old house.

Anyway, that is probably enough of that for the rest of my mission. On a more serious note, the work is going well. We are doing a lot of finding but God is giving us a lot of miracles. The other week I had a great conversation with a lady on a bus about the Punchinello books. Then yesterday we knocked right on her door and she was so happy to see us again. We offered her a Book of Mormon and she was elated. She told us about how she had tried to get one many years ago but missionaries never came. She is super excited to read the whole book. It was such a miracle to find her again.

We had the opportunity to pass the sacrament yesterday. As I went from pew to pew, I thought about the people. The people of this ward have become great friends to me and I really love them. I thought about the great things they have done for us and the fun times we had serving together. I thought about the difficulties they have been through and the sacrifices they make. I thought about the Savior. He is the personal savior to each and every one of them. I thought about how His atonement has blessed the lives of those I love both here, at home, and as far away as Uganda. As I thought of these things, I was filled with the spirit and with love. I could see how much God loves all these people and myself, and I had my heart opened to love them more.

This was such a wonderful experience. I have been trying for a long time to make the sacrament more special to me. I have spent most of that time looking inward. I was trying to find something in myself that I had to change or do better, some special way of remembering Him more. In the end, it was just as simple as turning out. The Savior was always serving others and showing love. He never did anything selfishly or for himself; everything was an act of kindness for another. What better way to remember the Savior than to follow that example. I am beginning to realize that always remembering Him has to do a lot less with constantly thinking about the cross and reading Isaiah 53, and a lot more to do with how we act. We remember Christ by following Him and honoring the name we have taken upon us. Every time I reach out and smile to another I am remembering Christ and acting in His name. I am so grateful to have learned this lesson and cannot wait to go out and serve others.

I hope you all have an amazing week! I love you
Elder Basham

Monday, May 2, 2016

- Green Hills, Tennessee

Hello everybody!

First of all, I would like to talk about something I have been thinking about for years. Do you know how every time you eat delicious flavored chips, the flavoring powder gets all over your fingers. It makes a giant mess and then you can't touch anything until you go wash your hands. It ruins books, electronics, doorknobs, faucets, and everything else. It totally ruins the fun of eating Doritos, Cheetos, cheddar flavored anything, and all kinds of other delicious snacks. However, there is a solution: chopsticks. That is right. If you eat your flavored snacks with chopsticks you get absolutely nothing on your fingers. That means you can eat a whole bowl of cheddar Chex mix while reading the bible and still not ruin those really thin, gold leaf pages. Also, chopsticks are incredibly funtastic and make everything* taste better. 
*Does not include apple pie or mashed potatoes

We had zone conference this week. It is president and sister Andersen's last zone conference with us. They will be leaving in July and we will be getting president Stone. Apparently he is a really great guy and about half our ward already knows him so it will probably be all good. Anyway it was so great to hear their testimonies and feel of the love that they have for us. It is so amazing the sacrifice they make for three years to help us be successful missionaries. I cannot even imagine how difficult it must be to manage 200 young adults going through the most stressful times of their life. I am grateful for all they have done for me in their time here. 

On Saturday we volunteered at the Nashville marathon with our ward. We were at the third mile passing out water to the runners. It was actually a pretty fun service project. We saw tons of people we know running the race. Our stake president was right at the beginning going for the 2 hour marathon but he still ran over and talked to us for a whole two seconds. It was funny because after people would run past us you could hear them saying things like, "Did you see the Mormons?" Also I got to taste lemon Gatorade at 5 times the regular concentration. It was just as crazy as it sounds. 

We met a new investigator this week. He came up to us to inform us that Matthew 24 was already fulfilled and there is not going to be another coming of Christ. For once in my life, I was actually able to use my knowledge of dualism and types/foreshadows. Then I got to talk all about 2 Nephi and the prophecies of Isaiah and Nephi concerning the second coming. It was pretty cool. 2 Nephi is my favorite book but nobody ever really talks about it except at a college. It was fun getting to share that with someone who was actually interested. Now he wants to read the whole Book of Mormon. 

Which brings me to my message for the day, which is that 2 Nephi is actually really important. As you know, the purpose of the Book of Mormon is "to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever--And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations" (Book of Mormon, Title Page). The book of 2 Nephi contains the testimony and prophecies of three great prophets all testifying that Jesus is the Christ and the Lord remember his covenants. Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah all saw Christ hundreds of years before he was born and gave us their witnesses of this - fulfilling the divine law of witnesses, as we read in chapter 11

2 And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him.
3 And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words.

I would exhort you all to take the time to read this book and feel the spirit from these three great testimonies. Anyway have a fantastic week and know that I love you all. 

Elder Basham 

One more picture: