Monday, July 25, 2016

Actually not that tired / President Stone - Clarksville, Tennessee

This was an amazing week. The investigator who came to church last week came again. We were able to teach him in a member's home again! We taught him about repentance and he really got it. The member shared a great testimony of the principle and the spirit was there. He really felt that we loved him and are inviting him to do something that will make him happy. The lesson we had in church this week was on eternal marriage and that was exactly what he needed to hear. He now knows what he needs to do to get closer to the lord and his family. He loves the Ward and is enjoying getting to know them all.

We got to go to Kentucky on exchanges again. If anyone is wondering what Kentucky is like, this picture pretty much sums it up. There are tiny weird towns like this surrounded by miles of corn. This is Elder Cox and he has only been out two months. We had a fantastic time together.

Elder Cox
We had our first zone conference with President Stone. He is absolutely excited about his campaign to simplify our lives and cut out nonsense. One of my favorite examples is that we get to go to bed on time. Yup! It's crazy right. We actually are allowed to sleep. Previously, zone leaders had to make all sorts of phone calls and fill out paperwork at night time instead of going to bed. Do you want to hear the funny part. Two years ago, when they came out with missionary iPads, they created a system in the iPad that would do all of the paperwork and reporting for us. For some weird reason, we just never used it. Now it is amazing. We got to bed at 10:10 last night and I feel amazing. For the first time in ever I actually feel rested and awake!

I want to share with you something special that I learned. If you were to ask me what is my biggest goal in life, I would tell you that it is to be a father and the leader of an eternal family. This is something that has pushed and motivated me throughout my life. I know that the lord will teach me how and help me achieve that. It is one of the largest reasons I decided to go on a mission. I am a very firm believer that a mission is meant to prepare you for marriage and family. This has been proven true again and again in so many small miracles and simple truths learned throughout my mission. I can clearly see that He is teaching me and I am very grateful for that knowledge.

I have learned over the past few weeks that there is yet an even greater goal. The reason family life is so joyful and fulfilling is that it helps one become a more devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. It is the purest way to learn true love and genuine selflessness. Through it we learn to care about others above ourselves and what it truly means to sacrifice for someone else. All of these things help us become more like Jesus Christ. The purpose of marriage and family is to prepare us to live with God. This is the very same purpose of a mission. Here in the mission field, we are learning those same lessons. We make sacrifices to help others, even when many don't recognize or want it. We strive to work in unity with those around us and find Christlike love for each of them. The whole point of missions, temple work, and families is to help us get closer to our Father in Heaven and His Son.  The greatest joy in life and the highest goal is to become a true disciple of our savior Jesus Christ. I don't have to wait till marriage to become that. I can learn it right now as I strive each day to fulfill my calling and use the Atonement.

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

Monday, July 18, 2016

So Tired - Clarksville, Tennessee

Hello everyone,

This was a really fun week! We had an awesome leadership conference with our new mission president. I really like him. It is clear to see that he is the right president for right now. It is really cool to see how everything keeps moving forward. Nothing is better or worse than it was with president Andersen, it's just different. The new perspective builds on everything president Andersen set up and pushes us along at an ever increasing speed. Think of how unique it is that the lord changes the leaders of his church every few years. Even though the people change, the wards and missions still move forward because the triple leader is still Jesus Christ. It was a cool conference because we mostly just counseled and spoke together about many things in the mission and what we want to change and what we can leave behind. President stone is really focused on simplifying our efforts so they are focused on the work. He wants to cut out all the extra stuff we are doing out of tradition that doesn't really have much to do with missionary work.  Anyway, here is a picture. 

Mission Leadership Conference

Here is a cute puppy.

Anyway, this week I have just been so tired. The number of times I have fallen asleep on my scriptures is annoying, not to mention all the times I nodded off in the car. Many times in my life before I have thought, "this is the most tired I have ever been." However, it seems that I always find a way to be more tired than that later on down the road. The whole situation is especially weird considering that I m getting more sleep now than I ever have in my entire life. Somehow, it was easier to get three to five hours of sleep each day than it is to get a full eight hours. Despite having gone to bed on time each day this week, I was just completely exhausted yesterday. I finally fully understand the phrase "too tired to think" when I could not even remember the words to my favorite hymn. All of this reminds me of The District 2 where every one of Elder Morano's v-log's is just him complaining about being tired so they make a montage of him just saying how tired he is. My favorite line is "I honestly don't understand why I'm so happy all the time. It kind of weird me out, because I am just so tired." That is exactly how I feel. 

Anyway had the fun opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday. This was the second time on my mission; the first being only three weeks ago. I find it funny that after 8 months in green hills, I was never asked to speak. However I've been asked every month in Clarksville. I was asked to speak on conversion and it ended up being pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I did not write it down or any such thing. So here is a list of some scriptures that I felt were important to the subject of conversion. Here is the question for you. Why would I start with a discussion on the fall of Adam to speak about conversion? 

Alma 42:10
Mosiah 3:19
Mosiah 27:24-26
Mosiah 5:2, 7-8

Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic week, I love you all!

Elder Basham

PS. I have noticed that if one were to read my emails or my journal out loud, it is not very smooth at all. The sentence structure is so repetitive and blocky. It is like you run into a brick wall at the end of every. Single. Sentence. Furthermore, I use the word "anyway" for all of my transitions and "however" is in way too frequent use. It was boring and annoying even to myself. I feel like I am disappointing so many years of English teachers here. I apologize for the inconvenience and welcome any suggestions.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's a Small World After All! - Clarksville, Tennessee

Hello, hello my friends

This has been a pretty fantastic week! Transfers were Tuesday and Elder McKown went home to Mesa, Arizona. Bishop gave us exactly one instruction: don't bring back another missionary from Arizona. Unfortunately, we failed his assignment. My new companion is Elder Weight is from Chandler! They say you love all of your companions but that doesn't mean you like all of them. Well, I definitely like Elder Weight and am super glad he lives only 15 minutes away from home. And sorry I forgot to attach a picture or Elder Weight. He has spent the first year of his mission in the McMinnville are. That is on the eastern boundary of the mission out in the wild country of the Appalachian hills. You would never guess he is from Chandler anymore. He now talks like a complete Hillbilly. Clarksville is the biggest town he has seen in a long time and he is struggling to understand the way people speak. This is pretty funny. He has an awesome lightsaber too, so he can help Nick and me kill each other. How funny is it that my last two companions have been from Mesa and Chandler! That reminds me of a song... :)

Which transitions perfectly into one of my favorite stories from this week. I was driving (I really have no idea why anyone thought that was a good idea) and took a corner too fast. I had to use the brakes and we fortunately did not tip over, but it was still exciting. In reaction to this, I said one short line: "Hello, Hello my friends!" Now this of course was an allusion to the Disneyland ride Indian Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. However, I imagine most people would not know that. In fact, if anyone besides myself understood what I was talking about, I would be very surprised. Surprised is exactly how I felt when elder Weight knew exactly what I had said and finished with "The brakes may be needing a little adjusting. Easy on the curves." Yep that's right. I found someone else who has all of Disneyland memorized. 

We then spent a good hour talking about Disneyland and pretty much every random detail. He has even been on the storybook land ride, a sign of a true Disneyland fan. His family has a name for every animatronic. My favorite was Uncle Tom from Pirates of the Caribbean. He is the one with the banjo on the bayou, making the little swamp house Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is crazy how much dialogue from the rides is in our heads. When you start quoting the narrator from the train, you begin to think, "maybe I've been to Disneyland enough times," or much more appropriately, "maybe I need to go to Disneyland again soon."

This has been a pretty fun week, but my favorite part is the amazing amount of work we have been able to get done. I am so grateful to have a companion who loves the mission and is willing to work. It feels so great to study, pray, and teach in unity. We are making great strides to turn this zone and area in the right direction and get the work moving forward again and I love it. 

I would like to share a small portion of a story with you all. The story comes from something known as the Ricciardi letter. If you have time, I would encourage you to look it up because it is truly an amazing read. It changed my view of missionary work and life in general because of the profound truths contained therein. Here is a short section that has become important to me recently. 

I warned him “Elder Ricciardi, I don’t want to talk about the
discussion”.  He said “I don’t either”.  So I sat up.  “What do you
want?” I said.  Ricciardi replied “I want nothing…….but to ask you one
quick question”.  What he said next I was not expecting.  He said
“Elder Humphrey, there are two reasons missionaries get along as a
companionship.  1)  When they are working together to be humble,
obedient, and loving the people as a companionship.  In other words,
they are doing what is right together.  HOWEVER, the second reason
Missionaries will also get along is if they are both doing the wrong
things together, as a companionship.  Not getting up on time, not
studying, breaking mission rules.”  I remember thinking “where is the
question in all this?”  Ricciardi then lowered his tone of voice and
said “I believe when missionaries do not get along, when they fight
and argue, it is because one missionary wants to do what is right, and
the other doesn’t care”.  He then asked me the deadly question.  “We
do not get along Elder, so I ask you tonight; please tell me which
missionary you are, the one who wants to do right, or the one who does
not care?  Because if you believe that you are trying to do what is
right, then I am the one choosing what is wrong, and I need to change
so we can be one…goodnight Elder.”

I was floored.  Normally that kind of talk from Ricciardi would set me
off into a rage, but I felt the spirit.  In fact, I laid there and
tears came to my eyes.  I had mocked Ricciardi for so many of his
“methods”. Here are some examples:  when we would reach a neighborhood
he would pull out the street map and we would pray right there in the
middle of the street for guidance, I thought that was silly.
Sometimes he would stop our bike ride to a previously designated
neighborhood and pray, right there in traffic with people staring at
us.  He would ask the Lord “are we going to the right neighborhood?”
Then we would turn around to another destination and I would be so mad
about backtracking 4 miles.  I found these and many other of his habits
so annoying and over the top.  But I knew that night, that the answer
to his question was that I was the missionary not caring enough.

That conversation actually transformed me as a companion, because I
was embarrassed that I had been so disrespectful to him.  In the
deepest part of my heart, I knew he truly meant well in all his
endeavors.  I resented his spirituality and boldness because I was not
sufficiently humble enough to acknowledge that I was nowhere near this
guy in the spirituality department.  Not close in terms of dedication,
or his love for the people of England.  Big moment for me…very big.  I
woke up the next morning and became kind, and stopped making what was
already hard work so much harder for a companion who cared so much.  I
wanted us to get along for the right reasons.  You know what?  I
almost immediately became happier.  The work was still hard, the
disappointment still came, but I stopped fighting Elder Ricciardi, and
I began to feel myself becoming better.

Whenever you are not getting along with your companion, ask
yourself “who of us wants to do right in this companionship.”  If you
get along great with your companion, ask yourself “are we getting
along for the wrong reasons (mutual lack of obedience, work ethic,
dedication, spirituality etc) or for the right reasons.

This has profound importance not only in missionary work and companionships. These principles are far more important when applied to families. Family is the most important unit in time and eternity. It is in families that we experience all of the joys of the gospel. Are we getting along as families? Are we getting along for the right reasons? Are we experiencing all of the joy our father in heaven intends for us there? I bear my witness of the reality of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I know that He intends the greatest happiness through us as we obey His commandments. Most importantly, He is there to pick us up when we fall short. We all need to make changes each day and He is there to help us every step of the way. I love Him and I Know He lives. In his sacred name. Amen. 

I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Basham

I thought I would be done with all of this stuff when I left Nashville. However, this has not proven to be true. To be honest, I'm not entirely disappointed.

There is only one way to decorate your four-wheel
drive, lifted mudding truck.

When you think Tim McGraw...

Monday, July 4, 2016

1 Nephi 13:10-19 - Clarksville, Tennessee

Happy Independence Day!

Do you want to know something crazy? This transfer is already over! Elder McKown is going home tomorrow and I will be receiving Elder Waite. This was the fastest six weeks of my entire life. Some of the days felt like they took years to get through, but when I look back on it all, I can clearly remember my first day in Clarksville as if it were yesterday. This is crazy! Everyone keeps telling me that time moves faster the longer you are out. If this keeps up, I feel like I might blink and find myself on a plane. Fortunately I have over a year left to accomplish something awesome. Anyway, here are some pictures from this transfer:

Elder Lansberry is in my district again. It is pretty awesome.
 Only this time instead of him being my zone leader,
 it is the other way around. That didn't stop
 him from picking me up again.

Daine and Jomila were baptized my first week here. I have had many opportunities to teach them and get to know them since. It is amazing what the Holy Ghost is doing in their lives. They strive to help each other become better each day and their home is a holy place. Their children love the scriptures and praying. Even though it is only a short while they have had the gospel, the whole family has applied it in such a way that it is truly part of their lives.

Elder Jessop's glasses are not anywhere near
as crazy as Katie's, so I could look through
 them without making a weird squinty face.

Anyway, I had a rather cool experience when studying the other day. I was reading the general conference from April 2015. I really love this conference a lot. I have listened to it many many times and learned so many precious truths. It has reached the point where as I read, I hear the speaker's voices and see their faces. I know how they say each line and what it means to them. As I thought about this, my thoughts turned to the savior. I began to ask myself questions.

Do I know the savior in this way? As I read the scriptures, do I hear His voice? Do I know what the words mean to Him? Have I spent sufficient time reading and pondering the words of Christ to know and love Him. Can I hear what He is saying to me in the scriptures? Have I given proper time and attention to the sacred text of the New Testament which contains the life and ministry of the savior? Am I willing and able to learn from Him?

As I pondered, I realized I need to make a few changes in my study. I am grateful the Lord helped me see this, and I know it will help me draw closer to Him. I was also happy to realize all the things I am already doing well, how much I have learned, and how much I already have come to know and love my savior. I hope all of you find joy and knowledge in studying the scriptures and find yourself closer to Christ each day. May we all have the strength to make the changes we need to get even closer to Him. I close with my witness that the savior lives and loves us. He has given us His word that we may "know ... the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] hast sent" (John 17:3). I testify that the bible is true and contains the teachings of our Lord. I testify that the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ and it is a true gift from heaven. I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love you all,
Elder Basham