March 9, 2015
Wow, so I don’t know what to start with for this email. I’m getting really nervous because transfers are coming up and I don’t want to break up our dream district. We are doing really well. I’m just glad that we can be fulfilling the Lord’s will. Speaking of his will, he has some pretty big expectations for April. We work a month in advance because an investigator needs to be in church at least 5 times as a requirement to be baptized. We prayed and received a very strong impression that 7 is what the lord wants in April. So we are scrambling to find a family to fulfill that request. We found 3 cool people yesterday but we will have to see if they progress.
Anyway, this week we planned a unique activity. Elder Sonntag and I had been working on it for a couple weeks and we thought it was an awesome idea to find families! The activity was a “Couples Date Night”. We organized a nursery and put the young women in charge to take care of the kids. We organized different activities and a separate class with the bishop about marriages. We asked everyone to bring a couple, married or not, to the activity, that wasn’t a member or was less active. No one fulfilled that commitment. So that was a bit of a fail. But afterwards we agreed that we felt very pleased with the activity. Even though one could say that all we did was “strengthen the faithful”, there are a lot of marriage problems in the ward right now. We prayed for a good result and the couple that was having the most problems somehow won the couple contest. The husband made it through our maze blindfolded. We were so happy! All we wanted to do was give them all something to talk about that night and unite under something fun they did together. And to find new people. We are confident that the first purpose was accomplished. It was a really fun activity.
We hit a low this week….its been a couple weeks without baptizing so I’m getting nervous about our goal…and then only one person came to church. We are obviously doing something wrong. No worries, we will figure that out. I have a couple ideas of things I need to do better personally.
In the taxi with the one person that came to church, a faithful young girl named Maleni, we passed for a family that didn’t come. Maleni was so shocked. We were accustomed to such an incidence, but it hit her hard. She said “Why didn’t they come?”
“Umm…we aren’t sure. They said they were going to be here and agreed that we could pass for them. We called them last night and everything was fine. But they went somewhere else!”
“wow, thats pretty lame. When I make a commitment with God, missionaries, or anyone, I pull through.”
I was really impressed by that.
This week I learned how IMPORTANT it is to stick to your word! We commit people to do something personally a minimum of 6 times a day. And I think…. we see someone actually do what they say… once every other day. But we can’t be like that! It doesn’t matter what happens. We need to be willing to pull through with what we say. The gospel is so real. The blessings are so real. We just have to actually do what we say we will do. THE PROPHETS AND OUR LEADERS (AND THE MISSIONARIES) WILL TELL US WHAT WE GOTTA DO. We just need to listen and go and do. And we will see!! We will feel!! Its really so easy. The commandments are so simple. But like the children of Israel with Moses, when he told them to look at the serpent to be healed, lets not be fooled by the simplicity of the path before us!! (Alma 37)
Yeah, thats about it this week. Love you all!
Live the gospel you should be teaching.
SHARE THE GOSPEL AT ALL TIMES. AND IF ITS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, USE WORDS.
March 16, 2015
Wow what a week.
So to start, my companion got sick so we went to doctors office. I took that opportunity to get my foot checked. They gave me some steroids for my foot. But heres the thing: they asked me for my weight. I told him “like 80 kilos. lets go with 83 because I’ve gotten fatter here” and he decided to check just in case. He weighed me. And I came out at 90 kilos, aka 198 pounds. I’m praying really hard that scale was wrong, because if its accurate Im getting SO FAT! I don’t think I’ve gotten that big. Theres no way I’ve gained 20 pounds…. good thing the extreme heat is coming. It’ll get burned off.
Elder Sonntag and I did divisions for the last time. We had transfers today and he left. He actually went to my old area in CABADA!!!! I gave him two pages of written instructions of how to help all my converts and possible miracles ( people I taught that I never baptized). Im SO GLAD that my converts are in good hands. I told him that he has to send that amazing family Jerez we baptized to the temple.
We had a really funny divisions though. He was baptizing a family that day so we went and took care of the font. Apparently the pump was broken and all this stuff was going wrong. One thing led to another and we ended up propping open the window of the font and chucking out the old dirty water one bucket at a time. We did 90% of it in 20 minutes and we were so tired. But then the stake president and three others saw and got mad. It’s hard to explain, but we basically had to wait 3 hours to keep going. Once the stake prez left we finished in 10 minutes. Afterwards, Elder Sonntag looks at me and was like “How long does it take two gringo missionaries to drain a font? 30 minutes. How long does it take 2 gringo missionaries and a stake presidency to drain a font? 3 hours.” Im gonna miss that kid so much. We had a great time. He was such an inspired district leader and great friend. I’m actually worried about filling his shoes…. because I got called to be the new district leader here. I have a lot to learn and I’m pretty excited to take on the new challenge.
Right now I’m reading the BOM and highlighting every time it mentions Jesus Christ and the Atonement. Jesus Christ in blue and the Atonement in red. It is incredibly….powerful. This normal little spanish blue BOM has become a personal treasure of mine. I write my revelations in the margins. It is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it to all. Find a normal blue book of mormon and read it focusing on the Atonement and Jesus Christ. The most important thing in this life is gain a pure testimony of those two things. Everything else falls in place after that.
I love you all so much! Thanks for your examples and prayers and letters and everything!
March 23, 2015
Man, what a week! We had two baptisms this week between me and Elder Ortiz and three in the district. I got to do my first interview!! It was ridiculously fun and spiritual. I had no idea what I was doing, and Elder Hoffman played up the interview a lot (he made the investigator nervous) so I just sat in there and got to know them until I could tell they were calm and then I moved into the questions and such. It was really cool. I could feel God help me a lot.
This week was really stressful and really busy. I had to get settled in and adjust to being the leader which was quite a project, and we were just simply not finding good people. We found a mom and a daughter and they are really really cool! The daughter is the cutest little thing in the world. We have a fake gun battle every time we show up to the house. I work harder when I’m having fun.
But Elder Ortiz and I were getting a little restless and frustrated for working so hard for so long and not finding any good people to teach. It was SO HOT this week too. Oh my heavens. Hotter than anything I’ve ever felt in the United States. Between the two baptisms on Saturday the Second Counselor in the Bishopric asked us if we could visit this less active kid who crashed really bad on a motorcycle and is now paralyzed chest down. (Speaking of that…. could Grandpa Tim or Anthony maybe send an article or recommendation of exercises or treatments to help his legs regain feeling?) Anyway, we went there and there was a lot of people there visiting him. The house was SO CATHOLIC. There were more Virgin Marys than I could count. Because there was so many people we just said a prayer and left. The super catholic mom invited us back the following day, yesterday. When we returned she started telling us all about her life. I’ll be honest, I heard everything she said and I could repeat it, but I wasn’t actually LISTENING. Like with the spirit and body language and stuff. I was tired and wanted to go look for new people and had 70 things running through my mind. Then she paused for 10 seconds (THAT got my attention) and looked at us and said, “Look, I wanted to tell you guys yesterday but there was a lot of people. I know that my son was saved in the accident to be an example to me. I’ve rejected countless missionaries and I’ve never let them teach my son (different son, not the hurt one. Hurt one is a member.). God is trying to tell me something. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I want my family to join together. I want to receive more blessings. I need comfort. I want to unite with a living God.” (I started screaming with joy inside) And then she said “I’ve already decided. My son and I are getting baptized. We’ve already decided. What do we need to do? Listen to you? Read your book? Or what?”
It was one of the most incredible things that’s ever happened to me. I read a powerful quote by Thomas S. Monson about overcoming trials. We talked about the Atonement. And told them what they needed to do to be baptized. They were ecstatic. So were we. We had brought a little 13 year old deacon with us on that visit. Afterwards he was like “WOW. Does that happen everyday!? I wanna be a missionary SO BAD!” We laughed and told him that it could happen every day if we worked for it. We are going to see how this all plays out with that family. They have a baptismal date for the 11th of April. God blesses the obedient. And we will always see the fruits of our labors. Not always when we want. But they will come. That’s the law of the harvest. And a law of God. I felt unworthy to experience such a miracle and to see a woman who was been prepared by god for over 30 years for that moment yesterday. All we can do is try and work. And God, through the enabling power of the Atonement, works the miracles.
Also attached are pictures of baptisms.
March 30, 2015
Hmm….what a week.
We worked very very hard. I would place this week in one of the top 3 “hardest working” weeks in my mission thus far. I guess I should be having the hardest working week of my mission every single week….but still. We worked really hard!
We were scrambling to find new people, resolve their doubts, and get everyone pumped for church. At the end of a very tiring week, we had 12 people ready for church. We verified when they would get up, when we would pass, how we would get there, and even what they would wear with a couple of them. We were positive we would have at least 8 people in church. So we woke up Sunday morning ready for war. We have church at 8:00 and we had plans to pass for everyone. We had divisions set up so I could go on the other side of the railroad with a member and my companion could go up into the hills with another. Also since this week is the fifth week of the month we had almost no money. I had enough for one taxi ride to church. and so did my companion. So we set off.
Basically long story short, EVERYTHING FELL. The members to pass with us weren’t there, the people we passed for couldn’t go or weren’t even home, and we ended up with one random dude we found the day before in church. And he was only there because he thought “the perspective was interesting”. Anyway, we passed for everyone except one mom and her daughter. So we decided to take a taxi to go grab her. She wasn’t home so we just took the same taxi back. I gave the taxi driver my money (half of what we needed to pay) and looked at my companion. He LEFT HIS MONEY!!! We cheated the taxi driver. We just looked at taxi guy and said “look I’m sorry we really don’t have anything” and he just drove off really mad. I asked my companion why he had no money and he told me he saved his money to write on monday (today). I actually got mad at that moment. I wasn’t quite yelling, but I raised my voice and told him about what’s important and where our vision needs to be, and how writing home doesn’t matter. I felt super bad afterwards. I was a bad companion that morning. Anyway, by passing for that last lady we missed the Sacrament. (when I needed it most). I went into a room in the church and said a really long and fervent pray asking for forgiveness and asking what happened. Why that had happened to us. Didn’t get an answer, so I got up and by that point sacrament had ended so they opened the doors back up.
Right when I walked in I got my answer. I saw 3 less active people that I had been working with for 2 months, without success, sitting in the meeting. They looked at me and were just beaming from head to toe. I teared up. I realized how….wrong I was. I learned once again how numbers really don’t matter. Yes, according to our numbers we had a bad week. Yes, the zone leaders were rather….harsh on the nightly sunday call.
But I really wasn’t worried about it at all. Because 3 children of God finally made it back to the fold. Whether we are returning sheep that have never seen the fold before, or ones that have strayed away, it really doesn’t matter. The ones that strayed away don’t show up in the number reports, but I learned why I shouldn’t care about that. And I won’t.
We have a lot of changes to make, and I’m really excited to do them. We hit bottom, and thats where I like to be. The climb back up is just way too much fun. But this time we are going to climb up with the help of God, instead of trusting in our own strength.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “tempered.” When a metal is tempered it resists both heat and cold without faltering. Thats how we need to be. We just need to have willing, tempered hearts. We really just need to ride along with the will of God. Of course by doing so, we must do all we can. But we have to accept his will no matter what. If we do, then we will achieve eternal life. And receive blessings and joy here. The ups and downs in life are really only here to teach us humility and faith. And those are things I am going to work on a lot more this week. And this life.