Monday, September 14, 2015
Hello my wonderful family and friends!
Some highlights from the week included:
Meeting one of our ward's WML's exchange student Alonso from Spain! He was wearing a Las Vegas shirt, and actually reminded me of a lot of my friends from home, and so it was really cool to talk to him. That day was the last day of the month, and so we were very close to our monthly mile limit on our car, but we ended the day with 1.5 miles left! Success!
On Tuesday we had a zone conference with Elder Martino from the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and he gave some super good insights on life, missionary work, and more. He helped me understand my desire to be a better missionary, and to work smarter, not harder. We also went to a less-active family's home that night, and shared a "His Grace" video, which was fantastic. Please go and watch one/all of those videos, they are so good. Found on mormonchannel.org.
We met a new investigator named Ron this week, and he is a super cool guy. He grew up in a gang atmosphere in Texas, and so he has a super different than anyone else we have talked to, which is really interested. Despite his hard life, he actually has a lot of theories about life that are in line with the Gospel, and I think that it could be really good for him. But because of his background, he has more agnostic beliefs, and a lot of other lifestyle choices that aren't in line with the Gospel. Nonetheless we will continue to work with him, even if it's at a bit slower pace than others.
We were able to have a zone training this week as well, which was very enlightening. We are beginning to work more and more with the Ward Council, and practiced how we will be doing that more to have a better missionary effort in Idaho.
We took our investigator Brallan (sounds like Bryan) on a church tour this week, and it was super good! His younger sister Emily also tagged along, and they enjoyed it a lot. We taught about the purpose of church, the sacrament, baptism, and invited them both to be baptized, and they said yes! Brallan has before, but that was our first time teaching Emily, and she is super stellar. She goes to Activity Days a lot actually, and she seems pretty ready. We're trying to slowly get more support from the parents though, because they don't care really if they get baptized or not, but we're trying to see how they really feel.
The next day that we met with Brallan we set a baptismal date with him for October 17th! That was pretty exciting. We also talked to his mom about it, and actually got her to sign written permission for us to teach her kids and let them be baptized if they choose, which was good, and I think made it more real for Brallan. The next day he went to church for the first time as well! Brother Palmer, the YM 2nd counselor, his youth leader, picked him up. Unfortunately, his other ride fell through, so he was late to sacrament, but he stayed for the rest of the meetings and had a ton of friends in the ward. He was taken good care of. Unfortunately, we had to leave after sacrament however to meet with bishops about the Idaho Initivative. The Idaho Initiative is basically the plan that Elder Martino gave us for working with the ward council more, and so we talked about that with a couple bishops and got their goals for baptisms for this year and the next year. There are some amazing bishops here, that is for sure. Really consecrated, invested men that truly love those who they serve.
Saturday we also had exchanges, and it was probably the best day of my in-field mission experience thus far. Not because I was away from my companion, but because I learned so much. Elder Garcia my district leader came to our area, and we immediately could tell things were going to go well because we have a lot of similar views on missionary work and goal setting. All goals are good, but a lot of the missionaries view them here differently than I do, and so it was good to be with Elder Garcia and agree on those easily. I was a bit worried about the next day because we had three all-Spanish speaking appointments, and Elder Garcia doesn't speak any Spanish, but it all worked out. First, we went to Big Jud's for lunch (the place on Man v. Food that has the huge burgers you might have heard of), and there was somebody that was in the last ward that Elder Garcia served in in Ghana! I guess I should explain that he served in Ghana for 14 months, was honorably released for medical issues, and then decided to go out again and got reassigned to this mission. He got here about when I entered the MTC. But anyway, that was super cool! And after that, we went tracting, and had really good experiences with the people that we taught. Basically, the long and short of the day is that it reminded me of the missionary I wanted to be when I left the MTC. Just the way he taught and how the day went reminded me of aspects that were vital to what I believed would help me be a successful missionary that I had kind of forgotten or slacked off on because "I wasn't going to my actual mission" or just because things are different here than what I was expecting and what I had been taught basically in the MTC they would be like. I had subconsciously decided to just go with the flow I suppose. Today I got an email from a dear friend about his reassignment that really helped me out as well. He always says he tries to leave the mission better than he found it, and so he said he viewed it as he didn't know how much time he had in his area, and so he needed to make it better than he found it as quickly as possible. And that's my new focus I guess. Leave Idaho better than I found it. For my end-of-the-email-motivational/spiritual-moment that seems to be a regular thing now, I just want to say that when you set goals or expectations for something or yourself, don't let hard times or obstacles distract you from that. YOU are the only person that makes you who you are, and what you do with your life. Don't blame others, or your situation, saying you have it harder than others. That is the adversary working on you, telling you to ease up, not try as hard, or be lazy because you deserve it. "Nobody else has it this hard" "No one else in my MTC district had to go to Idaho." Even if you don't say that, you might think it, consciously or subconsciously. Also along those lines, this week we talked about in Zone Training how you are the only person that can make yourself angry, and that being happy is a choice. They handed out a "positive affirmations" sheet, which is basically a list of phrases that an Elder in this mission would yell every morning, or every time he felt happy, sad, or whenever he felt like it really. For example, "I love my life!" "This is the best day ever!" "I love tough things!" "I repent daily!" "I have energy!" We have had a lot of fun as a district/companionship yelling those out all the time (I type as I yell one of them).