“Don’t be Dumb”

This week got kicked off with interviews with the mission president.
Apparently the procedure for preparing for an interview with president
is to rack your mind looking for anything and everything you have done
wrong in the last three months in order to mentally prepare for a
verbal beating. This is to say that I was very disappointed that my
interview was cheerful, supportive, and all around uneventful.
President is very loving to his missionaries, therefore he is not
afraid to scrunch his brow every once in a while. Turns out the
paranoia was just that, paranoia. Everybody got away without a
scratch.

On Thursday was my very first zone conference. I got to finally meet
all the names that I had heard so much about. I’m told this ranked
among some of the most boring zone conferences in the recent past.
Most of it was filled with policy. President is tired of hearing
missionaries ask him for every little rule. He clarified rules that
already existed and shot down rules that he claims we made up. We had
an hour long discussion on music that ended with “govern yourselves,
don’t be dumb.”

All this interaction with president and other missionaries has gotten
me nervous about transfers coming up. I don’t want to leave but I
think the odds are against me. Few companionships stay together for 3
transfers. There are 5 Spanish speaking Elders coming into the mission
and I think it is likely Elder Céspedes could be training again. We
will wait and see, transfers are on the ninth.

We had another baptism on Saturday. A little boy named Manny. He has a
great family that we have been working with a lot. His older brother
went up and bore his testimony and got the whole family crying
including the non-member dad and grandma. There was an awesome spirit
there. I will get the pictures to show y’all next week.

We had exchanges again this week and I taught a family the Plan of
Salvation without Elder Céspedes. It was great to push me out of my
comfort zone. At the end of the lesson I committed them to baptism for
mid November. I hope I can stay and work with them for a long time.

We found another really solid investigator this week. She has a family
of seven kids and she seems really interested. We teach the first
lesson this week. That puts us at 10 new investigators this month.
That’s huge.

We hit Standards of Excellence this week. That means we hit all the
goals set by President. We are really happy but we are focused on the
repeat.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I’ll make up for them next week.

Always make sure to invite your “Mormon Friends”

This week featured my first baptism on the mission. It is such a
blessing to get to see an investigator progress from knowing nothing
about the church to having a testimony and being baptized. He was so
happy, he made sure to invite all his “Mormon friends” to come and
see. Elder Cespedes was shocked that everything went smoothly and
according to plan, until we found out that he ripped his jumpsuit
superman style to get out. 😂 If something has to go wrong I guess
that is alright with me.

As someone who was born into this church I haven’t had to sacrifice
much. But I know that my testimony has grown seeing people being
slowly converted to the gospel as they give up things in their lives
that become insignificant with the knowledge that our Heavenly Father
has a plan for us.

(Apart from a baptism) Nothing too exciting happened this week. The
sisters have still evaded the housing coordinator long enough to stay
out of the roach apartment, which by the way has now gone abandoned
for another 3 weeks.

Spanish is getting easier, slowly, but surely.

Week 14- Updates to Come

I honestly can’t think of that much to say this week.

The sisters moved out of the cockroach apartment. The housing
coordinator threatened to move them back. I don’t know if they will
have that. Updates to come.

The highlight this week was a contact. She was outside of her house when we were in her neighborhood. She told us that she already believes in the Book of Mormon and loves our family history website. I see lots of potential and can’t wait to start teaching the family this week. Updates to come.

Today we have a baptismal interview. If all goes well, [name removed] will be baptized this Saturday.

 
I hope that there is more news next week. Updates to come.

 

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“In the Fridge, but not of the Fridge”

On Tuesday we called the APs to see where the new sister missionaries
in our ward would be staying. They rattled off an address that didn’t
mean anything to them but meant all too much for us. They would be
living in the same apartment that the Elders abandoned because of a
cockroach infestation. The APs asked us if we would go over and see if
it needed any kitchen or bathroom supplies before the sisters got
there. We went first thing the next morning. It was absolutely
disgusting. For some reason nobody imagined that a cockroach
infested-5 week abandoned apartment wouldn’t just improve with time.
We decided that there was no way the sisters would ever live here if
they walked into layers of dead cockroaches and pools of bug feces
coating the inside of the bathtubs, fridge, and dishwasher to name a
few. We enlisted reinforcements and cleaned for 4 hours straight until
they arrived. The fridge looked pearly white. Knowing what it looked
like before ensured that I would NEVER put food in there but we were
hoping that they wouldn’t notice that.

Church leaders often recommend saints to be “in the world, but not of
the world.” This fridge illustrates this point accurately. The inside
you could lick and walk away with a minty fresh feeling. The outside
you could touch and be in the hospital for a few days. Like the fridge
we may be in an environment of sin and filth. But that doesn’t mean we
have to contribute or even participate in these activities. We just
need to keep ourselves pure in an ever complicating society.

For a few hours this was the cleanest apartment in the mission for
sure. We almost had the sisters fooled. Overnight however the bugs
came back with a vengeance and soon undid all our labor. Some
cockroaches even got into the fridge ruining my analogy. We knew that
the sisters would just complain immediately and get a new apartment.
To our surprise though they were ready to battle the bugs even if it
took all transfer. Major respect. We took pity on them and complained
for them. Only to leave the infamous cockroach apartment abandoned
once again.

The highlight of this week didn’t come until the weekend with General
Conference. I watched 2 out of the 5 sessions in Spanish so I am still
catching up. So many of the speakers talked about member missionary
work. I loved Elder Holland’s talk on home teaching in priesthood
session. His talk (which could easily be applied to visiting teaching)
outlined how we should all approach home teaching. If everyone in the
church applied his teaching there would be no need for missionaries at
all, because everyone would be engaged in finding, teaching and
retention in their own home wards.

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. I love getting all of your
emails. I can’t wait to let you know what adventures this week brings.