Monday, August 29, 2011

Marino, Daniel

We had a great baptismal service on Saturday! It was so fun. This was Elder Crabb's first baptismal service and first time baptizing someone and everything. Marino and Marìa Luisa were finally able to get married during the week. We came by and night to congratulate them, and ate awesome sweet bread and hot chocolate. After talking about eternal families, we read the lyrics to Families Can Be Together Forever and then sang it. That was powerful. They have four young boys who are currently members and a few older ones who we're working with, but basically the Pacheco family is going to be a missionary powerhouse in a few years here. So now that Marino was married, he was able to be baptized and confirmed this weekend. Daniel was also baptized. His dad is not a member, and so things have been a little complicated at their house. But on Saturday, his dad came to the service! Daniel was infectiously happy, and his dad gave him a big hug at the end. A bunch of Daniel's cousins who we are teaching came too. It was great.

We knocked a door during the week that we thought was a reference we were looking for, but it turns out it's just this cool girl named Ani. She has family members who are in the other ward, but aren't super active right now. So, we left her with a Book of Mormon and an invitation to read it and pray about in preparation to be baptized. When we came back, she said she had read it and prayed about it, and does not
believe that it's true, which kind of took me aback. She had a lot of doubts about the Plan of Salvation doctrine that didn't fit in with her study in the Bible, and said she had come to the conclusion that the Bible is more than enough scripture. We tried sharing some different scriptures and testifying, but we really didn't find a way to help her out at the time. But she did come to church on Sunday, which was really cool.

Throughout the week, we were able to be a lot busier and taught a lot of lessons. However, not all of the lessons were great. I'm trying to get better at just being more organized, being able to set up lessons with members, being able to get to all of our appointments on time. We ended up teaching quite a few half-lessons to new people (where we sort of ran out of time and left a pamphlet), and then haven't been able to teach them again. I just want to be able to focus on the people we're teaching during a lesson so that we can really listen and help them, instead of being stressed about making it to the next thing. But it was a really great week, overall. We're really tired now, and I guess that is the result of working hard.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's taken me a while to realize that I'm not my companions. My companions in the mission have been awesome, and they taught me a lot just through their examples. Sometimes I've been afraid to apply what I know are correct principles. What I've realized is that I can do the work as well as any of those I look up to, I just have to do it in the Lord's way. My diligence has waned a bit as it's worn. It's funny how difficult it is to realize that the grind is genuinely easier when you work harder. It seems paradoxical, but if I am as diligent as possible, I enjoy the work, and I love working hard.

We've instituted a new tradition of the Elder Crabb-Elder Tingey companionship: new fruit week. This weeks fruit: nanches. I give it a 4. Elder Crabb described them as overripe bananas and later as bread-fruit. Another new thing we've been trying out is the concept of "2x4" contacts. Each time we contact, we try to do at least one. For example: "Knock, knock. Hola, buenas tardes. Did you know that Jesus came to the Americas and visited the people here? I have the evidence in my backpack." It's worked well. We've met some great new people this week, and we'll continue to find next week.

We'll be a bit focused this week on our investigators Marino and Daniel, who have their baptismal service planned for this Saturday. Marino and Marìa Luisa's wedding is planned for this week. Daniel is great, but his mom has really odd doubts. For example, we taught the Restauration, and she started quizzing us about the apostle Peter's authority. We taught about the Book of Mormon, and she started up about John the Revelator's final words in Revelations. We taught the Law of Chastity, and she asked about polygamy. That's been fun.

Pray for rain!

Monday, August 15, 2011

We had a bit of a let down this week. A lot of our time we spent preparing a baptismal service for Jesabel on Saturday. We were visiting the family each day throughout the week, and brought a few members with us to their house. On Friday, we spent a good portion of the evening inviting members to the service, and on Saturday we had everything prepared. Jesabel never showed up! And now the family has had to move back to Mexico City, so we weren’t able to find out really well what inhibited her from coming. We’ve just prayed a lot that everything goes well for her.

Every second week of the month, we have missionary Sunday! So all four of us in the San Josè 2 district spoke. I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost: His role and mission, the way we can receive guidance from Him, and the importance of following the impressions or guidance we receive. It’s strange how personal experiences from years past just work their way out of the folds of my brain when I need them, even if I had never really considered them before.

This week, Elder Crabb and I just want to work ourselves to the bone. Diligence and efficiency are our goals, and I really just want to focus on finding new people. I take comfort in knowing that if we are doing all the right things, we will have the greatest Guide available, so we’ll trust in that guidance.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Elder Crabb, Talent Show, Victor, Jesabel

Working with Elder Crabb this week has been really fun. He's just been super pumped and ready to dive into everything. Also, he's a total choir boy, so we've been blowing people away with two-part harmony and have already been roped into a few musical numbers. I think he's acted in all of the musicals that have been written. We've found a few really cool new people this week. One is Daniel, who is the son of a less active member. He's one of the smartest people I've taught, and is nine.

We also visited an investigator who I hadn't seen for a while, and we had a really cool experience. He's having a really hard time right now. A drug and alcohol addiction has recently caused him to lose his family and his job, so things have been rough. When we met with him, he was a bit drunk, but we did our best to counsel him. At one point he asked me if I had ever used drugs, and said, "How can you help me if you don't understand what I'm going through?"

I found an answer and a conclusion. We taught about Jesus Christ's Atonement, how he chose to experience such suffering so that he would be the Great Healer, and know exactly how to succor each of us in our trial. We taught that we represent Him, and can therefore bring him that healing comfort. Elder Crabb mentioned later, "You really know that you're teaching by the Spirit when you learn too."

We also had a ward talent show this week! A bunch of investigators showed up and Daniel was chosen to participate in this cool painting activity. I did a percussion number with Hermano Ulises, who is a recent convert of Elder Cervera's and one of my best friends here. He has djembe and brought some drumsticks and various bottles, so we just did a rocking improvised jam for a few minutes. I also played guitar and sang for a solo act. There were a few awesome dances from the Relief Society, Young Women's and the Primary, stand-up, a dialogue, and this ten-year-old kid did a awesome solo number and sang this wierd, really romantic song. It was a great activity.

For next week, we'll be helping Jesabel prepare for her baptismal service planned for next Saturday! Elder Crabb really likes talking to and playing with her three kids, Alejandro, Atzel and Alexa. We brought them a bunch of mangos last night because all they had to eat was a box of Zucaritas (Frosted Flakes) and then their temporary apartment flooded... But they sure like reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cuco, Cambios, Cebische, Crepas, Elder Crab

We arrived just in time to Hermana Maria Luìsa's house to pretend we had helped bake the bread!

Here's Carlos and Monsey's crepe stand! They're some really good friends who just don't seem to be able to find the chapel on Sunday afternoons when they've promised that they'll come. But the do make some really good crepes!

The music that I appreciated most is dynamic. The focus is often more on the gaps between the music than the notes themselves. Sometimes, the sound of silence is the most impressive. My mission is a little like that on a grand scale, and of a smaller measure, a really good lesson can be that way as well.

A really busy weekend feels unfortunately like Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." There's no break! It's a great weekend, but it's like being blasted with stress for 48 hours straight. I often feel like that's what the mission is all about: being as busy as possible and filling every moment with work. However, some of the better weekends are more like Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor." They are still really intense, but the breaks in that intensity have just as much importance as the busy times. I hope I can eventually find a "Moonlight" sonata type of balance in the missionary work I do, and it's because those times when silence sounds, the Spirit speaks. Within a lesson, a bit of silence is almost necessary if the Holy Ghost is going to have an active teaching role. I'm trying to improve the balance in my work so that the Spirit really is the third member of our companionship.

Cuco - the investigator who needed to be divorced and then married to be baptized - is awesome, and such an example of faith for me. We told him that steps he needed to take, and he started immediately. We went by his house on Thursday, and they were preparing to leave to Veracruz to start the divorce process. He has a strong testimony of the Gospel, and he acts on it.
This transfer was a bit rough because Elder Cervera and I had some difficulties in our companionship unity. However, on Friday, we had a conversation and were really honest and open about what had been upsetting us, and basically solved all of our problems. The end of the transfer was really great. And so, we made up just in time for Elder Cervera to be transferred to San Lucas! That means we're still in the same zone.

Which brings me to the new transfer. I will be training. I think my trainee's name is Elder Crab. I am really, really excited, and bit nervous. The attitudes and habits that I exhibit as a trainer will be... extremely influential on my companion for a long time, so I'm going to do my best.
Elder Cervera and I helped out at a Young Men's activity when they learned to make Ceviche, which ended up being Elder Tingey (with his powerful contact lenses) cuts all of the onions while the Young Men all leave the room trying to fight onion-provoked tears.