Monday, April 16, 2012

Do not send photos with blood and no explanation. Mom

This week was like a hot air balloon takeoff. At the beginning of the week, we had very minimal success. The summer arrived, and I was fighting off some strong attacks of laziness. We were occupied by trying to get everything set up for our ward activity, a "Movie Theater Night," and the schedule we had made for the nightly family home evenings started to cause our time to go to waste when most of the week's assigned families forgot. We had everything ready for liftoff, but we lacked the fire. My companion and I decided to experiment; we would just put our all into the next day, and do everything right, and see how the results changed. We lit the fire, and our hot air balloon took off. The latter half of the week was great, and we saw fruits of our faith and sacrifice.

First, we had the movie night on Thursday. A great group of investigators came out to see "17 Miracles," a film about the pioneer trek to Salt Lake Valley. From there, we started working hard to find new investigators and get everyone from the ward activity to got to church on Sunday as well.

We found some really cool guys. We knocked on José's door, and he let us in before we had even said anything. Different members of his family started filtering through the house during the lesson, and each time he would try to convince them to listen in before we could even invite them. He went to church on Sunday. He actually ditched his only school class of the week to go. We also found a guy named Sergio. He looks like a real thug. However, that preconception seemed a lot different once we were inside and met his one year old daughter and talked about the importance of parenthood. Maybe he is a thug, but he also wants to be a good father. We started teaching, and he started to go off on this rant about the prophet Moses. A bunch of people started coming to his front gate to talk to him, and eventually we were kind of losing control of the lesson, so we invited him to church and gave him a pamphlet. Sunday morning, Elder Smalley saw him on his bike and told him to go to church, and he went too! After running wild Sunday morning, we managed to have ten investigators come, seven for the first time.

I think I've learned a lesson. Without fire - without diligence, and dedication and sacrifice - we're grounded. But faith gets us up in the air. And it's just more efficient to tract from a hot air balloon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Semana Santa - Easter

I read a talk titled "the Fourth Missionary" during the week that helped me realize a lot that I can improve and how to improve it. Basically, my goal is to become a truly consecrated missionary. As I progress during my time preaching and serving, not only should my behavior change, but my actual nature. I should always strive to apply Christ-like attributes and always move forward, towards the light. If I'm doing my best and giving my whole self to the work, I won't worry about irrelevant "real world" stuff, or I won't compare myself to other missionaries. I guess I can't really explain well what I'm thinking, but it's a good talk and has changed how I think about a lot of things.

We started teaching this guy named Ruperto. He's 72 and still sweeps in front of his house every day. Fulfilling his neighborhood duty. He was obviously a punk in his younger years. We also found the Sapienz Parra family, whose mother is a less active member, and they're basically eternal investigators, but we're hoping that they'll progress to baptism this time around. Our biggest hope at their house is Susanna, who was a friend that was there during the first lesson who also accepted a baptismal date. We're hoping to meet her family, but, apparently they only speak Misteco, which is a dialect that I think is generally spoken in Oaxaca and was left by the Mayans. Something like that. I'm just excited to find them and then teach all of the lessons, caveman style.

At the beginning of the week, we found a cool lady named Manuelita. We contacted her in front of house, and as we entered in, the first thing I saw was a giant picture of the Pope, and then she pulled out a Jehovah's witness Bible, and then she told us that she currently attends a Christian church. So... what is she? We just went for it and taught her the Restoration and she accepted a baptismal date as well.

My experience with Semana Santa this year was much different. Yes, there were lots of drunk people. However, there was nobody else. The city was nearly deserted during the middle of the week, because everyone goes to the beach or the water park. Elder Smalley and were literally running down street after street, just looking for houses with people in them and contacting everyone we saw. It was fun, but it's unfortunate that you can only have those exciting, adrenaline-pumped contacting times when you're not really having success, because running from place to place means that people are saying "no." So it was a fun week, and we had a new investigator at church, Maira's mom, Lola.

Family, hope everybody had fun in San Lucas! Say hi to the arch for me. And if you run into a guy selling crepes in Puerta Vallarta who is Mormon, Taoist, Buddhist and believes that people can shoot fire out of their hands, tell him that Elder Tingey says hi, and buy some of his crepes.