Monday, January 7, 2013

My first "Consejo de Líderes"*

I am so happy you liked seeing José on your doorstep (you can explain more of what happened on the blog if you like).**   I knew that would be quite the surprise that not many people get to do. He is awesome. I just want him to come back so we can teach with him again! We are struggling to work with the members, but we have plans to improve that a lot. We were not able to teach Melizza last week, but I hope we can find her again at home so we can help her get baptized next week. She knows it´s true, she just has to overcome the opposition of her family and boyfriend. We also have Amancio, Elva, and Mauricio. I don´t remember if I mentioned Amancio before. He is a great 18-year-old who walked pretty far with us to a baptism last week. He has a tough work schedule, but he also wants to get baptized. We also received a miracle by finding his brother who lives next door, Mauricio. His wife, Maria, is an inactive member who wants to start coming back to church. The second time we taught him he had prayed and felt that the Book of Mormon was true!! The only problem is that she may have been married before. She thinks the paperwork never went through completely, which is what we are hoping (divorces take a very long time here) so that they can get married. It´s kind of a Princess Bride scenario, haha.

I did exchanges twice this week. One was in Obrero with Elder Colton Richards, whose cousins I know from BYU (Devin and Alyssa Flake). He is an incredible worker who taught ME way more than I taught him. The other was with Elder Pavon, the new elder from Mexico. He still needs to shake off some nervousness, but he takes a lot of initiative (something I had a problem with) and will learn quickly. This week we also had our monthly meeting with the Stake President Rivarola (who lives in our ward). I love meeting with him because he has no problem with saying that things aren´t working or people aren´t doing their jobs. He is trying to make the stake leadership more like a mission (he is an RM) as far as accountability and efficiency, and we have a couple activities planned that should really help with Family History, finding new investigators, and getting them to church. He is really one of the best in Paraguay, and I feel like he will be key to helping get this ward turned around.

Like the title says, this week was my first Zone Leader´s Council in the mission office. That was very interesting. We started off talking about each of our zones--what went well, what didn´t, and goals we have. I think I did that well. Then we talked about changing the "Standards of Excellence" for this year. That took a little longer than it should have, and people had quite a few differing opinions. But overall, we lowered a lot of the standards that were so unrealistic that most missionaries had just written them off. Now, rather than being huge goals you hit in a few of your best weeks in the mission, they are more like expectations for missionaries who are working efficiently every week. We also changed the daily contacts from talking to 20 people to getting 5 addresses and phone numbers. That is really good, because a lot missionaries were wasting time doing those ineffectively rather than finding people to teach. I feel like that meeting changed a lot of things that will help us work better. They also normally give us a lesson that we can use in our Zone training (which we get to do next week). This time we just talked about what baptism really is and means. (3 Nephi 11:33) I have been feeling like that would be so important for motivation missionaries to work harder and to help people change for the right reasons, not just for numbers. So I was very happy we talked about that, and I hope it will make a difference when we use it. Sometimes with all the meetings and numbers we forget that everything we do centers in Christ. (2 Nephi 25:26)

After the Zone training I stayed around so the mission nurse could file down my toenail. It´s part of the treatment she gave me to do for my toenail that has been infected and ingrown for a couple weeks. Hope it works! Other than that, I am doing well. We ate with the Grau family, who we found out has grandchildren that live behind the Orem library! I was talking to them a lot about Orem and what it´s like there. They found it weird that McDonald´s in the USA is for lower-class adults, whereas here it is almost only for upper-class children.

Thanks for all your emails! I really liked Brittany´s message about atheists.*** At some point I do just have to realize that some of those people have hardened their hearts and I can do nothing more than testify, invite, and be a Christ-like example. I did get the letter from Brother Corbridge and a few other people. Stevie Carr sent me a little package for Christmas, which I appreciated. :) Also, in the Council I was able to talk with other leaders about how my old companions and areas are doing, which was fantastic. Lidia did get baptized, along with a couple other people I taught! Maria Villalba still has not...but we´ll keep praying. Elder Knudsen (Manu Ginobili) and I will keep trying to learn, lead, enjoy, and WORK here in Amambay. Love the mission, and I love you all!

-Elder Wesley Morgan

*Zone Leader's Council

**A few days ago, there was a knock at the door.  It turns out that José Olavarrieta, whose house Elder Morgan was at when he Skyped the family on Christmas, was in Utah!  And he had a surprise Christmas present: soccer shirts for Mom, Tony, and Daniel!

***I shared a story from President Boyd K. Packer about talking with an atheist about our beliefs.  If you would like to read the talk, click here.  The story is under the first section titled, "What Does Salt Taste Like?"

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