Monday, March 25, 2013

Mission Prep for Daniel

Okay, I forgot my camera cable to send the pictures of my clothes that need help. But that's okay. Next week. Really, from here on out, I will probably not ask for much more in packages than clothes/equipment replacements. But, as far as advice for Daniel goes, I have been thinking a lot. First, don't bring any ties with white or other light colors. They will get dirty very fast. Have an extra watch or two (especially if there are a lot of robberies in Madrid). My waist bag has been great for hot days, and it gives my shoulders a break. It would be good to buy a backpack and a waist or shoulder bag big enough for scriptures and a few pamphlets. Also, I don't think he will get the nice scriptures in the MTC in Madrid, so it would be a good idea to buy the ones he wants there. I love my new English scriptures...and they still appear brand new. After a few weeks in the mission, I basically only used them once a week. I don´t know if they will have any sort of cases there for scriptures, planners, and missionary handbooks. He'll have to find out there, I guess. Super glue would also be good, because no matter how good your scriptures are, they get used a lot. It´s always good to have extra shirts and garments, because those get dirty fastest. Bring lots of pens, notebooks, and paper. (The more you write the more you learn). It would also be good to bring some church videos. We can buy them at the distribution center, but it would be much easier just to bring them. There are the standard ones (The Restoration, Together Forever), but there are some other great ones for investigators like "On the Way Home" and "How Rare a Possession." (Of course, make sure the disc has the Spanish option). I also know some missionaries who have discs of Mormon Messages in Spanish. Don´t know how they got those, but they are golden! Be sure to bring your pedigree chart and line of priesthood authority, in Spanish if you can. Those are great to show people. Also, learn to cook simply (I don't have the time or resources to make things like the tortilla casserole), get used to trying new foods--even if you don't like them, and don't eat constantly. That is a problem I had. All my life, I had pretty much all the food and time I wanted. Now both of those are very limited, and I wish I would have adjusted to eating less and more consistently (not just snacking all day). Part of the problem is that my teenage metabolism stopped, but I think you´re still growing.

A few other things I thought of, that are more Spiritual. By the way, I am putting all of this in the letter that will go on the blog so that Mom can see it, along with anyone else who is preparing for a mission. I have talked about a lot of things in my letters up to this point that can help any missionary, but there are a few I would like to reiterate. Learn to accept culture and differences in habits. Everyone does things their own way, and some missionaries can't understand that their way isn't always right. You're going to a new world, and you just have to embrace it. Learn to overcome adversity. Be tough, and trust in the Lord. You are going to have to overcome your own challenges and teach people to overcome theirs, too. On that vein, always listen to people and treat them like agents, not objects. Allow them to make their own decision, and teach a lesson based on what they need, not what you want to teach them. Overall, just enjoy it. Don't expect to be perfect, ESPECIALLY not right away. The trials are to help us, and the mission really is a marvelous opportunity.

This whole week, including Palm Sunday, is a big deal here. We'll see if everyone having vacation time helps us find more people! And yes, there are bunnies and eggs.

I'm not going to lie, it is pretty sad to hear some of that news...especially about the boys who are not serving missions. It's not all surprising, but still hard to hear. I wish them the best, and I will keep praying and hoping that things turn around. I feel the same about Maria Villalva. I don't know if you remember her, she was one of my favorite investigators in CDE. In the Zone Leaders' Council today I got to talk to Elder Nielsen (loved seeing him), and he told me she pulled a total 180. She won´t even read the Book of Mormon anymore. And she was hours away from getting baptized. Very disheartening. But thankfully, I have an incredible companion who keeps me going, and in the Council we learned a lot of things that will help our Districts be more effective. I also received some inspiration about how to make sure the District Leaders do their job and follow up on everything the missionaries commit to do in the District meetings. The mission is improving, and I am trying to do my part. I know there are future members waiting for us around here, we just have to find them. One thing we are doing a lot more is talking about Family History. I have always wanted to include that more, and I am showing my pedigree chart to everyone I can. We'll see if it works. Amancio, Julio César, Lorenzo, and the Pavón family are still great, but have not come to church. But one of the Pavón family's cousins, Hector, is very excited to read the Book of Mormon, so he might be the push that gets them going. We also have Giuliano Paredes, a struggling member, helping us with them, which in turn helps him. This week he came running in the rain to help us with a lesson, which was a huge miracle. That surprised everyone! Just have to help the rest of the ward want to help us like that.

Maria also made me think of a Liahona article I read. In September 2009 there was an article about Paraguay! It explains how big of a deal traditions and family opposition are here. That is really one of the biggest challenges. There are so many people who are too scared to change religion for fear of being rejected by their family and friends. We just have to help them trust in the Lord and feel part of the ward family. 

This week I got to do exchanges with Elder Huamán, from Peru. He is incredible. I loved his conversion story, especially when he said how sad he was to have to wait until Saturday to get baptized. He prayed about the Book of Mormon right after the missionaries taught him and wanted to get baptized the next day. There are great missionaries here, and I am also always trying to improve myself, while at the same time forgetting myself and giving my will to the Lord. It is amazing how those two actually work together. Thanks for telling me you have been noticing my progress. I hope you are all progressing too. Love you all!

God be with you,
Elder Wesley Morgan

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