Monday, June 10, 2013

Come so far, still so far to go

"I put the two brownie batches together and made this cake."

"Elder Leishman and Elder Portillo enjoying the brownie cake"

Well, as you saw from my pictures, I can now admit I hit the year mark. I really have come a long way. That day in the airport no longer seems like just yesterday. I am excited for the next year, though I have no idea what is in store. I also loved the other little package. That Indiana Jones Card made my week.

The other thing that made my week was a small moment. Like I said, I have been trying to have more faith to find miracles and people who are ready to hear us, and it is working! One of those moments was with a man named Amòs. He is an old man who lives a few blocks from the chapel in a small wooden house on a big field. By talking and asking good questions, we found out his children are members of the church and he is unhappy with the leadership in his current church. We briefly taught a bit about how Christ can help us be born again and erase our pasts so we can have hope for the future-basically repentance and baptism. On our way out he said ''I usually keep my door closed. Don't know why I left it open today. I guess God must have told you to come by.'' We work hard, and it is rare that investigators express sincere appreciation for what we do. So that meant a lot to me.

It was also great that everything went well for Paola's baptism. We had to review a couple commandments right before the interview and baptism, but she is willing to do everything, including help us teach. We have a great group of young single adults here. I'll be going to the temple next Tuesday, so the day you get the email next week might be different. Thanks for letting me know about Grandpa.* Not easy to hear, but I will keep everyone in my prayers. I am glad I got write him. And I am thankful for the time I spent with him right before the mission talking about family history. Now he is part of that legacy. And I, like George Albert Smith, have the task of bringing honor to his name.

Unfortunately, like the rest of the world, there are definitely problems sometimes with people getting offended. One of these was an experience yesterday with a member named Pedro. He complained about President Agazzani and several members. This was an interesting experience because first I wanted to get defensive and remind him that he can't let others keep him from his salvation. But then I remembered that Christ is our mediator, he always takes our side. So I tried to do that and express sympathy. I hope you don't mind, but I shared some experiences you've told me about during Dad's sickness and how you commented that the most important thing was keeping your testimony. I think that helped them, and I hope to continue to be able to mend some of the breaches here in Ca'aguazù. 

I am learning a lot of Guaranì, which is fun. I did my first baptismal interview with someone who spoke only Guaranì, but understood most of my Spanish. I kind of just had to nod and get the general idea of what she said. I am also trying to learn to pray in Guaranì.

Little things you might be interested in. Preach My Gospel in the small Spanish version is now available down here, so just about everyone has one now. I also bought new belts (the other ones were getting old) and boots (the ones from missionary mall were very uncomfortable) for very cheap. Also, I have had to learn a lot about clothing care. I knew how to sew and how to polish shoes, but washing clothes was pretty new. That first week I had to wash the garments by hand. And I learned that when pants say Dry Clean Only, it's the truth. I probably should have bought and used more washable dress slacks. Live and learn. 

One other challenge I am having is learning the area. It is big, and I am a visual learner. In Amambay, where we had maps and street names, I had the area memorized quickly. But it seems I am slower than most missionaries in learning an area just by walking and remembering. That is okay, again, it is an opportunity to learn. It is just a little thing, and in everything that is important, I am doing well. Being a district leader is a lot of responsibility, but I have a great district (you can tell by the number of baptismal interviews I mention). I decided to try looking for scriptures to cross-reference to phrases and topics in my Patriarchal Blessing. That is a great activity (though it can take a long time) that I recommend to anyone. It has helped me understand my role in serving others and how many scriptures applied specifically to ME.

Only one missionary from my group, Elder Smith, went to the other mission, as far as I know. The rest are still here with me.


Elder Wesley Morgan

*Our Grandpa Morgan died on June 9th.  :(

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