Monday, July 29, 2013

Zone Conference

Well, of all of those interesting stories I have been telling the last few weeks...we haven´t been able to find any of them again. I am sure the Lord has his timing. I keep telling my companion that we are working as hard as we can, and once we learn what he wants us to, he will bless us with investigators in church again. One more interesting investigator (who I hope to be able to teach again) is Vidal Notario. He heard the discussions 15 years ago and still reads and believes in the Book of Mormon. He is 50, but like many here, his obstacle is fear of what his parents will think if he changes religion. Sometimes I think it would help to explain that their family has only been Catholic for 400 years maximum, and long before that their Nephite-Lamanite ancestors were members of our church. Haha, I wonder how people would react to that.

Of all the people who we can´t find, I am grateful to at least be able to say that my companion and I are still here! We had to have special transfers to accommodate the change in the mission boundaries. We received Élder Lopez from an area that used to be part of the north mission. He is from Retalheu, Guatemala, and he says Sister Schroeder was in his ward in December! Maybe you can ask her if she remembers him. And the Zone Leaders we live with are Elder Johnson (just arrived) and Elder Moffet, who you asked about. I really like him as a leader. He is a lot of fun and I feel like he is interested in me personally and what I need to progress, not just the numbers the Zone achieves. It is good to finally start meeting missionaries who I can visit after the mission, seeing as most of my companions live very far away.

With those special transfers, we had a Zone Conference, which was great, as always. We had to leave very early in the morning, and it was so cold that there was frost on the ground. Never though I´d see that here. But it is already hot again. Anyway, I learned something that really helped me--tell the members what you need! I get frustrated when they don´t help us, but President Agazzani reminded us that we can´t just assume they know what we need. That is the same problem I have noticed with companionships--communication. So now, especially in lunch appointments, we talk about the gospel and missionary experiences as much as we can, we read a missionary scriptures like Jacob 5:70-72, and we ask for referrals. Whether or not they have one, we encourage them to keep looking for new friends and ask them if they are willing to help us teach their friends or other people who live nearby. Just about everyone responds very positively, and is willing to help us much as their schedule allows.

The Conference also helped us improve our teaching, planning, and contacting. We practiced inviting people to be baptized during our street contacts, which is actually really great. My companion, who is always excited to do everything, loves doing it. I have tried that before, but I am finally doing the right way. We ask about what is important to them (family, peace) and explain how baptism will help them with that. We invite them to be baptized a specific day, and that leads us into setting an appointment to explain more about how they can prepare. I have been thinking that John the Baptist and other great missionaries probably worked like that. In studying about him and his way to teach, I realized that our culture and missionary work are very similar to his, the only difference is that we have a lot more resources and advantages. We still haven´t found anyone who says "Yes! I have been wanting to change my life" but it is good to show them our purpose and see if they are interested.

Yes, I am still District Leader. That is why I have a lot of responsibility--two assignments at once. We are having some small obedience problems in the district, which is frustrating, but I am doing all I can to help them. Time is flying, though it does pass slower on the harder days. But I am really focusing on trying to enjoy each day for what it is and not be so much of a perfectionist. Being a trainer and seeing my companion´s progress helps with that. Life really is good, and there is nothing better than teaching the gospel. Being a missionary is awesome, and I enjoyed receiving Daniel´s first email. That is about how I felt the first few days. It is overwhelming. But it gets A LOT better.

One more of those tough questions I sometimes ask. We found a lady who spent a long time telling us about spiritual experiences she had that helped her see that God has saved her life and given her everything. When we came back, she wouldn´t even let us teach her grandchildren (who are awesome) because she realized what our objective is as missionaries. This isn´t too rare, but she has been more rude than most. The question is, why do spiritual experiences or blessings from God sometimes cause people to become closed off to the truth? I understand that people have their agency, but what is the wrong decision they make to get them off the track the Lord wants them to be on by giving them those experience? I hope that all makes sense. Alma 12 explains a bit, but I am still looking for a solid answer. Thanks for always writing me and answering my questions. It is great to hear that things are going well. Stay strong!

-Elder Wesley Morgan

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