Monday, March 24, 2014

Always learning

It was a good week, as is every week in the mission. (You always learn something worthwhile). But we didn´t teach as much as we would´ve liked. We used a lot of time moving the other missionaries in our ward into our apartment until they find a new apartment. It´s cramped and smelly but we get over it. They are both from Guatemala. I think I have mentioned this before, but never asked specifically, could you give me the names and addresses (approximate) of your cousins in Guatemala? Elder Velasquez, my old friend, goes home in April and lives pretty close to the temple, too. He said he´d like to visit them.

Another thing that took a lot of time was a conference with Elder Francisco J. Viñas, a Spaniard who grew up in Uruguay. He's from the Area Presidency, and it was a very very good conference--one of the mission tours that Daniel mentioned in his mission a few weeks ago. My zone did a special musical number, "Onward Christian Soldiers," which turned out alright. I sang a solo, which was pretty nerve-wracking. Elder Viñas talked about a lot of great things--teaching by the spirit, preaching repentance to help people change. Everything was centered on the Atonement. He shared a story I loved about a missionary who wanted to go home a little early. When he had to interview the missionary, he said "You probably think I am here to convince you to stay, but that´s not what I am going to do. I just want to help you understand why you want to go home. You may have your reasons, but it is really because you don´t understand the Atonement. If you understood the Atonement, you would understand why you have to continue in the mission. And if you were to stay here, you would come to understand the Atonement more fully." The missionary was intrigued, and--as you can guess--decided to finish his mission.

He also mentioned what you said, that the mission isn´t ours. He reminded us that we don´t baptize or teach anyone. I´ve heard that before, but it was a powerful reminder. It´s no use counting your baptisms and comparing numbers because I have little to do with the success. Like you said, we are just instruments in the Lord´s hands. Elder Viñas was very direct in everything he said, and used a lot of memorized scriptures. He talked about the poor retention in Paraguay, and told us we can´t baptize people who aren´t ready yet. He gave the example of Ammon and Limhi. He wasn´t worried about what other people thought, he did things the right way. That´s something this mission could improve. We talk a lot about having faith and showing the people they are ready and need to be baptized now, but sometimes we should give them more time to prepare, especially if they don´t have a true desire to endure to the end. So, as with all such conferences, we have a lot to improve.

Speaking of retention, we have some members who are helping Nila and Hugo learn to read. The youth of this ward are incredible. I need to visit my converts´s so hard to do so many things at once. We are visiting the Centurions, whose dad is working here for a few weeks. He went back to visit his wife this Sunday, but we´ll try teach him the importance of making time for church, too.

We also keep trying to help Santiago, and one thing that will help is his brother Andrés, who seems very interested in learning about Christ and the Bible. He promised to bring his whole family to church (he is already married) next week, and we are hoping that his baptism will encourage Sara to consent to be married so Santiago can get baptized too.

We also have a new investigator named S. She is very interesting, haha. She is a 38-year-old grandma who contacted (yelled could be the word) us in the street. She wanted someone to help her quit smoking, which we are doing. She has had lots of problems in her life, many of which continue--like bipolarity. Elder Viñas said we should only teach people with the desire to change who will contribute to the church. She has a desire to change...but we are trying to help her contribute. She came to church and made a lot of inappropriate comments in the classes. At least the members know who she is now, and I hope they will be patient. I keep finding scriptures in the Book of Mormon like Alma 6:5, which say that we can´t exclude anyone from participating in the gospel. We just have to tell her frankly what she can and can´t do, and with lots of prayer, God can work his miracles. She really needs help, so let´s hope she changes soon.

I almost forgot to mention the baptism. I hope you can tell who everyone is from the picture, like my new companion and Mercedes, who is in white. This got the ball rolling, so we should be on our way to help other people re-record or redo their baptism so that the church records can be up-to-date.

Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for all the news. Love you all!

-Elder Morgan the Older

No comments:

Post a Comment