Blog Archive

Friday, December 15, 2017

Busy in Manzanillo

Catch up November -December 2, 2017
        Hijole, it’s been a while since I wrote. I’s not sure how to summarize the past month honestly.  It’s been good but at the same time, not so good. How do I explain.  First of all my numbers have been very good here. We usually have close to 10 new investigators, 4-5 teaching appointments, and 10 investigators in church.  We have has a baptism as well. So, from that standpoint, things are great.  But, I feel like there’s so much more I could be doing.  We hardly contact anyone, and we waste lots of time during the day.  We almost never leave the house on time, and sometimes we pass time just talking - like socializing - with people.  Then we always spend two hours in lunch because we buy and prepare food every day.  
         Then add that to the time we spend sitting in buses.  So I haven’t felt very good about my personal efforts in the past month.  I don’t know why but I am not opening my mouth to preach like I should.  Even when I feel like I need to contact someone, most of the time, I don’t.  That’s the worst part.  All I know is that God is being very patient with me.  Anyway, what else is there to say.  I really like my companion.  Sometimes he gets on my nerves, and he comes off a little prideful, but he is a great teacher and has sound knowledge of the gospel.  He understands the gospel better than I do and he teaches with interesting examples and asks great questions.  I have learned a lot from him.  
         We have had a ton of activities this past month including 2 zone activities, a Christmas activity, 2 meetings with President Rios, a zone conference, 2 ward council meetings, district classes, division, and transfers.  We have been super busy training and traveling.  Let’s just say that I have about 3,000 pesos that I need to get reimbursed. That might not seem like much, but that is 2 months of what we receive to live off of.  So basically my time as a zone leader has been lots of travel and meetings.  In our zone activities we had all of the missionaries divided out in all the branches and splitting with members to visit less active members  not to preach, but with the idea to serve them and offer them a priesthood blessing. We started with the weakest branch and we weren't supported very well there. The other areas were much better.  Then the Christmas activity we just did a few days ago and that consisted of a short Christmas program (hymns, messages, etc) and we shared the Christmas Church video.  We invited all present to #lighttheworld.  Then we filled white helium balloon and l let them go with the #lighttheworld card attached.  The idea is that the cards will fall to the ground somewhere in the area and someone will look up the Light the World program and participate!  Overall, it went really well. We did the activity in Barra and I used one of my cookie mixes to make treats.  Everyone thinks that I am a master cookie chef, haha.  We had 25 people come to the activity which is pretty much how many people attend church on Sunday.  The whole mission did this activity, but in each of their areas.  In Manzanillo they got permission to hold the activity on the beach.  
       The meetings with Pres. R. are just normal meetings.  I didn’t actually know that zone leaders met with the district/stake presidents, but now I do. We just talk about plans and the state of each branch.  President R. has been president for about 8 years now.  The members really don’t seem to like him, but sometimes I think that is because he is from the North and he seems to be the only person here who gets things done.  I really don’t have any problem with him.  
       The zone conference went well.  President Clayton talked a lot about the Book of Mormon on and how to teach more effectively with it. He also taught how to teach our investigators to actually read.  I think that we forget when we hand them the book and tell them to read that it is probably the first time they have ever read scriptures.  We taught our zone how to teach as you find and find as you teach.  We did this object lesson relating this message to doing burpees. We had an elder do 3 burpees normally, then we tied his hands together, and then we untied his hands but then tied a broomstick to his back and legs so he couldn’t use his legs.  He ended up breaking the broom handle, but the point was that in order to achieve our goal, it is impossible to do so without the proper use of our aides, our arms and our legs.  Different parts function but are inter-relate. The actions of finding while we are teaching, and teaching as we are finding are two different actions to achieve our purpose.  They are related and without one or the other, our goal and purpose is much harder to achieve.  Then we explained each part.  
       The leadership councils have been good as always. I always learn a ton from them.  President talked a lot about the urgency of the work.  The apostles have told us before, but now they are telling that there is even a greater urgency in the work. The time is short an we must fill the earth with the gospel. feel like I’ve bene slacking, so I really need to pick things up.  All the classes and division have been good and normal as always.  We received 4 new missionaries in the zone this last transfer, so everyone is looking for new places to live.  We have one third of our zone as new missionaries in training!  
       The last cool thing is that we had a baptism of A.  It was awesome.  When I saw him in his whites, I saw him as he would be in the temple and my heart was filled with joy and happiness for him, his decisions, and the gospel.  What a blessing it is to be so imperfect and really rather unprofitable, but to be able to be a part of this work. 
          Today is Saturday, December 2 and it was a rather normal but long day.  In the morning, we had an appointment who wasn't home, but some women who were there asked us to share a message with them that would increase their faith.  So we jumped at that opportunity and after we shared out message, they gave us food.  The only problem was that they were two rather young and attractive women and my companion was way too interested in one of them.  Later we went to Melanie and talked with some investigators who are really struggling with money right now.  We tired to share a message of hope with them.  Then another investigator stood us up big time.  It wasn’t even for a teaching appointment.  We actually found a house for him and he was supposed to come and check it out.  So we ended up eating super late, and walked for miles for nothing.  We did end up offering our services to the store beneath our house. They are closing up shop, so we helped them move everything into a giant truck. Our final appointment of the day actually did happen so that was a good way to end our day.
December 3, 2017

        Today was bad.  There were some good things as there always is, but it really wasn’t a great day. We went to La Huerta for church as always in the morning and it went well.  We had 6 investigators there and 25 in total.  It was testimony meeting which was rather interesting.  We only listened to 5 testimonies, 2 of them where short normal heartfelt testimonies, but the other 3 were forever ramblings.  I was really happy when that meeting ended.  In our lesson there we taught about fasting during the gospel principles class.  Most of the members here are practicing this principle at all, so this turned out to be a good lesson.  The worst part of the day was that there was a huge trash bag that people had been putting the stuff that falls off of the orange trees in. Then they forgot about it and it turned into a giant Vitamin C bomb and stunk up the entire corner of the prayer house.  It was disgusting.  I learned that you can’t let oranges sit in a black garbage bag for a few weeks.  The whole rest of the day we spent traveling.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

November Manzanillo Zone Conference

November Leadership Council

November in a Nutshell

 November 7, 2017
       Well this has been an incredibly busy week and I just barely got on to write because my companion decided it was more important to sleep than to get ready to go on time, haha. That’s all right, nothing I can do. We took our p-day today because we had zone conference yesterday, which is just one of the many many events of this past week. But, I really don’t have much to say about this week. We have had to travel a lot, but it was worth it. We went to Guadalajara for a mission council and it was very inspiring and helpful. It’s what the mission needs right now. Something that the General Authorities want all the missions to understand is that missionary work is now extremely urgent. That we cannot wait any longer. We have to change the work we are doing and find those who are prepared to receive the gospel. I think we all understand why the newfound urgency. Obviously missionary work has always been the most important work that exists, but the time is running short. We all have a part to play in the most important work we can ever do. Christ will come soon, of that I am sure.
November 13, 2017
       This week has been rather interesting honestly. Lots of traveling and lots of problems with traveling haha, between bus schedule changes and the fact that you really cant count on buses arriving on time late or early, its been a mess and lots of wasted time, but our work paid off! Honestly I don’t feel like we were able to work very much or very efficiently (sometimes Elder A. likes to spend a little too much time with members or eating but it is what it is) but somehow we had 16 investigators in sacrament meeting yesterday. (13 in Barra and 3 in la huerta.)  The funny thing is, is that in Barra, we only had 4 members, us and two others. the rest where investigators-the 13 plus 4 or  5 kids under the age of 8. I don’t know how we did it, but I really don’t think we did anything. It was a miracle and it will be amazing if we can be blessed to have the same people next week. It’s a little different when no one knows the hymns and we start late because the buses control our time, but there’s something special about seeing a group of people like that come to learn more about the gospel and God. Soooo yeah, that’s the miracle of the week. Another miracle is that we didn’t have any food in the house on Sunday and we were super close to buying food, but I really didn’t want to break the Sabbath, So I felt like we should call the other 2 active members, and they brought us food! Asi que, God provides the way to keep the commandments.
November 27, 2017
         Ya pasaron los cambios otra vez y resulta queeeeeeeeeeee me quedo!!!  Another transfer in Barra de Navidad! It looks like I’ll be killing Elder A. after all - he will be going home after this transfer. He wants to crack down and work super hard. So I’m excited!!!
A ton of new missionaries arrived this transfer. We now have 4 more missionaries in the zone, and 5 new missionaries in the mission. Lots of newbies, but that’s good, most of them usually work hard. 

        So this week has been good, a little crazy, but really good! The best thing was the baptism of A!! He’s our neighbor, actually he lives underneath our house. This week he was able to be baptized in spite of many challenges. The bad part is that he got to church in the second hour so we had to ask permission to confirm him in after the services. But it should be the start of lots of miracles and more baptisms here. We found a house here super close to where we live in Barra for some other cool investigators that are looking to move. Soooooo that’s another family that we can help out a lot easier now (if everything works out).

Armadillo meat and the hunt for prayer houses

October 24, 2017
       Today was pretty interesting.  We had district class then ate in my old area in Santiago. We had a meeting with President R. who is the district president which went well.  We talked about the district and zone problems and planned some activities.  Honestly, the church here has gone downhill a little.  There’s a lot of pride and lots of people who want to be important and they are easily offended. Something that I have learned is that we have to leave the leadership and calling decisions to the leaders.  When we start doubting and putting our opinion about the decisions of the leaders, we start walking a dangerous path. There is a lot of pride in the church here. I don’t know how to fix it. I suppose with lots of love, service, and patience.  Maybe some admonishing from President Clayton.  Anyway, after that, we literally barely beat the bus to the central to make it back to Barra de Navidad.  President R. put the pedal to the metal and we passed the bus that we needed to get on like a nascar race car.  That night we even found someone who let us in his house to share our message.  He might have been a little doped up, but we’ll see if he wants us back when he is sober. 
October 25, 2017
       So today we spent basically all day in Malaga looking for another prayer house.  We kind of just wandered from place to place and occasionally taught some investigators.  The miracle of the day is that the American family gavels food again because they are leaving and had lots of food.  After eating, we studied and fought through an awful food coma from three to four.  In the evening we found about 2-3 options for a prayer house. We just have to stop by and check then out.  That’s about it honestly, pretty boring day as far as missionary work goes.
October 26, 2017
      Today we did our weekly planning and tried not to fall asleep.  Then after we mad food, we wen to Jaluca to look for a house there, which we didn’t find.  But we did visit some investigators who gave us armadillo meat to eat.  It actually tasted pretty good.  It was just a little tough and there was lots of little bones. They told us that the next times we come by we will eat iguana!  I have always wanted to try iguana… After that, we had to go to Malagua for our junta misional.  That was pretty much our whole day.  Elder N and S stayed the night with us because they came all the way from Cihuatlin and weren’t going to get back in time.  So they took over our house and ate all of our food. 
October 27, 2017
       So today we went to check on a prayer house in Melaqua and it was exactly what we are NOT looking for, sadly.  Then we kind of spent all day outside or traveling.  But it was a good day.  We ate out today and the lady gave us the drinks for free and tildes when their business picks up we could come by and eat for free.  We went back and forth from Barra to Melanie several times.  But I think we found one today.  We were walking around and Elder A asked someone if they knew of a house and they took us right then and there to see it.  Honestly, as we walked in, I could almost feel the spirit confirming that it was the right place.  It’s not huge, and they are asking 10,000 pesos a month which is around 500 dollars.  Pretty pricey, but we feel like it is the right place.  I don;t know why but my comp tried calling a small hotel that is for sake and asked if they would rent it out.  He as dead serious, but the owner’s thought he was just joking and got super annoyed.  Anyway, apart from more traveling, that was pretty much our day.  These days have been pretty slow missionary work-wise.
October 28, 2017
        What a day.  We forgot the keys to the prayer house.  We were planning on doing a family night with all the members, but we had to cancel because we forgot the keys. UGHHH.  So that pretty much defined our day.  Basically we just walked around and visited members. There was only one investigator who was home so we didn’t make much progress today.  We did check on one last option for a prayer house today.  It was really big, but it was filthy and run down.  When we returned to Barra in the evening, we told the owner of the first house that we will sign a contract next week. The only other interesting thing that happened today was that as we were walking along the sidewalk, we were approached by these two American girls and well, let’s just day they were very shameless and rather bold.  So yeah, two young elders in a tourist town could be a little dangerous.
October 29, 2017
       So all of the normal Sundays we go to the Prayer houses for the churches in La Huerta and Melaque.  Church in La Huerta was good, just imaging all the noise of a full family ward packed into a small room that would fit 30 people.  It is kind of a mess.  The members there are not super established so we teach gospel essentials of Sunday School.  They are good faithful people and there is a lot of potential.  Then we ate with the American family again.  They are so good to us.  They have done so much for the missionary work here that it will be really sad when they go.  We brought 4 investigators to church with us in Melaque today.  really it was kind of a disaster because we had to go all over our area to bring people with us.  They ended up starting the church services 40 minutes late, but it worked out okay in the end.  It was a good day all in all.  We were sent home with food and visited a really good and faithful family in the evening which is always a boost for us. 
         Honestly though, I have felt rather useless as a missionary lately. We have done almost not contacting and we haven't taught very many people/  I personally feel like I and struggling to teach with the Spirit.  I don't know what my problem is, but I know that I need to fix it. It is a good thing that God is patient with me because I certainly feel like an unprofitable servant. Maybe now that we have found a house of prayer, we can devote more time to the work.  I should give myself a little break because we literally on had 2.5 days this week that we could do missionary work.  But I know that I can use my time more efficiently and work harder than I do.

October Manzanillo Zone Conference