Monday was fun, we went to Cerro de la Cruz y Mabecon, which is like a beach walk sort of thin. It was the first time I have really done to the Centro un Vallarta. It is very interesting. There was this group singing and doing a group prayer at the cross, haha. It was so hard not to laugh out loud. Mexico is so weirdly religious.
Speaking of weird, we were teaching one of our investigators and found out that he was baptized into our church as a child….now he is no longer our investigator, but our less active.
June 20, 2017
Today we has a really good district class and then contacted for the rest of the day. Towards the end of the night we made a new contact and found out that we really need to work on how to begin teaching. We’re not very good at it.
June 21, 2017
Today was all right. I fell asleep in the morning, and that always makes the day worse. We ate in the house today. I am getting really good at making rice. Actually we had lettuce wraps today.
While we were doing our studies after lunch, the President called. It was really sad horrible news for Elder A. His sister died. I don’t know all of the details and I didn’t ask, but I know that she took her own life. She is a lot like my sister, so I understand some of it. It is a very hard situation. We went to our ward mission leaders house to use his phone so that Elder A could call home. He took everything very calmly, pretty admirable. It takes a lot of faith to keep going like that and to want to keep working. Later that day, the elders from Santiago came and stayed with us for the zone conference that we are having on Thursday. It was Elder C from my generation and his trainee. So we did some divisions before we went home.
June 22-23, 2017
This was a very special zone conference. President talked a lot about how we can increase our faith and we learned about CCE (como comenzar a ensenar = how to begin teaching) which is what we needed. It was a good conference. Later we ate dinner with a member and somehow ended up with 6 elders in our tiny apartment. Kind of stinky, ha! Elder A went straight to bed, poor guy. Something I learned is that missionaries are very much still teenaged boys. Many still talk in a slang manner, pretty inappropriate for their calling. It made me think about how I talk and maybe some things I need to change.
The next day we taught a 19 years old who seems pretty promising. C. told us that he tried praying but nothing happened and he doesn’t want to keep trying. He’s not really giving a fair try. We talked for a while but he doesn’t want any more lessons. I made him promise that sometime further down the road he would talk to missionaries again. In the evening we talked to a lady who is on our lists of members, but she says she was never baptized….ugh.
The President told me that basically this is my last transfer here in Puerto Vallarta. I don’t know if I’m happy or disappointed. I’ve grown to like Jardines, even if there is a lack of baptisms.
June 24-25, 2017
Saturday was a lot of walking. We were both exhausted and had just an average lesson with H. Then we taught JM and he decided that he doesn’t want to pray or go to church. I was ready to get up and leave, but Elder A. somehow convinced him to do both. That just goes to show that I need to be more patient and love the people more. After that, we looked for a guy’s house but never found it.
Sunday was okay. Church was typical, but lunch was exceptional. We ate shrimp soup and fish. We didn’t have any lessons work out today, but we set up appointments to teach, so that’s something. In the past two weeks I have learned that I really don’t know anything. I have been relying way too much on my own skills and knowledge, which is honestly rather pitiful. I need to rely much more on God and let the Holy Ghost work through me. God can’t be an instrument in my hands, I must be an instrument in His.
One thing I wanted to share with you all was a sort of allegory, example, sort of thing idk, it’s just something that I was thinking about during sacrament meeting this week: While someone was speaking about faith and practicing our faith I started thinking about how practicing instruments related to practicing faith. I am very familiar how it feels if you don’t practice all week and the day before or hours before your lesson you try and practice like crazy, but as much as you work, it never works. You always show up to the lesson frustrated and with a sense of dread (especially if your piano teacher is Lisa Marcum) because the lesson turns into an hour long practice session. It’s forced, shameful, and at times unpleasant practice. But what happens if you have practiced throughout the week? Well the lesson becomes a great learning experience, a beneficial experience, not only to motivate you to work harder, but to be better and move to greater heights. So the question is if we are consistently practicing our faith every day. I mean diligent, consistent practice, even on the "weekends" of our spiritual lives (because I almost never practiced like I should on weekends) so that when the trials (lessons) come we don’t have to look at them with dread and get frustrated with yourself. You might be a little nervous, but still with a sense of preparation that the teacher will be merciful and kind. Because even if you aren’t perfect, they will still know you were practicing. And really thats all the Lord wants. Diligent practice. He can’t work with someone who just practices once a spiritual week, much like a piano teacher finds it incredibly difficult to teach a difficult but beautiful song to a student who simply won’t put in the effort required. But if we can practice even when we don’t want to practice and even on the days when it seems unimportant, our lessons can turn from unpleasant experiences to incredible learning experiences that edify and uplift and inspire, even if they are a little difficult. So sometimes we have to put away our excuses and our desires and sit down at the piano bench and practice for a few hours. I know we will feel peace, knowledge, and patience (and all other fruits of the spirit) as we do so in our spiritual lives. Not all practice in the same way, some are gifted in dynamic control while others struggle with rhythm, but there are drills and exercises that the prophets have given us to master and overcome all weakness. It just takes a little humility, lots of practice, and a good teacher. Luckily we have the best teacher available.