Monday, January 13, 2014

Communication Skilzs

 January 14, 2014

A small part of my area.
A view from a member's apartment.


First off, everything is dramatically better in Nova Aldeota!  This next week we could potentially have 4 baptisms!  We’ve been working with V. for a long time, but we lost contact for a while, so that is why it’s taken so long.  G. is on the path but still hasn’t taken that leap of faith to be baptized.  I know that once he is baptized, he will recognize the blessings of a new life, a new start, the beginning of the rest of his life.  R. is a really fun person to teach because she is both intelligent and accepting.  She loves to learn and it’s been super fun to teach her.  She went to church today for the first time.  V. is taking the discussions, but does not have a supportive family so it may be hard for her to commit. 
         This week was awesome.  I’m working really well with Elder N.  The coolest thing that happened to me this week was when we went on a split with our zone leaders.  They basically came to our area and worked with us for about 2 hours.  Anyways, what was cool was that we were teaching a lesson to A and C (a married couple) and the lesson wasn’t going so well.  The zone leasers teach well, but they teach almost completely without the spirit.  I am sure that it is harder for them because they do not know the people they are teaching.  During the lesson I kept thinking to myself, man this is going nowhere, they are just butting heads with my investigator.  The zone leaders would go off on why A and C needed to come to church. Throughout the lesson my leaders tried to dodge every question that A asked and I could literally see A getting frustrated because his questions weren’t getting answered.  After the 3rd invitation for A to come to church, he was ready to explode!  He said, “I think that you don’t understand me!”  It was then that I spoke up and said, “I think that I understand you.  You have a lot of questions and doubts about a lot of things.  I understand that, because I have had doubts and questions too.  Do you know where I have found the answers to my questions? At church.  So I am going to change our invitation a little bit.  Instead of just asking you to go to church, will you pray tonight with this question in mind: Can I find answers to my questions at this church?  I promise you that God will answer your prayer.  The answer that I received to that question was yes, but that was for me.  Now it is your turn to ask God.  Will you pray tonight to know if you should go to church?”  Well we all felt the spirit and the spirit changed everything.  Instead of saying no, he asked me what time church started….and he came today with his family.  It was a great learning experience.  I learned a lot of things from my zone leaders in just 2 hours.  I learned that I need to be more bold in my invitations, but I also learned that you should never be so bold that you take the spirit out of the equation because without the spirit, what we teach can’t be felt or understood. Anyway, that was the most exciting thing that happened to me this week.         
Burning my first mission tie...6 months out!
         Looking back it s hard to believe that it has already been 6 months since I left home!!! That’s already 1/4 of my mission! When I think about it that in the big picture, it sure seems like a lot of time, but it's already passed really quickly. I can't imagine what it'll be like at 1, 1 1/2, and finally 2 years! Anyways, I'm really starting to see some drastic changes happening with my capability as a missionary over the past few weeks. As you know, I've had a lot more responsibility over the past couple of weeks and with that pressure, I'm amazed at how much progress I've made. At the same time, I look at the missionaries who are leaving for home and I can only think 'Man, I've got a long ways to go!' Really that's one of the things that I'm trying to develop, a vision of the bigger picture. Right now I'm trying to focus on all of the things that I can improve one and all of the things that I can change to become a better missionary and a better person. I'm learning things right now that won't just help for the next 2 years, but for the rest of my life!!! Anyways, I know that we need to always think, think, THINK before we act! That's always been a huge problem of mine, but I've been getting a lot better at it (especially since I have to think to speak Português!!!!). Saying a few perfect words can have a lot more impact on something that an entire speech. I hope that everyone can get a little bit better with this because if the entire world could communicate with each other better, there would be a lot less fighting and a lot less stress. One of my favorite talks is a talk called 'No Corrupt Communication'.  It has a really great message that I've been trying to apply a little more in my life!

In ANSWER TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS (hint to missionary moms, if you want specific answers, you have to ask specific questions.)
His "good" shoes.
1. A couple of things that have broken: my alarm clock and my shoes. I already tried to fix my alarm clock, buuuuut it's broken beyond repair. I don't know what happened to it. As for my shoes, I think that I can probably fix them by just going to a shoe shop and having them glue it or something. Really, it's a shame because I think that those shoes will last me throughout my mission if I can get them fixed. They haven't worn down at all! The rockports on the other hand.... They're probably only going to last a couple more months.

2. The good news is that despite the fact that my shoes are wearing out, I haven't gotten a single real blister since I've gotten here! So I think that I've been doing pretty well

The happy and sweaty missionary

3. I haven't gotten homesick at all. I think that the only thing that hit me hard is that picture I have of the Jaguar!!! Haha just kidding, but it is kind of a bummer not being able to drive.... I'd love any photos that you can send me! They don’t make me homesick at all, just happy!

4. I know that I won't get transferred on the next transfer (February 3rd) because I'm training an actual missionary. I don't know how corto prazos work, (the short missions like the missionary that Taylor is training)  but my companion still has to complete the whole 12 weeks program. However we might end up moving location to a different house in our area, so that's exciting! Our new house will be a lot more central to our area, so it'll make the work a LOT easier!
What a missionary spends money on for his birthday.
5. The cards (credit/debit) are all working great, but I still don't end up using too much money. I take that back.... I kind of went on a spending spree and bought a bunch of movies (mission approved) that we could watch on P-Day! Haha other than that, we're not living too glamorously. Debit cards work better here than credit cards because they charge you a huge fee when you use your credit card. I had some fun on the p-day after my birthday.... I was a little bit excited to watch movies!!! Not to mention I totally dominated when we played WAR!!! It was a fun day!
 6. We do have fun with the members of our ward.  We had family night at the Bishop's house and I taught them how to play the flour game that the Fullmer family taught to us.  The game involves cutting sections of molded flour with knife. A dime is balanced on edge on top of the flour tower.   If the flour collapses when you make the cut, you have to push the dime out of the flour with your nose.  Little kids love this game. The bishop and I lost!

7. Interesting foods:  I ate some acai granola and peanuts and this cream powder and oooooh it was good! The bowl is a polished coconut.


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