Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Did I ever tell you that missions are hard?

March 19, 2015
          So we are teaching this 18 year old mom and she has committed to be baptized on April 18th if she is ready by then.  We also taught a bunch of other people today and all the lessons went well, but I just feel spiritually drained.  I am going to have to figure something out or I am not going to make it to the end of my mission.  Lunch today was frustrating because Elder D. almost make a members kid cry because he pretended to pluck out her eyes with a knife. Who does that?
March 20, 2015
         Soooo good news and bad news.  The good news is that the other elders are going to have a baptism tomorrow! The bad news is that the pump to drain the font isn’t working and the water was super old so we couldn’t use it for the baptism. It was green, smelly, and full of bugs!  So, we ended up taking all of the water out by hand.  It was actually a lot easier than it sounds. 
         I was on divisions with Elder D. and the definite highlight of the day was E.’s interview.  We were talking to him before and after his interview and we were able to actually have a meaningful conversation with him about the gospel.  It was cool!  He is so knowledgeable and ready for more.  He already knows about the first and second resurrection just from understanding the book of Isaiah.
March 21, 2015
         The baptism went great! That really was the only thing that went the way it was planned today.  During the baptism, the bishop wanted to talk (he like to talk).  Whatever he starts, he usually goes off on never ending tangents telling life stories and sadly a little apostasy.  I was sitting in the back and our ward mission leader and I made a bet on how long he would talk.  I said 15, and Herbert said 20.  Bishop ended up talking only 8 minutes and 50 seconds so that went a LOT better than expected.
We taught A. today and her Dad forbade her to go to church.  We will have to talk to him more about that tomorrow.
March 22, 2015
         Shoot!! Everything fell off the deep end this Sunday.  No one came to church, and one of our best young couples needs to work out the paperwork on a divorce before they can get married/baptized.  It is the end of a transfer, and the end of another hard week.  I am not sure how I feel about this next transfer.
March 23, 2015
         Okay, I have no clue what President is thinking.  We are staying here, Elder Anderson and Elder Dornales are leaving and their sector is being absorbed into ours.  We are getting another elder, Elder Shelton, as a TRIO.  I am not sure how I feel about that.  Well one thing that I know is that I won’t like working in a trio, no one ever does.  On the bright side, I got to play a lot of basketball. We were playing games where the teams switch up with every game and my team won every single game!  Yeah, it was the best part of the day.  Also, I sort-of got demoted when my district was absorbed into another district.
March 24, 2015
         Well this is going to be complicated.  We do NOT work well in a trio.  It is super hard to teach.  I am going to have to figure something out quickly.  My new comp makes a lot of random cracks that aren’t all that appropriate in English (I am the only one who understands him.)  I bite my tongue a lot of times, but sometimes my tongue reacts faster than my mind can process.  The only way to counteract this problem is by talking about our investigators which in all honesty is what we should be doing anyway.
March 25, 2015
         District meeting was a huge let down today.  It was very robotic and exactly out of the PMG book with a lot of ums and ahs and awkward pauses.  All of the other elders, except for one,  have more than one year in the field so it was hard for us.  The only thing that I learned form the training was actually from the newbie.  He asked a really good question and that was what I remembered for the rest of the practice.  Good questions will make you think and remember.
         We taught A. again today and her dad gave his permission for her to go to church.  We also taught C. and she seems really interested.  We left 3 Nephi 11 with her to read and she wrote her own summary about it so that she could remember what she read.  It was perfect! She is preparing herself for baptism on April 18th.
         We have been seeing a lot of members from Elder Shelton’s old areas. (Like one person every single day) Today we saw this guy and he served a mission and helped our current zone leader come back to church and go on a mission.
March 26, 2015
         Well, we taught I. today and he is a really nice person but super not interested.  He is one of our basketball friends, but he is very evangelical and doesn’t want to listen to anything we have to say. We did teach a bunch of other people today but a good portion of our appointments fell through.  Elder S. has a hard time about talking about home.  He was in the MTC when I was, so we have the same amount of time left. It is not a very good idea to put two missionaries who are about to end their missions together.  Fortunately he says these things in English – it would be very destructive if people understood what he was saying.
March 27, 2015
         Today was really hard.  All of our appointments fell through and my stomach has been killing me for the past couple of days.  Today was hard.  I was walking slowly, and it was HARD to do contacts.  We taught very little.  However, we had a super cool lesson with F. and E.  They are investigators from the other elders.  I have already taught them on divisions 2 months ago.  He was in a bad motorcycle accident. He broke his pelvis and a bunch of other stuff.  Needless to say, he was bedridden. The other elders found them and started to teach them.  It took us almost a week after the transfers to get back together with them. Anyways, when we met with them today, F. was standing up!!  He told us an amazing thing had happened to him.  The last night that the missionaries where there, they prayed that God would do what the doctors could not and then afterwards, F. prayed with a lot of faith that he could be healed.  That night, he had a dream that he was being operated on and the next day he had his doctors appointment.  The doctor took Xrays and was shocked at what he saw on the Xrays.  He asked F. if he could stand up and then he did!  His pelvis had completely healed overnight.  He is still very weak, but he is getting physical therapy to receive his strength back.  This is a miracle!  

I have been asked about my preference for my final airport destination which means that they are getting ready to book my tickets home.  I understand why dad cannot come to Brazil (or anywhere in South America) this year because it requires vaccinations and he can't be vaccinated until next year. There's no way that he would survive here with a weak immune system because... well... I'm not sure if Rio was any cleaner than Fortaleza, but there's literally trash in the streets. Every street has lots of dog poop/animal poop, and human waste flowing through the open sewers. My area is completely situated exactly around these canals. Luckily they're a lot cleaner now after the torrent that we had a couple of weeks ago. Think about it. It's like a 15 foot wide 10 foot deep chute of water moving at high speed. It cleaned out just about everything. It was super nasty before though.
I am working on keeping my mind focused on finishing strong. I told Taylor, I'm the only one doing contacts right now. Out of three old, experienced missionaries! My new comp is kind of revolted against president for putting him here and he always complains about feeling like the third wheel. We've had a couple of discussions, and I don't know if you have ever read the talk about the fourth missionary, but he is very much a type 2 or 3 missionary. He's just biting the bullet for now instead of loving the work. When I told him that, he got a little mad and told me 'you don't know what I've worked like, you don't know what I've done in my areas, you don't know how I am as a missionary!' I thought and thought for a while (one of the cool things that I have learned on my mission is how to think before I talk!!! :D ) and I told him, 'sorry, you're right. I don't know what it's been like for you. I'm sure that you know how to work, so why aren't you doing it here?'  Him: 'because I hate it here. I didn't ask to get transferred.' After a lot more thought I said 'well, you've worked really hard, but if we do really well in life, and then screw up at the end, what's going to come of us? We have to endure to the end. We always have to give it our best, or the Lord won't be with us.' Then we both we quiet for a while, and then he said, 'I'm sorry, I just don't feel useful. I don't know what I'm doing here, I don't know the area, I don't know the people, I'm super close to my old area, I don't know. I'll try to do better.' Ever since that moment, it has gotten a lot better.

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