Well transfers happened and I did get transferred! I am now in a ward called Gaithersburg Second with Elder Sanchez, un mexicano! It'll be sweet, he seems like an amazing missionary, especially since he doesn't even quite have a year as a missionary and he is now a new zone leader! It was a real bummer to get transferred though... I'm really going to miss all those people that I was able to work with in Silver Spring. It was honestly one of my favorite areas, and the converts there are son incredible. It was especially hard to say goodbye to Juan and Victor and Jorge, especially since I may never return to that ward.... Still, they're incredibly solid, and I'm just glad that hopefully one day I'll see them in the Celestial Kingdom, not to mention after the mission :). Oh, other cool news, Jorge was called as a second councilor in the Young Men's Presidency! Super incredible! Other incredible things continue to happen, Roberto is amazingly solid, man the man has made so many changes in his life, and he continues to make them. He's seen the hope and happiness that has come into his life, and it's just going to keep coming! Man, every time we talk to him it's amazing at how much he understands and the insights he receives as he reads the scriptures with us. Oh, that was another thing I really focused on this week was the power of the scriptures. We were falling into a pattern of teaching with fewer and fewer scriptures each lesson it seems, thinking that we can explain things more easily than the scriptures, or perhaps more simply. Haha man was that dumb. The scriptures, although the language may at times be hard to understand, has the power of the spirit, something our words don't always have, and that brings a greater understanding than anything else. Another cool thing that happened is that when we were with Juan last night he spoke by the power of the spirit and really helped Elder Lee and I learn something we've needed to learn. Unfortunately there's a disturbing trend in the mission in that other missionaries don't always respect their missionary leaders. It's something we've been struggling with, once again with correcting, and really rising to our callings... It's sometimes so much easier to just "be one of the group" and it's easy to forget that we are their leaders. I don't know it was just really interesting, because I still can't see myself as a Zone Leader, or as a missionary that other missionaries are supposed to look up to or anything like that, it's just doesn't feel like I should be here. But, Juan said some things that really nailed me, he said that the Lord knows our talents and abilities, and despite seniority or anything, he will place us where we will do the most good, and where we need to be. It's something we hear a lot, but this time it really helped me. I'm still struggling to really rise to my calling and see myself as the Lord sees me, the good and the bad. Hopefully this transfer I can better fulfill my potential as a Zone Leader and really help lead this Zone to where the Lord would have it be. In short it was another week of miracles and a lot of inner reflection as I've tried to determine what it is the Lord wants me to do and become. Hopefully I can do it!
Oh a cool thing to study is reverence in true to the faith. It's been a
goal I set with my companion at the beginning of this transfer, and I do
believe reverence is one of the coolest things ever!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Man, so this week has been crazy! This week we had zone conference, which was fun and informative! President and Sister Matsumori trained on how to deal with people that want to bash thanks to all the new attention that the church should be receiving in our area, especially for English missionaries. Thankfully for the Spanish Missionaries it probably won't be too much of an issue. All of them already hate Romney haha. Anyways, we've also had an incredible miracle with a person named Roberto! He was found while I was on exchange, and half of the teaching he has received has been while he was on exchange as well, haha so I haven't gotten to know him as well as I would have liked, but he's an incredible person. He's had so many trials, and I'm not sure if I've already told you about him, but his life has been crazy. He was in a super depressed state when he met the missionaries, but since then, I'm pretty sure I've never met someone so happy! He accepted a b-date without even hearing the restoration, and after we taught the restoration his b-date got a week closer, so hopefully he'll be baptized on the 29th of April! Such an incredible person. He said "Originally I was looking for a society to belong to, but I know this isn't a society, this is the true church!" Haha as a missionary you never hear those words, he's such an incredible person, though I still don't feel like he's my investigator for some reason! He's a super cool guy though! Then I was also on exchange with [a struggling] missionary, and we were able to have a good talk and a really good exchange. He started out the exchange kind of down, but by the end of it he seemed to have re found the fire for missionary work. He's a really cool missionary, a convert that has had a lot of trials, but that has a firm testimony. By the end of the day he was reminded that it's actually fun and joyful to go out and work, not just a drudgery. That was thanks to God providing some awesome miracles. After some major rejections we were driving away from an area when he felt that we should knock a door. So we go and knock it and the guy is incredible! He's an Islamic converted Christian, and in his ending kneeling prayer he said he was grateful we had come by to talk to him with something better than he'd had before. Haha it was awesome and really sparked [the Elder] and reminded him why we're out here! Hopefully he can just keep the fire burning! Other cool things is that [J]and [V] are still the coolest converts in the world. [J] taught Elder's Quorum and I'm pretty sure he knows more than all the members, talking about How Brigham Young succeeded Joseph Smith because he was the Senior Apostle, etc. Yeah, super incredible! Not to mention the fact that they've brought their family who is now investigating the church in Virginia as well. Man, the work just continues to grow and grow and we just stand all amazed at the work God is doing! It's also been a week of a lot of reflection, as it always seems to be at the end of a transfer, and man, I've got some feelings that something big/different is going to happen soon, we'll see if it actually happens though, I really hope not, but I guess you'll hear next week! I've definitely grown a lot though... It's been cool to really learn to care even more for these missionaries and to serve them even more, and then to see so many miracles in our area as well. I'm just grateful that I'm a missionary! Oh another random cool fact, I learned how to fix bike gears this week, nice!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Funny story: Last night Elder Pearson accompanied some Spanish elders singing at the Spanish Night of Music and Inspiration at the VC. I went and turned his pages (yeah, I felt about as talented as the place-holder in a field goal or the ball boys at Wimbledon). Elder Croft was accompanying another piece, and he had five sheets of music, all handwritten, that he put up on the piano. They looked pretty shaky and prone to sliding off, so I went down to help him out as he started to play. As soon as I got there, Sheet #4 fell off. So I calmly bent down, picked it up off the ground, and put it back in place....right as Sheet #2 fell onto his left hand. So I walked around him and grabbed that one and put it back...then Sheet #3-5 fell. This whole time he was just playing on, perfectly, as if nothing was happening. By this time Elder Pearson was down there with me, picking up 3-5. They just kept slipping off, so we ended up holding his sheets individually with our hands the whole time, switching the lone free sheet depending on where he was at (there were several repeats to the beginning). Elder Croft didn't miss a single note, although occasionally there would be a really dark shadow from one of us, or our arms would be blocking his notes for a second as we switched hands. It was pretty hilarious, and we got lots of compliments afterwards. The funny thing was when Sister Welch got up there after us and played 9 sheets of accompaniment music, switching them all by herself, and not missing a single note (or page). Yep, she pretty much showed us all up.
Man, I honestly don't think I've ever had weeks pass by more quickly! Life as a Zone Leader is sometimes very different, and it makes the time move by at an even faster pace than before! But we had some very cool experiences this last week! First of all we had some baptisms this weekend! Man, it was awesome, Natalie and her Son were baptized this Sunday, and they are incredibly ready. While a little nervous at what is required of them they are more than ready to put forth the effort to complete with the commandments. I'm not sure if that sentence makes sense, I couldn't think of some of the words in English! Anyways, they are very ready and [N] has especially made a lot of changes and is being a wonderful example to her coworkers! She refused alcohol at a party and got a lot of attention for it but stayed strong! Super cool! The other two people that were baptized in the ward was a baptism I thought I would never see. While I was in the city around October we started teaching this lady that lived in the city during the week but went to church in Silver Spring because that's where she lived on the weekends. She was incredibly prepared and we had some of probably the most spiritual lessons that I've ever had with her. However, due to some problems with her then boyfriend she wasn't able to get baptized despite being super ready. Then I was transferred here to Silver Spring and she was still having those problems and it looked like she wouldn't ever get baptized, but she and her now husband finally were baptized on Sunday! Man, it was probably one of the coolest baptisms ever! Man, it was just so incredible to see so many people that have touched my life come into the waters of baptism, and then to see them just surrounded and welcomed by the ward. It was really amazing, to just feel the love of the Lord for these people, and also my love for them. It was cool as well because we had some activities at the Visitors Center and I was able to see a lot of members from Olney, still my favorite ward, and just enjoy some time with them. A lot of little tender mercies. I also sang at the VC in a choir, weird huh? Other than that the week has flown by, we just had our zone activity, which thanks to the help of some awesome members turned out really well. It was just a bbq with sports, but it was fun and hopefully a good time for people to get to know one another. Other news in the mission. Man, as a leader sometimes you hear about things you wish you never knew, and then it becomes your responsibility to try and help fix it. It's tough, and I definitely feel bad for all those priesthood leaders with so much to deal with. We just have a missionary that is struggling with some things, and it's crazy how much you really care about them. We feel like he's at a breaking point of either coming out of it and having a great mission, or not coming out of it and either having a terrible mission or going home... It's a scary thing. Hopefully we'll be able to help them though. Man, the mission changes you. These last two weeks have been weeks of kind of intense changing for me I guess, or I guess intense thought. Though it has definitely strengthened my testimony of the reality of the atonement, of the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost, and of the reality of God as our Father in Heaven. He is so very aware of us. I love this work! Oh, funny experience for the week, so we were checking on an investigator and we saw all these punk little kids kind of picking on each other and pushing each other around and what not. Two of them started to fight and wrestle, the one kid won, and then they pushed each other around some more. So we decided to go interrupt them Haha we go over there and say "Hey, you guys want to fight us?" Haha they all said no, so we told them we were just joking, and then we gave them all pass along cards with Christ on it and told them not to fight because it wasn't cool. Then as we were walking away the two kids that were fighting eachother turned to each other and hugged! Haha it was super funny and cool. It was a mini testimony of how Christ can help change even the tiniest circumstances and make them better!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
It was probably one of the best conferences I've been to, probably since I'm a missionary and because I felt like I prepared a lot more for this conference than for any other conference. I went with some very specific questions that I wanted answered and I started and ended each session with a prayer. It was a really incredible experience of receiving personal revelation, and literally every question that I had was answered! It was incredible and I really was able to learn a lot from the spirit. I had the goal this time to not take notes on what they said but what I felt from what they said and it was really cool. Needless to say they truly are inspired of God, Prophets and Apostles on the earth today! Unfortunately, just like it happened with Jessica, Satan seems to work especially hard on conference time to place obstacles in the paths of our investigators and not a single one came to conference. Hopefully we'll still be able to help our investigators watch it to receive some personal revelation. In other news the training went well, and hopefully was what the Lord wanted said. It's definitely a practice in humility to seek the Lord's will as we prepare training, but it's been a very incredible experience to learn how to receive revelation and seek the will of the Lord. Our last week was fairly difficult in terms of teaching though, our investigators have very limited schedules so it's difficult for us to teach very many of them, so like Jessica we are also trying to find more of those elect by working with our members. Our members are having really cool missionary experiences though which will hopefully bear fruit soon! Haha though we are still doing good missionary work. As Dad said I've been able to change my attitude on what is "real" missionary work, and I've realized more than anything the mission is about other missionaries, at least in cases where we serve as leaders. Our mission becomes very focused on helping other missionaries learn to trust in God and truly become converted. In the process the other miracles seem to follow as they see success in their areas as well. It's something I've been thinking a lot about it actually, the difference between being a selfish and a selfless missionary. I think it's very easy for us to fall into selfishness, especially since we could easily think we're being selfless having "sacrificed so much" to come out on the mission. But it's a disturbing trend that I sometimes see in myself or just throughout the mission, that it's a little too easy to become selfish about the work we do, haha something you'd think would be impossible, but is not. Still, it's been a good week of just reevaluating myself, and it's been difficult. Our zone has been struggling a little bit, in part because of those trends, and sometimes, pridefully, I think that that failure has a lot to do with myself as one of their leaders. Things haven't been quite as good since Elder Salazar left, and as the "Senior" Zone Leader I can definitely feel the pressure, and it's been humbling. We truly can do nothing without the Lord. Still, things seem to be going well, I just hope we can accomplish the Lord's will this transfer!