Tuesday, July 31, 2012

That day I tried to start being more charitable

Elder Bassett's presents from our trip to Europe: ties and an official Tour de France T-shirt.
We would have liked to send croissants and nutella but....
Hello all,
       I started to read Isaiah in Spanish, and it is FRUSTRATING. I get pretty mad, because none of the words he uses are ones that I know so it takes me forever to get through it looking back and forth at the English scriptures, but I guess that means I will learn. (Oh whenever you send something next, could you send blank flashcards? Thanks. Also I got the blanket from grandma; Thank you grandma! And mom's package, of course, you saw in the picture.) 
Elder Wright & Elder Bassett
      Before I forget Elder Thaddeus Wright was reassigned to Roseville, California because of visa issues. So everyone keep an eye out for him and take care of him if you see him! He's a great guy; he was in my MTC district.
       Well, this week has been a learning experience. The amount of contacts we did tripled, but the amount of lessons we taught diminished to almost nothing. We had at least fifteen first lessons scheduled where people just weren't there. That is the biggest problem in Ogden; people tell you that they are interested just so you will go away then they never answer the door again. We continue to be persistent, but often times they send kids to the door to tell us not to come back, or they just act like they aren't home when they are right there and you can see them through the window. It is tough.
       We need to work with the members more, I decided, because tracting really isn't getting success, so I guess we need more of a balance. Elder Isla has been here a while, so I am trying to get him out of the habit of saying, "I have already talked to them before. There's no point." Regardless of that, things could've changed, but I can't just go and talk to them without him so we sadly pass up talking to a lot of people. The other tough thing is running into white people. We can really only go tracting in a few areas, because if not, we spend way too much time giving referrals to English missionaries and not helping out our own area.
       You would not BELIEVE how great Elder Isla is at predicting
races from the outside of a house. He is never wrong, and it's not racist since he is Hispanic, too, or that's how I justify it. He predicts things by certain types of flowers, Christmas lights up during the summer, dark red curtains every single time means Hispanic, a Dish 500 satellite means they get Spanish channels, kids’ toys on the lawn, but the biggest predictor he uses is cars. Mostly, he predicts based on what type of rims they have or just the model of a car, but it's hilarious how often he is right. We were at two houses yesterday. They each had a Chevy truck from the same year, but they were different models (same rims), and he knew exactly which race each family was, and of course, he was right. Anyways, it’s funny what a talent the Spanish missionaries have for doing this.
       We taught one guy this week who claims that in the Bible Adam was put to sleep, so Eve could be made, but it never said he woke up. Therefore, we are all just living in Adam's dream until he wakes up. But humans were made because aliens mated with monkeys. But now that we have reproduced there are two alien brothers; one wants to kill us all, and the other wants us to live, because he likes humans. Anyways, you wouldn't have guessed that he is a completely normal acting/looking guy but has some really weird beliefs.
       Oh, I confirmed Ruby a member of the church on Sunday in Spanish, so that was cool. I was nervous, but it went fine. I don't think I said anything too crazy during the blessing. It turns out that they don't want the missionaries to do baptisms or confirmations anymore. We met with the stake high councilman in charge of missionary work. I guess our ward has been the ward that is pretty bad with missionary work and always is. I hadn't thought about it, because I didn't have something to compare it, too. Anyways, they are trying to figure that out and decided if we assign members to baptize people they will be willing to fellowship them. I know it doesn't matter but I am still disappointed I won't get to baptize people. Maybe I am just being selfish. What do you think? We have really been trying to get members to be more involved with missionary work without success, but we will keep trying to work with them.
       So, for a couple days, we thought we had bed bugs. Our zone leaders got them, and we found one in our bed. There were a couple blood spots on Elder Bingham's sheets, but we checked again. There is nothing, so that's kind of weird. Maybe in a couple days we will find out we have them. We almost wanted to have them, because when they sprayed the apartment at least it would get rid of all our cockroaches that we have. We went to the zone leaders’ apartment, and they seriously have basically a hotel. It is such a nice place, but I guess they earned it being here longer. Maybe one day I will get a nice place like that, too.
       So, we eat pozole occasionally which is basically Mexican soup. We were eating one day this week at a ward party, and I didn't add the chile oil (really spicy stuff), and it just tasted weird eating Mexican food not being spicy. So I added a ton. I guess I am already used to eating spicy food. Then, like always, eating spicy food just exhausts you and heats you up and makes you sweat a lot, so me and Elder Isla had to leave ten minutes early to lay down in an empty classroom, because we just felt exhausted and sick, but that's pretty much how we feel a lot after dinner.
       Then while we were driving, a white guy stopped us and asked us for a blessing. He had lost his job and had moved out here a few months ago and hadn't been out to church yet and wanted to get his life on track. I did most of the talking since Elder isla is a quiet person in English (very talkative in Spanish), so he asked me to do it. It was cool. It was the first time I really felt like the words weren't my own and the Spirit was just talking through me. I have no idea what I said.
       One thing I can't get used to. Singing in sacrament meeting. They sing SOOOOO slowly and so quietly. It feels like I am the only one ever singing. It is the weirdest thing. We have been working with some less actives, and I committed some to do something, and they listened! The week before we went to a members’ house for dinner. It is 3 sisters, ages 21, 18, and 13, living together. At that point, their mom and 7-year-old brother had just moved in when we went over (that same day). There was no man home, so we ate outside. But when we knocked on the door first, right inside on the wall there were four [inappropriate] posters. I just kind of freaked out a backed away, and Elder Isla explained, “Oh yeah we have told them to take it down, but they won't listen; they ‘just love them too much to take them down.’” Anyways, usually Elder Isla talks more, but I was kind of mad they were members of the church and had a seven year old boy living in a house like that. So I shared the message. I can't remember what scripture, but I said they needed to pray to decide what changes they needed to make, and they needed to start by making their home a spiritual place and getting rid of anything that will just drive the Spirit out of their lives. I wasn't mean, but I certainly wasn't nice about it. They knew exactly what I was talking about even if I didn't come right out and say it. I felt like that wasn't my place, but at the same time I felt like I should say something, so I did. Anyways, a week later they told us happily that they had taken them down, so they wanted us to come say a prayer to bless their home. I asked what they did with them, and they said they were putting them up in their bedroom. I said there was no point in doing that, because they weren't changing anything, so they said they would get rid of them. Then we said yes we could go bless their home. It was a difficult situation. I just wanted Mom to go over and talk to them, because I didn't know what to say to them. But I guess I shouldn't be so judgmental.
       We got a talk this week from a mission president somewhere called, “The Fourth Missionary.” If you can find it, Dad, you should get it. It was awesome. It described four types of missionaries. The only truly happy one was the fourth. The other ones had different problems like disobedience, unworthiness, or one had obedience and hard work, but his heart wasn't in it. The fourth missionary completely sacrificed all his heart, desires, passions, and even thoughts to the Lord and gave his life so that he was only doing the will of the Lord. It was very well written and made it clear everyone can be that missionary, and it ends up being easier. It hit me hard. I need to not be so frustrated that we aren't having success and just do what the Lord wants and remember I'm doing His will. That's how I can measure my success and happiness.
       That day I tried to start being more charitable. During study, our district leader invited some missionaries over to eat pancakes. They were over for a couple hours in p-day clothes on a regular proselyting day. They all skipped studies and just hung out and ate while me and Elder Isla studied. I was very calm about it and didn't say anything. Then they left. I'll admit I was proud of myself, but they had all left out their dishes everywhere. There were plates on the couch, batter all over the table, and just junk everywhere. Elder Isla and I didn't say anything, but we cleaned it all up even though we didn't eat any of it. They never said thank you, but I guess I'm learning that's not what matters. It was just the Christ-like thing to do. Anyways, I guess it didn't stick with me, because later my district leader left out a mess with a pot, a few plates, some garbage and macaroni on the floor. I just went and told him to clean it up. It was the same thing the next day with a Ramen mess. I still have room for improvement, because I didn't clean up either of those messes. Ha-ha.
       I have felt like Dad so many times these past few weeks when I ask who left their dishes out and everyone says it wasn’t them. So, I immediately start talking about how somebody must have broken in to use our dishes or they just magically were used since absolutely NO ONE used them. So, I understand you Dad, and I'm sorry for all of the frustration we put you through. I admire how much patience you had with us, because I have only been doing it a couple weeks and can't take it. I act like I'm a saint, but I still leave out messes in my room, too, as I am sure you can imagine; I'm just not quite an ape-man like some of the people I live with. There is no room anywhere in the kitchen, so I keep my food in my room. That creates clutter, but it's probably better since our district leader eats everything he sees that's not his. Usually, I am ok with that until I found out why he does it. He used 80 dollars on his blue card to buy two watches rather than buy food and then complains about how poor he is and has no money for food and will starve. But I stopped feeling bad for him and letting him eat my food when I found out that was why. Apparently, he does that every month. Elder Isla says when he gets money, he wastes it all then immediately complains the rest of the month. He is an interesting guy, as I have said. He is the one with a cane that talks about how people don't have authority over him. His new thing this week: he says, “I’m not perfect, and that's why we have the atonement,” right before he breaks a rule, so that makes it ok. Ugh. He didn't have a car until he got a cane when he sprained his ankle six months ago. A lot of missionaries are convinced that he got the cane so he could have a car. I thought was ridiculous at first, but I believe it now. It was funny; we were with a member today talking about riding bikes to do laundry, and he said, “Well, just get a cane, and maybe they'll let you use the car. Ha-ha. It was funny that even the members know about it.
       We did a youth fireside on Sunday to get the youth to invite friends. Only one was invited, but that’s a start. We spent two hours making cookies, then two hours at the activity, and the zone leaders were running it. I feel like that was way too much time, and we should have the kids make the cookies and only be at the activity an hour. We will hopefully do that next week, because four hours is a long time: especially on a Sunday when so many people have work off. I could not believe how disruptive the kids were. I understood now what I put all my leaders through. It took everything in me not to snap at the kids, but I stayed calm. Our fifteen minute ‘Armor of God’ presentation took 45 minutes as a result of their lack of cooperation, but during the testimony at the end, they listened a little better. We did it at a member family's house. We had dinner at the family's house. I just kept quiet while the mom talked about how stupid scouts is and getting an eagle is a waste, because the young women don't get as much of the budget as a result, and the boys just waste time doing scout stuff rather than being spiritual like they should be. Anyways, like I said, I just kept quiet and didn't say anything.
       We had a specialty training this week for trainers and trainees. The assistants did ours. At the end, they referenced a talk, and we said how can we find it. Their response was, “Just google it, or look it up on youtube....” Ha-ha. That was interesting of them to say. They are in kind of trouble, because the missionaries in our district just found out the assistants had three baptisms in their area without them knowing. Their bishop found out, and he didn't even know the people getting baptized. He called the mission president to figure out why his assistants were working outside their area to baptize kids into the ward they belong but have never brought them to church in that ward. Anyways, I don't know. They seem like good guys; although, I don't see them much anymore at the gym, because they just started doing p90x in their apartment: another interesting thing, but I guess that's basically like going to the gym, anyways.
       Baptizing outside your assigned area is a serious problem. Two out of the six days a week, we leave our area to go to members’ houses for dinner that were baptized into our ward but don't live in the ward boundary. In fact, most of the inactives of our ward don't live in our ward's boundaries due to past missionaries working out of their area. It ticks me off. I don't understand how nobody can figure that out and just stay in their area. Elder Isla and I have been struggling even though our zone leaders have about three investigators that live in our area. I guess all we can do is make our own decisions.
       Mom, I would love for you to send Arizona music (hymns and arrangements we used on our mission in Arizona) or even if you have motab. We can have iPods here, but I would rather just have CD's if that's ok. Especially if I have a companion that needs music, at least I can have something else to offer if I don't agree on what they want to listen to.
       If you want to send that crock-pot that would be good if it was small and those meals actually take little time, because as you know, I don't have tons of time, but sandwiches get old fast, so it'd be a good idea. Thank you for the package. I will try those recipes you sent me already.
       Well, anyway, I am working hard and trying to be as effective as possible and work around people cancelling on us so much. We just really need to get the members involved. Dad don't worry about emails, it’s ok if you send one if you don't have time for a letter or dear elder. It’s just whatever works for you.
Elder Bassett

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