Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Spirit or a Righteous Hunch

Another week in the mission field,

This has been an interesting week. It started off that last p-day was not too great on my quest for more charity, and I decided I needed to try a lot harder. He hadn't cleaned all day and his companion, Elder Isla, and I had. We argued for a little bit, and I just kind of lost it on him for not even cleaning up after himself and that I was sick of telling him to clean up his own messes and then doing it myself. We yelled for a little and got nowhere, and I was mad. Later that night, I pulled him off to the side and apologized and said I needed to do better and not get so worked up about things. I was hoping he would have the same type of attitude, but he just said, “Yeah, as a district leader I have a lot of responsibilities that you don't know about, and I don't have time to clean up after myself, because I am so busy worrying about others.” He talked for about fifteen minutes about how he has a lot more on his plate than I do, and I think that was his way of apologizing. I just said, “Ok, you're right,” and decided I would just lead by example and ignore the fact that he won't really help clean up. The frustrating thing is that if he were so busy with his "district duties" he wouldn't spend so much time during the day sitting on the couch or out to eat with other missionaries. But I think in his mind he is doing well. Even if he isn't, oh well, I'm just going to worry about myself.

So, that night I decided I needed to start doing better. We read a talk about purifying and getting rid of things that don't seem like a big deal, but you need to do it to feel the Spirit strongly. We made a list of things as an apartment. Among them were singing non-missionary songs, quoting movies, not starting studies on time, leaving out dishes (that was my input), and a few other things. For the punishments for breaking our rules, I had a really good idea that you had to clean something if you broke a rule. That only lasted the first day before our district leader said it was dumb, and he didn't want to clean stuff anymore, but at least I tried ha-ha.
The one thing Elder Isla and I started to do together was not going to the gym. We both felt the same after reading the talk. Then we prayed about it and decided we won't go to the gym anymore. I know it sounds dumb, but it was a really hard decision, because I really like going to the gym. It's how I relieve stress, but I know I'll feel the Spirit better without that type of influence every morning. The other missionaries ask why we don't go anymore, and we don't really say, but at the same time, our zone leaders decided to stop going, too so that made me feel more confident about it. I have just been doing workouts at home in the morning instead. I really have no reason to complain, because that's what people in other missions do, so that'll be ok. Unfortunately, this means Elder Isla doesn't exercise anymore, but it was his decision, too.  I can't force him to exercise in the morning.

Grandma sent me some 3-2-1-cake mix that is making staying healthy difficult. I love it. I try to avoid cake everyday at lunch but it's hard. ha-ha, thanks grandma! (Don't stop sending them!) Our district leader started ‘unifying our district’ this week, and he says we need to have more district lunches. I am really the only one who doesn't want to do it, because I don't want to waste money. There is this place they like to go; it's outside our zone, and the hamburgers are like seven dollars (but you get free fries). They go occasionally, and I just don't eat lunch that day. It kind of bugs me, because they don't have enough money, so they email their parents and say the mission doesn't give them enough, so their parents send more money. I have a pretty interesting district.

One thing I have grown to love here is Tampico. I have had more of it since I have been here than my whole life combined. EVERY Hispanic house has some. It's kind of funny. Oh, about the gym, I was battling at one point whether or not it was actually the Spirit and not just in my head that I couldn't go. Then Dad's ‘righteous hunch talk’ popped into my head, and I realized it was inviting me to do this for a better cause, so who cares if it was a righteous hunch or the Spirit? I should follow it regardless. After deciding that, I felt a lot better about it.

I haven't quite been cured of my OCD since being here. I have some advice, “Don't use ‘tide-to-go’ on you favorite purple ties. It will RUIN your favorite purple tie. It was amazing to me how I got the stain in the morning, and the tide pen changed the color of my tie and ruined it. Anyways, I went home, and the rest of that day I was mad at tide pens and couldn't stop thinking about how mad I was about my tie: the whole day. I have some issues, but either way, I hid the ruined tie in a suitcase, so I would stop looking at it and wanting to call tide and ask them to buy me a new tie. Ha-ha.

The assistants came over to talk to us the other day. They walked in and said, “WOW, I have never seen this apartment so clean!” It made me pretty happy. I hope my district leader noticed and wants to keep it clean. So, the zone leaders and us have been doing the cookie night for the youth. Only one young man came this week, and the rest were girls. They still didn't invite people, but we are hoping they will soon. One of my zone leaders made the cookies out of a box. We were there, and he said, “Don't tell the leaders I made them. I did that once in one area and all of them wanted me to marry their daughters. It was SO annoying.” It took everything in me not to laugh that he thinks he is a gourmet chef worthy of any bride, because he can make cookies out of a box, but I just agreed and said something like, “Oh, wow. I can't imagine. That would be so annoying! Ha-ha He is a funny guy.

So, this week, I just started to notice the difference between English and Spanish here. It really is like a different mission. We went to English correlation. They had nine ward mission leaders. One of them gave the missionaries five new investigators, told them when he thought they should be baptized, and said who their fellowshipper was. I couldn't believe it. It was that easy! I talked to the zone leaders, who are Spanish, after and they said, “Yeah. That's pretty much how it is. The English missionaries have lots of success and Spanish doesn't.” Although that was discouraging, it made me feel better about us not teaching as much. It's especially hard, because the English missionaries we live with don't work very hard at all, and they teach a lot more than us. That's just something that I'll have to get used to, though. My zone leader tried to make me feel better and said, “Yeah, before you got here, it was six months before we even had a baptism!” Ha-ha, it didn't quite boost my spirits, but I guess it's just different here. Probably 90% of our lessons fall through. And that's not exaggerating. It's bad. I am kind of at the point when I am surprised when people are there when they tell us to come back. I taught lesson one for the second time this week. I hope she progresses; although, she didn't seem too excited. Our other investigators can't get married, because they don't have money, and the other one won't keep commitments. The other few we dropped this week, because they kept telling us they were busy and to come back the next week. It's pretty hard. We desperately need the members’ support, which we really don't get, but we will keep trying. I don't think there has ever really been a culture of member support in this ward.

We watch the district for studies often. We learn a lot, but it makes us mad whenever they show us their planners on the video, because their numbers in a day look like how big ours are in a week. But anyways, Elder Isla said we aren't doing too bad; his old companion is in Hyrum where they average one member present every two weeks, and that's if you're working hard. So, I guess it could be worse! We are still trying hard. We tract a LOT and have more success with the white people that we run into. In fact, the English missionaries get more referrals from us than they find on their own. Our relief society president did try to fellowship, though. The zone leaders asked her to help fellowship, so she took their investigator camping on Sunday, so their investigator missed their baptism. They are learning.

Well, bad news. Elder Isla got a driver's license this week. No more driving for me. I haaaate sitting in the passenger seat especially with how much we drive. It turns out that Elder Isla was always bugged that I don't signal when I turn around or park on the road or sometimes when I change lanes. I never knew that, but I do now because every time he signals, he points out he is signaling, because he is obedient to ALL the rules of the road not just some. It's kind of funny he had that boiling up inside and never told me, and then used my wanting to be obedient in the mission to tell me what I was doing wrong. Ha-ha. We laugh when he does it; it isn't in a mean way; we get along for the most part now.

I have also been trying to be more positive this week. It turns out the best way to do that is to think how Elder Mackie would react in certain situations. It works really well, so I'm glad he set such a good example of being happy all the time. I was discouraged on a particular day. We had four lessons fall through that day, and I was just not happy. So, we prayed to know where to go, and we started driving and then walking and tracted a white family. There was a woman and her dad. They both had really bad health and couldn't move much and immediately said, “Get away. We don't want your message.” I said, “Oh, we just wanted to see if we could help you mow your lawn!” It was kind of a long shot, and I didn't think it would work, but she said, “Oh...ok.. Sorry I was rude. Yeah, go ahead. Mow the lawn! Neither of us are capable of doing it.” So, we mowed their lawn. Then afterwards she said, “We want to listen to your message, because you are actually nice people and aren't just trying to talk to people.” It turns out they had been converts years back and had their names removed from the church. They did that because she found something in 2 Nephi that she thought said the Jews are going to hell (not true), and the Bishop told her she needed to get a job and start paying tithing. She said that was ridiculous; they weren't capable of that, and she wouldn't pay tithing over putting food on the table, so they left the church. I think the situation was more like they were asking for a lot of welfare money and weren't even willing to pay tithing, but I didn't bother asking. As we left, she said, “And call the relief society president and tell her to start sending people over here to help us!” ha-ha, she was an interesting lady and wasn't very grateful, but we helped her. She said in two weeks we need to come back to do it again. We were nice and said we would. We will have the English missionaries teach her, and Elder Isla and I will do that lawn, because there is no way our district leader will mow a lawn. He doesn't do things like that, and we aren't going to make his companion do it by himself, so we will just do it. I was trying not to judge the lady, but she asked us to pay for more gas for her lawn mower, because they didn't have money. We did just because it's only a gallon, so it's not a big deal, but I did notice that they live in East Ogden, have a two bedroom house, not much in the kitchen, two mattresses where they sleep, one couch, really no other personal possessions, and an 80 inch hi def TV with dish hd, a blue ray player and surround sound. Interesting, but like I said, whatever.  I'm trying not to judge how she decides to spend her money. I am kind of disappointed we found somebody like this in English and not Spanish, but that's just how it goes I guess.

Anyways, we are working hard. We don't have tons of teaching, more just tracting, and we have tried to work with the members, but they typically flake out too when we ask to share a short message. But we will get there eventually, and if we don't at least we are doing the best we can. I can't imagine serving somewhere where you never get baptisms at all, so I guess I shouldn't complain, because some people have it a lot harder, but it just surprised me how different an English mission here functions compared to a Spanish area. Anyways, I hope all is well. I love you all! Take care!
Elder Bassett

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