Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Best Companion in the Mission!

There he is! Love this picture. I have a good feeling about this place.
OK- so I just wrote this whole thing and then clicked ‘discard’ by accident. Ugh!
So here we go, again. Best area in the mission. I am in Idaho and cover about half the mission. My district leader is the Samoan missionary from the leadership training that I told you about. My zone leaders are great, one of them is one that a lot of missionaries in Hyrum didn’t like, because he made them keep the rules and ‘dumb stuff’ like that. There is another set of English missionaries right next to us, and they are awesome. One of them came out with me; he is a worker and gave me four referrals this week.

That's him. The best companion in the mission, Elder Carlos Senn.

OK- time to write about Elder Senn, again.... His real name is swedish and has 15 letters in our alphabet, but it is written on his badge has Senn and that is how you say it-just how it looks. He is the best, from Panama, the youngest of ten, only member in his family. He moved out of the house, bought his own home and got a full time job when he was twelve. He converted four years ago. Convert story: He was going to a Catholic school and was doing homework about the afterlife. He didn’t know how all the answers and said a prayer for help. The missionaries immediately knocked on his door (his house is not seen from the street; you have to know where it is to find it). He opened the door and asked them for help. They told him, and he immediately asked to be baptized. They had to convince him not to until he had learned more. His dad was always an atheist and his mom unreligious. A couple months before his mission, his dad invited him over for dinner (which was unusual). He reached for the food, and his dad slapped his hand and said, “We need to pray first.” He told his dad to say it. His dad then gave a perfect "Mormon prayer." Elder Senn asked his dad where he learned to pray like that, and his dad said it was directly from his heart. His dad is now investigating the church, and his mom goes to church every week and feeds the missionaries every week. Elder Senn talks an insane amount. I have to kick him in lessons to get him to stop talking, ha-ha. He is the nicest person ever. He loves everyone, and his only flaw is he is really bad at feedback, because he thinks everyone else is already perfect except himself. He is a little crazy…ha-ha. Not sure how else to say it, but he is the best.

Another story from him: He was in a break dancing competition, and the day before finals, the opposing team came over and broke both his legs with a baseball bat, so that’s pretty manly. He has exactly 55 cool stories. He is writing a book about them at night during journal time. He is obsessed with sweets. You could always send him chips ahoy, Oreos, whatever; he would loves it. He asked me for permission to buy cookies the other day; not sure if it was appropriate to buy that with mission money, ha-ha. He is like a little kid. He is learning a lot. His last companion didn’t work too much which disappointed him. He has never done the 12 week training, so I am doing all 12 weeks with him in the next six weeks. I have been down on my knees a couple times in tears this week thanking Heavenly Father for the companion I have.

Another story from him: He had a clogged artery. The doctor said he would die in two or three years for sure. He went to two other hospitals, and they told him the same thing. He went and got a blessing and felt like it was ok. He got checked again and had two clogged arteries now and would for sure die soon, so he went to get a surgery, which most likely wouldn’t work. They tested AGAIN before the surgery, this time after his blessing. The doctor walked in crying and said there was nothing wrong, and he didn’t know why. The doctor asked what his remedy was. Elder Senn answered, "Faith and The Bookof Mormon." "What’s that?" “Here is a Book of Mormon. You can read it to find my remedy.” A week later, the doctor called and said, “Hey, I am in 2 Nephi and haven’t found it yet.” “Keep reading!” That kept happening until 3 Nephi, and the doctor called him and said, “OK. I get it. When can I be baptized?” He baptized the doctor right before his mission who is now preparing to baptize his wife and daughter. He has lots of stories like that. In the MTC, they called him Elder Experience. 

Elder Senn’s dream is to go to BYU business school one day. Maybe he will go with me. We are very different, but nobody could not like him. He is great. Mostly he just talks and tells me stories. His English is ok. He speaks very, very, very, fast Spanish. He speaks a little sing-songy and has a weird vernacular even for Panama, and he admits to that. He is the hardest person to understand I have ever met; even the seasoned Spanish missionaries can’t understand him at times.

We had 20 lessons planned this week and all but two fell through, so that is still happening. I am starting over with the area book which hasn’t been used in quite awhile. There are a lot of potentials like I said, but it is a still tough to find people. When winter comes, a lot of people move out, so we need to teach before then. Urgency!

From the Hispanic store here
The most American thing I can find
OK- so Idaho: The people love the missionaries...very, very, much. It is all farmland here, and at every dairy there are all the Hispanic workers that live close by. There is more work here than my Ogden and Hyrum area combined, so that is good. It is weird that there are only one set of Spanish missionaries in this area. People tell me there is more work in Grace in Soda Springs, but we haven’t even gone up there yet...tons of work! So far, 18 member referrals since I have been here!  You can start praying for Padilla, Reyes, and Eva Loya. (The mission president is asking families to pray for specific people that the missionaries are working with, as well as reading The Book of Mormon by March and underling with blue pencil any reference to the Holy Ghost then sharing insights.) So we have an ok apartment. It is pretty big and just the two of us living there. Members here love the missionaries. Thursday is the day we will field trip up to Grace/Soda Springs (...maybe I will run into Travis in Bankcroft one day) all day (45 minute drive). I am excited. We have some people that are interested up there!

Church: Sunday there were only 30 people there, no young men’s leader, so not a lot of priesthood. I was the only one I could hear singing during the closing song, so it is pretty small.  Our elder’s quorum president is cool. He has two paralyzed vocal cords, but people understand him. When he talks, it sounds like a quiet Donald Duck laugh, the same noise over and over, but you have to be able to read his lips which I cannot do in Spanish. It is weird. I have no idea what he says especially when he taught the lesson in church.
My branch president's house, THE house in Napoleon Dynamite. Pretty cool, huh?
We went to this jump park last p-day. It was only missionaries there. It’s a place where there are trampolines, basketball hoops, and foam pits everywhere. It was fun. This p-day, we just played rugby and walleyball (volleyball in a racquetball court, playing off the walls) all day with the whole zone. Zone conference was yesterday. President Hiers was more aggressive than I have ever seen him about making change. He boldly talked about the way the mission needed to improve and set some very high goals for us. He is very, very, smart. You can tell how tactful he is being about the way he teaches us, giving a little to work on at a time, but a lot too. It’s hard to explain, but he came up with five mission "creeds" that we all have to memorize and addressed some specific obedience issues like family coming to visit you, or driving everywhere around the mission, changes will be made soon. I am very honest in my letters to my president, and I guarantee I am not the only one telling him those things. In fact, I know for a fact I am not. He is aware. He made that clear at zone conference; he is handling the problems and disobedience slowly but surely. I wish it could all just go away. I can't imagine how much he wishes that too, but I think the methods he is using will work. A missionary got up on in zone conference and said in his first interview that president asked him about his obedience on a scale of one to five. He was honest and said a one, and he said after working with President Hiers he is now at a five. I don't know how, but President Hiers has a way of changing people. He is a very interesting man. He looks at you and you just want to be better. You will meet him one day. He is just what this mission needs.

‘Daily Dose’ is huge here. It’s the program where they teach English to Hispanics. The senior couple that runs it works hard and gives us lots of help with referrals. President Hiers wants to expand it, and they will be key in doing that since they are training lots of new people. Preach My Gospel talks about language learning activities. What are good language learning activities?

Congrats to Tyson and Jess. And thanks to Adam Endemano for the letter. I’m glad he is doing well.

So I think I said everything. I am getting mixed up with what I said in the original email and in this one after I retyped it. I hope I didn’t miss anything.

I am blanking I think that is all. Quick summary: best missionary in the mission is my companion. Best area in the mission. Best zone. Best district leader. Awesome zone conference. Unlimited work. Maybe getting a new car soon...aaaand that’s about it!

Love you all!
Elder Bassett

PS Oh and I can eat in the house now! The ground beef and rice-a-roni thing was good that grandma sent. We have no pans, so I didn’t get to do mom’s chili bake thing. Oh well, that’s fine. I am just eating the chili. Mom, it is time for more peanut butter and jam. You told me to tell you when. Thank you for the return address labels. Hay mas que pueda hacer por usted...tengo pocito tiempo pero dime si necesitas mas? Dad-Do they still sell those scripture cases for a triple and bible separately  If you can find some for my medium size english scriptures, that'd be awesome...the kind without the handle...just the leather case for a triple and bible english..the medium size...like the ones you have on your grey ones you used before you got your big ones..the ones you used to keep at the auction and read at work...just curious if you know where to find them. .
Beautiful Day!

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