You can keep Elder Senn in your prayers; his dad had a heart attack (he is 85) and is in the hospital. His mom is in the hospital for something else; I can't remember why. (She is 51...huge age gap between them!). I went with Elder Senn to get his patriarchal blessing finally. The Spirit was very strong, and I understood everything said, then as soon as it was over, I forgot everything. It was really weird. I remember thinking about the things said to him during the blessing, but as soon as the patriarch said, “Amen,” it was like my memory was wiped, and I had no idea what he said. I guess that’s the Lord's was of telling me that's really none of my business to know what was in his blessing.
SO we traveled up to Montpelier for the first time. Se went to the English class, and then played soccer for a little bit with all the students (15 Hispanics), and then spent the night at the missionaries’ house up there, because it’s an hour drive. Then we had a guy named Roger Hunsaker drive us around to see a bunch of potentials all the next day. He is not the ward mission leader, but he has been working with these people for years (he speaks very broken Spanish), and said he has been praying for Spanish missionaries to come up for a while. All the people knew him really well and have taken the lessons before. We will try to work up there once a week now, but it’s tough; work on a ranch doesn’t have a schedule. We will get a ride up once a week with the daily dose couple, spend the night, work there on foot as much as we can, and then Brother Hunsaker will drive us home at the end of the day. I hope work goes well up there. It is a challenge to drive up there and especially without set appointments, but it just needs to be done. I talked to president about the need for more Spanish missionaries, and it surprised him. He said he would work on that, so hopefully there should be more up here soon.
While we were driving around visiting people, Brother Hunsaker told the coolest story to a lady. He has four kids including one is serving a mission in South America. He had a dream that he had a fifth son, and he came to visit him. His wife had had a miscarriage, and they thought not much of it, but he met the baby that they would've had. His fifth son told him that he loved him, and that he was currently serving in South America in the spirit world along side his brother, and he was watching out for him. So he found out that night he had five kids not just four! That was pretty cool to hear him tell that; he is an awesome guy. I have not met a lot of people like him, and he really cares about these people.
We were going back home last night and parked at the house and realized it was only 8:50. I was tired and didn’t feel like going back out for ten minutes, but I knew that I needed to. So I drove out to the first house I saw with the lights on, and it was a 21-year-old guy. He moved here a year ago and isn’t at all active. He had his papers in and was ready to leave on his mission at 19 then made bad choices and couldn’t go. He was pretty sad when he heard about the new mission age, because he said if he hadn’t gone away to college his life would be completely different, if he had just left straight for his mission after high school instead. I felt pretty bad for him. Hopefully the new mission age saves some people from that. College isn’t always a good place to start your life out of the house. So I was glad we got out for the last ten minutes of the day and met and talked to him for a little bit.
I have found only one problem with eating in English homes versus Spanish homes; Hispanic people keep giving you food and offering more and more, but the English people just expect you to ask for it, I guess. I'm not really sure. For example, I was polite at this one house and took a little. Then we all sat there for ten minutes talking, and I just kept waiting for them to ask if I wanted more, and they didn’t and finally just took my plate; it was heart-breaking. Well, I learned my lesson. I guess with white people you kind of just have to go for it and serve yourself more rather than wait for them to offer.
Ok so our investigators:
The Padilla family should be baptized very soon. Still working out their son’s court/jail issues and that is stressful. They have cancelled six lessons with us, but I know they are sincere; they are just really unpredictable like everyone else is. The dad I can't understand most of the time; he has a really weird accent and doesn’t like to smile, so his voice is kind of a grumble. He talks a lot about the organic milk he produces and makes sure we don’t drink the store bought stuff with all the medicines they give to other cows. I have only seen his wife once since she is always visiting their son in jail in Salt Lake City, but I really like her.
Flora came to sacrament meeting! I hate to say this, really hate to, but that is my first investigator in sacrament in probably 11 weeks. That has been pretty sad, but we got her to come and that just made me happier than I can tell you. I wish there were more members to work with to help us get people to church, but there just isn’t that much here. She knows it’s true and wants to be baptized, but her husband is a drunk and doesn’t like it, so that is a struggle. Maybe you can pray he can get struck down like the Jehovah's witnesses. I am starting to love the people more. The cancelled lessons get frustrating, but I still love them and want to help them.
The Reyes family knows what they need to do. They are kind of just being lazy right now; they have been investigating for like 8 years, and their son is on a mission. I am usually pretty honest with them and tell them that they need to just not make excuses, and they understand what they need to do. I have been working on inspired questions and pausing to let the Spirit tell me what to say. I did that with them, and it worked so well. I can't remember what I said, but I asked something about how they could access the atonement right now in their life. It wasn’t that great of a question, but the spirit was strong, and they admitted they know what they need to do. I always bring up that this is what their son is praying for everyday in the mission field. They will not come to church yet, but we need some members to help us out.
Karyna is interesting. She is in seminary and is very interested, but she won’t make eye contact with me; it drives me crazy. She is 17 and has been here a year from Peru. She will talk just fine to Elder Senn, then if I talk to her, she just looks down and gets really uncomfortable and doesn’t listen to what I am saying, and that drives me crazy. With her, we just need to have her convince her mom to let her get baptized. Please pray that her mom's heart will soften and that the Jehovah's Witnesses that her mom is meeting with will get sent home/struck down or something.
Alvino Sanchez and his family are awesome. They are my favorite people. We visit them often, more often than most and just talk to them when they aren’t both home. They really like us and are just curious about Mormons. They liked the open house and want that feeling again, but HUGE problem; she teaches Sunday school in the Catholic church and can’t get away to come to our church. Next lesson we are basically going to tell her to make a choice and decide that she needs to change her life, because she knows that this is the true church of Christ. That will be hard; pray really hard that that will work out.
The less actives we have been trying to work with have been bailing out on us a lot. They will come if we put together a soccer activity, but other than that they don’t have any time for us. But we really need to start working with them, so we will keep trying. We have come to the realization about why the branch is so small this week; people really don’t like the members of the branch. We found out there are a lot of active Hispanic members that go to English wards even though they don’t speak English, because they don't want to be in the branch. It is pretty sad; one less active lady was telling us about how judged she feels and not wanting to be involved in all the gossip that goes on. She used to be a temple worker, and now she won't even go to church. It is obviously her choice, but it is tough. We need to figure out how to get passed that.
Some of our investigators, however, know about the branches reputation and have no desire to go there and prefer English wards. I am not even sure if that is allowed since that isn't our work it would be the English work, but they don't speak English! Any ideas on that? Should we just let them choose which ward to go to? Or encourage attendance in the Spanish branch? Our stake president is aware of that problem, and he said they are making some changes in the branch soon that should help us out.
SO there is no real visible success yet, but with some work we will see it. We keep running into people the last missionaries never followed up with. That is good, because we found them and bad, because they are mad at the missionaries for teaching them a lesson and never calling or visiting again. The area book is so important. I wish it had been used more in the past. We just work with the missionaries that were here four years ago, because they were the last ones to really update the area book.
Elder Senn has been sad about his parents being sick. Occasionally I just let him talk to me for long periods of time, because I think it helps him to just vent out things from his childhood that just boil up inside and give him nightmares. Elder Senn and I have studied success a couple times together and rated ourselves on each of the bullets, and we are exact opposites. Basically, the conclusion we made is that he loves people a lot and doesn’t want to work as much (not true, he does work, but that is what he thinks), and I don’t love people and love to work, so we are learning to teach each other. Ha-ha.
Ok, so I hope you are all well. I love you so much and want you to know I am working hard and thinking of all of you! Take care,
PS For those that have asked, DearElder.com letters and other letters take about 7-9 days to get to me in Idaho.