|First Snow of Elder Senn's life|
I remember last week writing my email and expecting to send you pictures of a baptism this week..nooope. The Padilla family has been tough; I still have yet to teach them one lesson. They have cancelled probably 11 times. Just lots of door step conversations of them saying they want to be baptized. I was kind of taking the hint on Sunday. An hour before church, we stopped by to remind them. They said they would be there, and they weren't. We went by afterwards, and he said he got tired, so he decided to sleep instead. It was disappointing, but we need to start spending our time elsewhere until they are ready to come to us. Usually, the "playing hard to get" method isn't very effective as a missionary, but you never know! I am still not good at dropping investigators. I don't know when to do it, because I don't want to be left with nothing. I just need more faith I guess.
Last week, I kind of decided we have less baptisms, because it's just Spanish work, and that’s the way it is. Those lame excuses never stand though, because Elder Plowman and Elder Ward had nine baptisms last week (Spanish). I need to just stop making excuses and figure out what we aren't doing right. This week, we have been working on better questions that aren't yes or no and not ones where you say, “So uhh. How does that make you feel..?" It is tough to come up with them, but we have improved already, and it really helps people open up.
Oh first off Flora...our investigator that comes to church. She dropped us this week. We went over and started teaching a lesson on our porch like usual, and then part way through she decided to throw in there that we couldn't come back anymore. Her husband is a drunk and only comes to the church when he needs welfare, and when I say he comes I mean he sends his wife and kids to do it while he waits in the car outside the church building. The branch president is convinced her telling us not to come back has something to do with him, and I agree. She really wants it and loves the church especially for her kids. It's too bad.
Karyna has been a little tough, too. Karyna we haven't taught this week. The lesson we had got cancelled, because she wasn't there. We found her a ride to church, and her parents were ok with it. We reminded her an hour before, and she said she was coming and when her ride showed up, she didn't answer the door. I think she just got nervous and freaked out and didn't know what to do, because she is still very, very shy. We have a seventeen-year-old girl (her age) going to pick her up next week. She is really good; she reads every night to her little sister and is enrolled in seminary.
We found several other potentials this week, which is really good, but also, possible lessons fell through. Hopefully, we will find them again this week and work with them.
We taught a lesson to Alvino, and his wife had tons of questions which is great. She doubted having another Bible, and why we would need anymore than that. She is praying about The Book of Mormon right now…pray hard! They still can't come to church, because she teaches at the Catholic church, so this week we are going to kind of bring up she may need to stop doing that now. That will be tough, but they like us and are open and honest, so we should be able to have a good conversation about it.
|Since Elder Bassett didn't have one, |
I found this picture on the Ranch Hand's facebook page.
The pancakes are as big as the plate!
So I wish I had pictures, but there were a couple food challenges this week. After district meeting, three elders (not me) tried the pancake challenge at a restaurant called Ranch Hand in Montpelier. I wish I could tell you how huge these pancakes were. It was insane. Elder Poaha-Pali was the only one who finished, and it was just pure pride and to get the t-shirt that kept him going. He threw up in his mouth before the last bite and swallowed it, because he wanted to finish. He ate the last bite, and then it all came back out. I guess they said that happens a lot. I was just happy I didn't do it. And then a couple other elders got excited about that, and they tried the hot wing challenge at New York Deli (Elder Senn being on of them). They are ghost pepper hot wings, and you have to eat as many as you can. Elder Costello broke the record that our current AP used to hold by eating 35 hot wings. I ate one and about died; they are soooo, so hot. Elder Senn only made it to 12, because he got full, ha-ha. Spicy food doesn't effect him normally, but these were hot even for him. SO, anyways I am happy to say I didn't participate in either of these but got to enjoy watching the other missionaries do it. It was pretty funny. For the first eight wings, Elder Costello's mouth started swelling up, because it was so spicy.
OK so I finished The Book of Mormon in Spanish! I still don't feel "fluent," but I am glad that I did it. I am starting again this time marking all references to Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost in different colors. Now I want some conference talks in Spanish to read. Mom can you get a couple conference ensigns from the past few conferences in English and Spanish so I can translate them if I have questions as I read them? And ask Peter, Tyson, and Ben what they did for language study as they got a little better at Spanish to still learn and be challenged while you study Spanish.
So we have had more success with less-actives this week, which is awesome. Our investigators had not been progressing lately, so this is really good. We taught two families and got referrals from both of them and have return appointments. One lady we are working with is Eva Loya. She is a really nice lady. She lives with her second husband and two kids. The oldest kid was baptized and the younger one isn't (a nine-year-old). The husband is always in the back room, because he is not a big fan of us. She is not too motivated to get out to church, but we are working on how to get past that and maybe get her excited if we start talking about her daughter getting baptized. I talked to the branch president a lot about her; she has had a hard life. But luckily, now her first husband is in jail and will be for a while. It solved a lot of her problems once he was locked up.
There are a couple other less active families we have appointments with and have really just been getting to know them more than anything, but they are always good sources of referrals, and we really need to strengthen the branch. On Sunday, I decided that I need to not blame the state of the branch on myself. I have always felt like as a missionary, it’s my job to make sure the branch is running by getting less actives there, working with the members, and bringing new people to church, and that hasn't been happening. It’s not all on me. We are trying our best though, and things will improve soon. It really makes me feel for our branch president who has been in his position for six years and still can't get most of the branch to accept callings. A lot of the active members of the branch drink alcohol, so it is tough for me to want to bring investigators there with that kind of example. It is pretty well known by all Hispanics around here, and that is the reason there are so many less actives. We are considering the option of bringing investigators to English wards which is suggested by a lot of people, but I feel like I need to be strengthening the branch. It's kind of a tough call, but until we have people getting to the branch, we can't be debating about switching wards or not. I really shouldn't say this, but I wish there wasn't a branch. It would help us out a lot being able to work with the leaders in the English wards, because they have been our main source of help these past few weeks, and we would be able to get fellowshippers in our investigator's wards. Elder Senn and I are deciding how best to handle that. We have been having lots of help with referrals going to English correlations. We haven't had Spanish correlation since my first week since our ward mission leader is busy a lot, and he hasn't come to ward council yet. We need to figure out how to get more involved, but he kind of avoids us. Members are slowly, slowly pulling away from us, and we need to figure out how to get them excited about missionary work.
One woman you can pray for is Ignacia. She just moved here from Orem, single mom with four kids and jobless. She is living in a house owned by her brother, but he can't give her financial support. She is looking for a job and a babysitter since her oldest is a nine-year-old. I don't know how that will be possible. We are going to start teaching her eventually, but for now she needs to find work. We found her a job the day we met her, but no babysitter yet. The problem is she will only make barely enough to pay the babysitter with nothing leftover. We have brought her over lots of canned food and cereal that the guy that lives across from us brings us. We always tell him it was ok, and he can keep it, but he says he gets it through the government on welfare so there is a plenty of leftovers that he always has (thank you Obama) So we brought her over a lot of that, and she was grateful. You can pray she will figure something out; I'm not sure what.
There is a lady here that past away this last week. We found two new people that way (both of her husbands). We talked to them both separately and didn't put it together until later that they had both been married to the same lady. She was 34 and died in her sleep. They think it was a stroke. They are both young guys in their 20's, and one is a member, and one isn't, so we will start working with them. She had five kids from her three different husbands (the third one is an x-husband at least). They are scattered around at her aunt/mom's house living with them right now. Pray for that family that they can all get that figured out.
SO we are in the process of finding new people to work with this week. That should turn things around. We are kind of trying to change things up and hopefully that should change the way things have been. I still hope things work out with the Reyes family, but their appointment last week cancelled, because they weren't there, so we will have to see if we keep trying to stop by with them. Pray that the new people we are finding will be prepared very quickly and have the courage to make changes in their lives and start developing some faith!
Love you all,