So I'll tell you about Elder Cabrera now. He is Elder Martinez’s cousin. He was born in Guatemala and grew up in LA. His dad is living in San Francisco now, and that is where he has been for a long time. His dad is less active, and he hopes his mission will help his dad go back to church. His mom is in Guatemala and is on dialysis, and he may or may not see her again. It has been a couple years since he saw her last. He is 25 years old and said he is really the only kid to serve a mission in his ward. He wasn’t ever active in the church growing up. He said he kind of just went back and forth. He is the second most prideful person in the world (me being the first) which means we do butt heads a lot on stuff...the most amazing thing happened. He told me I need to be more serious! I never thought I would hear that from a companion, but he gets mad if I laugh while we are out proselyting. So I guess I will teach him what Elder Martinez did for me. I really couldn't have fun or joke around at all until Elder Martinez kind of changed me and showed me how to be obedient and enjoy your mission, too. I am not sure how Elder Martinez did it, but I will figure it out.
He is a great teacher. He asks good questions and is very good at connecting with people. He sincerely cares about people and has a desire to help them better their lives. He is a really good missionary, and I am going to learn a lot from him and him from me. I just don't know how to teach him without doing it in a prideful way. Another thing is that he REALLY can't handle my sarcasm. I didn't even realize how much I joke around with Elder Martinez and Elder Shaw, but it really offends him. I just found that out last night, so I need to work on that. However, in comp inventory, he did say I need to smile more in the mornings when I wake up so I am still getting that feedback, ha-ha.
BTW-Elder Martinez is a Utah Ogden version of Elder Endemano, Elder Hamilton, Elder Mackie etc...there aren't any other missionaries like him at all...there are some good ones..but not even CLOSE to Elder Martinez. I can't say the best missionary I have ever seen, because I have seen some great ones, but he is up there. It's one of those things that really just makes me wonder why he isn't one the missionaries leading us and the disobedient ones with big numbers of baptisms are the ones leading us. He is too humble to ever say that, but I notice it.
So Miguel's baptism wasn't the best one we have ever had. The sister that had the musical number set-up didn’t show up, didn’t let us know before hand at all. The baptism started at seven, and we called her at 7:10, and she just said, “Yeah, I am not going.” So I was fuming at that point. We just sang instead, and the only people that came were the bishop, Miguel’s family, and Hermano Rubio of course came. It was small, but it went fine. He got confirmed on Sunday, and I did that. We got up to do it, and it turned out he had gone to the bathroom so we just kind of stood there at the front of the chapel for a couple minutes until he got back, but then it went fine. Our last lesson with him was tough. He was definitely getting bored of talking to the missionaries; his attention span is so, so short.
I got bit by another dog...except this one was a pit bull. I went up to go pet him across the fence, because he looked like a nice pit bull. By the time I noticed the shock collar he was wearing, his mouth was already clamped down on my arm, but I was wearing a jacket so it didn't go through or anything. It mainly just scared me and made my zone leader laugh for like 20 minutes.
So me and Elder Carpenter were driving at one point and felt like we should stop and tract. He doesn't like tracting, but I felt like we needed to do it. The second house we knocked was a member named Heather. She confessed to us how her life was falling apart, and she was going to lose her kids to her x-husband. She needed help, and she had been praying for help that day. So we called Jose to come over so we could go in her house and give her a blessing. We followed up the next day, and she said that she felt a lot better. I had the very selfish thought afterwards that, “Ah, too bad it wasn't a Hispanic lady,” but the Lord didn't see fit to rebuke me for that selfish comment, because the next six houses were Hispanic. I’ve never seen that many in one place in this area before, and we didn’t even know that that street existed.
So the most awful thing ever happened... the ward found out I can play the piano. So now we go to choir every week so I can play while the choir lady goes around and helps people sing since most people make up their own melody. On top of that, their is a relief society fireside for the stake this Saturday morning, and I am playing for the special musical number. Man I wish I had given it a couple more years before quitting; this might be rough. I need to go practice/learn it today. If they ask me to do anything else I will probably help them find someone else since it probably isn't a productive use of my time, but then it is building trust so I don't know if it’s worth it to do it or not. There is one lady that can play in our ward, but she just couldn’t this Saturday. She might be moving next month. Then again, I could be moving next month, too; who knows.
I kind of had a very much un-bonding and then re-bonding experience with Elder Ellsworth. I probably haven’t mentioned him too much before, but he is in the district and really doesn’t like me. He never has. He thinks I don't really care, and I just want numbers. Anyways, I called him this week to check-up, and he made some comment about how I am insincere. I kind of lost it and got mad at him and that I have been trying so hard, and he still says what he says about me to other missionaries and refuses to work. I felt bad and tried to call back, but he wouldn’t answer. So, the next morning I drove over to his house and went for a drive with him. It took a lot for me to not say anything when I got their at 7:45 and everyone (four of them) were still asleep, but I just ignored it since that wasn’t the issue I was dealing with. So we drove for like 45 minutes (very slowly since I didn’t really want to waste miles). He opened up a lot more and realized that I have been trying the past few weeks, and I don't care about numbers. It helped him a lot hearing how few baptisms I have had when I guess he assumed I had a ton and hearing I didn't made him think maybe I do care about people rather than just big numbers. He gave me some suggestions that I will apply, and I talked to my zone leaders, and they gave me a few as well.
It has been cold, but we love it. We get home at night and drink some of Grandma Bassett's hot chocolate to warm us up. And the past few days, we have had tim tams, too from the Mamie Brasher family! My new favorite is grandma's granola/peanut butter/nutella grilled sandwich for dessert at lunchtime. Elder Cabrera really wants to cook for us, because we don’t cook as much he does, but he doesn't know how to cook small portions. Last time, no matter how much I told him to make less he ended up with at least 15 servings of chicken parmesan for the four of us that lasted several days.
So we have done lots of finding and not a lot of teaching. All of our investigators except Roger live in Elder Martinez’s area, so we are starting over which is ok with me. I like starting from scratch. Maybe that’s why I have so few baptisms. Eh, oh well. I don't let that bother me anymore
One thing I learned as a missionary is to rejoice in affliction like it says somewhere in the Bible I think? With Elder Martinez and Elder Shaw I was happy and everything was great, and I started to get a fear of plateauing and not learning anymore, because I wasn't struggling. I know I should be happy, but I almost expect to be struggling and was worried. Having a new companion is a new learning experience, and I have been very happy to struggle which surprises me. In my prayers at night, I find myself saying thank you for having so many problems to work on with him. Kind of weird, but I feel like it’s a good thing.
We had specialty training yesterday that was awesome. There were two trainings on teaching and one on obedience/virtue. The obedience one was awesome. I have never seen one like it in my mission. Two zone leaders in the mission gave it. They talked about how they used to be disobedient and listened to Disney music and all this other stuff, and they changed one day, because they want people to look at them and see the Savior. It was awesome, very inspiring and good to see the mission changing little by little.
Well, I think that is all for now. I love you all and sorry if I didn't write some of you back. I have fallen behind the past couple weeks. Ponganse flecha!