|Elder Pyne, Elder Plowman, Elder Bassett|
So, it has been a great week. Elder Plowman is awesome; we already knew that, but just to reconfirm. We are having a ton of fun-the three of us together. Elder Ward is also doing well travelling the northern area of the mission. We are kind of disappointed the travelling trainers are going to every zone except ours, so he won't come to us, but I guess that's good that they thought they needed to solve problems elsewhere. We are pretty lucky to have such a great zone. It feels like we have been in the house until dinner everyday. Between 12 week, language study, trainings, planning trainings, personal/companionship studies, we are in the apartment a huge chunk of the time. But we are pretty good about not getting distracted and have a good time together. It looks like our visa waiter friend, elder Pyne is suffering from beginning of the mission blues, as Uncle David calls it, so we are trying to help him stay happy and positive. Elder Plowman is a lot better at that stuff, so it's good he is here. My remedy for everything is just to go knock some doors, because that’s what I like to do…probably not very helpful, ha-ha.
Ana and Angel are awesome. They are such blessings! They didn't make it to church this Sunday, but that is our fault, because we didn't tell them enough about it so it was still unfamiliar. While I was on splits teaching a less-active, my companions told them about church and all the classes and what to expect. Then the member, Brother Camacho (like 65 years old) and I showed up, and he talked for a long time to them about how forty years earlier he had been sitting on the couch with his little kids listening to the missionaries and now all his kids were returned missionaries and had families of their own, and how he looked back and was so happy he met the missionaries. It was definitely a perspective they needed to hear. It made them realize how much we loved them and what a blessing this would be for their three little kids. They ask the best questions and have been reading The Book of Mormon. I really hope all goes well with them.
Luis kind of had a bogus excuse for not going to church but says he will come next week. He said he needed to feel more relaxed to go worship and that day he was feeling a little too active and felt like doing something else. We have a couple hardhearted dads we are going to need lots of prayers for. The first one is the dad of Waldo and Monse. They are two young kids that want to get baptized. Their mom is Patricia, and she is a less active member but wants her kids to be baptized. The dad lives up the street (they are divorced) and isn't religious but doesn’t want them to be members of the church at all. There is no foreseeable reason for him, just kind of an angry kind of guy, but we haven't talked to him yet just the mom and the bishop. We are going to start teaching the kids and just pray for a miracle and maybe visit the dad one day.
The other hardhearted dad was found tracting. It was a house that Elder Ward had warned me not to knock, because the guy will just cuss at you and run you off his property. But me being me and wanting an exciting day of tracting, we knocked it, and the dad wasn't home. Only the mom and two kids were home. She told us how a few months ago she was taught all the lessons and wants to be baptized and start being part of the relief society really bad and wants her kids to get baptized too, but her husband won't let her. He isn't religious at all, and he won't tell her why other than no. The missionaries in the past were run out of the house by him a lot, I guess. We talked to the missionaries who used to serve here, and they said he is just crazy. She has talked to the bishop about it before, and nobody knew what to do. The elders that taught her said their theory was she wanted to divorce her husband, and he thought it was the missionaries telling her to do that which of course they didn't. I think that sounds like a logical explanation, but for now we will pray hard and stop by one day to talk to him.
So to give you a summary of what’s going on in the mission: last quarter starting in January, we had a mission goal of 460 baptisms for three months. We were just shy of four hundred in completing that goal. That goal was put together by the zone leaders and assistants, so the other missionaries didn't have their heart in it like they should have. There wasn't too much drive and that was obvious with some evaluation afterward. So instead we had each companionship make a goal for just this transfer during zone-study. Then we totaled them and made zone goals. Our zone goal was 50 for the transfer…that is HUGE. Everybody seemed to be shooting for the stars. We totaled them up and discussed it in mission leadership conference, and it looks like when we created the goal we are shooting for as a mission 210% roughly of our last goal, and it's just for one transfer. So there are pros and cons to both methods I guess. We discussed it, and my opinion that I brought up (maybe I'm wrong) with the rest of the zone leaders was the first one wasn't done by the missionaries so failing at that goal wasn't disappointing, but by making this goal themselves, it should keep the focus more on the individual rather than eating the whole elephant at once. Now this time, if we don't make the goal there will be more of a personal sense of accountability, and the evaluation will be more effective since they have their hearts in it, because obviously we can't choose to lower the goal they prayerfully set for themselves. On top of that, the goal is doable, even if it will be difficult and something we haven't done before. I think that was the general consensus leaving leadership council, so we will try to keep people more motivated this time and keep a sense of personal accountability.
So the rest of the council was spent receiving trainings from the mission president seminar that President just attended which was a big focus on the doctrine of Christ and baptism. A couple of my favorite parts were when they pointed out that our not inviting to baptism on the first lesson isn't our right. Who are we to not give them the opportunity to make the decision to be baptized? We can't get in the way of their personal relationship with the Savior by not offering what should already be theirs. Sister Hiers said, "In order to accomplish goals we have never before accomplished, we have to do things that we have never before done." So for us as a companionship, we have never in our missions been good at daily contact with all investigators and will try to do better at that. Elder Pyne stayed with his district leader, Elder Harper, this time for leadership conference. I think he wanted to go, but this time they had him stay.
We taught primary again on Sunday. We were heading to class with no investigators, and the primary president stopped me and asked me to go teach the eight year olds. SO that was a good way to cheer me up. Teaching primary is the best; it’s so much fun. I get worried that I get them too loud when we do the application activities for the lesson, but I think it went fine. I usually don't take over in lessons, and we speak equally, but I have so much fun in primary, I think I take over. Hopefully that doesn't bug my companions.
SO I do miss Elder Ward…we could be lonely together. Elder Pyne and Elder Plowman are each practically married men. Elder Pyne gets letters from his girlfriend several times a week, and so does Elder Plowman, so I just sit on the couch at night and mope while they read letters from their future wives...just kidding. You know me; just loving every opportunity I get to feel sorry for myself even if I am pretending, ha-ha.
So that was a lie. (Not sure what the lie was-maybe Elder Bassett accidentally erased something before he sent this.) We actually did have those two new kids at church today. The ward council got them there. I have never had the ward council get investigators to church in my entire mission, so that was pretty awesome. We couldn’t believe it. This ward is really changing for the better and getting things done. They don't discuss missionary work still in ward council (or at least non-members), but they spend time on less actives which Hispanic ward usually don't ever do with the exception of the Preston branch.
Oh, random thing at leadership council. I met the future president of the Idaho Falls Mission, President Kurtis maybe? He just finished a mission in a branch in Buchanan, Georgia and mentioned the greatest ward mission leader he had ever met named Brother Bassett. I didn't think I would ever meet anyone who had heard of Buchanan.
So what else, ...the three of us do get along well. We are enjoying our time here even if this is a difficult area. Elder Plowman has a good Bolivian accent now thanks to Elder Velasquez, his last companion, and he is really good at loving people-especially certain missionaries when they act obnoxiously towards us when we try to help them. Maybe he can teach me how to be passive aggressive this transfer...yeah right...ha-ha.
What else...uhhh? We are happy, safe, still doing what we are supposed to. We are eating especially unhealthy but still going to the gym everyday which might not last long. Elder Plowman really doesn't like getting up to go exercise, ha-ha. But we kind of force him, although I did compromise and started stretching with him at night so his hamstring stops giving out at random times during the day. We started weekly soccer with investigators, and of course, Elder Plowman makes us all look bad since he is the best at everything, but I get back at him by making him lift weights with me, ha. Elder Norton is white washing in our ward and is KILLING it. He is a stud. He really knows how to work and is a great trainer. Elder Senn is doing great as ever. He is with Elder Doughty, and they are working very hard and are part of Spanish central zone, so that makes trainings more exciting for them. Elder Isla went home a couple weeks ago..not sure if I mentioned that.
I love you all tons!
[Excerpts from some other emails]
The pictures Amy drew were my favorite part of her package! I'm not kidding...mention that to her right now. They were awesome, and I have been stretching more because of what she sent.
I hope Brandon has a fun birthday and enjoys the ping pong table. He should do tennis...Elder Plowman is an amazing tennis player, nationally ranked. And golf would be awesome; it would be even better if he could teach me; it would make him happy. I sent him a birthday card, but it is in Spanish. All the English ones were dumb.
I'll be honest, cooking stuff like that takes too long. I'm sorry I'm lazy. I don't particularly need anything but if you’re asking about my birthday I do have wants:
-new suit will always be on the list...like how when I was little I always asked for a laptop even knowing I would never get one…no, I don't need one, but a new suit is always my deepest desire. I'm sure you know that
-gift card to Wal-Mart, Men’s Wearhouse
-ties ties ties (skinny ties particularly plaid ties...you know I like blue) I learned something about myself. I always tried to get variety, but I learned that it’s ok to have all similar ties because those are the ones I will wear anyways
-Captain of Crush level 2 (I already have trainer and level one....so the next one would be level 2..they sell half levels, but I would just go straight to level two. You find them on Amazon. They are just called Captain of Crush-they are those hand grip thingys that I’ve had.)
-if you get me a voice recorder with a usb extension, I can send you voice clips
-I can't think of anymore...I will let you know if I do