|My new son! Elder Salazar originally form Honduras.|
Well I am in Logan, Utah...west of Main Street and right in the center of everything. Our branch is called Monte Vista and is very small...not quite as small as Idaho but close. The ward in the past (a year ago) was really good with missionaries. The past year the missionaries haven't worked with the members which made a lot of members really mad at the missionaries. So mainly people have told us to start working with them again which is awesome. There is moderately low trust, but it should shoot up really quick.
OK, I am jumping ahead. I can start with the beginning of the week. So last week about 32 new missionaries came into the mission. We were all (trainers) waiting in the office and as soon as the Spanish ones showed up we said hi, and I was surprised to see Elder Sewell. I had no idea he was coming as a visa waiter in our mission. (He went to Buena Ventura with Elder Banchon. Elder Banchon was Elder Ward's second companion. That’s in central Ogden between Mt. Lewis and Jefferson 2nd.) So eventually, after some very anxious waiting (I think I was the most excited person there), we all went into the gym and got ready for the meet your trainer meeting. I guess it's just the culture of our mission, but the way we do it is really loud with lots of clapping and cheering. Elder Pali and Elder Graham both used to work at the Polynesian Cultural Center; they get the metal chairs and do the Samoan drum thing that they do as the drumroll. It was a big group, so everyone had lost their voice by the end of it. At the beginning, one of the assistants, Elder Key, came up and said he was excited for me. The night before they had had a testimony meeting with all the greenies, and Elder Key said as soon as Elder Salazar stood up he, president, and the other assistant all wrote my name down. That was the only one they all three agreed on as far as whose companion they should be. So it was definitely what the Lord wanted. Elder Salazar was about the fourth one called up. They did the drumroll and yelled out my name, and I ran up and got him and carried him away, the usual stuff. I guess we are pretty weird. Elder Sewell mentioned, "This is a weird little ritual you have going here." That pretty much sums it up. So after that, we waited for several hours for the shuttle up to Logan.
Once we finally got there, we managed to get our way to our apartment from the transfer point, because the housing coordinator is nice to me, and I asked him to drop us by so that was nice of him. We got to the house, and at this point, I still hadn't been able to reach the missionaries that I was white washing out. I was obviously frustrated; for two days he still hadn't called me back. I ended up talking to him the next day, and he had four potentials for me and only two addresses. So we had 0 investigators and nothing from him at all in the area book (he served there for six months). Luckily, the two missionaries we live with know where some things are (they serve in the other half of our ward). The missionary we white washed out kept apologizing for not doing a good job, but either way, we had work to do.
The first project was cleaning up the one bedroom apartment for the four of us. It had lots of mold growing in the bathroom, and the place hadn't been cleaned probably in months. So we spent the first day cleaning everything and trying to get the smell out. Two cans of odor spray and two candles have kind of helped. Then we went grocery shopping and got everything set to go to work the next day. We met the bishop, that was first on the to do list. He is a white guy and seems pretty good. Our ward mission leader is less active and is in Mexico for the next month, oh boy. The bishop suggested we start using progress records since he said he hadn't seen one in a long time, and he gave us three referrals. That was a good start.
We were riding our bikes to a potential’s house and kind of wondering what to do when I felt like we should stop. So we did and knocked a door. It was a less active white guy, not interested. Walking back to our bikes, a truck pulled up and asked us if we wanted to get out of the rain (it was raining at the time, and we didn't have jackets). So we jumped in and threw our bikes in the back. Turns out, he is a ward missionary in English. He drove us around the next two hours showing us Hispanic houses. Later on that week, we went to his ward correlation meeting and got a few more names.
We went to our stake correlation this Sunday. That didn't help as much since it was mainly for the other two missionaries in our ward and the area they cover (it was the meeting with all the English ward mission leaders). There is one guy named José Franco that we were told by four different people to go visit and was so, so interested. We went to visit, and he got mad and said he wasn't interested anymore and slammed the door. The people who gave us the referral were all really confused. That has happened a couple times with people that got mad at the last missionaries serving here, so there is a lot of trust to build with the nonmembers, too. There is one family I was told to visit by an elder that served here a year ago. He said it was five easy baptisms. I went to her, and she has been taught for months and never invited to baptism and has no interest in it, because she thinks missionaries are just there to chat.
Having said all that, there is a ton of work to do and WAY more people to visit than I had in Jefferson 2nd. We have spent a lot of time tracting. Yesterday we had six appointments set up, and every single one fell threw. So right now we are just looking for the ones who will listen. Our one ray of hope was a lady we found the second day who wants to get baptized but has to find a job and then move out of the house she is in, because she is living with a man. She is very sick and old though and doesn't know if she will be able to. Pray for miracles!
The second day of the transfer we had our zone study. We all set goals and made a zone goal of 24 which is high for our zone, but our theme is "Do you believe in miracles?" Our companionship goal is six; that is obviously very high for having no investigators. I normally wouldn't do that, but Elder Salazar really felt good about it and said we need to have faith. This is one of those things that I want him to learn from, so I didn't say no about it. I have prayed about it and know that it is doable if we can work hard and see some miracles start to happen.
It has been very, very hot everyday which makes riding a bike especially fun. Let the record show that I hate wearing helmets. I think I will be bitter if I don't fall and hit my head, because I will feel like I wore the helmet for nothing everyday.
So the other thing that needed to be cleaned up is poaching. I have found out about six different people that are being taught by missionaries outside our area and being brought to other wards. So I called all those missionaries and patiently told them we would be taking over. The sister missionaries have like five investigators right in the center of area; how does that even happen? Elder Saldaña has been teaching a family of four for two transfers in our area and bringing them to the ward on the other side of Logan. Right now we are trying to get them to come with us so we can baptize them in their ward, but they say they already like their ward and don't want to switch. It's tough I am not exactly sure how to handle it.
My district is great. The sisters are awesome. Sister Sonasi came out with me, so I already know and have trust with her. The missionaries in Temple Blvd are good, and the ones in our house are good as well. Elder Coronado and Elder Mark live in our house. We started out setting some apartment goals with them. Elder Mark mentioned he wants to start doing better with the morning schedule, so I have been getting them up and making them go to the gym with us every morning. Elder Coronado is awesome. He has been out four months and has so much good desires. I was his zone leader when he first came out. He feels like he is lost and doesn't know how to do missionary work, because he never did 12 week. So I teach 12 week to three missionaries everyday, ha-ha. It's kind of fun; it's like school. We have been trying to help the two of them, too, on how to use the area book, finding, teaching stuff like that, so I think it is good that the two of them are living with us. (Still in contact with the Goldthorpe's? Elder Mark is a really close friend of theirs from St. George.)
Elder Salazar is the best. He is from Honduras and moved to Florida when he was ten. His family had a rough start and eventually made it making a cleaning business. So he likes things to stay clean like me. He knows he has to be obedient, because that's what his dad always taught him. His dad is a good man and wanted to give him what he never had, so he drove out from Florida to drop him off at the MTC. Elder Salazar really wanted to work, because that's what his parents taught him. He obviously already speaks Spanish. He is the second Hispanic I have ever met who knows Spanish grammar, because he took four years in high school (the only other one is Elder Senn). We get along well and are working very, very hard, the hardest I have ever worked at anything in my entire life.
On Sunday, all four of us spoke. I decided to be mellow and just talked about the spirit in conversion. I decided calling them all to repentance wouldn't be the best way to get them all to love me. I kind of realized while I was talking that I don't really get nervous anymore so I can actually manage to smile a little bit while I speak. Obviously, it's a small branch. I think it would different if it were a full ward, but at least at church it wasn't too bad. During church, we passed around a list and got all the people willing to come out on splits and will have 6-9 splits to work with us every night. They said they wanted to work; I hope they meant it. There is a big problem with young women flirting with missionaries in this ward, so several people warned us about that and I was pre-warned by all the texts I found on our phone. Elder Salazar was kind of disgusted missionaries would even flirt with 15 year-old-girls; it’s pretty sad. So we smiled at and tried to build trust with everyone in the ward except all the young women, ha-ha.
After church, we went to a guy's house named Sergio who gives the missionaries lunch every Sunday. He went off for 20 minutes about how we need to work with the members and how the members are watching us and he would find out if we broke any rules. So we took his advice and took him tracting yesterday for three hours. Usually the missionaries go to his house for lunch and then watch church movies afterward; hopefully we can break that tradition. He is a nice guy. I feel bad for him; he is the only member of his family and the only one in the states. I think he was mad the missionaries stopped calling him for splits since he has so much extra time, so we will have to put him to work. It was actually really good going with him, because he knew where a lot of previous investigators from a year ago live. There are a ton of potentials, and so that's what we are doing right now.
Hopefully by next week I can report back on progressing investigators. Pray for us, we really need it right now. One concern I have as I have before is talking with everyone. If I am riding my bike and there is a guy mowing the lawn that is very obviously a white member, should I talk to him? We spend so much time talking to members, and it feels like just waving to them would be more effective since we are just driving by anyways, but maybe I am just trying to get out of talking with everyone. What does everyone think? Well, I think that is all to report for now. I hope everyone is doing well. Take care!
PS On a side note.... I left my luggage with everyone elses’ last week... the sprinklers came on. Elder Plowman was out there and tried to save some stuff, but a lot of my ties are ruined and my favorite suit. Anything I can do to fix them? They are just really wrinkled up and misshaped now, because they all got soaked…EVERYone's suitcases did. I still have plenty of ties that didn't get ruined, so it's ok, just kind of sad. I put my ten favorite ties on top so they wouldn't get wrinkled…and those were the ones that got ruined. I am taking my suit to the dry cleaner, though to see what they can do.
Also, can we wear light suits now? People keep asking me about the missionary wardrobe changing on the news or something. (Mark sent him the link and you can also read this from the Dessert News. Taylor responded:) There are lot of things in here that people here already do; a ton of missionaries wear light suits even though we aren't supposed to. I guess it's good they are allowed to now. A shoulder bag riding a bike would be awful. Well, bookmark a couple websites with some man purses…I might request one next week.