So this week has been a really good. I will start it off just on the full report/story of Vanessa. So she was all set to get baptized all week. We had Liz talk to her boss and make sure that she could go to the baptism on Saturday at three. We set everything up and showed up two hours early on Saturday to make sure everything is good. It turns out Liz never talked to her boss, and she had to work at three. So I guess her boss just assigns them hours the day before, and Liz is too scared to ask for another shift, and she wouldn't let us try to talk to him either. The toughest thing is that she didn't really care too much that she would be missing her daughter’s baptism. So we decided to meet them at their house at two, have them follow us to the church, get Vanessa changed, take some pictures, then take the little kids to the babysitter. That was the plan. So we show up at two at their house, and the van is gone, and no one is home. So of course this couldn’t' happen without maximum stress levels. So I was the one driving at this point, and we start calling Liz and driving around hoping to see her car. She doesn't know where the church is, so she couldn't have gone there. Finally, after a couple minutes, she calls us back, "I'm at 30th and Patterson." So we drive as fast as we can over there and can't find her. We call her, and she says, “Now I am at 33rd and Washington.” So we go there, and she isn't there. So at this point she is driving around trying to tell us to come find her but refuses to park and wait for some reason. So for ten minutes we drive around a four by three block area searching for her and finally find her pulling out. We pulled up next to her and had her pull over. Then she followed us to the church building. I guess that at the last minute she decided to go shopping for some new shoes right before the baptism…of course. We took the pictures, then Vanessa stayed, and everyone else left. Unfortunately, Vanessa couldn't get her older brother who was sleeping at home or her cousins to come, so it was just her and a few ward members. But we did get the laurel president to speak; she is cool. We got a couple people there after inviting most of the ward over the phone. So we got all that done, and Vanessa was happy even if she was nervous before. The next day is when she would be getting confirmed.
Liz is the one on the left. Vanessa is in white. The little kids from left to right are Chuckie, Gorda, and Dickies...at least that's what everyone calls them. Their real names are Yareli, Jalene, and Yandel (not sure on the spellings of those names). Keep praying for Liz. She needs a lot of help. Vanessa is doing well, though. I think she will keep herself going.
We went by two hours before church, and Vanessa is ready to go, but it turns out Liz's boss told her she has to go to work at 12 so she can't make it to 11 o’clock church and is just going to drop Vanessa and the little kids off a church. We say that's fine and after a lot of waiting Liz shows up with them all at 11:40. We were unhappy and had a very honest conversation about how Liz needed to care more about Vanessa and her salvation and all that stuff. Vanessa got confirmed after sacrament. Then later we find out Liz didn't have to go to work until two and lied to us about work. We haven't talked to her since then, but we have lost all patience at this point and didn't understand why she would lie to get out of seeing her daughter get confirmed. We aren't sure what to do with her. It’s a good thing Vanessa is awesome. Vanessa doesn't really mind that her mom didn't come, though, so that's good. She was so nervous to get up in front of the congregation for the bishop to present her to the ward and covered her face the whole time, but it went fine, and she still loves going to church.
So we had interviews with the President this week. Typically they are done once a quarter, but President has done them about double that the past year to try to get to know us a little more. This time he started by giving us an hour long training and then opened it up to whoever wanted an interview. I think there were only two people who didn't take one. That is valuable time; I don't know how I could say no to that. The training was good. The first thing was well needed; he told us all to stop flirting…which our mission needs. Then he talked about all this new technology. They are sending these out in groups of 50 missions, and we are not in the top fifty. They think we will have it all by the end of the year. What will happen is each area will be assigned an iPhone 5. Each iPhone 5 will stay in the area and act as the phone and daily planner. Then each missionary will get his own iPad mini that he will keep with him for the rest of his mission. You can even take the iPad home after your mission if you want. I think you just have to buy it from the church. So the iPad is yours and is used for showing videos, manuals, scriptures, etc. The cool thing is that means on p-day we can do emails from our apartment on our iPads. Missionaries will set up mission facebook accounts to use in morning time when proselyting isn't effective. It is used for your area primarily then also at home. For example, if I have friends from high school that aren't members, I could talk to them on facebook or even facetime them to invite them to talk to missionaries. They said that you can even communicate with nonmember family members to talk to them. So for example, once Elder Ward gets it, he could communicate with his parents to teach them via facebook and set them up with the missionaries in that area once they were ready for that switch. It feels like a lot of speculation, but it is confirmed that Elder Sherman from Rocklin is trialing it right now and uses his iPad to teach friends from high school. It's really going to change missionary work, but it will probably take a year to get these spread throughout the US.
My interview went well. There are 13 new Spanish missionaries coming in this transfer and nowhere to put them. I talked to him about it, and it looks like he is going to start sending Spanish missionaries into English areas since there is no room. He has asked Salt Lake to stop sending Spanish since right now we have way way too many. Hopefully that will help the problem of such small areas. Luckily, some of the smaller ones will get dissolved since they clearly aren't working out right now with so few people to talk to. Next week is transfers, so I think I might be leaving, but you never know what can happen.
We had a meeting last week with our bishop and ward mission leader to figure out how to get the ward excited. We made a ward mission plan (first time I have had one of those my whole mission). The bishop said we could use third hour on Sunday to teach all the adults. So the six of us (missionaries in the ward) taught third hour this last Sunday. We showed several videos from the broadcast and talked about their purpose as members and unity and stuff like that. The bishop said that next week, for the first time, he is going to cut down on calendaring! We are pretty happy about that. I think they are going to focus a little more on missionary work this week. Little by little things are changing even if it is right before I leave the ward.
We have Vanessa baptized, so now she needs the recent convert lessons taught to her. I don't think our ward mission leader knows what that is or how to do it. We aren't sure how to handle it, since we don't have ward missionaries, but the stake president said we can't do it; the ward missionaries need to. So I guess Brother Lopez could do it, but he is an old man, and Vanessa is a 13 year old girl. It just seems weird to me. So we aren't sure what we are going to do there yet. I wish we had a girl ward missionary to do it for us. With previous baptisms, they just never got taught the lessons, but we really want it to happen with Vanessa Hopefully we can figure something out. That is the next struggle we are working with right now. The past four weeks or so we have been trying to get the bishop to call some ward missionaries. Our ward mission leader has made suggestions, and they have all been shot down, but if we keep trying maybe he will get us some. We need a lot especially for six missionaries. Right now we just have one, and he is less active. So we feel like what we have accomplished is to get the ward mission leader to want to help us, fixed a little the ward council, and gained trust of the bishop. The next step as far as our member missionary work will be ward missionaries and getting referrals. I almost do want to stay in this ward to keep working on it, but it's just a long process that will probably take years to do. Even if our areas are small, I feel like a big part of our mission in this area is helping the ward. I guess they call that establishing the church. We are just teenagers, so I don't know why we are the ones doing this since we don't know how anything works, but we are kind of improvising right now and just doing whatever President Hiers feeds us. It will be very different if I ever were to switch to English working with more functional units. I wonder how I would like it since this is what I am used to.
So we had mission leadership council yesterday. We had some training on commitments and teaching towards commitments, which I think was desperately needed. There is this thing that people do in our mission where they drop bold lines with big implications (is that the right word) to sound powerful. Like people will say "If you don't do this, then you don't understand your purpose, and you don't love the Savior" and a lot of things that may be true, but you can't help but wonder, “Where are you getting this?” I guess they do it to sound more powerful, but at MLC is where we always seem to hear a lot of those new invented doctrines, and it's kind of annoying. I think there are just too missionaries that are convinced they are Elder Holland. But we did find out there won't be travelling trainers anymore which is very good news. They said they might bring it back later, but I wonder if that will happen.
This Sunday we had a musical fireside for the whole mission in Roy. It was pretty good, but you can't help but laugh at some of these missionaries that think they are on American Idol and can sing like they’re Whitney Houston. It was good for the most part.
We have been teaching Moises who is a newer guy this week. He is pretty cool. He doesn't really understand the trinity yet, but he has good desires. We found another family this week that was taught a year ago. The wife is kind of hard hearted, but the husband wants to find out if it’s true. There is one lady that we started teaching who is interested, but her husband is really mean and doesn't like us, so we aren't sure with her yet. Nobody that is really close to baptism right now though except maybe Liz. We dropped Kristina and Jairo finally. He just said he doesn't have enough time so they "will call us later."
Elder Plowman and I have been doing fine. We still are loving our zone. We were going to go to the temple today but found out it was closed. So probably just a relaxing p-day.
Well I hope all is well, and everyone is enjoying their summer. How has Hawaii been? Have you learned to play the ukulele yet? It has been over 100 every day for the past week; we are ready for winter again, ha-ha.
Love you all, take care
By the way, if you send me any letters this week, just send it to the mission office at:
4380 South Orchard Ave
Ogden, UT 84403
just in case I get transferred last week and any mail gets held up; it'd just be better to send it there rather than to my apartment.