|Elder Dylan Kipp and I at General Conference|
The first real day was Thursday. We had our regular study schedule. Then we had kind of a Spanish council meeting. I went with Elder Plowman and his companion and part of the mission presidency. We talked about some of the issues with Spanish people that want to go to English wards and who should teach them. It took like two hours to discuss all the issues and the conclusion was the AP's and I will make a Spanish training for the mission. I think I will just bring in Elder Plowman in to help me do it.
The biggest issue that I want to address is language study. The Spanish of the missionaries in our mission overall is pretty bad. I am convinced it is because people don't know how to be effective with language study. I am sick of hearing missionaries just watch The Testaments in Spanish and expect to become fluent. I will talk a lot about that and maybe have them all make a plan and then train on how to find, because most Spanish missionaries in the mission aren't working effectively with members right now which is a big part of what we talked about.
That night we went out with Elder Graham and Elder Leach in Syracuse. I went with the two of them (the zone leaders), and Elder Kipp went out with a district leader. It went fine; it was hard to start out with them, because I feel like they didn't need my help/training/feedback. At night, we didn't get any sleep because of so much talking. I fell asleep on the couch in my pros. clothes, because I don't like my air mattress. Oh well, my back can last a transfer.
The next day I went out with Elder Scott and Elder Keyes. They are both pretty young missionaries. I showed up without warning, because they weren't picking up their phone. They were awake which made things start off well when I showed up at like 9:00 in the morning. Some missionaries got there right after I did to hang out, and I just sat there while they talked for a couple minutes then they decided to leave. The hard thing about this assignment is people being fake. If they are diligent and obedient just while I am there, then I can't help them, because I don't know what they need work on, and it doesn't help me know where the mission is at. Unfortunately, that was the case. But they hadn't planned, so that was the main feedback I gave them. I am pretty convinced the secret to being a hard working missionary is good planning. It makes all the difference in the world. I built a good relationship with them and drove them in our car, so they were happy to not be walking. I wasn't too stressed which is good. that is my biggest worry - being stressed about disobedience and just rebuking people without any money in the bank first. People don't really listen to strangers lecturing them, so that's not what I want to do, and I think that's kind of my mission reputation. I got along well with them, and we did finding all day. They wanted to go to the high school football game. I didn't really know what to do since I can't really say no to things, I feel like. I had them ask their zone leaders who said no, of course. They got mad at their zone leaders, so I feel like I handled it wrong. Either way, we did missionary work instead.
SO the day before that, I forgot to mention what happened. So, we started out talking to President expecting him to tell us what to do. He told us to come up with a plan and let him know when we figured it out. That was about all the guidelines we got. We found some papers from past travelling trainers writing down what they liked. We went to the transfer room and decided on the top five or six zones that are struggling the most and scheduled with the zone leaders when we would come. We go with every member of the zone so that the struggling missionaries don't feel like we are picking on them, and so we get a more broad spectrum of how the zone is working. SO, our first stop was Syracuse. We only did two days there and will go back in a couple weeks. We will spend like two days with each companionship so that we can give feedback the first night, practice it in comp study, and then apply it during the day, and then give more feedback. Then a week later we re-email our feedback and follow up. That is our plan so far, but it is all trial and error. Elder Kipp is fantastic leader, so I am kind of just trying to learn from him.
We had chocolate chip cookies one of our first days. I miss chocolate chip cookies so so so much. It's just not the same from the box. I can't wait to get home and make some and eat them fresh out of the oven. Elder Kipp has some fake glasses. They are thick black-rimmed glasses like Clark Kent and are non-prescription. I wore them for a whole day with the zone leaders, not really sure why, just to mix things up, I guess. I told them I was going to study accounting, and they said they could tell. Then later on in the dinner the dad called me Elder Clark Kent. I never told them they were fake; at that point, it would’ve been too embarrassing, but the other elder kept commenting on my glasses knowing they weren’t real.
So we went to conference this weekend. We went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for a couple of sessions, and the other ones we got in with tickets from the ap's that they had saved for us. You can’t go without an investigator, but that wasn't an option for us, so they gave us a break and sent us down with the departing missionary group. I saw my family several times and just avoided them. Twice, I sent my companions to go say hi, but they only caught them the second time and got to talk to them.
On Saturday, we went to Tucano's-soooooo good! Then at night, we got unlimited sushi; it was a good conference day. Sunday went pretty well too. We went to President's house with the ap’s for dinner, and they made us pizzokie's for dessert. Yesterday, I went with Elder Ward all day in Preston, Idaho. It is good to be back. I still haven't seen any old friends. We weren't as productive as we could have been yesterday. It is hard to be productive going on exchanges with old friends when you just want to catch up so badly. The hardest thing about this calling will be feeling successful/accomplished/that I am making a difference. It is a learning process. I need lots of love and energy. I am still not sure how to feel about it, because I feel that I have just barely started.
I love you all!
I was just telling Dad I went golfing today and hated it very much. I will be a successful businessman without ever playing golf; I am determined. Lately, I have been stressing about what I am going to do when I grow up. Do I really want to do business? Do you enjoy work, Dad, or just kind of manage to get through it? I know I have time, but just yesterday and today, it has been on my mind.
|Elder Poaha-pali is next to me, and then Elder Lewington is on the other side...then Grandpa Newman is on the outside-he played on the line for Utah State...he is in his 20's even if he looks older.|