The teaser paragraph he sent while he typed his letter. (He knows Mark, Jessica and I are all waiting to read his email each Tuesday.):
Goodbye Mont Vista...I will be travelling the mission with Elder Kipp all next transfer. The assistants told me to get ready for the hardest transfer of my mission! Who's excited?! It will be very tough, but I am excited...I will learn a ton, I know that, and be able to work closely with President Hiers…I am excited. They got rid of traveling trainers temporarily, but President thinks it is needed again with the new "five essentials" and how young our mission is. A lot of what we will be doing is going around training everyone on how to use it.
Elder Kipp was my zone leader my first transfer with Elder Salazar; he is awesome. I really, really like him. He is from Canada and went to ASU before the mission. We hit our goal of four baptisms this transfer, first time hitting my goal. Our zone also hit our goal of 15 by getting 16 baptisms...first time I have ever hit a zone goal!
Oh, and did I mention we got ipads? They’re awesome, aren't they Dad? They are really well made...still lots of glitches, but that is to be expected. We are only the third mission in the world to get them...it's a big change.
WELL, there is a lot of change happening this week in the Utah Ogden Mission and for me generally. The first big change is that we got ipads this week! Monday they were given to the zone leaders, but it was kept a secret. Then on Friday we had a zone meeting with president and a few other zones. They started the meeting off like normal, out of the scriptures, and then one of the senior couples walked in with a big brown box and said he had a delivery. President pulled something out of the box, and it was an ipad. Then we all immediately walked out to the hall, and they handed us all ipads, and we had a three hour meeting learning how to install everything and use our area book app.
Everything as far as records will be done electronically. We are the third mission in the world to have it sent out to all the missionaries; it is pretty exciting. We work off of Wi-Fi from church buildings and aren't allowed to use Wi-Fi from anywhere else. We didn't find that out until after four days, and we had signed into all our investigator and landlord's Wi-Fi, but we know now! The most useful thing is the gospel library...we have access to so much now!
The thing is, you have to individually download each video if you are going to want to use it, because we can't use people's Wi-Fi. The other thing is, I have to download them in English and Spanish since some people prefer listening in different languages. So it's been a process learning how to use it and be effective. I am so torn about how to take notes on it and if I want to still use paper to write trainings and give them, things like that.
The really weird thing is we don't carry a planner anymore. It is kind of weird to me, almost arrogant, to be tracting and set up an appointment and pull out my ipad to set it up on our calendar, but that's what we are supposed to do, I guess. It makes me feel more like a salesman. It is too bad that I won't have planners tracking the rest of my mission. I have them for transfers 1-11 of my mission and then they stop.
The other big change is that transfers are this week, and I am leaving Monte Vista. I will be doing something called travelling trainer. Basically, I will just be travelling around the mission for a whole transfer, going on exchanges with different missionaries everyday to train on specific things that President wants to get out to the mission, and helping out wherever I am needed. I am pretty excited about it. I know it will be hard, but I will learn a lot. Yesterday, I went to the regular start of transfer leadership meeting. Right before it started, President pulled me outside and asked if I would be willing to do it. After the meeting, one of the current assistants came up and told me that it would be the hardest transfer of my mission, but I would learn a lot. I am excited about the chance to learn from so many people. I will be serving/travelling with Elder Kipp. He was my zone leader not this transfer but the one before it. He is a great missionary, and I have always looked up to him.
So the weird thing is, I have to live out of one suitcase now. I won't have investigators, an apartment, an area, a ward, a planner, an area book; I just travel around. Every Sunday, the AP’s and us will have dinner with President Hiers. I guess Sunday is actually a day of rest for us. We just go to church for us and kind of relax right after church and get everything together before dinner, and then meet with President and the AP's to talk about what has happened the past week. It will be very different and take some getting used to. Then once I am used to it, I will probably start doing something different.
SO this week Hernan got baptized. He has been planning on it for a little while, but I thought it would be better to just wait and see what happened. The Sunday before his Saturday baptism, he stood up in elder’s quorum and announced his baptism and invited them all to come (the sad thing is only one of them came). The service went well. I surprised Hernan and had him get up to share his testimony at the end, but he did well. He kept thanking Elder Salazar and I for teaching him which made us feel special even though we didn't do much. After that, we went out to eat with him at chuck-a-rama with him and his fellowship, Alex. He got confirmed the next day in church along with the two that got baptized last week on Sunday. Brother Duarte confirmed all three of them which goes to show how he fellowhipped everyone and is the member who does all the missionary work in the ward. Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone did as much as he did?
Member missionary work is so powerful and works SO, SO well. Yesterday at our zone meeting we did a case study that was done by some general authorities that worked at Harvard or something. Anyways, it was all about a sister in Boston that worked with members in some unique ways, so they gave us some good ideas.
One man we are teaching that is progressing well is named Jaime Rogel. He is an older man who is living with his daughter, and she is a member of our ward. He seems genuinely interested still, and I think he will get baptized next transfer. We taught him a lesson and used our ipads for the first time and talked a lot about faith. He has a lot of similar thought processes to me and sharing Elder Holland’s last conference talk really helped him and applied well to his situations. The Salazar’s came to church this Sunday and we still haven't had another lesson with them, because they cancel every time.
Everyone else seems to kind of be dropping off, so that will be good… and Elder Salazar is training. (Only two new Spanish coming in, and they picked him to train. I am a proud father! My first real grandson! Since Elder Senn is adopted and his son is kind of...well he isn't a big fan of being a missionary. So this grandson will be great.. Hopefully, I will get to travel up to see them.) Elder Salazar and his son will get to do lots of finding. He'll be fine; he doesn't need me anymore, and he has FANTASTIC zone leaders, Elder Zarse. He is a new zone leader, hasn't been out long. He is from Germany and is very, very obedient…most obedient missionary to come to this mission, I would say. He is celestial and the other one is Elder Henderson. He is a really good example.
I hope all is well.
PS Biggest challenges this transfer: I will be going with missionaries that need help which means probably all the most disobedient ones. Those are the ones in this mission that don't like me...so the challenge will be finding the line between showing up and rebuking them for everything and being passive and disobedient with them. I will have to learn a lot of tolerance and patience, but it will be really good for me. Send advice along those lines in your letters and advice on what food I should eat. I don't want to be fat. Now I need creative ideas. I have to live off of whatever I can bring in a suitcase and eating fast food I don't know what to do! I think I am just going to buy oatmeal packets and eat those, but I won't have an apartment or area to keep food at...any ideas? I will eat dinner with the missionaries I’m training if they have an appointment, but for the other two meals I can't really take their food.
PS You should keep the kids doing sports in high school. I wish I had done sports in high school so, so much… and MAKE them play the piano. I am so mad that I didn't play the piano more…more sports and more piano. Last minute thoughts of the day…obviously all the spiritual stuff, too, but I mean in addition to that.
It's shoulder bag time now that the ipads are in!...seen any good ones?