Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Another great week in my favorite city in Utah. It has still been a struggle with New Years and everything to find people, especially, or set up lessons, but I am getting a better idea of how to work effectively. I am getting really good at evaluating daily on what is working; the problem is deciding how to actually change what isn't working. I have said it before; I think the most valuable skill I have learned on my mission is how to grow. Speaking of that, since we have an older zone, we recognized a lot of what we needed to do was help our missionaries grow and that in turn will positively influence their investigators. We asked the assistants to come give a training in our zone on Christlike attributes, and it went very well; they loved it. They had us all pick one and set specific, daily actions we would do to better ourselves with the attribute we had chosen for the rest of the transfer. I picked two things, gratitude and virtue. I am not trunky, but nearing the finish line is pushing me really hard to want to do everything I possibly can to grow out here. I am trying to focus more on our investigators, but it is very difficult. We really struggle with daily contact with people being so busy especially with precedents set in the past by us and past missionaries of once a week contact, which does not cut it.

Yesterday, we had a zone study to set baptismal goals for the month of January. Our companionship set a goal of three baptisms this month. It is pretty high with what we have right now, but we will do everything we can to get it. The zone baptized 14 last month, they set a goal of 17. That means we need to pick things up and get out of this rut we are in from Christmas since numbers really dropped around the holidays. We had our missionaries commit to changing and being better for their investigators, so we can hit our goal. I feel good about it; we just cannot lose the excitement that we had yesterday.

After that, we went directly to mission leadership council at the mission office (quick stop for Chinese food). We gave our reports and then had some training. President Hiers gave his classic feedback pyramid training. I have never heard him say something like this, but at one point he told us "I used to charge CEO's 10,000 dollars a day to train on this feedback tool with a couple other things, this IS valuable"...so cool. Wish I could say I charged someone 10,000 dollars a day for anything. We talked about a strength analysis test our mission will be doing. So basically, all of us will take a 45-minute test to evaluate what our top five strengths are. Then in zone conference, we will use that and our patriarchal blessing to evaluate how we can use our strengths to help others and our companions. Before we go home, we take a class at LDS Business College to learn how to apply them in life and in our career/school. We are the first mission to do it. The course and test is $1200 dollars in the real world, and they are doing it for us for 15 dollars each, so it is an amazing opportunity. I took the test and my five top strengths are Significance, focus, relator, competition, & analytical. It was pretty cool how accurate it was. Some representatives from the MTC will come to evaluate and see if it should go out to missionaries in other parts of the world, probably when they go home rather than in the field, but we will see.

I don't know if I mentioned, but this transfer I have been using a paper planner again. I just couldn’t handle the ipad; I really don't use it much. I love the feeling of writing everything down.

Today, we played soccer for a few hours. It was supposed to be a secret like they always say it will be, but then tons of people show up, and we have to make four teams and go on and off. We play at an indoor place. They let us play for free if we clean up for like 10 minutes before we play.

Yesterday, we had three lessons set up at night and were pumped after setting goals to go and work really hard and teach with the spirit and all this stuff, and within 20 minutes, they all cancelled. It is unusual, because lessons in West Point don't cancel very often, but that's life. At mlc when Elder Coronado and I reported, we mentioned being the only zone in our mission with no sisters and president said we are getting some next transfer for sure, so I guess there will be changes happening again in our zone. Right now, we have 20 elders. I think sisters are needed in the zone; it just helps out in meetings. The only problem is we have a few elders that can't be in the same room as sisters and act like a missionary, but I guess they need to learn at some point, or they won't ever grow.

We fasted for some individuals now just need to act to make sure what needs to happen does happen. It is tough, all we can do is visit members and beg them to go and ask their friends and not wait until next week. It is a little tough waiting for people to invite when we just want it to happen immediately. I still love all my leaders in the stake. Some need more direction on what to do, and I don't know what to tell them really, because I feel new at this, too. The biggest thing we are lacking is still communication. I want to know what is going on the ward councils, but we don't find out unless we show up, and we just can't do that with nine sacraments and missionary coordination meetings to go to. It is a tough balance to find. I am learning to organize better though. Preach my gospel, daily planners, don't really have resources about how to organize or work things in a stake so I just have to make up my own methods that work for me, and for that the ipad is useful. We have a page in our notes section for each of the wards and on that page we have ward council referrals, bishop referrals, wml referrals, member referrals, and our potentials and investigators and who to focus on. Needless to say, it is a lot to think about, but we are handling it the best we can. The toughest thing is I want to follow up and visit all referrals, but getting 10 less active referrals a day is too hard to coordinate, so a lot of the time we have to ask them to contact them instead and then follow up with us on whether or not they are interested, and I think members don't always want that. With bishops, it is different; we always visit for them just to build trust, and it's the only way we can prioritize which less actives we need to visit is the one who is receiving revelation for the ward. Every ward wishes they had their own set of missionaries, but there would never be enough work to do or enough missionaries for that matter.

I snapped at a missionary in zone study for playing on his ipad after we had asked them to pay attention and put their ipads away. It wasn't bad; I just told him to put it down and pay attention with a not happy face on and a slightly louder than inside voice. It needed to be said, but still, I should have pulled him aside afterward instead. So I called him later and talked to him, and told him I loved him and apologized, and if you know me you know how hard it is for me to say I love you to someone or tell them sorry, but I felt good about doing it and more Christlike so I am happy I did. Baby steps for Elder Bassett.

Well that is all for this week. We are eating very healthy and as far as we know none of the members are offended when we have said no to dessert (fingers crossed). I love you all and love my mission. I love the joy the work brings me. I love my Savior and the chance he has given to the world to repent and for me to tell people about it. Take care!

Elder Bassett

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