Monday, March 5, 2012

The Life of a Missionary! Ups and Downs in the same week!

Buenas tardes!                  March 5, 2012

Well it has been another week, and I still cant believe the time passing by so quickly!  I am going to be straight up - this week was pretty tough on me. We have had a ton of struggles and disappointments in our area. We just keep seeing good things come to an end, and people who say they don’t want to meet with us, but most of all we just haven’t had a baptism for a long time. That seems kind of selfish, but there is a lot of pressure to baptize in our mission and especially when you are leadership. We are supposed to set the example for the other areas, and we just haven’t been able to get a baptism. So all of these things combined have gotten me quite frustrated lately. There is always good in the weeks, and of course there was for us too, but I just think that the bad out weighed the good this week.
One miracle we did see this week was from a 14 year old girl. We started teaching her family about 2 weeks ago and we didn’t really see it going anywhere, but not my mind has changed. We had about 3 or 4 lessons with her family, but only 1 with her joining in. We came back and found out that she had been reading from the Book of Mormon every night before she went to bed. When we then asked her if she prayed about what she read, her response was a very quick, "Yes I did." We then asked her how she felt when she read and prayed and she responded that she felt very good and that she believes what she read was true and that Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God. We eventually invited her to be baptized on the 24th of March and she accepted. The only problem I can see for that not to happen is her parents. Her mom is not very interested and her father is semi-interested.
You asked about the weather, and I will tell you that it is still as crazy as ever. Last week it changed everyday. We had everything from snow, rain, wind, hail, cold, sunny, and warm. Right now it is ridiculously nice outside. It is about 63 with a little breeze, and to think that less then a week ago it was snowing. I am sure the weather will change around a lot this week as well.
I did want to share a weird little food experience with you. This was probably one of the strangest dinners I have had on my mission. Just imagine catfish (I am pretty sure the whole catfish was used) and shrimp soup. So if that isn’t a weird enough, throw in some veggies and top it all off with some salsa! YUMMY!  (I think he is being sarcastic!)  So we just used the “eat and swallow quickly” technique. But to answer your question, the pancakes and strawberries (picture from last week’s email) was an actual dinner that we had with the family of the Branch President last Sunday. It was a nice change to have actual “breakfast” food.
Flipping Burgers at MARV'S Diner, Enterprise, Utah. 
This week was filled with lots of exchanges. For one exchange, I stayed here in my area and was with one of the Assistants to the President for the day. It was good. We were able to teach and talk to a lot of people that I haven’t visited for awhile. I guess those are the blessings that come from exchanges. The next day I went on another exchange, but I headed out to the great city (town) of Enterprise, Utah! It is such a small community. I think the 3 small places of Enterprise, Beryl, and New Castle probably have about 4000 people in them combined. It was interesting to think that Burbank is a bigger place than that. It did remind me a lot of what you would run into out towards Prescott and Dayton areas. They have a similar feel to them.  I was with Elder Cram. Elder Cram is from Hawaii, and I have known him for quite awhile, so it was a good chance to exchange and talk about things that need to be done and to be able to learn from one another.
The biggest frustration I have is that we have so many people that are so close to being baptized, but they just aren’t for random reasons. We have Selene who is so ready, but just isn’t married and still isn’t that close to getting married. We still have Cris who is the most prepared person I have probably taught on my mission, but just is still trying to work it out with his wife. We also have this lady that is ready to do everything that she can to come closer to God and His true church on the earth, but her husband isn’t letting that happen. She told us yesterday morning through tear-filled eyes that her husband has been lying to us the whole time we have met with him, and that he has really been drinking a lot lately and it is affecting their relationship and their family. So if that isn’t bad enough, he has been talking to another woman as well. She is trying her best to stay strong through it all and to do what is right for her and her kids, but he is making it hard. They have not been answering their door this whole week, and now we know why. So that will be another battle that we have to go through to help her and her kids still follow through with everything. After all of that, it didn’t stop there. We were sitting in church and the phone goes off. It is a text message from one of our investigators who is scheduled to be baptized this month.  She says she can’t come to church or meet with us anymore. We tried to talk to her about it, but she just kept saying no and giving us excuses. So just when we thought we hit rock bottom, we dropped down even lower. But the good thing about being completely on the bottom is that we can only up! J  So this next week we are going to put in the work to find new investigators and the people that the Lord has prepared for us. He is the paymaster, and we just work for Him.
On a better note, I did find out that Antonio, my convert from a year ago, received the Melchizedek Priesthood and is preparing to go to the temple in a week or two. I am so excited, because President Leonard told me that I can go if I just let him know when it is and we can work out all the details. So I am super excited to be able to do that.
Well there wasn’t too much news from home, or questions, but the story about Bryson asking if I was home was pretty funny. I got a pretty good laugh out of it. You are right; he will definitely know when I get home. It will be weird to see a little boy that can speak better English than me, compared to the toddler that he was when I left.  I just want to say thank you again and I hope that you all have a good week! Remember that "no matter how hard things get, they will always get better!"

Live it, Love it, Preach it!    From Cedar City, Utah, ELDER D

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