Monday, August 26, 2013

This week was pretty good. We've had a little more success in our area with getting investigators to attend church. Yesterday we had 2 priesthood show up, where one was inactive and the other nonmember. So it was great to se that, since this ward seriously needs more priesthood to bear the load. Some quorum presidencies aren't complete here, and it hurts the effectiveness of the quorum. Thanks Covey for the advice on working better with the bishop here, it's something that's been on my mind a lot and that I'm going to work on. 

The lady named Susana that we've been working with has been progressing niecly. She has a huge amount of faith and desires to get baptized and share what she knows. In fact, the inactive priesthood that came yesterday we didn't even know until the other day we were going to visit her and she was talking to him about how he should come. But I just realized that I think I wrote that last week.

This week I've been feeling like I have a lot of weaknesses as a missionary that impede the work. For example, Our companionship isn't very good at all at using time effectively, and I think it comes down to the fact that we never get references. We ask but not very well. There's a great training video from Pte Monson that says right there that you won't get references just by asking "Do you have references?" So we're working on planning an activity with the ward to get references. But I feel like we need to meet with the bishop and make a ward mission plan that involves the members. So that's one thing that my companion and I have been thinking about all week. 

And now we're going to do it. Basically it's really hard to identify the major problems that we have in a companionship when I haven't seen an example of someone doing them well, but luckily that's exactly the purpose of the Spirit and PME and the church PME videos. And my companion is always really willing to make big changes in the way we do things. We also made a 1st visit lesson plan that works great for when you keep in mind that in the first visit they don't listen to you very well and that they kjust want to talk. We only teach about a living prophet a little and focus in the LDM and prayer. And that leaves us extra time for the baptismal invitation, since when we ask they typically go off about whether or not each member of their family is baptized, a neighbor they know with a cool experience, and why we're both named Elder. So the new plan is better for that.
I've been studying a lot from the New Testament about the teaching method of Jesus Christ. Mostly I've learned about boldness, and authority. Because we have the same authority to teach as Jesus had. So I can tell people that they need to be baptized in the only church with the authority of God, and there is no room for misunderstanding.

I've learned a lot about obedience so far, since there were some problems when I got here. The biggest one was taking an hour and a half for lunch, because the members don't eat with us and sometimes we hae to wait for them to finish preparing or to eat after. But what I've noticed is that the Lord always provides a way. It helps me teach my investigators. For example, 2 Sundays out of 5 the members have given us money to just go buy lunch. But we just go eat whatever's left in the apartment, and we have the energy we need for the rest of the day. Well I love you, I hope school goes well, and make sure to read Scriptures every day.

Elder Wilson

Monday, August 19, 2013

weekly letter

Dear family,

This week's been really great. A lot of the problems that we've been working on as a companionship have been improved upon. And Nick, cut your hair son. I'm excited for you all to be starting school.  In case you aren't excited for it, read D&C 131:6. Then you'll be excited.

Well the coolest thing ever happened this week and it strengthened my testimony that this is the Lord's work. On Wednesday I think it was we were walking towards a guy that was just sitting by the road to talk to him. But his neighbor yelled to us from the window, and told us that she wanted us to talk to her rebellious daughter. She and her daughter saw us walk by the day before and she wanted to call us then, but her daughter felt embarassed. 

So we taught their family, and she's a miracle investigator. When we taught her again on Friday, she had read like 5 chapters out of the Book of Mormon and told us it was "stupendous". Then she brought her daughter, her granddaughter, and her neighbor to church on Sunday. We stopped by Sunday night, and she said "I want to be baptized, when do we start preparing?" Oh also when we went by Sunday night she was at another neighbors house sharing the Liahona with him. He's inactive but he said he wants to come to church with her next Sunday. So basically she's already doing reactivations even though she's not a member. I know that the adversary will do his best with her, but I have faith that she can do it. In fact, she's friends with a preacher that has called her like 10 times since we started teaching her, including like 4 times in the night, to try to dissuade her. But she told us she was going to tell him this time "too bad, this is your problem. Because I'm already Mormon." So yeah she's great. We just need to work closely with her son in law, since he's the only priesthood in the house and the ward needs more priesthood.

I didn't fall asleep this week a single time when I wasn't supposed to, so I'm proud of that. Not even during personal study. As for what I'm eating, it's great. Each lunch is from a different member, and we have a dinner contract with a member. So I eat well without having to cook. And seriously the juice here is delicious. Too bad a lot of the good fruits don't exist in the States. but there is a really good juice that you could probably google how to make that's jugo de melon, or cantelope. Also they make a great juice from watermelon. But all my favorites are fruits that don't exist there, like guayava, lulo, Guayavana, and tomate del arbol. Oh jugo de mora is the best but we can't drink it in the mission. It was in the CCM. You can make it there if you like, and then you can be real Colombians. Mora is blackberry.

I found a great joke in the missionary manual here that says something translated like "sundays and holidays are great for finding people." Here in barranquilla, holidays are useless, and Sundays are difficult. Because everyone rents huge speakers, and they bump this ridiculous music. I seriously mean everyone, I don't think there has been a moment during a holiday where I haven't been able to hear music. So you have to shout to everyone to talk to them. Plus everyone gets drunk.

Elder Wilson

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dear family,

That's crazy that school's starting so soon. I hope it all goes well for you.

This week was really good. We heard from the zone leaders some ideas that can really help us organize and plan better. One of them went out with us on Tuesday and gave us some advice, and then we had a zone conference where they talked about it even more. So I really think that our numbers will go up this week and following weeks. 

We've been having trouble with getting investigators to come to church on Sundays because they all have work. We've been teaching a lady named Joyce and her family for a few weeks, but they haven't come to church a single time because she had work. But she told us yesterday that next week, if her boss doesn't let her come, she's going to come anyways. So it was great to see that faith from her.

The language is coming along nicely. I've improved a lot in my level of understanding what the people are saying. So I feel now like I can actually teach based on what the investigators say, which really makes it a lot easier to rely on the Spirit. Plus I've been improving a lot in my confidence to talk to everyone on the street, and to have a real conversation with them. And as a companionship, we've really improved in controlling the lessons. Basically it comes down to not asking questions unless they are truly inspired, because it's very likely that the people will talk for like 10 minutes answering one question. So at least it's really easy to figure out what people's needs are, because they tell you on the street when you greet them.

My companion is doing great. He's the district leader and there is a missionary in our district who's having some problems, so he's always having to worry about it. But he's great, and I learn a lot from him about charity and pacience. Well I don't have much to say about this week, except that 2 nights ago my neighbor was bumping this horrible music until 5 in the morning, so I fell asleep in church the next day and apparently everyone in the ward noticed haha. so I'm repenting of that. I am always tired, I think because of walking around in the sun. But at least I don't sleep in the lessons. Love you guys!

Elder Wilson

Thursday, August 8, 2013

weekly letter

Dear family,

This week was pretty good. I finally ate something I didn't like, but it was just because a lady from the ward overcooked the rice so it wasn't very good. But seriously the juice here is the best. And as for the rice, they have something here that I've only eaten once that's called rice with coco. Basically what they do is cook rice in coconut milk, and it's super delicious. You should all try it at home. But there might be more to it that just cooking it in coconut milk, so look it up first.

I have a few more photos to send this week, which is good because I don't have that much to say. But I love everything about the mission so far. Even the walking is great. It's blazing hot, but it's the best because everyone's playing this happy, tropical music with like steel drums and whatnot, everyone stares at me with this hilarious look on their face and tries talking to me in English, and just because everyone here is super friendly. We don't really have a problem with getting in. The problem is with the investigators not keeping commitments. And because some of them don't listen to us because they're distracted by everything, no matter what we do to get their attention. Sometimes it's hard not to laugh, like yesterday we taught this guy and I invited him to be baptized, and he totally missed the question and started talking about his son. So it's funny but frustrating. And some people love to talk, so it's hard to teach a lesson under a half hour. Actually I don't think we have done that yet. So those are some of the problems we have but it's still great.

Elder Caballero and I get along really well, and he's been a great companion for me. He's really good at teaching especially.

We had 4 investigators show up at church and it was great to see them. Plus an inactive family we've been teaching.  2 of them were from a great family, the Nuñez family, who got married so that they could be baptized. They have a date for the 24th but we still have to teach some principles. The mission rule is not to teach more until they keep their commitments, so the teaching goes slowly. Plus an investigator who we can't actually teach because he has some mental problems, but he's great, comes to church anyway.  We found out during gospel doctrine that I guess he's already a member, but I think he maybe was a little confused. And the other person that showed up is Gisela. She's the mom of a member. She's attended a lot but not baptized.  She only speaks to me in English. But she's great, she just feels really lonely because she doesn't have anyone in her life but her daughter, and her son who's in the army. So yeah, that's what's going on here. I've been pondering on Mosiah 2:41 a lot this week. Read it and think about it.

Elder Wilson