Monday, May 23, 2011

10 Month Mark!

hello everyone. well its been another amazing week here in la venta, mexico and i am really learning a lot and having some amazing experiences. this week i completed 10 months in the mission which is pretty crazy. one more transfer and i'll be at my year mark. i still have that feeling that i dont really know what im doing and i need a lot more practice and improvement and work, but i think thats mostly a good thing. elder watts and i have been focusing a lot everyday on how we can be better. focusing on different topics different principles and then applying them in one week. in the new study program for training new missionaries it also has focuses. this week was how to get investigators to come to church. thats not how they said it but that was the goal of it. we focused a lot on that and we had 5 ppl in church and some ppl that we didnt think would come. also from the ppl that didnt come to church we were able to determine if they were ppl we should continue teaching or not and in many cases made the decision to stop teaching them a lot easier. there is a funny story with an old guy named juan that we found last week. he accepted a date, but doesnt really listen too well when we teach but just says yes all the time really loud while we talk, but then when we ask him something he just says yes again loud, and then he has to ask again what we said. this saturday we went over to remind him about church. hed said before that he could come. when we got there he explained how his teeth hurt really bad so i told him to go to a dentist but then he said he didnt have money to go. we then continued with the lesson and asked him about church. he then said he couldnt come cause he had to go to the dentist. i was confused and asked why hed said he didnt have money. he then said he did...? then i said well you could go at 12 after chruch right. and he said no but i cant remember why. i then said well you could be today after our lesson (it was like 1 oclock) he said no cause its saturday and i need to drink. he always talks about how bad drinking is. then when i asked about that he said, oh not for me them (referning to the dentists). i then said oh i dont think the dentists are drunk when working. he said very convinsed that they do because it
was saturday. he finally said hed go but when we saw him by chance sunday morning he made another excuse and now we dont teach him , but i thought his excuses were funny haha. and i hope you dont get drunk when working on teeth dad or anytime ha.

this week on tuesday we went to villahermosa and listened to elder quinten l cook of the 12 apostles. it was an amazing experience and i really learned a lot. he did a question and answer part and gave a talk after his wife and a 70' named elder dehoyos. it was really powerful and i learned a lot from him. i especially liked the personal stories that he told about being around the other apostles and prophets. he told one about how he never feels qualified or capable to be an apostle and then that elder packer told him one day in the temple as well that in his 41 years as an apostle he still doesnt feel qualified. It is often how i feel as a missionary, but he said that the lord qualifies us when we do his work in his way he will give us what we need to accomplish his work. i took lots of notes as well and really learned a lot. we also all got to shake his hand and meet him. it was cool to see how each missionary lit up when they passed by him, and it was a really amazing experience.

a lot happened this week but i want to share two experiences that i had. the first one is about the hna maria astrit. she has been an investigator for a while and should have been baptized but we cant get them to come to the court house place to get married. they want to and have everything ready, they just have to go! anyways we had some really good talks with her about everything this week. one night when i was about to announce her baptism she told me that she still wasnt sure about it. shed told me before that she was ready, but then started a long conversation and a really powerful lesson. we went to their house later that day with her and her husband roberto who is also an investigator. we didnt have a set plan, i just thought a lot about them and tried to find what needed to be said. i eventually found what it was and asked an inspired question, when i asked them, "why are we here" (referring to us as missionaries). they said to help them get married, baptize them, help them know the scriptures better, and some other things. i told them after each of these that that is part of the reason, but not the answer. we are here because we love them, and we want to help them have salvation. i wont be able to write the words exactly that i used but they were very powerful and i felt the lord working in me. I then made a comparison in the ways we can look at the church. there is one way of looking at things from a worldly or temporal perspective, and then you can look at things from an eternal or spiritual perspective. for example going to church. from a temporal persective, we have to go every sunday to a building where we sit and talk for 3 hours. from an eternal perspective and spiritual perspective we go to hear the words of god, be spiritually edified,
remember our savior and redeemer, pray, grow, hlep others, be closer to god. we can apply this principle with anything in this world. the problem i see with many investigators/less actives/active members, is that too often we see things only from a temporal perspective. we cant see eveything completely spiritual all the time i know, and im not trying to say that we should do that, but the more we can see things from this perspective, the happier we will be, the more we will understand god and his purpose for us in this life. I expressed to them this idea and applied it to them. i also had another lesson with the hna maria without her family where she told us how much of a difference our talks had made. i felt the sprit direct out words and saw how it helped her.
i dont have any more time, but i had a lot of other really cool equally powerful experiences this week that i will share another day after my mission ha.


elder smith

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