hello everyone. well this was another amazing week here in la venta. I had a lot of really amazing experiences and have really learned so much.
This week i have continued to feel a really amazing change in the way that i am teaching. i feel more and more comfortable teaching in lessons and feel more and more as if i am teaching a personalized lesson as opposed to a rote presentation. it is hard in spanish to not do that especially when a lot of my companions in the past have. in a companion study with elder watts one day when we were talking on the subject i related how we had gotten better and how we could continue to improve by asking him the question "do we teach our lessons the same way you would teach your best friend from home". The answer for both of us was no, and though it is a little different, it was a good thought that i had to help me be myself more in lessons and really try to love the people and build a connection with them from the start. i have really felt a huge difference in the way i teach in these last few weeks with elder watts and have felt directed by the spirit more and more as i learn to really rely on the spirit to teach them.
I had an interesting experience with an investigator this week where i got pretty mad, but it was a justified good mad ha (ill explain). we went over to the perez family to teach a lesson. we got there and we basically always talk mostly with the husband (juan). we got there, had a prayer and i asked how they were and then asked why they didnt go to church and if theyd read and prayed. He then went into a list of excuses of things, but turned out he was sleeping sunday, and didnt read, and hadnt really prayed. he then to try and back that up i guess went into first how in the church the sunday they went, he already knew everything that we talked about and said bluntly. "i went in with nothing and came out with nothing". (i used that later). We talked aout the sabbath day and he exagerated how everyone knows what it is and that we shouldnt have talked about it. he then went in how we never answer their questions and gave an example that i never answered his question about who melchezidek was (which i had, but did again anyway). and other than that he couldnt remember what other questions he'd asked and so he then said the thing where i got mad. he said i dont think you guys would know the answers to my questions so i dont ask. you dont have much knowledge of the scriptures and are inexperienced, and thats why we always talk about really basic stuff. Me and elder watts joked afterwords because we had been reading in moroni about the war chapters in our studies and we said "elder smith got upset like moroni" ha. I starting with the topic of the class in church, that he doesnt know what the sabbath day is becuase he hasnt put it into practice and isnt living it. he went in with nothing and left with nothing for his attitude. i then answered his question and asked if he had any others, but he didnt. then i explained that we were there to help him and his family to find the salvation and that there was no other way they were going to be able to get it. that we arent there to just help him study the bible for fun, but it is something serious. that we are there as guides and that it is him who has been making and breaking his promises with god when he hasnt been keeping his commitments and then asked him some simple questions about the gospel and explained to him the answers of why we study the basic principles of the gospel. it is not that we dont have the knowledge to teach him it is just that if he cant and isnt willing to live simple and basic principles or commandments why would we want to study complicated principles. I spoke very boldly to say the least and at the end i think it sank in a little bit. Though i spoke strongly, i felt the spirit the whole time that i spoke and felt guided by the spirit. hopefully someday he will be able to do the very simple thing of reading and praying diligently about the book of mormon.
that was an experience that was powerful for me, but not the ones i like very much, but have to happen sometimes. I usually stay away from ppl that want to argue, but this was a good investigator who changed for some reason away from the gospel. It was a good learning experience for me though, and this example played a part in a good discussion i had with elder watts about how we can be better at finding the elect.
we also had an amazing baptism this week. the hno. ernanza got baptized. he is a old man of 73 years and is really great. we found him a few weeks ago when he called us over to talk. we were a little skeptical at first because he loves to tell stories ha, but he accepted everything and the gospel will help him a ton! he has had a rough life including separation from his family, he got hit by a car and hurt his body really bad with lasting affects that limited and limit his working ability, and has a pretty bad living condition now. he has been humbled and prepared by the lord for us to find him, and it was a great experience to be able to baptize him in the ocean (wasnt water here again this week). After presidente nazario gave a cool talk about how he entered into the gate and the way of the lord. i felt the spirit very powerfully when i thought about how this man who has seen so much and experienced so many things, had entered into this path and was completely clean from any sins of his past life. he is73 but is born again of the water and now of the spirit as well. It was amazing to work with him and to see the blessings he will receive in his life and the eternity.
this sunday was also amazing. we had just about 60 ppl in sacrament meeting. though that doesnt sound like a lot,, we usually have like 40 or 45 and so having 60 there was amazing. a lot of less actives were there and all my converts were there as well except for maria but she had a reason, and i was just full of joy. i went up to share my testimony and i tried expressing my love for the ppl there and had to just stop and wait for like a minute because i couldnt talk. It was a powerful meeting and everyone there felt the strong spirit, as everyone got up and bore their testimonies.
the mission is amazing and i am learning so much and have had some truly amazing experiences. i know that this is the true church and gospel of jesus christ and there is nothing i love more than to share this message with everyone that will hear it each day. i hope that everything is going great at home and that you are all doing well. I love you and miss you