Today we had our zone training of the attitude of the mind. It's something that I really struggle with in this area. It has been especially difficult to remain positive, have high expectations, maintain the confidence that we'll meet our goals, and be happy despite the setbacks. It often seems easier to become somewhat apathetic so that it isn't so disappointing and discouraging when investigators don't progress or come to church. It is also too easy to get stuck in the mode of thinking "Well, here I am passing through a lot of trials. I'll suffer what the Lord wants me to suffer. Look at all my trials. I'm suffering so much." and just consign myself to suffer and not have much success. In doing so I lose he power of faith and the ability to have that positive outlook that is so essential in the mission and in life as I make myself into a martyr.
I'm still not entire sure how to counteract that outlook as those feelings which come from the subconscious are pretty difficult to eradicate (hmmm, reminds me of the movie Inception where Cob says that the most resilient parasite is a thought. That’s a solid movie). However, I think prayer as well as focusing on the gratitude I have for the many blessings I have received, will go a long way to help. President Markham has also taught that we should think of our missions not as sacrifices but as offerings to the Lord. I really like that perspective a lot more.
A highlight of this week was a lesson we taught on Friday. In many of the towns here there's an organization (which I'm pretty sure is government run) called "Mis Años Dorados." Basically it's a place where old people go during the day to hang out and eat free food. We happened to talk to a woman who worked there and she invited us to come and give a message. We were hesitant but then we ran into her a second time and she promised us free lunch. Needless to say, we jumped at the chance. It ended up being a very strange lesson. My favorite moment was at the end when I said, "We brought a bunch of pamphlets which you can study to learn more about this message. Who here can read?" Only one lady in the very back raised her hand. Also, at the end of the lesson, the lady in charge led all the people listening in a round of applause. Not something that I've ever experienced before in a lesson...
A few nights ago I also had a very interesting experience. I really like working with less-active members. Sometimes they're really less active and you can tell that the Spirit has "ceased fighting with them" as the scripture says. However, a few days ago I talked with a less-active woman who had become more spiritually hardened than I had ever before experienced in my mission. The experience impacted me and left me thinking for the rest of the night. I had never felt a spirit as hard as her's. The Spirit had so completely withdrawn from her. I felt sad for her but especially sad from her children who couldn't have the same blessing that I had in growing up in the Gospel in a spiritually strong family.
To end, I finally found my calling as a missionary, how I will serve and develop love for the people: baking. I've been making a ton of cookies and carrying them around in my backpack to dish out to members and investigators. It's pretty great.
In all, despite all the trials, I am grateful to be here in Patzicia. I'm grateful to be able to serve my district, difficult as it is, and I'm grateful for this chance I have to show the Lord that I love Him. It really is wonderful to be a missionary.
Love, Elder Cannon