November 4, 2014
Well, this week has been pretty full, so let's get this email moving. Last Wednesday we had changes and I received a missionary straight from the CCM, Elder Mendieta, from Nicaragua. Receiving Elder Mendieta has been great, but there certainly is a lot to teach a new missionary. I know that responsibility I have is so important, and I can feel a lot of pressure to train him well, but often it's hard to know just how to apply that, when it's good to push him even farther or when it'd be better to slow down a little bit. It's rather funny to see how he has many of the same preconceived notions about what missionary work is like that I had before coming into the field and how awkward a new missionary’s contacts are at first. However, he is a great missionary, and I know that he'll be a great leader in the mission one day and I feel very lucky and humbled to be entrusted with him as my companion. Training has taught me even more patience and humility. Two attributes that I have had to taught again and again on my mission (and will certainly have to keep learning as I've got a way to go in that area).
This week has taught me more humility as we have continued to struggle with our datos (the number of lessons, new investigators, contacts, etc. that we have in the week). Really what I most seek for in the mission is knowing that I have done the will of my Heavenly Father and that He is pleased with me. When I am struggling to feel that the mission becomes very hard for me. I know that if I am diligent, I should be able to have good datos. Yes, there are always hard days, but I really want to be able to see that I am working hard and making a difference. However, I hit a turning point on Saturday when I finally became fed up with how little we seemed to be doing and decided to change things. I started praying and working harder than ever and we have been blessed and I have felt even more the urgency of this work. I feel like I don't want to waste a single minute.
As far as miracles go this week, we have really been struggling to find progressing investigators. Our area book is essentially empty. We hadn't been having much success when the Spirit guided us to a second visit rather far away from where we normally work. We were late for another appointment and the first visit with the investigator hadn't been too good, but I felt like we should swing by, despite the inconvenience. As we were about to arrive we passed a man who was obviously an alcoholic and somewhat drunk at that moment staggering in the street. We said ¨buenos dias¨ to him as usual and kept on walking, then the man turned to us and asked us if we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. We went over to talk to him and then I felt very strongly the Spirit tell me that he had been very intentionally placed in our path. We taught him a quick lesson in the street and left him with a pamphlet. Yesterday we had the second visit with him and he has completely stopped drinking and was in tears and the end of the lesson. It has been a cool testament of the promise found in Preach My Gospel that the Lord will guide us to those who are ready to hear this message or He will guide them to us.
In other news this week, the 1st of November was el dia de los muertos [the day of the dead] here. It's celebrated by eating fiambre and flying kites in the cemetery. Fiambre is a dish that is only eaten on this day. I ate a plate of it that a member gave to us and it had over 50 ingredients. A dozen types of meat, dozens of types of vegetables, and a bunch of different types of cheeses. It was a little much honestly. Very strong, pungent flavors of pickled vegetables and meats like blood sausage, but it sure looks cool in the picture (that chili was really good and spicy though).
As far as the kites go, I've never seen anything like it in the United States. The kites here are normally hexagon shaped and can be several meters across (up to 9 meters in Sumpango, and area near Chimal. It takes 10 people to hold the rope). The little kids are super pilas and can fly the kites way higher that I would have imagined. I wish I had a picture because it's pretty incredible. It kind of looked like and alien invasion that day.
Another interesting occurrence this week was that at changes an elder I didn't know came up to me and told me that he'd read my blog before leaving on his mission. It made me a little afraid of the power of google and also made me feel self-conscious about the things I've written. Maybe I should write about things that are slightly more substantial that the food I've eaten or what LOTR reference I had.