Feb 4, 2013
Family and Friends,
Each week in the mission field is so similar, yet so different. The schedule you have is the same, the scriptures you read are the same, and the lessons you teach are the same. Yet each person has a different spirit, different need, and different desire and dedication to follow the Gospel. Same scriptures can be used in different ways to touch the hearts of many or few.
I got to go on a 24 hour exchange with one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Swainston. He's been out 21 months and has a perfect Columbian accent. I'm now striving to have a similar accent. We were just running around finding miracles. We found a total of 7 new investigators, some of which were given over to English elders, but we were just focused on baptism, and ran around helping people.
The second exchange I went on, was with Elder Lopez from my district. He's from El Salvador, and obviously speaks Spanish fluently. We ran around looking for miracles and found some, but not quite as many as with the Zone leaders. After I thought I had slightly failed in teaching him anything, he told me at the end of the day "Today I really learned how to work hard." This is all I wanted to teach him, and I was so glad I was able to teach him that. I'll be looking forward to more miracles, as I go on two, 24 hour exchanges each week, one with the zone leaders and the other with a member of Kearns District One. It's a great chance to learn from others, and evaluate yourself as a missionary.
Elder Lopez and I had an encounter with a very angry old man who, at first, accepted us, telling us his history with the church and how he always had the missionaries over to eat, and to talk with them about the Bible. Then as we invited him to just pray about the Book of Mormon, he began to spew straight blasphemy, and making claims that "since he had read the bible" he knew this this and that. As his heart got harder, all we did was sit a listen, until at one point he pointed at the Book of Mormon in my hand and said "that book is false." That is when we stood up and testified to him that the Book of Mormon is true, and that he needed to ask God with his heart, and not only with his head. After kicking us out of his house, and saying that we could never come back, we looked at each other and realized how much stronger our testimonies were because of this experience.
The new area that I cover is pretty small. We're able to drive from one side to the other in about two minutes. Other missionaries, who have been here, have knocked every single door. All I can hope for now is a change of heart, and not a hardened heart like the man I mentioned earlier. This area will be a challenge, but challenge accepted!
Elder Smith and I had an interesting experience with some drunk Hispanics blasting Norteña music, which sounds like mariachi music. They confessed to us while they were drunk that they don't respect any white person who doesn't speak Spanish, and that we were their best friends because we spoke their language. They went on ranting about how everyone in the United States should accept them and learn to speak Spanish and that it didn't matter that they weren't legal in the country. We can seem some obvious flaws in this logic, but at the same time we should learn to be more accepting of people who are trying to better their place in lives. When we look at the perspective that they too are children of God, things change a lot. Accepting God's laws instead of man's laws help you love everyone, even if they drink and are breaking federal laws.
I find it amusing also how, because I'm white, all the members ask me "here's some hot sauce, but don't put more than a little because it's really hot, you won't like it." I then proceed to amaze them by putting spoonful after spoonful of hot sauce on my food, only to discover it's not hot enough. I learned from some Ecuadorians that only people from Mexico use tortillas and hotter sauces. People from South America like to taste their food, and they use rice instead. They say "pretty soon food tastes like nothing once you keep dumping more and more hot sauce on it!" which is true, but I like my Hawt Sauwce.
Take care everyone, read the Book of Mormon again if you just finished it, or start the New Testament. Both testify of Christ and his role as our Savior