Monday, September 14, 2015

9/15 Another Week, Another Blessing

     This week started out with a bit of an argument between Elder Sharp. It wasn't really an argument, but just us calling each other out on stuff that bugs us. It was actually fairly productive. I got across that he needs to pay more attention, and look outward more. And he said that I needed to be more open minded, and stop criticizing as much. It all just comes down to a pride thing. We both just feel right.  I think every sin just comes from pride. But we're working on that. 
     We've been teaching Favio and Milton the lessons to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. This week, we went to get frozen yogurt with Milton while we taught. It's so awesome! He's a stud. As missionaries, when we speak in Spanish, we generally speak in the 'usted' form, which is respectful, but not very close or friendly. Milton said he feels more comfortable if we talk to him in 'tu,' so I'll be learning that a little bit more. It's a little more casual and close. Should be interesting. 
     On Thursday, we weekly planned in the apartment, which took a few hours, but was pretty productive. Afterwards, our neighbor Joe invited us to eat dinner with him. We gave him our George Forman grill that was sitting outside that we never used. Joe is always smoking and blasting music from his apartment. ALWAYS. And it's often crazy music, but sometimes good stuff. His wife passed away a year ago from terrible health problems. He's been grieving the whole time. His is a pretty rough story; he's had a very painful life. He wasn't interested in the gospel at all, but I feel  like spending the time with him was fulfilling our missionary purpose! He cleaned our windows for us on Saturday :) He really is an awesome guy. We love him, and are developing a cool relationship with him. 
     We tried these former investigators in an apartment complex this week, who weren't there. But their 13 year old (or so) daughter, Maria, was there. She was so sweet! She offered us water, and as we were walking down the street, she came running after us with cookies for us, then ran back home. She's awesome :D Hopefully we can get to know her family a little more!
     I love the people in this area so much! It's more than any other area I've served in. I've made actual friends that I hope to stay in contact with afterwards. So yesterday, Favio got upset with us. We asked him to go pick up Alfredo for church, and he said he would. We had to be at the church early, and Luis was there as well, because he's the branch mission leader's assistant. When we were done with the meetings, he left to go pick up Alfredo saying that Favio didn't answer. Favio thinks that we sent Luis and that we don't trust him. He was kind of dodging us for the rest of the day. It's so sad, and we're really bummed out. He's one of my best friends out here, and I'm praying it gets resolved. 
     Nevertheless, I continue to love everyone here! I love being a missionary. I love getting involved in the work, and seeing great results. This week didn't yield tons of results, but you win some and you lose some. You know in the end that we will win the battle that counts! I love you all, and wish you a wonderful week!

P.S.: the pic was outside of a church building. It says, "you are now entering in the mission field." Cool!

9/7 Holy Crazy Busy Week

     I don't think I've had such an action packed week in my whole mission. Then on top of that, we had to wait 'til Tuesday to have P-Day! It was nuts! I'll just start from the top.
     Last Tuesday, we had MLC (misison leadership conference) for the Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders. It was such a spiritual deal. So cool. President Hall trained us all on teaching the Plan of Salvation, how to plan, and accountability. We learned a lot. Actually, it was all stuff that we should have known, but put into a wonderful perspective.
     On the way home from the meeting, we saw a high speed chase; it went right by us! The bad guy hit and probably totaled about 8 cars! It was nuts. From what we could tell, he might have gotten away too! 
     Later that night, Elder Sharp and I started an exchange. I went to Galveston with Elder Leszynski. Since his companion went home a little early for school, he'd been with the English elders for a while, so his comp didn't come to our area. Thus, Elder Sharp went to Texas City to be with some English Elders there. No one was in our area on Wednesday. As you'll remember, Elder Leszynski was my last companion with Elder Havens back when I was in Galveston. That's right, he's been there for almost a year now. 
     We had a great exchange. I saw so many familiar faces. What a trip! Elder Leszynski has really done a nice job with that area. Lots of fun. While I was down there, I got to give a baptismal interview to a guy named Jose who was baptized on Saturday. So, success!! 
     On Thursday, we had a Zone Meeting in Galveston. That was my first one as a Zone Leader. I gave a 35 minute training on Accountability. The main focuses of Zone Meetings are to relay what we learned from MLC to the zone. It was a great meeting. Very productive. I'd say Elder Sharp and I did a nice job :) And then, Hna Ries gave a good presentation as well. She's the Sister Training Leader down in Galveston. She has also been on the island since I left!
     Later that day, we started skit practice for a talent show the branch is having on the 18th. Hno Malacara (bad-face), the ward mission leader, is in charge of these skits. They're hi-larious! So dang funny. All the missionaries in the branch are involved and a few of the young members. The first skit is where some of the members dress up as missionaries, and we dress up as thugs, and we show different ways of how to rob the missionaries. It's so dang funny! The other skit is a Dear John thing. I'm singing this song about a missionary who leaves a girlfriend who gets married with his best friend. It is hilarious, and the song is super fun to sing While I'm singing, everyone else is acting out their parts of missionary (Juan), girlfriend, etc. :) I'll possibly send the lyrics and their meanings later. Good fun :)
     Oh man, Friday! So on Thursday, we had changed Alfredo's baptismal date to next Thursday because he works at 3:00 everyday but Thursday, and he couldn't do it after church. While doing weekly planning on Friday, we realize that he needs a baptismal interview. We tell Elder Evans ( who is now a District Leader in the Friendswood zone) to meet us at the church the next day, where we'd be seeing an English baptism with Alfredo. After hanging up, I crack a joke about getting him in the water right afterwards. All of a sudden, it becomes reality, and we're planning for it! Things all start falling into place. You can tell the Spirit is guiding us the entire time, and it was amazing. Alfredo agreed to it, and had quit his job, so now he could come to church for the full time and still get baptized that Saturday!
     Long story short, that's what happened. The last minute baptism went so well! We're so happy for him, and couldn't be more pleased with the outcome! He was baptized by Luis, and then confirmed the next day in church by me :) I love it! I know it all worked out like that for a reason! This gospel is true, and I know it! I've felt the ministering of angels along with me in the work, and I love it. I love you all, and have a great week!

Aug 31st- moving right along

 This week has been a good, growing week. It seems like every other week is a difficult, but amazing week. I've been doing a lot of personal pondering this week. I've come to the conclusion that I need to work harder. I'd been getting a little lazy. Rather, a little comfortable. No one ever said the gospel was comfortable, but in the end, it's all worth it!
     On Monday night, we started an exchange with Elder Tittle, one of the AP's. He came and worked the area with me and Elder Sharp. It was a good day. We had a lot of lessons. Our investigator Alfredo is on track to be baptized this next Sunday! He didn't come to church yesterday on account of his ride, Favio accidentally sleeping through church. But he loves what we teach, and it all makes sense to him. He loves the word of wisdom, and promised to live it. He understands the law of chastity, but has a difficult time thinking he'll be strong enough to live it. We'll work with him!
     We got frozen yogurt again with Milton. He is such a stud; he just needs to read his scriptures more. I know that will help him be happier. As well, it will help him know to go on a mission! He came to a lesson with us to a part-member family's house and bore a super strong testimony. I'm still a crier, and it brought a tear or two haha.
     On Friday, we ate at Dickey's BBQ with Favio and Milton right before playing soccer. Bad move. We played so slow and fat. But it was really good food! The mosquitos have come out in full force. They ate up our legs and arms that night. The lesson afterwards was tough to bear just because we were being swarmed. 
     On Saturday, we ate with the Campo family. Probably my favorite family in the branch. They're so awesome! It was wonderful food and wonderful times :) They had non-members over to teach as well :) Awesome family!
     Jorge was confirmed in church yesterday :) That was done by Elder Sharp. It went well. I love you all! have a great week!

-Elder Spjute