E-Mail on 1/20/13 – Lessons in Patience

Basically the theme of this week….

Rough week here in Vic.  Lots of people who we WOULD have visited if they wanted to answer their phones or doors.  Lots of people we SHOULD have visited if they had been where they said they would be when they said they would be.  Lots of people we COULD have visited if they decided to listen to us on the street instead of keep walking.  It kinda wears on you sometimes.  Why the heck do people have agency?!  (Because it’s important and we can’t learn without it… yeah yeah. I know.)

Best lesson in patience was actually taught this morning.  We went to visit a recent convert, Karla (who we visit practically everyday) because Hermana Findlay needed a trim.  After getting her hair trimmed Karla asked if I wanted my hair cut.  I said I was okay.  She said she was willing to.  Then we started talking about hair and everything and I mentioned that before my mission my hair was pretty short and in a “V” shape and whatever.  THEN I specifically said that for a mission it was better to have it longer because I could do more with it and also that as missionaries we have to have a more subtle hairstyle.  Karla had me sit down, parted my hair down the middle and began cutting.  You know when you’re sitting there and then all of a sudden you feel a lot more air on your neck?  Yeah.  I had to really breathe.  My hair is all gone basically.  Karla is not a hairstylist by profession.  Hair grows back… it´s just hair.  I’ve never been one to freak out about my hair but today… today I did a little.  I’m still freaking out.  It’s super short.  And really awkwardly cut.  It’s just hair.  It’s just hair.  Curse this language barrier!  I just hope President Pace doesn’t think it’s too wild.  There’s really not much else I can do with it.

Another lesson in patience is when the Elder’s call Saturday afternoon to ask if you can teach Gospel Principles and talk about baptism because their investigator will be in there.  It’s kinda like… “You speak more Spanish than us, it’s YOUR investigator, and it’s not even the next lesson in the manual…” but we agreed.  Sweetly enough the Elders then let us off the hook because we had to teach it in English to the African members (actually only one ended up being there… we didn’t mention that to the Elders).  Or when the Elders ask you where your investigator lives so they can go visit him with a member for the “Noche de Citas” on Saturday night.  It’s… yeah. Patience.  I think we’re going to do some sort of service so we can better love and appreciate the Elders.

This week our game plan is to really work with the branch and help them realize that we’re here to help THEM.  This is THEIR work, not just ours.  We can’t baptize people into the branch unless we have people to teach.  We don’t have a ton of time to spend finding people.  We need to be meeting their friends and family and everything.  We have a couple good talks that we’re hoping will get them kicked into gear.  We have great plans for this branch.  We are going to fortify it!  We want hermanas to be able to stay here but it’s not looking good right now.  That’s kind of our threat to the branch if they don’t start helping out.  Cookies are also involved.  Like always.

Mosiah 24 was our theme for the week basically.  It’s funny that we read that scripture a lot with everyone and talked about how we have tough times to test our faith and patience.  Heavenly Father wanted us to learn this lesson just as much as our people we’re teaching.  Funny, just realized it now.

The people here are pretty great.  We had a lesson with an investigator, Eber, whose family is all menos activos.  He is scared to be baptized and make mistakes.  We haven’t been able to get in touch with him for the past two weeks, just sort of seeing him in the street here and there.  We finally taught a really powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon yesterday.  The spirit was SUPER STRONG!  He told us that this week he had been feeling really awful and that he didn’t want to do anything at all.  He was just feeling crappy in general.  But then, right then in that moment with us, he said he finally felt calm and happy.  We were like “Uh… yeah… duh.  That’s the spirit.  You’ve felt awful because you’ve been avoiding us, homeslice.”  Except that we didn’t say it like that at all, but we thought it.  It’s really rewarding when people get it.  When they realize the difference in their life.  It makes the whole dreadful week really worth it in the end.

So yeah… patience is a virtue.  One that I’m still trying to improve upon, little by little.  It’s crazy to think that I’m almost a third the way through this puppy.  I have no idea where the time has gone. I think a lot about what I wish I had done and how I could change to make it better now.  It’s a pretty incredible opportunity that I have been given to be out here and I don’t want to waste it.  I love it, still!  Tiring week and all!  This morning I prayed to find ways to improve as a missionary and the result was Alma 5.  Kind of potent, but definitely proof that Heavenly Father gives answers to prayers.  It’s always good to do a little self-evaluation here and there and Alma 5 is exactly the chapter for it.

Love it here.  Love you there.  I hope all is well and that ya’ll are doing your best to move the work along.  Missionaries can’t do it alone, it’s literally impossible.  We read a talk that said “Missionaries are trained to teach people who are ready for the gospel”.  It’s the members job to get their friends and family ready.  So… off you go!  Until next week, le queremos!

Hermana My Hair is Really All Gone Durham.

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