Monday, June 13, 2011

22: Refugio 1

Hello Y'all

So wow, this has been an eventful week.  I have a lot to say.  Ready?  Ok.

So Monday and Tuesday I was basically helping move the offices.  There were a whole bunch of greenies who came fresh from the MTC, and I had to go to the stake center to help load their stuff up in the coasters.  I got to talk with the mission president and his wife for a bit.  It was interesting.  More about that to come.

Also, Tuesday night we had a whole bunch of old missionaries return from Belize, and they slept in the casa grande with me.  So I got to stay up and talk to them a bit.  Belize sounds pretty cool.  They get to ride bicycles because their areas were so big, and they had to learn about 5 different languages.  One of them, Elder Jackson, got put on an island.  Tuesday we went on interchanges and I took Elder Jackson up to San Jorge with me (the Belizians had nothing to do, so we took them to our areas).  The thing is that Elder Jackson was in San Jorge before and baptized one of the most powerful converts there, Miguel.  I have pictures of him with me and Elder Jackson, but I forgot my camera.  Sorry.  So I got to say goodbye to all the people of San Jorge.

So Wednesday morning we had changes and I got to meet my new companion.  He's a chubby guanaco from San Salvador and has probably the biggest reputation in the mission for being chambón (lazy).  I feel comfortable saying this about him because I've been with him for almost a week, and every single person has told me that, even the mission president.  When I told Hermana Lopez that Elder Gonzalez would be my mission companion on Tuesday, she had a quick little "Oh, I'm sorry" microexpression and then started singing "mas paciencia" [more patience].  Then she started telling me that I would need to just pull him out of the house.  Then the president chipped in and told me that basically Elder Gonzalez is a follower.  I would have to lead everything if I wanted something to get done.  So Saturday I met this bloke.  Turns out I learned a lot of patience from my last two companions (they were rough, let me tell you), because we actually get along.  Also, it's a good thing that I played the Wii before my mission, because he really, really likes to talk about that.

He took me around and showed me the area of Refugio after I dropped my stuff off at the house.  Turns out, the area's suffering a bit.  In the last month they had only had 9 new investigators.  This area needs a major branch makeover.  I also got to meet Jose Flores.  He's the 1st counselor in the rama [branch], is an RM, and is really good to work with.  The only problem is that he's really busy, so we don't have much time to work with him (but I have 5 references from him, which is awesome).  The president is good, but to be honest he's just kind of boring—a really good person, just needs a little spunk.  I need to wake the guy up.  He looks like he's sleeping half the time.

So basically, I'm in charge.  Not only is my companion a follower, but he's baggy, because this is his final change.  Really baggy.  In fact, he told me straight up that I'm basically the senior companion because "¡ya me voy!" [he's already gone].  To be honest, I really like it.  I'm trying things out, and I'm starting to see results.  I found about 14 new investigators in three days.  More than they'd found in the whole month.  I'm going to keep trying, and hope I can get baptisms.

They do have one family that's positive.  Familia Herrera.  On Thursday we went to set a date with them (because the husband was a little iffy about marriage even though they'd been together for 15 years).   So we talked about baptism, and I basically got the husband to commit, but the wife was still a little iffy.  She just needed to be prodded a little more, but then my companion stepped in and said that we were just going to make it a goal, and that they could step down at any time when they didn't feel ready.  Then he said that about 4 more times.  GRRR.  There went the date.  But it's okay.  We're having family night with them, so I'm going to try to set the date right.

Sunday we had church.  Obviously.  At first, there were only 15 people there, but then more showed up after the sacrament, and our attendance rose to 49.  That's about normal for Refugio, but the thing is that there are about 350 members hidden throughout our area who are inactive.  I need to find them and reactivate them--especially the priesthood holders (there are not many).  So I'm working on a plan for that, a plan to find and teach more, a plan to deal with my companion, a plan to reach all the goals, and much more.  Yeah, it's actually a lot of fun.  It's like a big spiritual game that's going to result in the saving or loss of souls.  So awesome.  I just keep working and doing service:  I've helped put up fences, cleaned up trees, cleaned cars, etc.  Who knows if these people will actually get baptized, but por los menos [at least] we're planting some freakin' awesome seeds.

It rains every night.  I get soaked a lot.  We don't actually have running water in our house...just two barrels of water for everything and some bottles of drinking water.  I have to carry a bucket of water over to the toilet every time I want to flush it, and bathe outside by the barrels.  It's so awesome.  I love El Salvador.  I love my mission.  I feel like's it's finally picking up.  People are great.  The church is true.  Study your scriptures.  Learn about Christ, and then try to be like Christ.  Apply the principles to your life.  Do service.  Resolve conflicts.  Pray every day.  Go to church.  Do everything you can that will bring you closer to Christ, because that's where true happiness lies.  Remember that you have to lose yourself to find yourself.  Well, I'm losing myself.  I can't even speak my own language anymore.  Endure to the end, and if you do these things, "Tendréis la vida eterna" [you'll have eternal life].

Elder Bailey

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