Sunday, September 25, 2011

37: Independencia 4

Halo from El Salvador.

So this week has passed by very quickly.  It's been pretty sweet.  We have some sweet investigators.  We have one family...the familia Flores.  We set an appointment with them a couple days ago, but were unable to go.  The next day, we saw them on the streets and they were like, Hey, what happened?  When are you guys going to come back?  Wow.  Well.  Okay.   Tomorrow, I guess.

So the next day we went to their house, taught a sweet lesson, and got ready to leave.  It was about 7:30 already, and we had a long way to run to get to the next appointment.  Then it started raining.  Then it started pouring, and because we didn't have our umbrellas (well, I did) and we were getting soaked (the umbrella didn't work so well), we decided to contact a house and ask them if they'd let us in.  So I saw a house, and we took off running for it.  Well, turns out, they were members, and they made us some bean and rice soup, which I normally don't like, but theirs was very excellent.

After that, we took off running again to the appointment, and ended up teaching a very powerful lesson with this investigator named Henry.  He basically was like, "I don't feel the Holy Ghost in my wife's church and want to feel it," and "There are so many different doctrines, how do I know which one is right?"  Well, we have the answer for that.

That was basically like the epitome of [a model investigator for] the mission.  It was sweet.

Also, yesterday I went running for the first time on the mission.  I've always wanted to, it's just that no one ever wants to exercise in the morning, so I've never been able to.  But I got to go with Elder Beaton, the zone leader in Molino who was on intercambios with the assistants.  So we went running in the morning.  Man, I'm out of shape.  I hope he comes to the office or something so that I'll have someone to work out with me.

So that's the life:  working in the office, working in the field, learning a lot from the president—he's sweet.

Also, I'm going to start driving next week.

Thanks for all you guys do!

Elder Bailey

Friday, September 16, 2011

36: Independencia 3

Well, it's been another week, and time is rushing by.  I can't believe it's already been three weeks in the office.  It feels like nothing...like I just got there.  The office is very cool and very boring.  Boring, because I have to put in tons of baptismal records. And that's boring.  But cool because we do get some perks.  For instance…

Last night the president called us and told us he'd come pick us up at 8 this morning.  So he did. Then he took us to Burger King.  Then he took us to his house.  Then we ate food from Burger King.  Then they had brownies.  So we ate the brownies.  We enjoyed them very much. Very, Very much.  After, we had our own group study with the president.  Sweet!

So we watched an old MTC devotional by Elder Holland.  It was so cool.  Those devotionals were cool in the MTC, but even cooler when you're out in the field.  I felt pretty inspired.  Right now I feel like I should go study and work for my P-day.

We have some very cool, positive investigators, but they haven't really been home this week, so it's been kind of difficult.  But it's cool.  We do need to find more though, because...well...that's just something you should do.

So I've worked hard this week.  I've learned a lot.  Unfortunately, I have not actually written in my journal at all this week, so I don't really remember what happened.  But it was all cool.  Todo tranquilo.

Actually, I'm not going to lie, Sunday was a very, very hard day for us.  This was the day when we were supposed to confirm the 3 kids, and we were very excited for them.  But in the morning Mario called us (their Grandpa) and told us that they were being impossible and wouldn't go.   That was very hard for us, and the first thing we did after church was go to visit them.  They were acting so strange around us.  They knew where they were supposed to be, and felt very guilty, but they're kind of wild children.  That's kind of what happens when your parents aren't there to raise you.  Their parents had left for the states and dropped the kids on the Grandpa.  He really is trying his best to raise them, but they are just difficult.  He tries to teach them good principles, but they don't listen.  I kind of see that as one of the reasons that it is so important to raise kids in a good family unit.  The examples and atmosphere that the parents set makes a huge difference in how the kids act.  Maybe people are born with some traits, but wow, does their home make a big difference.

So when we got there on Sunday, they were acting really weird, and we realized that someone must have said something to them.  Someone was talking bad about us to them, and because of this, they have been acting so awkward this week.  It was hard, not going to lie.  You feel kind of sorry for this family because the grandparents are trying so hard, but their kids are just...lazy.

The good thing about Sunday is that in every lesson we taught, people gave us food.  The bad thing is that I already felt sick to my stomach, so the food didn't really sit too well.  But you know, that's the mission.
Also, we have a way cool investigator named Julio Cesar.  He's an artist, and kind of fits into that stereotype (yeah, I know stereotypes aren't so great, but he really does fit).  But he is very good.  I honestly have not had very many investigators that really think about the questions and answer them and understand and ask more
questions.  It's awesome!  We had a sweet lesson.  He also understands that he needs to get baptized.  We haven't been able to teach him for a long time because he's been painting a mural in San Salvador, but now that he's about to finish, we're going to start working with him more, then baptize him.

Also, there's William, the Eternal Investigator.  He is a lawyer, and all of his family are members.  He knows he wants to get baptized, but just has to clear up a couple of personal issues first.  He's probably one of my favorite investigators that I've had.  We have cool discussions too.  Last time we got into a cool religion/philosophy discussion, and we both learned a lot.  Sweet!

There are others, but I'm going to teach them a little bit more, then I'll tell you how they are.

Hope all's going well out there, because it's all going well back here.

Elder Bailey

Friday, September 9, 2011

35: Independencia 2

So I’m in the office now.
Still haven’t put my companion’s stapler in jello.

So I’m going to tell you guys a bit about the office.  It gets boring sometimes, but it’s really great.  It’s a great opportunity to be close to the president and learn from him.  But let’s go back to the beginning.

The office really likes to play ping pong (because there are tables in the chapels).  So we spend most of our P-days doing that.  The office people are way cool.  First of all, we have Elder Hosman and Elder Molina, the assistants.  They’re in Palmar.  They are some awesome missionaries.  I got to do splits with Elder Molina yesterday and we had a pretty dang sweet lesson.  He’s from Honduras and speaks awesome English…but to be honest, I really try not to speak English.  Then there’s Elder Christner, my companion.  He’s just chill.  He’s 26 and is from Colorado.  He’s got a sweet testimony and likes to work.  It’s good and bad having a gringo companion.  Good because...it’s just cool.  Then there’s Elder Huaman from Peru and Elder Guirola from Guatemala.  Elder Huaman has 10 months in the office and is leaving in about a week, but he is fun.  Elder Guirola is from Guatemala and also speaks perfect English.  To be honest, it’s just fun being in the office.  We’re just all good friends.  A lot of nights we’ll just talk about things and learn.  It’s fun.

So Sunday I got to have a baptism.  We baptized 3 kids...Andrea, Luis, and Maricela.  They are grandkids of an older member (he is 54 years old) who were never baptized.  I got to baptize two of them.  Wow.  They were kind of hellians.  Luis stuck his foot out of the water the first time, so I had to baptize him again.  He was so excited to be baptized again that after, he dunked his head under again and tried to go swimming.  I had to pull him out of the water and lead him to the door.  Oh, also, this ward is awesome and very supportive...so we had basically 2/3’s of the ward there watching us.  But it was cool.  It was a fun experience.  Also, no one has baptized more than 2 people in one month in this ward for about 2 years, so we just set the record.  Also, we have some way positive investigators.  Yesterday, I found a family of 6 with Elder Molina who are way sweet, and Elder Christner also found a family with Elder Hosman who were way cool.  I’ll give you all an update on them next week.

So there are some perks to being in the office.  This week Elder Amado of the Seventy (he’s got a picture of him on the main page of lds.org right now) came to give us some instruction.  We got to have our own special meeting with him—just the office (us 6) and the President and his wife.  Elder Amado basically told us to ask him any question we want, and he’d give us an answer.  It was way sweet, and I learned so much.  He answered all my questions, even the ones I didn’t realize I had.  He also talked to us a lot about the Holy Ghost and its purpose in the mission.  Really, we’re here in the mission to learn how to listen to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.  This way, when we return from our missions, we’ll be able to make wise life decisions, [including] marriage (of course).  But that has always been a question that I’ve had, because a lot of time, you don’t feel the spirit and you have to make decisions.  Sometimes, I feel the spirit and I say something and knock on a door, and nothing happens, while other times I just decide to knock a door or say something, and it works really well.  To be honest, a lot of the time we, as missionaries, don’t really feel guided by the spirit.  So he explained it like this (this was in the multi-zone [conference] the following day):

First of all, if you have that question, you’re not the only one.  Everyone feels that way.  Elder Amado has felt that way, our president feels that way, it’s normal.  Honestly, we’re not always going to be guided by the Holy Ghost.  Part of this is because we need to learn how to do things ourselves and make good decisions.  Sometimes, a lot of times, you’re not going to feel guided by the spirit.  Yes, we did receive the gift of the Holy Ghost with us on our confirmations, but while it is always there, sometimes we’re not going to feel it.  However, while we may not always realize when we are feeling it, we do learn as missionaries when it is not with us.  And this is for sure.  If the spirit is totally absent, you can tell.

But he explained that the spirit is kind of like a traffic light.  Sometimes, it’s green and you feel it and know exactly what you have to do.  Other times it’s red and you know it’s not there.  But the most difficult times to discern are when it’s yellow.  A lot of times, we don’t feel the HG for the decisions that we have to make because we need to learn and grow and make them ourselves.  If we’re keeping the commandments of God, he’s going to honor and support our decisions.  If it is something bad, he’ll let us know, but normally, he just trusts us to make good decisions and learn.

This was very interesting for me because the image of a missionary that people think of is someone who is always purely guided by the spirit for all of his mission, but it’s really not like that.  God is teaching us how to make decisions, how to recognize the spirit when it’s there, and how to make and achieve goals.  Really, if we were always guided, Satan wouldn’t be able to tempt us as much and there would be less opposition.  Basically, just as we had to separate from God for a time to learn and grow, sometimes we feel separated from the spirit so that God can try our faith to see if we really believe and make good decisions.  But if they’re good, he will support us.

So if you’ve ever had this question, or have it right now, chill out.  Everyone does.  God’s taking care of you; he’s letting you go a little so that you can grow.

That was just me rambling a bit about what I learned and some of the thoughts I had from Elder Amado.  He really is a powerful person.  He has a very happy, interesting view on things, and I really did enjoy being able to see things he sees things, even if it was for a moment.

So yeah, that was one of the perks of the office.  Another is that we get to be close to the president.  President Cordon is an amazing man.  He is smart, intelligent (even Elder Amado said that he was one of their most intelligent presidents), and a very humble servant of the Lord.  Very, very humble.  I really learn a lot from his manner of doing things, the way he handles problems, solves things, and the amount of love that he has for everyone.  It’s a very interesting perspective, seeing things from the office, and even though at times it does get boring putting in baptismal records into the system and only having Motab to sing for me, it is worth it and it is pretty cool to work in the office.  However, it would be kind of cool to get a letter or two from people I haven’t heard from for a while, not because I’m baggy, I’m just wondering how everyone’s doing back home.

But to be honest, I really have learned a lot in the mission.  I was just talking about this with Elder Hosman.  To be honest, I’ve gotten a lot stupider in the mission.  I used to know a little bit about everything, but now I’ve basically forgotten everything.  When I speak English, I say some of the stupid phrases, and I barely even remember much of what I was studying before.  But while I am getting a lot stupider with knowledge, I realized that we are all getting a lot wiser.  We solve problems better.  Our knowledge of the scriptures and gospel of Christ is much deeper. Our appreciation has grown.  Our Christlike attributes really have improved.  What I’ve learned here isn’t just knowledge, it’s wisdom.  It’s things that go deeper.  It’s part of our emotions and who we are.  Kind of interesting.

Okay.  Well, I think I’ve pretty much run out of time.  Se acab√≥.  I’m glad everything’s going well back home.  Keep it up.

Elder Bailey

Friday, September 2, 2011

34: Independencia 1

So here I am. The office.

Monday, after writing, I had to book it down to the office so that I could get trained on my job, but I couldn't find a member to drive me down until 5, and by that time they had to leave. Tuesday he was supposed to train me too, but we also received about 12 new missionaries from the MTC and we had to prepare everything for that, so I only got about 2 hours to get trained on my job, which kind of stinks because I have a lot to do.

Wednesday we got to the office early so I could figure out my job (I had to get a report in to the Area Seventy that day and I wanted to know how), but the power was out. Then, because of the high tech security that we have here, we got locked in the office (that's not sarcasm, there actually is a security system here), until we realized that one of the bishops left his keys for another door in the building. Wow, I really wish I had brought my lock pick set with me on the mission. I'm not going to lie, there have been times where it would have come in handy. Finally, at 3 we got the power on, and I just kind of...winged my report. It all worked out in the end, but whew, I've forgotten how to use technology. The computer just feels so foreign. I've really forgotten a lot, but it's all coming back like butter now.

Speaking of which, they don't have butter here, only margarine. It's terrible. We really need to get some butter.

So the office has been really busy. I've been running around all week, and am working on very little sleep. I wanted to sleep today for P-day, but the president called us back into the office to do some stuff, so that's probably not going to happen.

Aight. So my area. I'm in an awesome ward. It's called Independencia, and it's sweet. It's right next to Palmar, and we occupy the same chapel, so that is sweet. Also, the ward is just sweet. They give us references, they work....it's awesome. Refugio really made me appreciate a good ward. This Sunday we're going to have 3 baptisms. Sweet!

My companion's name is Elder Christner, he's from Colorado. Yep, and he's not Latin. It's way weird not having a Latin companion, but it's pretty sweet. We have a lot of fun together, and we work hard. It's way cool. Also, I really need my license. Right now only one of the 4 people in the office has his license, so if you guys could send that down to me ASAP, that would be pretty sweet.

The president is awesome. I am learning so much from him. He also can play ball. He came and played basketball with us this morning and basically scored the majority of the points (part of it is that he is way tall). So yeah, life's sweet. I'm probably going to be here for about 6 months. I have to re-learn excel, access, and how to drive.

Hope everything's going well back home. Say hi to the dog for me.

Elder Bailey