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’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 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 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 acabó.  I’m glad everything’s going well back home.  Keep it up.

Elder Bailey

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