Sunday, November 27, 2011

46: Independencia 13

Hello Family!

Well, this week has been busy.

It started with Friday. After writing you all, I got to go to the temple with my zone. As it just so happened, my ward mission leader, Ivan Retana, was going to the same session to take out his endowment. It was a pretty neat experience. First of all, it was cool because everything was in Spanish and I understood it. But seriously, the temple is just awesome. If you ever need to get answers for your life, the temple is the best place to do it. If you ever need to feel the spirit of the Lord, the temple is the best place to do it. It's just the best place in the world. After having a long break of not going to the temple (about 8 months), I really was able to learn a lot.

I'm not gonna lie, Saturday and Sunday were very hard days. We didn't get anyone in sacrament meeting, a lot of our appointments fell, and we dropped a ton of investigators who really weren't progressing. Then changes week began. Wow. Let's just say that this was the busiest week I have had in the office since I got here.

But really, I was busy. The president gave me a ton of assignments because we had changes, then the following day we had the Thanksgiving multizones. So honestly and truthfully, I have not had much time to do actual missionary work. Except Monday, which was awesome.

Monday is when the news [new elders] come, but because we had already prepared everything for that day, I was able to slip out with a member in the afternoon while Elder Christner stayed and took care of los nuevos. I went with a member named Juan Blanco (or John White in English). He is the president of Sunday School for the stake, and is probably one of the most amazing teachers I have ever met. He lives in Palmar, but went with me this time because we needed a member. We went and taught the grandparents of a member, Daniel. It was a very cool lesson. The wife, Adilia, is totally on board. The husband, Avilio, is a doubter. But man, the way Juan taught, there wasn't really any room left to doubt.

After that, we went to visit Hermana Berta. She's a very, very intelligent woman, maybe a little eccentric (I think she really likes conspiracy theories), but way funny. She is very smart. We talked to her cousin, Mario that day too (he lives in the same house as her). Well, he's just a little crazy. He likes Mormonism, but doesn't believe in sin or that any church is true. But he likes Mormonism. I'm just really not sure how he managed to get baptized. But, whatever, he's started coming to church again, so maybe he'll figure it out. I just thought the lesson was pretty funny because Juan Blanco likes to have control of the lessons (that's what makes him so good), but that's impossible with these two. They both love to talk. Usually, when I go with Elder Christner, we say about 5 sentences, and the rest of the time sit back, listen, and enjoy. It's all good though. Hermana Berta usually comes to the same conclusions that we want to teach her without us saying anything. Anyways, Juan Blanco got a little frustrated because he couldn't say anything. But hey, it's the mission.

After that lesson, I went back to Juan's house where he taught me for an hour. Man, I think he's taught me more about missionary work than anyone else. I've been trying to put his teaching ideas into practice, and my teaching has improved a ton. That guy's gold. Pure hour of inspiration.

The next day was Tuesday. I left the office at about 6:30 because the president was having his interviews with the missionaries going home and I had to be there. I was able to finish the mission newsletter (El Estandarte). Yeah, it's new. I can send a copy of it next week. It was the first newsletter we've had with this President. Then I went on interchanges with Elder Sutton. He was there because he was going to Belize the next morning.

So he went out with me and we contacted houses. Pretty cold. Then we went and taught the familia Viana. The mom of one of the kids, who is a member, started asking us about eternal marriage. She has a boyfriend and wants to understand that. I tried putting in the tactics Juan taught me, and it was a pretty sweet lesson. Then after they gave us food. Good old beans, eggs, and cream. It was delicious and simple, as always.

Wednesday, more interviews, another hectic day in the office. I finished this pamphlet on the BOM that the President wanted. I did it all. I was pretty proud of my accomplishment. I ended up going out with my companion finally, but we were pretty fried. We taught this 8-year-old daughter of a member who wants to get baptized (so she won't count as a convert). The bishop asked us to teach her, so we are. At least it'll reactivate her mom.

Thursday was pure hectic. I started working at 6:30 basically. As soon as I woke up I had to start calling zones for information. Then we got to the office at 7:30 and had to set everything up for the Thanksgiving multizone. The assistants weren't there because they had to drive a wounded missionary to the San Salvador Hospital the night before, and then the car broke down, so they weren't able to come back on time, so I had to sit in the meeting and do all the things the assistants normally do (except for teach), without knowing exactly how the president wanted it (microphones, powerpoint, running around, etc). Well, it all went well as it turns out. Then the next meeting (which was actually my meeting), the assistants showed up, but the president still had me do everything because I already knew how he wanted everything done. Dang it. I didn't get to take notes. Oh well. It was a good experience. Well, then I still had a whole bunch of work to do and Elder Christner had to scan and email all those Thanksgiving notes you guys got, so we were in the office until about 8:30. Got back fried and hammered, but with a full stomach. So it was all good.
Well, now it's Friday again. Wow that week went by fast. It feels like I haven't been in the temple for ages again. Well, I'll wait it out six more months until the next time. Until then, I still have a whole bunch of projects, and Christmas coming up. I've decided I'd be pretty good in the business world. Elder Christner tells me it is a lot like what we're doing now. I like it. It actually is kind of fun. I just wish I was able to work more in the area still, but this upcoming week will be much better. Well, keep up doing whatever good things you're doing, don't forget who you are, and get ready for Christmas.

Love you all,

Elder Bailey

Friday, November 18, 2011

45: Independencia 12

Good news. Today I'm going to the temple! Woot! We've waited forever for this, and now we're going to be able to go after I finish writing.

This has been a hard week. I'm not gonna lie. Saturday afternoon we encountered a man named Mauricio. He's an alcoholic and has a lot of problems. He encountered us on the street and told us that he'd been looking for us because he really wanted to change his life. I'm just going to tell you right now—this is not a happy story, and it doesn't end well. So we went with him. He spoke perfect English because he lived in the states most of his life and preferred speaking in English. He took us to his house, and it was there we began to talk. He started talking about all his problems. It was sad because he wanted to change, but he was a total slave to his addictions.

That was the hardest lesson I've ever taught. It really put Christ and His Atonement to practice. As we explained to him how he could change, you could really see how the atonement really does apply to each one of us, personally. But man, it was a hard lesson. He really wanted to stop drinking. The lesson lasted 4 hours. When we left, we were completely exhausted, totally—physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Mauricio went to bed determined not to drink. He told us he would start shaking, but that he'd do it. Sunday morning we took him to church. He was sober, but shaking the whole time. He lasted through sacrament meeting, but then went home after. Well, he didn't make it. We went back after church, and he had left his house. It was hard. We had done all we could to help him, but he honestly didn't have enough faith and determination to do it. He didn't make it, and after all that we just had to leave him, but I learned an important lesson. Maybe more than one.

First of all, I never really understood how much of a protection the commandments are for us. Our president explained it to us in this way. For some people, the commandments are a fence, something that keeps us from doing what we want. But this is wrong. In reality, commandments are guardrails. Like the guardrails on a speedway, they keep us from rolling off the road, from losing our lives, our families, and everything we love. They keep us happy and in control. The people who want to play around with this and see if they kind drive with one wheel off the freeway can easily get pulled off. It's not worth it. It's really not worth it to see how far to the edge you can go.

So it was a hard weekend. It felt like forever. When Monday finally came around, it felt like a lifetime since I had last been there.

The office was busy this week. I had a ton to do. It was good stuff. We've been finding some new investigators who seem positive. We don't have a date for November, but we have a sweet family set for the first week of December, and a couple of other investigators who we're going to try to set dates with this week.

Well, I've got to take off to the temple now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

44: Independencia 11

Hello family!
So it’s been a good week.

Saturday we did a way sweet activity, me and Elder Christner.  It was called "Men with Brooms."  Basically, we went contacting with brooms, and tried to see how many houses we could sweep that day.  I’m not gonna lie, it is so much fun doing service.

Sunday was great.  We got five investigators to sacrament meeting.  One of our members, Hubo (probably the coolest guy in the world), brought two old grandpas to church.  He says he wants to get them baptized and through the temple before they die.  It’s awesome.  I love that guy.  The two viejitos are way sweet too.  Fidel (the grandpa) always introduces himself as “Fidel, but not Castro.”  He’s so funny.  So we’re going to try to put a baptism date on this Sunday.

Also, William can’t get permission.  He was our red head investigator.  He’s way cool, a good boy, he knows the Church is true and wants to get baptized, but his parents won’t let him.  They’re hard core Catholics.  It’s pretty rough, and since school just finished for him he’s going to go to the states in two weeks, so we’ll never be able to baptize him.  Kind of rough.

Then we have Mauricio.  He’s an investigator we’ve been teaching for a couple months.  He’s wanted to get baptized for a long time now, but his wife keeps putting off the marriage date (his wife’s a member, and they’re not married).  We have it set for the first week of December.  Then we have the family Batres.  It’s this sweet family we’ve found.  We’ve taught them the first lesson, and the Book of Mormon, and they’re progressing pretty well.  They are a way sweet family, we just need to get them to church.

Then we have the family Quintanilla.  This is a way sweet couple.  They’re an older couple, and would be the perfect grandparents for anyone.  They’re always way happy when we get there, the husband is so funny.  The wife always makes us arroz con leche, or something like that when we come.  They’re awesome.  They also had a son who did a student exchange program in Texas, so he speaks perfect English.  Last Saturday we were teaching them, and the son entered in.  We watched two movies about the apostasy, that was way cool.  After, as we were explaining the authority, he began to tell us how he came to the conclusion that no church was right because each one was founded by man.  We explained to him that ours wasn’t, and he was just completely closed off, and kept talking.  He was very well learned with the Bible, and had had a lot of good questions.  The problem was that he came to the wrong conclusions, and is now shut off to the truth.  Man, it was frustrating teaching him.  It made me realize how true the Church really is.  It was a 2 hour lesson.  I really hope God can open his heart, because he is just an awesome person, and I know the gospel would make his life so much better.  By the end of the lesson, his own mom started to side with us and explain that really, we made sense.  But, oh well.  Another missionary experience.

So we put up a tree in the office.  Merry Christmas!

Also, Elder Hosman left this week.  His parents came down to El Salvador to meet his converts for a week (remember, he was the assistant for about 9 months).  He was an awesome missionary, and definitely a big influence and example for me.  I’ve learned tons from him, more than probably any other missionary.  His parents were sweet.  I realized how bad I was at English too.  It was way hard to talk to them in just English.  Usually when I speak English, I still need to use a lot of words in Spanish because I don’t remember the English equivalent.  But with them, I couldn’t.  Man, it was weird.  I have a fear of going home.  I have to change a lot more lives before I go home.  It really made me want to work harder.  So I want to baptize 3 families before the end of the year.  I already have 2 lined up, and need one more.  I’m going to need a lot of faith, so let’s pray for another family!  Yeah!

Well, it’s all good here in El Salvador.  I hope everyone’s good back home.  I’m going to keep looking for that one more family.  I’m already way excited for Christmas, but also kind of scared.  I’ll probably get a little baggy.  Oh well.  Just keep working.

Love ya’ll,

Elder Bailey

Friday, November 4, 2011

43: Independencia 10

Well, it’s been another week.

Last weekend we had stake conference.  We were able to bring an investigator, Roberto, to the priesthood session.  It was very good, but a little embarrassing for me.  The last speaker called me up and asked if I could give the missionary purpose.  I did, and I was very proud of myself for doing it, but as it turns out, I forgot the atonement, and President Cordon corrected me.  Well, I pulled it off to be funny.

Stake conference was way good.  We are finding a lot of new investigators, and some of them are progressing.  We just need to get them to church!  We have one investigator, William, the 17-year-old boy, who knows the Church is true, but his parents are Catholic, so he’s really trying to push to get permission to get baptized.  Yeah, he’s awesome.

We’re looking for families now.  The president has put a huge emphasis on families, so that is my goal.  I especially want to find a family before December, because it means I’ll be able to take them to the temple in a year, and that would be so awesome!

This week has been a good week.  I’ve worked a lot in the office.  The end of the month is when I have to have all the registros submitted, and a gizzilion of other stuff.  So it’s been busy.  Really nice, I enjoyed the pressure.

Hope everything is going well back home, and that everyone is getting ready for CHRISTMAS!

Take care,

Elder Bailey