Thank you to everyone who has sent me letters. Today I will try and respond to all of them and get them sent!
Well, this past week has been incredible. As of yesterday, my district is the oldest district in the zone. We are officially the big dogs. The other two districts have all left to their mission fields. Many have been reassigned to stateside missions, such as California, Idaho, and Salt Lake, while waiting for visas to Mexico. We now have 3 districts in the zone. There will be 4 tonight, and my companion and I, as zone leaders, have the opportunity to greet and orient them tonight.
Leonardo and David, our actor investigators, are doing pretty good. Leonardo cannot read and knows practically nothing about the church. That is a struggle because he can't read the Book of Mormon in order to get a testimony of it. So me and Elder Kearl have struggled with that. But it is okay. I think that some companionships have been told by him to not come back again, so at least my companion and I are not doing THAT bad... haha! David is progressing. He is shooting for March 12 as his baptism date. He needs to feel ready and overcome some doubts.
I love the devotionals here. No apostle yet. However, last night we had a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and that was really cool.
Last Monday, the Elders in my district had the opportunity to be HOSTS for Senior Missionaries. That means we were able to greet them when they came to the MTC to start their missions, and we showed them their rooms and stuff. That was totally awesome, and very interesting. All of them were so happy and eager. It was quite an amazing experience to watch them say bye to their families and begin their missions. All of them were so excited and confident.
Being a zone leader is absolutely a blessing. I love it. We have had great opportunities to be instruments in the hands of God. I have felt inspired to speak with Elders (we don't really work with sisters as much. They have a Coordinating Sister who is kind of a zone leader for hermanas) who I felt needed to feel God's love. I won't mention names but here is one experience I had...At the devotional on Sunday (I think), me and my companion were split up. That happens sometimes when the room is full....one companion sits somewhere and the other sits somewhere else. There were not spots that had two chairs next to each other that we could find. So anyways, I was just sitting by someone I didn't know waiting for the Devotional to start. Then, an elder from our newest district called to me and asked if I wanted to sit by him. There was one chair next to him and he was just wondering if I wanted to. I said that I was okay. I would stay where I was. I didn't think anything of it. Then I felt prompted...Go sit by him. So I changed my mind and did so. I was able to talk to him about some things, and share with him some experiences I had. I don't know what he needed to hear, but I felt like it was a good thing to do.
I have also had other experiences like that. It is very memorable to be able to put your hand on the shoulder of an elder and have him trust you enough to tell you that he is having a hard time not yelling at everyone who makes him mad. It is amazing to use the Spirit to comfort him and help him. Developing trust has been key in that regard. Me and Elder Kearl have had the idea of visiting each room in the residence hall in our zone (so, all the elders) and sharing scriptures with them before bed time. We do not do that every day, because that can kinda get a little annoying sometimes. But despite that, as we go every couple days or every other day or so, we have felt the Spirit as we have shared those scriptures.
My companion and I are doing great. We have had some clashes recently. But we are doing okay and still love each other. There have been times when I feel just how much I need Elder Kearl. For example, once we were split up during a devotional. Even though that is okay (since you are surrounded by other missionaries), this one time we were split and I didn't plan on us being split. I felt totally lost and afraid. Weird, right? WHERE IS MY COMPANION!? I felt like something was very wrong and I just wanted to find him. Eventually I did and the relief was phenomenal. It is incredible how important companions are, to the point where I can hardly stand being apart. We are a blessing to one another and teach very well.
The district is doing very well. I have had the chance of developing a personal relationship with the Elders. I want them to know I am here for them. Last night, we had a "slumber party" in me and Elder Kearl's room. Not sure if that is even allowed.......haha. But we had 8 elders who came by from our district. We probably should avoid doing that again, but I will admit, that was a good experience. Some of the elders there were people that I sometimes disagreed with a little. But that night when we were all hanging out in the residence, I felt that we reinforced a strong friendship. We were able to joke around and laugh. That was needed. Maybe we could do that next time without the slumber party part...haha!
I have bought tons of stuff. I have a picture flip book, hymnbooks, highlighters, tabs, notebooks, and probably some other stuff as well. I am sure that I am over my weight limit for luggage with all of these things, so I need to figure out how to deal with this stuff. I have asked people about the free package that we can send to the mission home in order to get our books there without taking them on the plane...no one seems to think that I can do that....at least not for free. I will figure it out.
No word on my visa yet. I am not really sure how illness is doing in the MTC. I think that it is okay.
I have lost my study journal, and there is some really special stuff in there. Please pray to help me find it.
I will be in the field very soon. About two weeks I think. Please send me pictures so I can have them as I leave...pictures of family, friends, or whatever :)
I have come to understand that being reassigned to a state-side mission before going to Mexico is very, very common. As a matter of fact, it may be most likely that I am reassigned before I go to Mexico. If that is the case, I can call you and tell you where I will be going.
Language is coming along well. I can say a lot of things in Spanish! One lesson I had with TRC's (Teaching Real Citizens -- real people that come by to hear the missionaries teach them just for fun or whatever) was pretty good I think. One of the guys we were teaching told me that my language speaking with Spanish was doing awesome. In lessons with investigators I can tell that the language is coming along. I am relying less and less on written lessons and more and more on the Spirit. Sometimes our planned lessons don't even work as we wanted to, because we felt inspired to do something else, like invite someone to be baptized. And it is really cool how we are being helped to say these things in Spanish. I can get through much of the day with only Spanish.
Until next week!