Okay, this past week has been absolutely full to the brim with changes and stuff! It is so hard to keep track of everything that is going on. Let me start with what is happening today, which will probably be the busiest P-Day I have had so far. First of all, earlier this week, me and my companion were invited to do something. On the first day that missionaries arrive here, they do a teaching practice. They get into rooms of maybe 40 or 50 missionaries and all work together to teach an investigator (still, of course, and actor). Maybe you remember me talking about this in my first letter. Well during these practices, two missionaries (who have been at the MTC longer) pretend to knock on a door and are invited in by the investigator. They demonstrate how to begin teaching. It is not scripted, they just teach based on how they know how to do it. They do this for maybe 5 minutes. Then they leave, and the 40 or 50 other new missionaries take over. My companion and I have been invited to be the two missionaries that demonstrate how to begin teaching. We have about a 45 minute training class for that.
After this class, I have a 3 hour trip to a place with 4 other elders in my district... the Consulate Office. My visa, despite all the odds, is practically here!! It is not guaranteed, but it is likely that with this trip to the Consulate, I can be in Mexico next week or maybe the week after that. I am so excited. Elder Kearl is disappointed, because his visa is not ready for him. He is having a hard time understanding this, because he was probably the most excited for his visa. When I get back, Elder Kearl and I will do our "how to begin teaching" demonstration. After that, we are greeting yet another district tonight... and it has more sisters than elders, which I think is a first for this zone.
There are lots of other crazy things happening that I cannot recall right now. As for being zone leader, I am very busy with that as well. Almost every night, I pull aside one or two elders from the zone and talk to them individually, just to see how they are doing. I talk to them about their strengths, their concerns, their goals, and I try to follow the Spirit to know if there is any scripture or thought I can share with them. I have had some tremendous conversations with them through this. One of these conversations was very unique. It was with Elder Clarkson, from my district. I don't remember exactly how the conversation went, but here is kinda how it was:
Me - "So I just wanted to see how you were doing in the MTC."
Clarkson - "I'm doing good, how about you?"
Me - "I'm doing good, well, trying to do good haha!"
Clarkson - "What do you mean?"
Me - "Oh you know, we all have problems and trials and stuff."
Clarkson - "You wanna talk about it?"
Well, eventually I agreed and the conversation went into reverse... instead of it being all about how Elder Clarkson was doing, he started to really, really, really help me - his zone leader. And it was incredible. He gave me a lot of advice and shared one of the coolest testimonies about prayer that I have not only heard, but felt. It was a wonderful experience.
Yesterday's devotional: the time finally came! We all stood up and reverently welcomed Elder M. Russell Ballard as our speaker last night. Finally, an apostle! His talk was very great and inspired! I was literally probably 20 feet away from him. I could have stood up and walked up to the stand and shook his hand if I wanted... I probably would have been tasered or something if I did, so it is a good thing I didn't. haha!!
Investigators are doing great. We were "transferred". This happened completely randomly. Me and Elder Kearl had a lesson plan for David, and 5 minutes before, we found out we are teaching a new person named Gustavo... so we agreed on a basic lesson outline, and left the rest to the Spirit and our own knowledge. Gustavo is an actor, who is the same person that acted as David. So we taught Gustavo. It went incredible. Elder Kearl and I had incredible flow. We found out his needs (he wants to support his family in a troubled world), addressed them, and got a baptism date in the first lesson. The Spirit was so strong and I know that God helped make that possible.
Leonardo is doing good. We will teach him today, I think. He is committed to keeping the Word of Wisdom and not drinking. He has been to church. He is doing very well, and he too has a baptism date. I bought a Spanish "Stories of the Book of Mormon" book (with all those pictures), and may use that for him. I will use it for Gustavo too because he has young children. Elder Kearl and I will give Leo a "audio-narration" of the Book of Mormon because he cannot read. We have a pretend member teaching him how to read. Elder Kearl and I have also acted as "member friends" as we have joined in other missionary's lessons. That's fun!
I love giving baptism invitations. During our lesson with Gustavo, I looked at Elder Kearl and confirmed what we both were thinking. I told him, "Invite him to be baptized." He showed me that he also knew that it was the right moment, and he extended the invitation. Gustavo readily agreed.
There are a lot more crazy things going on. We are learning subjunctive in Spanish, which is so hard. But it is okay.
Orienting our new district last Wednesday and Thursday was awesome. We talked to them and gave them a tour. It was really nice to help them feel comfortable and stuff. I just needed to smile and start talking about the fact that I only have 9 toe nails and everybody ends up relaxed and laughing... and they all probably think I am a goof ball! (Note from Elder Anderson's mom - Chase had toe surgery earlier in his life, leaving him with one toe that doesn't have a toenail on it. It's a bit of a novelty and... apparently... a great way to break the ice!)
We made some zone goals with the district leaders earlier this week. One goal was very controversial and not received well by our district. However, it wasn't a very good goal in the first place... me and Elder Kearl are still learning and trying to figure this out. The goal was that we do not receive our mail until 9:25 p.m. Normally, we get it twice a day. When that happens, it becomes a distraction. So we wanted to save mail until the night so it isn't a distraction. With help from the Branch Presidency, we refined these goals (and God refined us, of course), and the district leaders should have made it known to their districts. The new goals are better because they are more broad. They are goals, not rules. Our new goals are:
1. Speak Spanish every day whenever you can.
2. Be more focused.
3. Have exact obedience in Residence Halls.
These three goals are narrowed into district goals, and then narrowed even more into individual goals... some of these individual goals include mail.
Spanish is going great. Elder Kearl and I have conversations sometimes in Spanish, and it is cool to be able to carry that conversation.
Please pray for Elder Kearl. He is a little upset that his visa is not yet here and is wondering why that is.
I have not found my study journal. I have no idea where I left it.
Earlier this week, we hosted senior missionaries again, so that was cool.
By the way, my mission has been split. It is still the Mexico City East Mission, but it is smaller... just so you know!!
Love, Elder Anderson