Didn’t you just love Conference weekend??? Oh my it is so different watching Conference as a missionary. In the closing prayers they always prayed to bless the missionaries. I didn’t realize it at first but then the thought came: I am one of those missionaries! No way so cool. We watched conference at our church building. We set it all up and we had two TVs so we put the Spanish session downstairs and the English session above. So happy that we had it in English. Even my companion, who has amazing Spanish, said that it is tough to understand the vocabulary they use in Conference. And you get more out of it in your own language. I loved all of the talks. SO funny how many times New Jersey was mentioned. Every time I perked my ears up and listened a little more intently. Ha Elder Christofferson mentioned he grew up in the New Brunswick Ward in NJ. We meet in that ward's building every week for zone/district meetings. So cool.
Yes and tons about member missionary work too. It really does help out a lot. We work a lot with members here asking for referrals. It is more effective missionary work. We rarely knock doors because there is almost always something better we could be doing with our time. Visiting a less active, meeting with a member, trying former investigators. Missionary work is changing a lot!
So I am just loving it so much out here. This past week was so much fun. The week before last I got to see Elder Packer at Specialized Training. He is the best, hope I get to be his companion someday. We get along super well. We even have the same suit, and shoes!
So our church building here is pretty nice. Nothing like Trailside building but it has its perks. It is two stories and does not have a gym. The chapel and the cultural hall are the same room. The building is like a huge meeting place though. The culture here is just get together at the church for EVERYTHING. I love it.
We have been getting fed so much. Um for the first time in my LIFE I really have to start watching what I eat! Ha Thats what I get for not playing soccer everyday like home. We get fed tons of Peruvian food, which is absolutely the most delicious food ever. So good. We get fed almost once every day. SO yeah, and there is no rejecting food on the mission. Ha it’s the worst/ the best. Getting forced to eat food??? AWESOME. Will you please send me two new suits, and three pairs of slacks? They don’t fit anymore!!!! HA no just kidding, they are fine. They are still working great! Luckily, we got them a little big.
Funny story last week. We hardly EVER eat out, but we were having a slow day and we had to already start heading home for the night. But we stopped by this little Taqueria on the way because we hadn't had dinner. It was basically this little room with three fold up tables. Best Tacos ever!!! Even beats Taco Tuesday at Windy Ridge! It cost us $10 total, but we started talking to this guy in there and then on his way out he threw us a $10 and said: para que pagar. Ha free meal from a Dominican guy! Awesome
So every morning we wake up and go play tennis! Even the roommates: Elder Vargas, and Elder Ramirez. No idea, but somehow we found four rackets in our apartment, so we play every day. I’ve got a wicked backhand I have been working on! Ha it’s so fun. We play a few games of doubles and few of singles. My companion and I run to the court every other time or so. Its about 15 min away running.
We teach about 10 or so people a week. Every week we either find 4 new ones or drop two old ones, But usually about 10 a week. It is some hard work here. There are tons of internigators here, meaning people who have been taught sometimes 30-50 lessons and still won’t decide to do anything or get baptized. It seems like we shouldn't waste our time with them and focus on new people, but the majority of the investigators are like this. We do find a few new people every week which is so rewarding. We have 6 set for baptism. We are working hard to prepare them all.
The big obstacle here in New Jersey is we are teaching some very very poor people. Everyone is from another country and they all work in factories, or clean, or work a tiny shop on Fayette Street. They work so much and when they are home they just want to relax and be with the family. They are not too motivated to do anything else, like joining a church. Super Sad. But hey that is why I am here. That’s why I am working my hardest to help change even one person, or one family. I know these people are ready. Everybody is ready, honestly. And that is why I feel so blessed to be here. I am here to light that fire under them! Wow if only they knew how much this Gospel would better their lives. I am here to tell them that. To show them what peace the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to them. I love it.
I am so grateful to be called to this great work! I know the Lord is preparing people for me to teach, and is preparing me to teach them. I am trying my hardest to find them and be ready for them. The work is so rewarding. Super good quote by Elder Sam Williams, "The work is hard, but when we are working hard, we are always happy!" (Don’t know if that was exact.) But how true it is. This has been some of the happiest days so far. The Lord is so generous with His love.
(This was in a personal note to me but I thought it was so good that I want to share it...) I have been out of my comfort zone for 11 weeks. But "there is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone." I have been the growth zone almost 11 weeks straight. So its all good. I’m am learning to be the great missionary, man, father, and husband that the Lord wants me to be. It is awesome. I am doing great :)
I love you tons! Keep being amazing and remember how happy this Gospel is. His plan is PERFECT.
Zaharis Family!!!! Thank you so much for sending me that awesome puzzle/letter! I can feel all of your support and love. Keep it up
Williams!!! Thank you for the letter. You are always so inspiring and uplifting. I felt awesome after reading your letter.
Murrays!!! Thanks for the package of all those goodies! My companion and I loved them. So delicious. You are so generous
(He promised some pictures next week)