"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, August 13, 2012

Letter #6

I'll start off this week talking about my investigators. First, you need to remember that these things really happened and that these are the stories of the investigators that my teachers had while they were serving their missions. So, this isn't made up, and we aren't put in these situations just to see how we would react, but because this really happens and we need to know how to help the people we are serving.
So, first, we'll start off easy with Ana (Hermana Casares). It is part of the culture in Mexico (and seems to be in all of Southern America as well) that the word sin (pecado) is reserved for strictly bad things such as killing and robbing and such. So she did not understand the need to repent. We found that out when we were teaching her one time. Anyway, last week we were teaching her about the Restoration and Elder Cox and I thought it went well. One of our best in fact. After we walked out of Ana's "house", (the now) Hermana Casares invited us back in to talk about how it went. Keep in mind that this whole conversation is happening in Spanish. First, she tells Elder Cox that he needs to be more confident. There is no power in his words and he won't look her in the eye when he is talking (which is understandable because it is easier to think of what to say without staring into someone's soul). But that she can feel his love for the investigator. Then she proceeded to tell me that at one point in the lesson she wanted to open her door and run out of her "house" because she thought I was going to punch her in the face! (Not exactly what you want to hear when you are supposed to be eminating Christ's love to all). But, she did add that I was very firm in my speech, which I guess now is a compliment. Anyway, it turns out that the whole lesson was pretty much just a Good Cop / Bad Cop routine--missionary style. I thought it worked, but we had some things to work on. So, this week, we met with Ana again and tried to explain the need for repentance, which, by the end of the lesson, she understood perfectly! Elder Cox and I taught the laws of justice and mercy (Alma 42 if you are interested), in Spanish, in 25 minutes. It was pretty amazing. Definitely had some help from the Spirit because after that lesson she said that it was the best lesson that she had ever been taught (and she said that as our teacher, so that is a lot of lessons). So, hopefully we can keep going on that track some more.
Junior, a teenage Bolivian soccer player, had a rough week with us. Not only because he is going on a vacation and we won't meet with him anymore (Hermano Walton left for Bolivia this morning), but also because his brother died of cancer. Definitely rough teaching really anything at that point, but we went over the Plan of Salvation and he was comforted somewhat after that. When Elder Milovidov and Elder Bolanos were teaching him though, they didn't understand Junior had said his brother had DIED, so, after a few moments of silence they simply asked: ", how's soccer?" Lol. I can only imagine how that went. Anyway, we're going to miss Hermano Walton, but he left us a Bolivian flag to hang up in our room to remember him.
Just so you get the idea of what life is actually like here in the MTC, it is pretty much a modern-day monastery. Especially with people walking in two's everywhere and each path crosses and everyone greets everyone else with a humble and quiet hello in who knows what language. Pretty much how I'd imagine it in the movies. I also forgot to say that one day the menu said that they were serving Orange Chicken Salad. And that is just what they did. The plate had lettuce, chicken, and oranges. It was a bit unexpected, but comical nonetheless.
Some funny Spanish mix-ups we have heard so far is one missionary explaining that Joseph Smith went into the Sacred Grove to pray because he was so confused about which church was true. But he mixed up the verb to pray (orar) with the verb to pee (orenar). So, Joseph Smith was so distraught he decided to go into the forest to pee is what ended up being said. Also, someone was talking about the Branch Meeting (reunion de rama) with (reunion de ramera), which would be a meeting of harlots. No big deal.
Last Friday a sister missionary came up to me while I was folding my clothes and said she was sorry, but she could not stop looking at me. At this point Elder Cox and I were...puzzled, to say the least. Turns out, she just stopped at an awkward point in her sentence because the reason was that she was convinced we were on the same flight to the MTC. She just wanted to say hi cause she recognized me even though I wasn't wearing my suit. After talking for a few moments I asked her how long ago the flight was. Two weeks. She must have been mistaken, cause I was just about to start my 6th week here. She apologized for the mix-up. But I was left confused more than ever. I am now not one in a million. My wife will be so disappointed. That is to say, if I even get that far, because yes, every conversation I have had with a sister over the past six weeks has been nothing less than awkward. I feel sorry for the poor girls when I get home.
Which brings us to our next point. They have a missionary TV show? I don't know what to call it. They have episodes though to help us learn how to teach better. Long story short is that I look like one of the missionaries on there and everyone seems to notice. So, I am at least 3 in a million. Its funny because the show reminds me of "The OC", because they always say: "Next time on The District". But, that's a different story. Elder McKinley (in my district) also looks like the companion of the missionary that I look like. So, its odd to walk around with him and have people look at us weird cause they know they recognize us from somewhere.
Did you all read "The Living Christ"? One thing Hermano Walton shared with us was Hebrews 6:4-6. Gives you a whole different perspective on what you do and why you do it.
I wish you all well. Stay safe.
Elder Andrews

orar = to pray
orinar = to urinate
reunión de rama = Branch Meeting
reunión de ramera = harlot meeting

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