Monday, July 8, 2013

Hello Family!  It is the 8th of July, 2013.  Today is transfer week, we get our transfer information today.  I don’t ever think about this, but, if things would have gone normally, I would be going home today.  But, luckily, I am staying on my mission six more weeks.  And, for that I am very grateful.  My companion went to the bus station this morning at 7:15, he has already gone off to Londrina.  I will probably get my new companion on Wednesday, or Tuesday, and I am actually really, really, excited.  We have a lot of stuff to do in my area.  We have a lot of people to teach, a lot of people to help, and a lot of people to find that we don’t even know yet.  So, I am feeling like this last transfer is really, its going to be the best.  When I tell the missionaries that I talk to about this kind of stuff, is really what I feel is true.  Every transfer that I have had on the mission always grows in three things:  it gets harder, it gets better, and it gets faster, sadly.  Yeah, so I know its going to be a little bit harder than last transfer, but I also know its going to be better.  So, I am excited for that.  I don’t know who my companion is going to be, but I am sure its going to be great, whatever happens.  It might be a new zone leader, because they are going to be calling a lot of new zone leaders, ‘cause a lot of zone leaders went home. 

Yeah, so let me think about this week.  This week was kind of a difficult week.  Just because my companion was ending his mission, and he was already kind of relaxed in regards to a lot of the stuff.  So the last week where you are saying bye to everyone is difficult as well.  But, we were still able to do some things, which was good, I guess.

We had leader’s council with the new mission president, President Jinado, he’s really cool.  You guys are going to meet him, right?  And, I was kind of sad, I have been sad for a while because you guys aren’t going to be able to meet my mission president, President Tavarez, cause he is MY mission president, and, I was sad about that.  But, President Jinado, he’s really cool, you will like him.  He’s a really, really special guy, he’s a great guy, he is just not as special to me as President Tavarez is.  President Tavarez was my mission president for 23 months.  But, regardless, he speaks fluent English, from what I can tell: President Jinado.  So, you will be able to talk to my mission president in regular English, which will be pretty awesome.  He was telling me that when he got called to be mission president, he had an interview with Elder Uchtdorf.  They just spoke English, they didn’t need a translator or anything.  So, he speaks really well.  So that will be good for you guys to be able to speak to him. 

Leaders council was really good.  I got to see all my old companions who are still on the mission, like Elder Hutchings, who I am going to be working with in Oregon.  By the way, that whole summer job thing in Oregon—I think I told you the basics, but his dad and his dad’s friend, they started a restaurant, this business, in a place called Sisters, Oregon.  Its 20 minutes away from his house, kind of up in the mountains, it is kind of a resort place or whatever.  And, they started this restaurant, and what his dad said was the following, “we are going to see if it goes well this summer, like, successful, and if it does well, then you will be able to work here next summer.  And, Elder Hutchings was like, I have this friend, Elder Hoskin, could he work with me and my sisters?  Cause we were making plans and stuff for my next summer job.  And he said, ‘Yeah, to tell you the truth, you two could both run it.’  All the restaurant would need, is two people.  So he said that me and elder Hutchings, it could be our work for the summer.  And, as long as it does well this summer, then he said next summer, they would be fine. You know how businesses start out, and the first year is always critical.  So. Elder Hutchings has been telling me that apparently his dad is having a lot of success.  So, it looks like I will be going off to Sisters, Oregon next summer, as soon as school gets out, and staying there all summer, and just working, staying with my friend Elder Hutchings, living in Oregon, which is like Pittsburgh on the West, and I am also going to be having a summer job which will be great.  I need to also make money to provide for my school and stuff.  So that’s good news. 

I had some cool experiences this week.  There’s a ward.  There’s a Bishop in our stake, its called the Independence ward.  And, that ward hasn’t had missionaries for four and a half months.  The zone leaders use to be there a year ago.  The zone leaders got switched to my ward which is called Jarjng Santano.  So what happened is this:  They got a new Bishop in their ward, and the Bishop is against baptisms and stuff, a lot of the time.  So, they reached a point with the Elders, where he said, ‘I am not going to allow you guys baptize anyone anymore, unless it’s a man.  You can’t baptize women, youth or children, you can only baptize men.  He said, ‘I am sick of not having men be baptized.’  So, President Tavarez just took the missionaries out of their ward, cause he was like, ‘he needs to learn, better’, so, President Tavarez took all the missionaries out of the ward.  So, there were no missionaries there for about 4 and a half months.  And, that’s the strongest ward in our stake.  It has a frequency of, like, 180.  Which is a lot.  And their chapel is the biggest chapel.  Its one of the best areas of the mission, but the Bishop was like… getting sketchy with the missionaries.  So president took them out.  The entire ward went nuts.  President said, ‘I want you to show me that you want missionaries working in your area again.’  So, the 4 ½ months the missionaries were gone, the members were working.  They would go out and do visits and find people to teach and stuff, it was crazy.  So, this last transfer that I got here, the one that just passed right now, was whenever they put missionaries in there again. 

So, there is this lady… So there has already been baptisms and stuff that the bishop hasn’t said anything about.  They have all been women and men and families and stuff, so its been okay.  So, there’s this lady who has been going to church there for three years.  And, her name is Sua Lee.  And, she is like 42 years old.  She has been going to church for three years, but she is kind of slow, mentally.  She is not mentally handicapped.  When you look at her, and even when you talk to her, she doesn’t seem slow, but she’s a little bit slow.  Slow enough to the point that the missionaries called me and were like, ‘hey, she wants to get baptized, but we don’t know if she should get baptized.’  You know how there’s that certain point where people who are a little bit slower mentally are like,… they don’t need to get baptized, they don’t have the accountability.  You know what I mean?  Like mentally handicapped people.  And, this missionary never dealt with this kind of stuff before.  And, the Bishop was giving him a lot of grief about it too.  The Bishop was, like, ’I don’t know if we need to baptize her,  I don’t know if she has the state of consciousness in her head.’  So, I went there and I did the Baptismal interview: Two Saturdays ago.  I did the interview.  And, I figure the things you’ve got to look for in the interview when you want to know if someone is accountable to be baptized, is the understanding that she has about repentance, and right and wrong.  Right?  Cause, that’s what makes the difference.  If you know what’s right and wrong and you choose to do right or wrong, then, you need to be baptized.  You know, little kids, they don’t have that.  So, that’s why they are not baptized before they are eight.  So, I went there, and I can tell that she was a little bit slower, but she understood repentance.  I asked her what repentance was, she explained it.  She didn’t explain it like Neal A Maxwell explained it, but she explained it.  She said, ‘whenever you do something wrong, you have to stop doing it and do better.  She had a basic understanding.  But, I was still in doubt.  I just wanted to make sure 100% that she was able to get baptized.  So, what I did, I was like, ‘Hey, the interview went well, there were not problems, she has a good basic understanding of repentance.’  Then, I was like, ‘hey I am going to make a call real quick’, during the interview.  So, I went to another room, and I just prayed, I was like, ‘Heavenly Father, if she should be baptized, just send me your spirit right now, so that I can know.’  So, as soon as I said that, I felt the spirit.  I felt a really, clear, strong response, that was the spirit!  So, I knew that was the Lord telling me that she should be baptized.  So, I told them that.  I said, ‘hey, you passed the interview, you can get baptized.’  This was two Saturdays ago.  And, she was really happy, and she was like, ‘oh yea!’  And, the Elders were like, okay, great.  So Sunday comes around, and they are not able to find her.  She just went off to go do something.  The baptism was going to be with another lady, the lady I talked about last week.  It was going to be with her, and they couldn’t find her.  So they just started the baptism without her, just with the lady I talked about last week in the voice clip.  But, half way through the baptismal service, Sua Lee just shows up at the chapel, just hangin’ out.  We were like, ‘hey, whats up?’  She was like, ‘Hey, is my baptism still today?’  We were like really excited because we were like, ‘where did she go for like hours!’  But, we were like, ‘yeah, it can be today, do you still want it to be today?’  I was like, ‘do you still want to be baptized and everything?’  She was like, ‘yeah’.  We were like, ‘are you feeling good about it, are you feeling ready about it?’  She was like, ‘yeah, I am.’  So, then we went to go tell the Bishop, cause we were in the middle of the baptismal meeting, someone was giving us a message when this was going down.  And, Bishop, who was already kind of sketchy about it before hand, was like, Well, beforehand, he was like, go ahead with the interview.   But, we were like, Bishop, she showed up and she wants to get baptized.  He looked back and saw her, and he was like, ‘I don’t think she should get baptized.’  I was like, ‘what?  Didn’t you say we could do the interview and stuff?’  ‘I don’t think she needs to get baptized, I don’t think you should baptize her.’  I was like, ‘no, but I did the interview, and she passed the interview and everything.’  But he was like, ‘Elder, I don’t think she has the good conscious and everything.’  I am sure he had already had this talk with tons of other elders, you know, but I kind of pulled a wild card on him.  Because, he was like, even though she passed the interview and everything, I don’t know if she has a good understanding.  I was like, ‘Bishop, I had doubt too.  And, then, I went, and I prayed about it.  And, I asked Heavenly Father, during the interview, I went to another room and I asked Him to give me His spirit if she should be baptized.  And, I felt like she should.’  And, his face was just like, ‘What?’ He wasn’t expecting that, you know.  So, he was like, ‘AAh, if it was up to me, I would not baptize her today.  But, you guys can do whatever you want.’  When he said you could do whatever you want, that meant, ‘I am not part of this.’   And, President Tavarez taught us that you have to have the support of your leaders.  You can’t just be like, screw you, and go baptize.  So, I told him, I was like, lets do the following:  Since she is already here late, lets mark her baptism for next week, but as she keeps passing by (???) it will be next week, it will be a little bit easier, she will be a little bit more prepared.  And, the bishop was like, ‘okay, lets do that.’  So, even with the date marked for yesterday, Sunday, apparently at the beginning of the week, he was still wishy washy.  Apparently he didn’t, what you will see later is that he didn’t believe me, he either didn’t believe or didn’t trust in what I said.  Me, as being the interviewer, being like, she’s ready.  So, they had their executive committee meeting on Tuesday, and he was like, ‘I don’t know if she should get baptized.  I don’t really know if she’s ready.  He didn’t say anything about me specifically, but just the fact that he said that, you can see he doesn’t confide in the fact that I interviewed her and stuff.  Whatever, he doesn’t know who I am.  So, its not like I am offended or anything.  But anyways, the most important part.  So, the elders are like, ‘what are we going to do?’   So, they are trying to figure out what to do.

 And, then, on Thursday night, the Bishop calls the missionaries.  And, they were like, oh great, the bishops calling.  This is what they told me on Saturday.   So, Bishop calls, and he is like, ‘Hey elders, how’s it going, blah blah.’  Its going good… ‘So, listen Elders, about Sua Lee,…’  And, they were like, oh crap! Then, Bishop was like, listen, last night as I was thinking about Sua Lee and her situation, I prayed, and I prayed to know if she should get baptized.’  This is the Bishop, right.  ‘I prayed to know if she should get baptized, and I felt like she needs to get baptized.  So, you guys can mark her interview for Saturday, and we will just go ahead and do it.’  Ha!  And, they told me this story on Saturday, and I was like, I liked it!  Because there are a lot of lessons you can learn from this story.  First of all, I was happy that I confided in the response the Lord gave me.  Like him (Bishop) being against the baptism, I could have just gone back on the response the Lord had given me, but I knew the Lord had given me a response, and that’s what really mattered.  Another lesson, is that, I don’t consider it a bad thing that he went and had to pray for himself.  It’s the same thing as the Book of Mormon.  If he wants to know, then have him go and learn for himself.  Its cool, because you can pray about anything, and get a confirmation about anything that’s in your stewardship.  And so, he didn’t know if she was ready or not, so all Bishop needed to do was to go pray, and he can have the same response that I did.  I thought that was pretty cool.  So it was a great learning lesson.  I saw the Bishop afterwards and he didn’t say anything, of course, because we had a confrontation about this.  But, I feel like because of this experience that the Lord gave us, his (Bishop’s) confidence in the missionaries has grown.  His confidence had been shattered whenever the area got closed and everything.  It was a really good experience… I mean, he won’t even remember my name, of course.  But, at least he will have this experience to be able to confide in the missionaries a little bit more.  Whenever they are like, ‘yeah, this person is ready.’ Or whenever they are like, ‘we want to help these people’.  Because, he will just confide a little bit more.  I think that was the real purpose of this whole thing.  And, its interesting how the Lord took that, and totally made it for his purposes to be worked out.  Not just fur Sua Lee, but for the future.  There will probably be cases in the future where the Bishop will have to confide in the missionaries when people are ready to get baptized and everything.  So, overall a great experience. 

Last night there was a devotional for return missionaries, and the stake president asked my companion to play the piano in it cause my companion plays the piano, and it was probably the trunkiest thing I have ever seen.  Everyone cried during one part, I cried too during one part…  There was a music video, literally 5 minutes of some country singer singing about the mission, and then 5 minutes of clip after clip of footage from the airport of when the missionary gets of the plane and runs to his mom and everyone is crying.  Over and over and over and over and over, different clips.  And, I just lost it, and started crying.  Everyone was crying.  It was the most I have seen people cry before.  It was like Lamentations.  But, it was a really trunky devotional, I am glad that its over.  That made me excited to think that I am getting toward the end to see you guys. 

I feel really good about my mission.  I know that no one’s perfect, and that surely the Lord has a lot in store for me that I wasn’t able to complete because of my limited capacity.  But, I feel, as I keep trying on my mission to do my best, I feel like it has really been, like, the best experience, you know.  It’s the kind of experience that will go for the rest of my life.  I feel like the hard work that I have tried to put in since the beginning, has really,… made a treasure in Heaven as they say.  Like to compare it to something else, its comparable to my journal.  Whenever I started writing in my journal, it was kind of tedious to write everyday.  Mom sent me that journal when I had 5 months on the mission.  I have written in that journal every single day since I got that journal for the last year and a half.  Every single day.  So, in the beginning it was tedious, but now its complete, you can tell that it’s the most worthwhile thing that I have.  Cause it has all the experiences that I have, everyday it has all the experiences that I go through, and I will be able to go back on that.  It’s the same thing as the mission. 

So, I am excited about my new companion, I will let you know who it is if I already know him at the internet Café.  But, I will get it on email.  

I love you guys, I hope everything is going well with you guys.  I know I have asked this like ten times, but this is the last time.  Just a last, final draft of how the trips going to be, the days and where its going to be and everything.  Just so that I can already start planning.  Elder Hutchings, he is like my best friend on the mission, he is serving in Maringa.   My old area Maringa where I served for six months.  So I already have him talking to members about a lunch for you guys there, or a dinner for us there,  Also I will plan for Presidente Prudenche.  I just got to know the exact days, so if you can send me one more of those.  Love you guys, also , I am not sure what you guys are planning on bringing from America, but if mom could find, just a little present for people.  Like a little present for the people.  We can talk about that later, but I have some people I want special stuff for.  Cause they are really special.  But, anyways, I will talk to you guys later, BYE!

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