I have done the very best that I can during my mission to not get caught up in the trap of mission leadership. There are so many missionaries that think that if a missionary gets called as a leader, then he must be a good missionary. I can think of several reasons why I would be called as a district leader and not because I was outstanding: 1) there is something that the Lord wants to to learn as a district leader and trainer that I was not learning as junior comp, 2) there is something that I need to do in this sector at this moment for the Lord, and it was convenient for President to call me as DL, and 3) because there is 1/4 of the mission involved in some way with training new missionaries, and most of the leadership in the mission went home last change, so chances are that I was going to get called. I am happy for the opportunity to learn, and I hope to do the very best I can while I am here getting humbled by missionaries much more capable than I. Besides, being a DL is basically just calling the companionships and telling them what the ZL tell me. Boring.
On Wednesday, my comp got sick. He was sick for two days, and for most of those two days, we stayed in the pension and he slept. I took the opportunity to clean the pension up a little and relax. I was grateful for the opportunity, because Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday it has been raining hard. He was well enough that we could go on Thursday to the meeting of the new missionaries and the trainers, but we only got one other visit in before the end of the day.
Thursday night, I saw something that I have never seen before and don’t really want to see again, which was a dog getting hit by a car. It was late, and we were on our way home, and we saw two cars coming towards us. The road we were on was a divided two-lane, and the two cars were lined up just so that the car closer to us and farther from the meridian was in the other’s blind-shot. The dog was on the meridian, and crossed as the cars approached. The first car saw it and broke in time, but the second did not, so that when the dog kept crossing, the car ran over it with a pair of tires on either side. We saw the whole thing play out. The poor thing squirmed in a puddle and howled, trying to reach a painful spot on it’s back. I think that it was broken. It also had the skin torn off on it’s front leg. The guy that hit it stopped his car and backed up so that he could take it to the hospital. I am tired of dogs, but I never wanted to see them die.
Friday, we had a family night in the chapel, which is an activity that happens every two weeks here. The biggest problem with this ward is that we don’t have much support from the leadership, which was shown by them purposely planning ward council right during the activity, making us not have a single leader there. It was fun. We had 13 people come from our side, with a total of about 30, including investigators, recent converts and less actives. We are teaching the mission lessons, and that day we did the plan of salvation. Typically, things started going wrong right away. The first thing that went wrong was that the leaders didn’t get to church until 8:15 (ward council was at 8:00), and we had asked all of the people to come at 8:00. Embarrassing, made even worse because we had a lot of set up to do. We then watched a video called “Cristo el Creador” with Maxwell narrating, which was fine, but then we played a game. We had invented it the week before and carefully thought about how to make it fool proof, but apparently we didn’t make it fool-proof enough. What we did was we divided everyone that was there into 7 groups, and each group had a scripture. The scripture had a word that they had to search, and from the word, they had to search the church for a room. For example, we gave a group a scripture that in the 8th word mentions “Baptism”. So where should they go? To the baptismal font. In the room they had to search for, there was on the whiteboard another scripture written, and they had to do the same thing, and keep searching until they found a paper that was specific for their group, with one last scripture. The paper had a commandment on it, the last scripture was about said commandment and taught a lesson about it, and the front had part of the face of Jesus. The idea was to show how, by searching the scriptures, you learn about the commandments, which can help you become closer to Christ. The problem was that they thought that the idea was to collect as many papers and they could. It was very confusing, and lost a lot of the impact. We then watched the easter iniciative video to explain about resurrection, but the disk I have was so bad that the video was completely unwatchable. The good news is that we felt the spirit, the little kids had fun, and there was food at the end, so we completed our objective, more or less.
Saturday, we saw on the TV some of the disasters that are happening in Viña del Mar and Valparaiso here in Chile. We shouldn’t watch TV, but it was hard not to, because it is truly stunning and that is very close to the home of Elder Young.
Tuesday, we had a Zone Conference at 9, which was why P-day got changed. We are in the farthest zone from Lynch Norte, where we always do the conferences, so we had to get up at 5:30 that day. President is really taking the mission a different direction. He wants to put much more emphasis in the temple, but not just for those that we teach; also for us. He wants us to be able to envision the day that we go through the temple to be sealed, because that is the whole purpose of the Plan of Salvation. It¡s kind of difficult for me to think that way. My whole mission, I have been taught that it is bad to think about what is going to happen after my mission. That is “trunky”, and if we are trunky, we are ridiculed and guilted into being focused. President doesn’t want that. He wants missionaries that know exactly where they are going and what they are doing. He wants us to get home prepared and better, and he wants that preparation to happen during our mission. That way, we can teach with power the importance that the temple has, and we understand better why we are here. He taught us that everything that we do in the church is preparation, and in this moment, we are in preparation for marriage. Pretty scary stuff. It’s kind of a weird thought, that when we get home we are all going to get married and start a family. I guess that I had already kind of known that, and that I have been doing what I could to prepare myself for it, but it’s the first time that I have heard that preparation like that is okay, that we can do that and still be focussed, obedient missionaries. I think that he is right, and what he is trying to do for us is help us live a higher way of missionary work, but it may be tough getting used to.
Today, we went up into the mountains, trying to get to the top. I’ll try to send photos.
Love you all.