October 13, 2015 (Week 71)

We are having a lot of success with the ward leadership hear in Chayavientos.  I finally got to go to a ward council last Saturday (first time in my whole time here in this sector) and it was very successful.  We had spent a lot of time getting the leaders thinking about that ward council, and the day of, we called everyone to make sure that they all came.  A good part of them didn’t, but enough came that we could still do our council.  The bishop gave us the entire time to talk.  I think that we have gained a lot of trust with him and with the other leaders, which is why he felt that it would be okay to let us talk the whole time.We were very thankful for the time, and we did our best to take advantage.  In this ward, there was two big concerns that we wanted to address: the first being the lack of a ward mission plan, and the second being the lack of leadership participation.  In the council, we started be telling them everything that they should have been doing, and all that we should not be doing that we are currently doing because it needs to be done, but no one else is doing it.  We helped the ward set specific goals about reactivation, retencion and baptisms by making every organization and quorum set an individual goal and then summing up the number.  We then made a very basic plan that involved organizations taking one week entirely to visit every family that falls under their jurisdiction, including those who are being visited by request of another organization.  We will see how it goes, but we are pleased to start seeing progress in the leadership here.

We have been focusing on contacting more.  Contacting has always been very weak for me, but I finally got motivated to start doing it because of the thought of the abilities that I will develop by making a contact.  Principally, I will be better at comunicating, including reading body lenguage and winning people over quickly.  Before, I thought that contacting was a necesary evil because I did not understand how contacting other people would be something that I would need to know how to do after my mission, but now I am starting to understand.  Just like most of the things that I have learned in my mission, I am now full of regret for not learning how to do it sooner, but I know that I shouldn’t get too concerned by that.

I did exchanges with Elder Barton the other day!  It was the first time that we got to work together since the MTC over 14 months ago!  We have both changed a lot, mostly for the better.  He has grown a lot as a person, and I was very impressed by his steady, plodding style of missionary work.

Love you all.  Hope that everything is as good as it sounds back home.

I’m doing my best at doing my best.

Elder Mathewson

PS – I went and bought a suit, by the way.  Should be done some time in November.  Cataldo seems a little down.  I always feel bad for him and stay longer in his house than we need to.  We were there about 2 hours.  He is alone, with the only people visiting him his clients, mostly the missionaries.  He has suffered every disease imaginable, including in this moment cancer and diabetes, and a few things and aren’t diseases, like a car wreck.  His wife is dead, and he lives with his daughter who couldn’t care less about him.

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