Two very un-flattering pictures of myself.
This was from when we all ate together at Denny’s. You almost can’t see Elder Barton. The Elder Turner that was my companion in the MTC is sitting across from me, the Elder Turner that I was living with last change is on the same bench at the end of the table.
Good luck all of you on your trip. I imagine that it will be hectic and less relaxing than normal, but I still imagine that it will be fun. Especially the part of Star Wars. I, being deeply nerdy, and DYING, wanting to see that movie. I would have gone all dressed up and ready, but alas, it is not to be so. There are posters all over the place, and even if Disney has “disnified” it (I am sure that Dad and Ethan would understand that), it will still probably be a blast.
We have been incredibly busy lately. In fact, we have not even had time for companionship study, which sucks. I love studying. Most of the problem has been me. My body has become a little high-maintanence lately. I need to put on sunscreen every day. Even though my mission is not as hot as, say, Cameryn’s mission in Paraguay and Nothern Argentina, the sun is STRONG and can burn me up pretty bad. I also have (wait for it) 6 ingrown toenails, and I have to put cotton under every one. Luckily, they are just under the skin and not infected nor full of fungus, but they are definitely annoying and hurt when I, for example, kick something by accident late at night. Also, I had to do my “antecedentes” (I don’t know what it is called in english. It is something I have to do before taking out my visa, to make sure that I do not have any kind of record that will keep me from taking it out), as tomorrow I will have to go to Santiago Center to do my visa run again (ugh). It seems like forever ago that I had to do that, last December. It involves VERY long lines and lots of walking.
President has really been focused in us teaching more clearly. He worried that we complicate the missionary lessons too much as we try to explain things that aren’t so important, instead of focusing on what is important, which is making investigators feel that what we are teaching is correct. He is right, of course. I studied a little about this already when I was recently made a district leader, and essentially, all that we have to do is help the investigators be able to answer every one of the baptismal questions, which, as he pointed out, are more centered on believing than knowledge. We had zone conference, and he taught us a new way to teach the mission lessons. With the first 3 mission lessons and the more difficult commandments, we have pamphlets written, with all of the doctrine spelled out clearly and pictures with almost every concept. He wants us to teach the lessons only by using the pictures, and if we feel it is necessary, adding a scripture to help explain, but always focusing on being simple. When we teach, we have been instructed to go from photo to photo, asking simple questions like, “What do you see?” “What do you think that that person is thinking?” “How do you feel?”. It is so simple when done correctly that it can not be misunderstood. It lead to more participation of the investigators and less of the missionaries, and it helps the missionaries share the lesson better, and not have one missionary dominate the lesson (which, at least for me, has become a problem recently.)
In the zone conference, we were only taught lesson 1, so in district class, I worked with the other missionaries on lesson 2. That pamphlet doesn’t work as well as the lesson 1 pamphlet, but we worked out a way to do it.
We got the chance to use this new teaching technique with Erica and her daughters, Diana and Fransisca, both of whom are progressing for their baptismal date. It worked spectacularly. Erica, who usually dominates the lesson, shared less, while Diana, who usually stays quiet, answered our question. We all felt the spirit strongly, and we finished the lesson in 15 minutes. We finished it so fast, in fact, that we were surprised and a little lost for what to do, so we decided to watch the 20 minute movie by the church of the restoration, which turned out really well.
Matias didn’t come to church on Sunday. It was the first time in about 3 months that he hasn’t come. We had another lesson with him on Sunday, and he took his girlfriend, Francisca. The last time we were with her, she left a very bitter taste in our mouths. Despite being very beautiful, she acted outrageous in the lesson, like a unhappy, spoiled child that wasn’t getting her candy that she wanted. But this time she was a lot different. She contributed and helped with the lesson, and she was actually quite pleasant. That is probably wise, because she is a member, and I think that Matias and her are engaged, and if she wants him to get baptized so that they can get married in the temple together, we need to be able to feel the spirit when we are teaching him, and if she is making it hard to feel the spirit, she is only shooting her own foot.
We went to Denny’s in Las Condes to celebrate turning 18 months mission old. Elder Barton and Elder Turner were there, my two companions from the MTC, who are now companions, were there, as well as Elder Turner with his companion that I was living with last change. I was hoping that a few other missionaries could have come, including Elder Young, who may turn out to be my favourite mission companion, but he couldn’t. Oh well. It was still fun being together.
I have recently felt very good. Like, something, we are doing very little, and it is like I have a little bubble of joy building up within me. I have been getting a little emotional about spiritual things lately too, which is VERY strange for me. Not in lessons, but sometimes we will be doing something, and I feel like I might start crying. I assume that this isn’t bad, but my gosh, I think that I have started getting weird, if I wasn’t already.
Love you all.