One technical question. I have been meditating a little about how I am going to gain money when I get home. What suggestions do you and dad have for me? I was thinking about continuing at the golf course like before, working 40 hour weeks, as much as I can. Do you think that will be enough to see me through my next year at BYU? I don’t want my studies to be a burden for you and dad, and I also want to be smart and avoid debt as much as possible.
This week has been contacting week. Contacting has always been a very week point for me, especially street contacting. I started my mission relatively timid due to lack of ability, and was with an elder who did not like to contact much either. I improved a great deal in knowledge and talent as I continued working in my mission, but contacting was an obstacle that was very difficult for me to overcome. My companion is helping me get over that. He is not a perfect contacter. He tends to try to convince the person that we are talking with to listen to us, and he doesn’t listen well to the person speaking. However, he does do it, even though it is also hard for him. He had been losing motivation to street contact a great deal the last few days because of my bad example, and he told me so one of numerous companionship inventories. I was initially insulted, but I started thinking about it, and realized that he was right. I was being a bad example, for him and for the district, where we had set a goal of 10 contacts per missionary per day. So, I began to contact. I started with 3 contacts in one day, the goal still being 10. I think that those were the 3rd, 4th and 5th contacts that I had done in my entire mission. The next day, I did 4. The next day I only did 1, but yesterday, I did 6. I am slowly losing my fear. I find it awkward still, and I often do not know what to say, but I feel good finishing the day having contacted, because in my opinion, a good part of the success of a missionary is based in his willingness to contact.
I have been focusing a lot more on the work. I was initially very worried about pleasing my companion, thinking that I was somehow doing something wrong. But the more that I have been with him, the more I find that he can’t be pleased. I could be 100% obedient and diligent, and he would still find something to criticize. And if something as simple as taking the wrong street or looking at the cellphone too long can make him mad at me for the rest of the day, I do not know that he can be happy. So, I have set limits for myself of how far I am willing to go. I now don’t ask him how he is doing when he gets mad, because that just annoys him more. I don’t chat with him in the street, because we didn’t like the manner that I did it. I do not let his bad attitude get me down, and I keep working as though I had a normal companion beside me. I focus of the positive, I sing to myself, I contact. He criticizes me for not doing it well, and I do it anyways, because I do not need to always be the one that is worried about him and trying to make him feel good. I do not push him, but rather I am letting him come to me, and when he comes, I patiently listen to him, talk it out with him, and apologize for exactly what I did wrong, but nothing more. I try to stay humble, and I try to always ask myself, “Why I am doing this? Because I love him, or because I want to spite him?” I do not know if I am doing the right thing, but I do know that if I am doing all my part, I do not need to do any more than that. So I don’t do anything more than that, and try to always be looking for what more I can be doing.
Elder Spencer and Elder Middleton, the zone leaders, learned from the current assistants how to apply the general focus of the world’s missionary work “Teach repentance and baptize converts”. We have been taught that, in the contact, if a person is not interested to change, we shouldn’t waste time with said person. It is fairly obvious within the first minute or so if a person is “wheat” or “tare”, and they are tare, we immediately end the contacting, giving them a card with our number and continuing to the next person. What we do is we greet a person on the street, introduce ourselves and our message, and explain that, through Jesus Christ, they can receive peace in this life, and if they are willing to repent and be baptized, then they can be forgiven of their sins. We then ask them if they have desire to change and be baptized. If they say no, it is not there time. They are not prepared, and no amount of talking from our part is going to change that. So we move on, trusting that the Lord has a plan to prepare them to be baptized. And if they say yes, we try to help them progress as much as possible right there, maybe teaching a few doctrinal points to clear up doubts (like the authority of the priesthood and eternal families), get their contact information, and if it is possible, invite them to be baptized right there. We have found a lot of “tares”, but one time I contacted a man who accepted a baptismal date. I was so excited, I accidentally set it for the 12th of Febuary, giving a person that has never even set foot in a chapel 2 weeks to prepare to be baptized. I really like contacting this way. It takes all of the pressure off of us of having to convince people, and we can just focus on finding as many people as possible that want to listen.
Other than that, it has been hot and uneventul. We visited Alfonso to so some cleaning, and I took photos of some of the high-lights. Love you all.
As a side note, when we got there, Alfonso was naked, only covered by a blanket. I had seen him almost naked before, but this was the first time that I saw his hernia. Ugh. I lost a year of my life, I think.