It's been a really good and busy week with a lot of teaching and business to take care of. We submitted our ideas to Pres. Heap for the new areas and we're going to move a companionship to Carlsbad next transfer so there's a companionship in every ward in Roswell and Carlsbad. For now, we are splitting the new ward, Linda Vista Ward, with another companionship (the elders that were in 1st ward) because in our ward there's the biggest chunk of city so more people to try to teach. It is really hard to change, and I've definitely seen a lot of people taking this change pretty hard. Since we're in the new ward and we meet at 1:00, there's a lot of people I'm sure don't come that should. It's neat how we've talked a lot as a mission about repentance, which is change, and how to repent is the purpose of this life (Alma 34:32-34); then this big change happens and we have to deal with a lot of people who resist this change so adamantly.
I'm not sure if I told y'all about our investigator, R. She is a young mother who is roommates with a less active member, C. When we went over to give C a blessing she requested, R expressed interest in the church and being baptized. We've taught her a lot this past week and she even came to church! She's planning on being baptized on March 26th! Another investigator that we gained just this week is J. We were walking down the street contacting, when he pulled up and yelled, "Are y'all Mormons?" He had met with missionaries for about two years in Farmington, NM before he moved here and now wants to start coming to church again.
I've been studying a lot recently about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion in preparation for zone training this week. One thing I've learned is in 1 Nephi 17:7-13, when Nephi is commanded to build a boat. In there the Lord points out how the purpose for Nephi building the boat is so the Lord can carry His people to the promised land. The Lord is also their light in the wilderness and makes their food sweet. The only thing Nephi and his family does is pray and seek inspiration, keep the commandments, and provide the physical labor (like hunting or building the ship). Similarly in our lives, we need to do things in the Lord's way. If we try to take charge, there's no way we're going to make it to our promised land, but as we seek inspiration every day and live worthily, we will succeed in any endeavor the Lord would have us do.
I love you all and pray that you will embrace the changes and obstacles that come in your lives with positive attitudes and child-like obedience.
So the rest of this week has been a little hectic as well. The work never ends. On Thursday night we left for Lubbock. This time the district leaders were invited as well so we all squeezed into our little truck. And to make things even more fun, our three DLs are pretty big guys. On the trip there I had to squeeze in between two of them in the back so one of them could have shotgun. We stayed the night on Thursday and had MLC on Friday. It was different than usual because we all split up into different mock district meetings and the assistants demonstrated how to do one so we could all learn how to improve our training meetings we do. Then we split up a couple different times to receive different instructions.
The weekend didn't stop being crazy after that, though. We had stake conference this weekend and Pres. Heap wanted to meet with our whole zone before on Sunday morning, so one of our district leaders stayed the day Saturday to save on miles. This stake conference was exciting for everyone because they split the two wards in Roswell into three and did the same in Carlsbad. And since we know the area better than President, it's the zone leaders' responsibility to figure out how to change the missionary areas.
One thing I learned about at MLC was about the importance of love in leadership. We make the biggest influence in the lives of others when they can feel how much we care about them. We can learn from the scriptures (the 1st vision, when Samuel's called, etc.) how an important Godly attribute is remembering people's names. When you take time to understand little things in people's live, they know how much you care about them.
But this week we've been able to get missionary work done, too, don't be deceived by me talking about all our traveling. One neat person we're working with is M. We found him knocking, but a long time ago, when he was sick in the hospital, he came in contact with some missionaries. They came by and offered to give him a blessing. His family allowed them to (he was unconscious) and soon after that, he recovered and said that God was with him the entire time after that. He's very sincere and humble, but struggles with being able to come to church because of church even though he has a desire to be baptized.
I love you all and hope that everything will be amazing and you can feel of the Lord's love and share it with others this week.
Holy cow, it seems like it's been so long since I've emailed. You're right, Mom, that the library was closed on Monday because of the holiday. Then on Tuesday we were on exchanges with the Artesia elders and didn't want to take time out of the opportunity to proselyte with them since it took so long to get back from Carlsbad after district meeting. We were going to yesterday, finally, after we dropped the Artesia elders off back in Artesia, but found out we needed to drive clear out to Carlsbad again to pick up a suit we'd need to bring to MLC on Friday.
It's been a pretty busy week and a half since I last emailed. You now know about all the craziness and driving around this week, but last week was similar. For transfers I had to drive Elder Farmer and some other missionaries to Clovis and pick up Elder Woodland and another missionary and drive them back. To say the least, I'm sick of dry, flat, barren, New Mexico, haha. And today we get to drive to Lubbock for MLC!
That night after Elder Woodland got here, we got to meet with one of our investigators who I'm not sure if I've told yall about yet. She's the girlfriend of a less active member and wants to learn about the church so she can better understand her boyfriend. We had a really good lesson with her. She was way more into it than she had been before and she even brought up a concern that she was breaking the commandments by living with him, and we were able to give her something to study from the Book of Mormon to address it. Then, to make a long story short, the next time we saw her, she dropped us because she decided to start going to the Catholic church again.
Since transfers, our lives have been full of punched lessons and struggling to even meet with any of our investigators or less-active members at all. I've been a little stressed, but there's been plenty of times this week where I've learned the importance of remaining joyful and positive through trials. There's so many blessings we receive every day and things could always be worse. I hope you all can have a continuous "attitude of gratitude" and will "count your many blessings" every day. I know that as you will, you really will be "singing as the days go by"
First off, I'll tell you transfer doctrine we got this week. Elder Farmer is getting transferred to Amarillo and I'm getting Elder Woodland as my new companion. He was in Amarillo when I was in Borger so I'm pretty excited to serve with him! There's also five other missionaries getting transferred out of the zone.
At church this week, we had two less active families, the A's and the D's! There was also this lady who works at Salvation Army, where we do a lot of service, who came! Plus K came . He's a young man who we've been helping work toward going on his mission because his home life is rough. His mom is super anti-Mormon and his dad is less active because of that.
There was one day this week when we were trying by people and not having any luck contacting anyone so we started doing some knocking. It was the same every house where somebody answered. They'd open the door and either right then or after we talked to them for a minute or two,tell us they weren't interested and to go away. We were talking about how frustrating people are on the way back to the truck, but then the last door we knocked on this guy, W, answered. We start talking to him about Christ but then (somewhat off topic) I asked him something about prayer. He said, "It's funny you bring that up. I don't know if y'all came here planning on talking to me about praying, but recently I've been praying for God to guide me and I've been trying to simplify my life a lot." It's meeting people like that, who you know Heavenly Father has prepared to hear the gospel, that makes missionary work so great. Amid all the rejection and hate, we are blessed; even though many times those blessings don't come until "after the trial of [our] faith".
I know that this is the Lord's work. The priesthood of God has been restored to the earth. Without it, men could not preach the gospel of Christ or administer the ordinances thereof and we would be continually lost and in the dark. And even though dark times still come, we just need to focus on the specks of light ahead of us or that we know we've seen in the past in order to get through.
It's been an exciting week. For district meeting we got to go up to Ruidoso. It brought back a lot of memories even though I wasn't even on the Res. That day we brought both of the Mescalero elders (Elders Meza, who's the DL, and Jewett) back to Roswell for exchanges. They recently changed exchange policy in the TLM so the whole companionship comes to the leader's area instead of switching the companions. The reason being that the leader's area is supposed to be an example of how to do missionary work effectively, so we bring them both here so they can learn. I'm really bummed they didn't change that after exchanges with Mescalero. It would have been great to go back to Mescalero, but at least I got to hear all about it.
We've also been able to do quite a bit of service this week, which is always fun. We go help at Salvation Army a lot and this week got to go on a "run" to pick up some things people were donating. So we got to help move some things and put together a foosball table. On Thursday we got to help out at Harvest Ministries, where they hand out food to people who need it. We got to push the carts out and help people load the food up. It's so neat being able to serve others and I'm glad we were the ones going out and meeting these people.
We got a couple new investigators this week! S is a young father who's wife has recently gone to prison and he lives with his father in probably one of the sketchier parts of Roswell. He loves talking with us even though his dad is super anti-Mormon. He still wants to learn, but it might be harder teaching him because he's distracted very easily and there's plenty of people/things to distract him. D is an older gentleman who has had a hard life and isn't sure if there's a God. It's such a blessing in life to have faith in God and be able to recognize His hand in our lives. Without faith, life is so dismal; even if you are a good person despite not having faith.
None of our investigators came to church this week, but the A's and D's were there again as well as Sis. B (another less active member). I actually got to go up to Fort Sumner for church and speak, though. There's a little branch there with about 10 or so active members. I went up with the high councilor for the branch, Bro. J. There used to be missionaries there, which was great for the branch, but the number of missionaries in our mission has dropped quite a bit since I came out and so now we cover it. Hopefully we'll get to start going out there more often, but it's hard to figure out rides for that (we don't have enough miles to drive ourselves out there). There's such a different feel between cities like Roswell and little towns like Fort Sumner. It's going to be weird trying to work both.
One more thing that I learned from one of the sisters in Fort Sumner. She gave a great cowboy analogy. If you watch a fly land on a horse, you can see it twitch because it can feel the little fly. But if the horse has been out working and sweating all day in the sun, is it as likely to be able to feel a tiny fly land on it? It's not as sensitive to it's touch. In our lives, promptings of the Spirit come in a very similar way, quiet and still. If we're still and listening for it, we can hear His voice, but if we're too distracted or too busy, we'll be too preoccupied and He won't yell over the ruckus of our lives. I love yall and hope you will take time to listen for the subtle promptings of the Holy Ghost this week.