11 November 2014
I don't know if I was more excited to listen to Elder Nelson or to see Lauren yesterday! It was an amazing day. I've missed Lauren so much and I probably won't see her again until I get home.
Sister Nelson's talk was what really stood out to me. She talked about our premortal life and the things that we promised to do here on earth. Elder Nelson continued and talked about ten doctrinal points found in the back of the Spanish scriptures (it's kind of like the Index and the Bible Dictionary combined). I'm inspired to study the basics more deeply.
The tramites are all done. I am legal. Hermana Clark and I had another sleepover at Hermana Stanger's house. It was the night of transfers so that was kind of crazy. There were a lot of people there who were leaving for the airport early in the morning or who were picking up new trainees the next day.
We waited in another long take-a-number situation. Hermana Clark contacted a man from Peru and taught him lessons 1,2, and 3 and committed him to baptism. I contacted a man from Haiti who wanted to know if I was single and if I would write a letter for him so he could enter the U.S. Sorry, no can do.
We found a new investigator and taught her about the Restoration. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon with wide eyes. She said that it made sense to her that Christ would visit the Americas and that we had answered several questions that she had had her whole life. She accepted a baptismal date for the end of the month. We taught another lesson later about keeping the Sabbath day holy and attending church but she didn't come to church this week. Something that I didn't expect about the mission is that people accept baptism very easily. I feel like I can teach the doctrine of baptism. People understand it and it's appealing to them. Coming to church, however, is another story.
The young mother we've been teaching wants to be baptized but still doesn't feel like she is ready. She suggested that we are wasting our time with her and that maybe she should investigate the church in the future. We're going to keep visiting for a while and see what happens. I am glad that at least she understands our purpose. She knows, unlike some other investigators, that we aren't here just to talk about Jesus. We want to help her follow Him. She realizes that she isn't keeping her commitments and doing her part. It's so hard for me because I know she knows but I can't figure out what is impeding her from acting.
I am trying to think of more ways to work with the members. We tried to invite a member of the bishopric to visit a less active man with us, but the man did not like the idea. "He's going to invite me to church and I won't be able to say no! So I'll say yes but then when he comes to pick me up I won't actually go." He told us that if we showed up with a member he wouldn't answer the door.
When I thought about the mission before I arrived I thought I would be living among a bunch of strangers. I thought I would be moving around a lot. I thought that if I was in one place too long I would be bored. I am pleased to inform you all that it is not that way at all. I have been in Calle Larga for almost five months and I think I could spend a lot more time here. There are still a lot of people to contact but I am certain that I know more people in this city than anyone else in this city. I know the punks in the street because we are the only people who spend more time in the street than they do. I know the policemen who keep an eye on them. I know the moms who are worried about their little punks in the street. I know the depressed people who don't leave their houses. I know the people who get home from work late because we get home later and we talk to them as they walk home. Even when I think I don't know someone, they know me. "You visited my family in July. You didn't speak very well then." Oh, yes. I remember you. I know all of the little kids who play with their siblings in front of their houses. They wave to us from school buses. As we walked to the bus stop this morning to go to Santiago for P-day there were so many people who greeted me. I've never felt so popular in my life. I've always had a small circle of close friends and spent time with people who had similar interests. I love that as a missionary it is my calling to talk to EVERYONE. I know them. I visit them in their homes. I ask them questions. I love finding out about all sorts of people. I love talking to people of all ages and all backgrounds. I don't know how much longer I will be in Calle Larga (at least until mid-December) but I honestly never want it to end. There are still more people in this city that I need to meet and get to know. Being a missionary is the best.
I dare you to talk to a stranger today, anyone you wouldn't normally start a conversation with.
My beautiful sector, Calle Larga