Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

Buenos Días,

So this week has been quite the week! I´m pretty sure I always say that though...haha. Monday was my last Pday and we went to Salto Del Laja, and Tuesday was my birthday! Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes! I even got a letter from David and Leanne´s family--very special and grateful thanks to them for their very generous birthday gift! I´ll use it best I can! A Huge congratulations to Matt and Mel for their new little daughter Samantha! I´d love to see some pics if possible! It´s so weird to think I´ll never see her as a baby really. I´ll come home and Eric will be huge and Samantha will almost be two! haha crazy stuff.

For my birthday I spent the morning in the bus terminal waiting for my new companion to arrive. After a few hours, Elder Pond´s bus arrived and we did  our little greeting. He´s nothing like I expected he would be like, but it´s not necessarily a bad thing. He´s a farm boy from Nebraska with only 5 months left in his mission. He´s got lots of experience, so I obviously have a lot to learn from him. The hardest part has been my own attitude. I´m bored of this sector because we have no one to teach. We walk down the streets and I can point to a house and tell him who lives there and how many times they´ve rejected us...ha. So hopefully he´ll have some new ideas to help us find people to teach and other ideas to help the inactive memebers I´ve been working with for the past 4 months, because I´m out of ideas. It´s been really difficult trying to plan for the days because he can´t help me since he´s new to the sector, and on top of that we usually have only 2 appointments a day--both of which end up falling through. We´ve spent all week tracting in 40 degree Celcius weather (which I think is around 108 degrees Farenheit or something). It´s been rough. And I don´t mean to just complain for the sake of complaining, but it´s because I want to lead in to a story:

Elder Townsend, my new roommate, and I were talking about the difficulty of mentally balancing the pressure of fulfilling the number requirements while remaining sane and truly helping the people. It´s so much easier said than done. I´ve become way too focused on the need to work and get X amount of lessons and X amount of people that I end up being in too big of a hurry to get things done. I´m always stressed and apparantly a really big downer for whomever I´m with. Elder Townsend told me that he had a rather similar experience in his past sector when the branch president quit and the branch was falling apart--not to mention Elder Townsends personal responsibilities with training a new missionary and being district leader. He was stressed, not fulfilling the standards of excellence, not teaching well, not finding good new investigators, etc. What finally made the biggest difference for him was when he began asking himself a simple little question each morning: ´´What would Christ do today?´´ By constantly trying to truly be a representative of Christ and striving to receive the personal revelation he needed, he found that everything began falling in place. He told me the story of how his grandmother was found by two young gringos in Argentina--the first two allowed to share the Restored Gospel in the country. Two generations later, Elder Townsend is serving a mission helping even more people receive the saving ordinances of this true gospel as well as changing and blessing the lives of all he meets. He told me that many years from now, the grandson of my recent convert Claudio will be telling one of his friends his own story, thanking his Heavenly Father that a young kid from the US and his Chilean companion dedicated two years of their life to serving the Lord and found his grandfather Claudio. That impacted me. I´ve always known it´s about people not numbers--I just lost sight of what´s most important. 

Despite the pressure to find new people to teach and have X amount of lessons with members and my personal desire to be on time, the Lord wants me to be a light in the life of others, not teach them a certain amount of lessons. So with the Lord´s help and with the patience of my companion, we´re going to take things a bit more slowly and truly focus on helping each individual come unto Christ.

I invite you to ask yourself a similiar question each time you feel yourself getting frustrated or depressed: ´´How would Christ react?´´ And I promise you that you have the capability to react the same way--it won´t necessarily be easy, but it´s possible. You have the light of Christ within you, and you are a child of God. You have the potential to become like Him. May the Lord bless you as you exercise your faith in Him to be patient and humble enough for Him to help you become like Him. He wants to be a part of your life--you just need to let Him.

Much love,

Elder Long :)

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