Family! Thanks for writing. You're the best!
Dad! Was the trip to Victoria kind of last minute? Sounds nice there! I'd like to go one day. Hahaha working with the sisters is way different, but we're seeing some progress which is great. That's crazy about the new Bishopric! It'll be weird coming home with all different ward and stake leaders. I hope the trip to pick up Michael goes well! Why does Charly need a prom dress?? Are they doing a prom at Wilma Hansen or something? Love ya!
Mum! Things are going better but we're still struggling a lot. The sisters are progressing haha. We joke around saying that President's making a mistake and making us never want to get married after having to work with so many sisters hahaha. Things are going well though. Most of them are really willing to learn, and they're really new. We heard about the explosions in the States. That's so sad. I'm glad you enjoyed your race! Would you do it again? I'm glad the family's doing well. Love ya Mum!
Michael! We can't do splits with the sisters you wollybasher! We have to just accompany them to their visits and help them learn, as well as take time during the week to do studies and practices as a zone. It's helping a lot, but there's still a lot to do. Didn't you take Book of Mormon both semesters? I thought you had to take that. How's New Testament been? I hope you do well on your finals! I'll pray for you. I'm sure you'll do a great job. Hahaha there aren't gonna be any pre-mission freshmen at BYU anymore. It's rough going home, but you'll get used to it. The weirdest thing is trying to pick up where you left off when you left for BYU. I can only imagine it'll be way worse coming home from the mission... Not looking forward to it. Anyway, keep your chin up. Keep reading and praying and preparing for the mission! Love ya!
Charly! I didn't hear from you this week. I hope everything's going well! You enjoying school? How bout Seminary? Love ya!
Jake! You saw 11 deer? That's a lot for that little area you biked around. Where do you take the bike to go off jumps. After being on a bike so much in Linares, part of me would like to get more involved in that later. Nice job saving up your money. You're saving up for your mission too, right? Love ya Jake!
So I've got some news. I've decided to extend my mission to August 12. I thought I was gonna have more time to make my decision, but the Assistants called me last Monday and said they needed to know by the next day. I prayed about it and decided to stay. The supposed plan is to stick me in Talcahuano for the 8 week cambio to try and establish the Concepción culture there since Talcahuano will now be part of our mission. Beforehand when I asked to extend I saw it like more of an option, but now they asked if I could stay for that long. I feel that responsibility and that the Lord needs me to still help people there. I know you're probably not going to be very happy about it but that's the decision I made. Many missionaries would kill for an opportunity like that, and I feel like the Lord's given me that opportunity. I know it pretty much kills any chance of me seeing Michael before he leaves too, and it wasn't an easy decision, but I think this is the best decision. Tell me your thoughts on it though. I love you all a ton!
Anyway, the week has been pretty crazy. We've had a lot of struggles in the zone as a lot of the investigators the missionaries had had big difficulties, and most of them stopped progressing. We've been going all over the place trying to meet as many of them as we can. It's tough with sister missionaries, cause we've had to drop our sector and go with them to meet their investigators and teach with them. It's been a bit of a struggle, and it isn't ideal, cause a lot of the time we're having to almost intervene and do things for the missionaries. They're so new that a lot of them don't know exactly what to do. We've been feeling a bit stressed this week and my companion has especially cause he feels the responsibility of the zone, seeing as he's been here for a while. Also, the other Elders and sisters are feeling stressed. It's definitely a huge learning opportunity.
We go to district class every week and because of our situation, have extra time at the end to practice teaching with the zone. Also, at least one companion from each of the sister companionship is still in her first 12 weeks of the mission, and they do a special training program for that. We've been going over that with them on Thursdays and training them on how to prepare people for baptism. We gave them some teaching calendars and stuff to help them plan too. It's quite the task, but we're seeing some progress. The thing that's difficult, is that no amount of us teaching can replace experience. It's difficult for us to teach them everything they need to do and apply in just a couple classes a week. We obviously can't do exchanges with them either so that makes it more difficult as well. We're striving to be patient and help them learn. With missionaries with more time, and especially with Elders, we can be more blunt, and can also do exchanges to show them how to work effectively, but it's tougher in this situation. Anyway, we are very grateful though for the progress we have seen. We've sacrificed a lot of time in our sector, but have some sweet plans for this week. Also, there's a new missionary training conference which will help all the newbies in the zone. Another thing the church has come out with will help a lot too. There are now sister training leaders that can do exchanges and training meetings with the sisters. That will be a huge help for us.
Vilma has been progressing a bit, but it is really hard to teach her. She's got deep evangelical roots. She doesn't go to church, but has a lot of those kind of beliefs and ideas. She also knows the Bible inside and out and sometimes has a ton of questions. When we teach her sometimes we struggle to keep in control of the lesson without throwing her questions aside. All the aside though, she's still progressing. She's reading the Book of Mormon a lot, and we've just been bold in telling her that she needs to simply read and pray about the Book of Mormon to answer her questions and doubts. We're going to teach her about humility this week in helping her receive an answer. She needs to be willing to put aside all her previous beliefs and knowledge to accept what the Spirit tells her. I think she feels it's true though, cause she shows sincere desires when we teach her. She isn't just there to fight with us or anything. Keep praying for her! She'll be a great Gospel Principles teacher when she gets baptized.
This week Elder Sáenz, one of the Elders who lives with us, told me at 9 in the morning on Sunday that I had a talk hahaha. I somehow managed to pull it together and speak for about 15 minutes. It's pretty funny though, cause at the beginning of my mission, that would have been impossible.
Anyway, I love you all a ton!! I know this is the truth! Trials make us stronger. I'm glad for these trials and difficulties we're seeing in the zone, cause if it wasn't for that, we would grow. I'm also grateful for my previous trials and difficulties, cause they've prepared me to take on bigger challenges. Keep praying for us out here!
I know the church is true. Jesus Christ is our Saviour and this is His church. Joseph Smith really was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know it!
I love you all! Keep sharing the gospel!