Thursday, October 23, 2014

District Leader - October 20, 2014

Hope you had fun at Vernon Reservoir! 

I have heard that some Bishops here are against Halloween. It really depends on the person... I too am not a fan of Halloween, but I thought that the whole Church-anti-Halloween thing was only here in Mexico, because they also celebrate Day of the Dead and leave offerings on their ancestor's graves. But is at home too :) I don’t know, it is a controversy I guess :) 

That is great that Mary is interested again in the Restored Gospel. She was always in my prayers at the beginning of my mission. I will keep praying for her. 

Sister Loos's nephew, huh? Elder Groll?  

This has felt like a very long week. A lot of surprises that have kept me on my toes. 
With Transfers, our District Leader left, and an Elder Adamson arrived from Utah. We were thinking that maybe he would be called as the District Leader, but I was instead! That means I am the leader of the 4 missionaries in our District, that I check up on them and make reports to the Zone Leaders, and that I also give trainings every Tuesday in District Meetings. I guess I now have a little added responsibility :) 

The next day after receiving the position, I had to give a training, so I prepared a training the night before on Contacting. I was able to see that I needed that training more than my District did :)  
With checking up on the other companionships in my district, I have been amazed at how high their numbers have been. The new missionary that arrived has hit the ground running, and transformed their area, contacting over 120 people in the week and finding 10 new investigators. That is more than I we have been able to do. My Zone Leaders tell me it is a question of faith. I guess I need more faith. I feel a little guilty or unworthy for being the leader when our numbers are so much lower... but I guess I really shouldn’t be comparing. I am learning humility and also how to give praise for a job well done :) And that I need more faith :) 

We are doing a lot better in our companionship now. We were able to have a good, though a little heated, talk about how we feel, and things are going better. We have a greater motivation to work with the example of our other companions :) 

Martin and Alejandro had their baptismal interviews and both passed. But because of having to get permission from his parents (he is 17), we were not able to have Alejandro's baptism. His parents are not against, but they do want Alejandro to really think about it before he gets baptized, because it something very serious. Now he is a little unsure about it. 

Martín, though, had the attitude of full steam ahead. He had had the goal to get baptized for a long time, and just felt like he had waited long enough. 
We spent all of Thursday inviting the members to come to the baptism, and then we went and cleaned up the church and the font. Then on Friday morning, the day of the baptism, we went early to fill the font, but had problems with the pump, so we were there all day until 4 trying to empty the dirty water in the font left over from cleaning it, and then filling it. 

A little after 4, the other Elders, one member, Martín, and then the Bishop showed up. The Bishop was supposed to perform the ordinance, but showed up without clothes! Se he drove us to our house to borrow my companion's white pants and tie, and by the time we got back, one more member had showed up, and we started the service. It turned out great, even with the lack of attendance. Everything went well, and at the end of the service, Martin shared his testimony, and it was a very spiritual experience. (Even though the bishop's phone rang during it, and left to answer it in the hall, and he could hear him talking. Our Bishop is a little inexperienced. But nevertheless, the Spirit was so strong during his testimony.) 

Because of Stake Conference, Martin needs to wait another week to be confirmed in sacrament meeting.

The Stake conference was great though, I really like it. The Patriarch who had served for 29 years spoke, and then the newly called Patriarch followed. After some testimonies from the members, The Mission President Pres. Bird spoke about the members helping the missionaries, and the Temple President followed.  Taught that missionary work and temple and family history work are all connected... that we don’t just invite our neighbors to listen to the gospel to be baptized, but so that they can make covenants in the Temple and participate in Exaltation and Eternal life.

Then each of the Stake Presidency talked, the Stake President talked about Happiness and living after the manner of happiness. That if we seek for Happiness we will not find it, but if we work and live the gospel, that happiness will find us, He also described what he saw in happy people; that they are always appreciate and grateful, that they are cordial or good mannered, that they never complain, and that they never criticize others. I really liked it and took some good notes. 

Then that night I had my first chance to Interview an Investigator for Baptism. Everything went well until he admitted to a serious sin, one of the which we need to talk to our Mission President about. Nevertheless, I finished the interview, and thanked him for everything that he had done to follow Christ in his life, and excused myself to call my Zone Leaders for guidance, who told me that I had to call President, who didn’t answer. I then had to explain to Jorge (the investigator) that this is a serious sin, and that I needed to talk with someone of greater experience to authorize that we could go through with the baptism, but then testified of the Atonement and expressed my appreciation for his efforts to turn his life around and follow Christ, and told him we would continue working together, it felt terrible to have to say that to someone.

I was finally able to talk with President and explain the situation this morning, and together we decided that he was ready and had really repented. Whew! That was a huge worry that I carried around with me all night and all morning, and I am glad that everything is ok and that he can move towards baptism. 

I hope I am doing this whole District Leader thing right! I have received zero instruction... just a Monkey See Monkey Do kind of thing, doing what I have seen previous District Leaders do... Luckily no one's died yet, so it’s all good ! :) 

Well, it's a new week and I have high hopes for success. 

It is great to hear that all is well at home! 

I'll let you know what happens, 

Elder Redford

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