(August 31, 2015)
Well a full week has already flown by in 중리! It has been a full week of getting used to a new area, learning new bus routes, meeting new investigators, visiting new members, and starting again into the normal rhythm of missionary work, but so far it is great.
This week has really filled me with a feeling of starting fresh, or building up new. We have a few solid investigators and people to meet with that the previous elders have met, but much of our work this week has involved talking to as many people as we can and trying to find new prepared people to share our message with. It has definitely been a change to go back out to being a normal missionary after focusing on a lot of administrative things while serving in the mission office, but it is a change that I am really loving. It feels so fulfilling to dedicate all of your time to meeting with people one on one and putting all of your love and effort into one ward and one area. I have really tried to dedicate myself to being the most consecrated missionary I can this transfer, talking to as many people as I can, planning diligently to use every minute as efficiently as possible, and then having the faith for things to work out. It has been kind of frustrating because despite our hard work this week, we haven’t seen a ton of progress, but I feel like we are building the foundation of relationships with members, knowledge of the area, and a pattern of hard work that will carry us to great things over the coming weeks.
This week we spent a lot of time visiting the various members of our ward and having lessons with our investigators and introducing myself to them. Our ward got a new bishop about 2 weeks ago and the old bishop has been called as our ward mission leader. I can see that he really wants to work hard and put his heart into the missionary work here. Amongst other things, this transfer we have decided to put a larger emphasis on finding through English class. The neighboring ward here in 대구, 수성 ward has recently seen amazing results from revamping their English class, with as many as 40 people attending weekly, lots of new investigators, and already a few baptisms. We are still in stages of preparing, but our ward wants to try something similar by selecting new teaching material, advertising for the class through a banner near the gate to the church, and getting members involved with planning and attending the class. We are looking forward to lots of good to come.
Another thing I am getting used to and really enjoying is serving as a district leader. I think being district leader could be one of my favorite leadership assignments in the mission. It is really great to have such a close relationship with the 10 missionaries in my district and try to help and know them on a more personal level. This week we had our first district meeting which I planned around the theme of baptism and following the example of Jesus Christ. Another new thing of the week was I had the opportunity to give my first baptismal interview. It was a really spiritual and great experience. I met with the 수성 B team’s investigator and we had a great interview all about his testimony of the church, understanding of the doctrine, and desire for baptism. I was pretty nervous for the interview and especially the responsibility to decide whether or not he is worthy for such an important thing, but things went great and I felt so led through the whole process. He was baptized yesterday and called me to tell me how great of an experience it was.
I would like to end this email with an experience from our work yesterday. I think that yesterday was a really good example of things that have been going on this week and shows a lot of the lessons missionaries learn. Yesterday was Sunday and because it is a day that people do not usually have work or school, is typically a great and busy day for missionary work. Because we still had a lot of people to meet for the week and lots of things to do, Elder Mitchell and I were really excited for a great day. The night before, on Saturday, we worked really hard to establish a plan for the day that would keep us busy and let us do all of the things we wanted. After calling lots of people setting up lots of appointments, and planning far longer than the normal 30 minutes, we had what we thought would be a great day. We planned to go to church in the morning, go to ward council, practice a special musical number with the young single adults to do in a few weeks, get a quick lunch, meet an investigator at the church, meet another new less active we found who said he wanted to meet, end the night by visiting the elders quorum president’s house and sharing a message, come home to do the weeks key indicators, plan, and go to bed. Although we had a great plan with a handful of different appointments that we had all confirmed, the next day as we went to all of them, one after another cancelled. Our investigator called and said he was busy, the less active didn’t show up and then when we called said we would have to meet another day, and as soon as we got done talking on the phone from him we got a text from the elders quorum president saying he wasn’t going to be at home that night and we would have to catch dinner another night this week. Although we were a little disappointed, we continued on with our backup up plan which was to visit one of the youth who didn’t come to church and find another less active we were told to visit, both of whom were not home. Still, thinking that there must be someone left to meet, we sat down on a bench and called 2 more members, our ward clerk and another sister to see if we could stop by and share a message, both of which said it wouldn’t be a good time. I have to say by this point I was pretty frustrated. I didn’t know what to do next. We planned hard, walked all around trying to do what we thought we should, called dozens of people, and none of it worked out. We ended up spending the night proselyting, and it actually turned out really great. We gave out 2 Book of Mormons, and got a handful of people’s numbers and a good list of people to call back and follow up on tonight. It was a hard day for me in that we worked hard, did as much as we thought we could and none of it worked out, but I was really able to see that as we carried on and kept going, we found success. Just not in the place or way we expected. I think that kind of flexibility and patience is a great lesson that missionaries learn. All we can do is try our best and then trust Heavenly Father to lead us to the things he has in store.
Things in 중리 go well. Wish me the best for the weeks to come!