Thursday, August 8, 2013

One Does Not Just Teach In Mordor

April 1, 2013

Transfers, once again.  I could have sworn I just arrived in Los Alcarrizos and now I have to leave this area and the people I met and worked with there behind.  Time really is slippery. 

Only a week ago I finished training Elder Forsyth in Los Alcarrizos.  I have never worked harder in any area than I did there with my first child in the mission. Elder Forsyth and I had an absolute blast and found a handful of really amazing people and families to work with, not mention had a few baptisms. It was truly an unforgettable experience, but it was also laced with disappointment.  It was so disheartening to watch so many of our investigators fail to progress for worldly distractions and see our work turn to naught so quickly.  Despite our efforts we saw very little progress in our area and watched many once golden investigators fade back into the shadows.  Nonetheless, it was a pleasure to serve along Elder Forsyth and I couldn't be more proud of my mission son who is now in charge of the area.

I am now stationed in the capital.  Deep capital.  In fact, so deep into the city I live minutes from the temple, a short walk away from the main office, a couple skips away from fast food joints, and we´re practically next door neighbors with the President of the mission.  Our area is named Mirador, but we prefer to call it ¨Mordor¨, despite the negative connotations.  We live in a house tucked into the alcove of a mini-apartment complex with a handful of English speaking Dominicans as our neighbors.  We always have electricity at night (although it leaves for the majority of the day) and luckily we always have water as long as we have electricity.  

Mordor is what some missionaries would call a ¨dead¨ area.  We don't have investigators and we are wary to ever get our hopes up on ever really having any.  We spend the majority of our days contacting rich, gated houses (usually using video intercoms, which can make for some hilariously awkward moments) and we even resort to sidewalk contacting at times.  We try and visit the members and less actives when we can since references are really the only way we would ever see progress here.  It´s very strange shifting from working in such a poor, humble to area to a city of such wealth and luxury.  

My new companion is named Elder Gatherum and comes from Logan, Utah.  He currently has 14 months on the mission and only has one transfer here in Mordor, so we are both pretty new here.  The area is going to be difficult, but it will be easier to endure with a companion I get along with.  Elder Gatherum and I have been friends since before we became companions so we're going to make the most of our time together and enjoy the area despite it's notoriety.  On a side note, I will also be the district leader of an all sister district.  With how close I am to going home I see that as a blessing.  I haven't talked to girls in English since...well, a long time ago.  Let's just say I'm going to need a lot of practice. 

However, on my second day in this area we had an experience that put all of my previous conceptions about this area to the test.  We had finished contacting when we decided to rest in a park for a while.  We had been sitting for only a few minutes discussing the hopeless state of our area, when a man approached us and demanded us to take down his address and visit him.  We, of course, did as he told us.  A few days later we visited with Victor and he proceeded to explain to us that his children had become members only a year ago but that he had never been interested in the Mormon religion.  In these past few years his life has taken a turn for the worse.  He used to be an extremely wealthy business owner and even had a close friendship with the President of the Dominican Republican.  He tried to make a radical change in his business but it failed and he quickly lost all of his money.  He now lives in a very small home with hardly any money and can't find a job.  He is one of the most humbled men I met here.  We had a powerful first lesson with him in which we taught this highly intelligent man basic, primary gospel principles and this Sunday he eagerly attended church for the first time.  I have never met a man more ready for the gospel.

I have high hopes for Mordor.  If Victor is the only man who I will ever teach here than so be it.  Elder Gatherum and I are determined to make this transfer unforgettable, as it is one of my last.  The area might be dead, but I won't be.  

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