Thursday, August 8, 2013

Change and Training

December 10, 2012

It´s amazing how much can change in so little time.  Only three weeks ago I left Cristo Rey and began my new life in Los Alcarrizos.  I´ve become much more familiar with the area now and it has really begun to grow on me, no jungle pun intended.   

When I entered Los Alcarrizos, I became the step-dad (second companion) of Elder Sams who comes from Las Vegas, is a convert to the church of only 2 years, and is the only child and member of the church in his family.  His Spanish was very well developed and he was a hard worker.  During our second week together, he called our mission president dead set on returning home and leaving the church.  His parents had already made plans to fly in and he would not change his mind.  After discussing the situation with the mission President and other leaders, Elder Sams made the decision to remain in the church but terminate his mission until he felt comfortable to return.  Three days later (Sunday) his parents came to church along with the mission President to pick him up.  I translated for the parents and they left directly afterwards.  Elder Sams promised me that he would stay active in church and he left with much more confidence in his testimony of the restored gospel.

I couldn't be left alone without a companion of course, so I received a mini-missionary named Hermano Midy.  A mini-missionary is a youth member who is called to serve a mission for only a short amount of time to experience mission life and, in this case, to fill a vacancy.  Hermano Midy is from Haiti and is a convert of only 1 year.  He has served multiple mini-missions and knows Spanish, French, and Creole.  He is a hilarious little kid and has a very powerful  conversion story, involving his miraculous survival of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti.  He is shy to speak, but when he does he is powerful.  

In this last week I have had to take over the entire area with only two weeks of experience.  I suppose it´s better than being completely whited out as some missionaries must experience, but it has  nevertheless been daunting.  Our areas is massive and we walk the majority of the day to reach our appointments which are spread out from the busy main road of this city to the outskirts of this country's vast tropical plains.  We have been very blessed to receive many references from members and we are now juggling a ton of great investigators who have baptismal goals. The only problem is finding them and getting back home again without getting lost.  

Among these investigators we are teaching 4 families, all of which need to get married (a very difficult and expensive process here in the DR).  One investigator we have is amazingly strong and convinced of the truth of our message, but she is so old she can hardly get to church, let alone get baptized.  I recently received another reference for a woman whose son had been attending church.  We shared with her for a time and she was skeptical of our message, but in time she received a very sweet answer to her prayers regarding the church and wishes to be baptized with her son.  There is more than enough work to do here in Los Alcarrizos.  

Back in the concrete jungles of Cristo Rey, Elder Adams has been keeping busy with the families that we found together.  I was recently informed that Roman and his wife have made the decision to get married and will be getting baptized along with their children this coming Saturday.  We worked with this family for almost 5 months and watched as their testimonies grew throughout all of their trials.  I have received permission to return to Cristo Rey on Saturday to participate in the baptism.  

Only a short time into my experience with Hermano Midy I got a call from the mission office informing me that I would only be with my mini-missionary for one week.  That didn't make sense because the transfer still has three weeks left to go.  I was only recently told that I would spend the last 3 weeks of this transfer training a brand new elder.  Apparently an elder in the MTC right now feels comfortable enough with his Spanish to leave the MTC early and enter the field to be trained by none other than "yours truly".  From what I understand, his name is something along the lines of Elder Forscythe.  Other than that, I know absolutely nothing about him.  I will retrieve him tomorrow morning and will begin my life as a mission father.  

An unfamiliar area with a clueless companion in charge of a city full of investigators and less actives who speak a foreign language?  Mission accepted.

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