Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Week Down. My First Baptism!

(Emailed to Friends)
This week has gone by relatively quick.  Faster than some, slower than others.  So here we go.

First off, since they don´t have Halloween or Thanksgiving here they are already putting up Christmas stuff!  The stores all have it and some houses already have lights.  And some people don't like it before Thanksgiving in Utah, how about before Halloween?  Haha I love it, but it makes me a little homesick.  I think the holidays are going to be hard times.

I had an amazing lesson this week.  We taught Nicholas, who was our miracle taxi driver from last week.  This was the first time I actually felt like a missionary.  I helped, felt the Spirit, the whole 9 yards.  Way cool.  I hope lessons like this come more naturally the longer that I'm out.  I'm sure they will.  We went back the other day and he said he feels the church is true, but he doesn't know if there's other true churches as well.  Doesn't make a ton of sense, but we'll get through it.

Another crazy kid in church.  Paula (one of our baptismal dates for this coming Saturday) brought her granddaughter to church.  She was crazy!  We sat by her and I was tired by the end of the meeting haha.  Brought back memories of watching crazy little kids in my home ward.  I love it.

Elder Moncada and I were the "super misioneros" this week in our zone.  We had the best numbers for this week.  That means we got a little crown and a treat.  Except we never got a treat.  So just a crown.  Haha.

We had interviews with the President on Tuesday which was AWESOME by the way.  President Corbitt is incredible.  I'm calling a future general authority.

Last week while sleeping I think I had a dream I was introducing myself to someone in Spanish, and I think I said it out loud.  Actually I think Moncada and I had a conversation in Spanish in our sleep because he remembers doing the same thing.  I guess that’s a good sign my Spanish is coming along.

I saw someone with a Jazz hat this week!  On the street.  And I found a Jazz hat in a store today, but it was like 1500 pesos or like 40 bucks.  No thank you.

I always looked forward to being an "RM" because of the Spirit and their skills they gained on their mission.  I wanted that growth and change in me.  What I didn't think of is that to grow we need challenges.  That's why the mission is so hard!  You don't just change overnight.  It takes time, and it hurts, but it'll be worth it.  I just have to stick it out.

Also had my first baptism this week!  Way cool.  Basically we planned it the day before, I thought it was pretty mangy, but Moncada said it was normal.  Not sure.  Everyone showed up like 30 minutes late, including the girl to be baptized.  That's Latino/DR time for ya.  The Priest from the ward who baptized her had to do it three times. And we gave a short overview of lesson 1.  There was around 20 or 30 people there.  The Spirit was there though, so it was good.  I got to participate in the confirmation the next day too.  Whenever I participate in a Priesthood ordinance the Spirit comes in so strong.  Way cool.  Plus we got ice cream after the baptism:)

I also want to say a few things about Paula and Victor, our baptism date for next week.  Their faith and dedication to the gospel is incredible.  They don't really have much.  Come from very humble circumstances.  When we taught them about tithing they had no hesitation.  She'll go to work with him sometimes so they can read the Book of Mormon together.  He'll call her so they can pray together at night while he's working.  They're incredible.  Truly prepared by the Lord.

We also had another small miracle yesterday.  This seem to be coming more often, or maybe I can just see them more now.  We were walking along, and a car drives by and they said something like "Hop in.  We're members and have a family we want you to meet."  We hopped in and I thought we were being kidnapped haha.  But it was legit.  They were a couple from a different ward.  They actually have a sister missionary serving in Oregon. They took us to the home of a family they work with and we shared some with them.  They have potential to progress.  They've been exposed and seen the goodness of the gospel through this family. It was really cool.

That's about all for this week.  We have 2 more baptisms coming up this Saturday.  I have about two more weeks left in my training.  Wish me luck!  Talk to ya'll next week.
Love, E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Sounds like you had a relaxing week in Park City.  That's awesome.  I'm glad you guys had a good time.

Sounds like Christian can really relate to what I'm going through. I'm sure he knows EXACTLY what I'm going through.   It's nice to know I'm not the only one.  I can only imagine it was a lot harder for him.  Spanish is relatively basic compare to Russian or whatever he had to learn.  Speaking of the Lippert’s, Do you know what Alex is up to?  I haven't heard anything about him since I've been out.

First off, the protein bars are lifesavers.  They are my headache killers.  Anytime I have a headache I'll eat one of those, have a couple ibuprofen and I'm good.  Maybe take a short nap too.  I've probably had like 3 of them now.  They are amazing.

Random note, the people here have really small heads.  All their hats are cinched up super tight.  Quite the contrast from our family!  Haha!

I also finished my journal tonight.  You know the huge one I thought would last my whole mission? Lasted around 3months.  My first baptism was the last entry in it which I found really cool.

The homesickness is getting better.  It comes and goes.  I think once I get some more responsibilities, more to think about, I'll do a lot better.

Can I use nonstick spray on a hot surface?  It says not too, but I'm just curious...

I love that quote.  It's getting printed this week. (“A mission is designed to focus your dependence on the Lord. It is the reason you leave your family and friends and also leave the world, so to speak. Go to Him often. He listens. He answers prayer. A mission forges a relationship between you and the Lord like nothing else.”)

Garrett gave me that little wallet size sheet of priesthood ordinances.  Do you think there's any way you could get me one in Spanish? Or email me one?  I could really use it haha.

We've officially named the other guys in our room schoolboys.  The food they bought was cereal, frozen pizza, fries, cup of noodles, and you get the jist.  I don't think their money is going to last the whole 15 days or so.

On to the week.

My interview with the President was definitely the highlight of my week.  He really is incredible.  You can tell he's guided by the Spirit.  Here's some things he said during my interview.  He said my group is a "chosen group" who'll help change the mission.  We're the first new group who's arrived under President Corbitt.  He said he can sense my capabilities or at least some of them.  That I may have more.  And he says that he knows me, and that he understands me and my humor.  That he can trust me and I can trust him.  When talking to him he makes me feel like I'm supposed to be here, like I have a purpose, like I can do this.  He's incredible.  I hope you get to meet him someday.

One thing that I've read and believe is true is that being a missionary really brings out your flaws.  I've heard it compared to raising a light for others to see and doing that illuminates all the chinks in your own armor more.  And it does that.  I've got a long ways to go. I pray a lot to be able to see my progression because that helps me cope a lot.  I'm getting excited cuz I'm almost to that 3 month mark.  I haven't decided if that marks the end of training of truly 3 months.  I don't know.  I can't imagine that it's like a blink and you’re changed.  I don't know.  I have way too much time to think and analyze things like that. I think it'll be the more opportunity that'll help.  You mentioned a while ago that the 3 month mark is when missionaries change and start looking forward to things more.  I look forward to hitting that.

I used the internet to do some training stuff during the week and I found a bunch of talks that I was looking for.  Weird thing is I read them before my mission and marked them all up.  Way too weird of a coincidence cuz I don't remember reading them at all.  Here's a quote from one of them that I really think is going to help me along.

Here's some other ones I'm going to print out today.

And the quote is in this one:

The quote:
When missionaries first come into the field, they usually lack self-confidence. So we put them with good companions, and those companions teach them the way of missionary work. In a few months they are filled with the Spirit. They are filled with the joy that comes from bringing souls to Christ. They understand that they are helping Heavenly Father and the Savior in the great work of redemption. When they realize that, they are on fire.

And yes, 2 more weeks before transfers.  We'll see how that'll go.  Not this Monday, but the next I'll know what I'm going to be doing!

Magdalena's date was postponed.  She had more problems crop up and was interviewed by a counselor of President Corbitt.  I didn't know he had counselors.  He was a Dominican who works and lives here and that's just his calling.  He said she needs to wait at least two weeks, and we shouldn't really talk about a date right now.

I consider Paula and Victor my first real "investigators" who I've seen the gospel change their lives.  They embraced it so quickly it's incredible.  It goes to show, you never know who might accept the gospel.  When we met him I wasn't completely sold on him yet.  So cool.  He's amazing! Paula and Victor's baptisms are next Saturday.  They are so ready I talked about them a bunch in my general email.  They are an inspiration and example to me.  So humble, and so dedicated to the Lord.  I hope to go through the temple with them.  They have to wait a year, and then they can go through the temple.  I'm hoping I'll be able to do that.

Today we went to MegoCentro.  It was like a giant mall.  Very US like.  US Prices too. The mall is in Santo Domingo I believe.  We took the metro and a taxi to get there.  Just the four of us.  I was going to buy Christmas gifts, cuz I don’t' know when I'll get to come back, but I waited.  I'll get something more Dominican. That's too bad the cardinals got knocked out.  I saw a bit of the game playing in the mall today while we walked by.


Hopefully the President will trust me with an assignment after this transfer.  That’d help me a ton.  To be able to have something else to worry about and think of.  Even just being more of an equal companion will help.  Moncada has been telling the President I'd be a great trainer.  We'll see where that’ll go.  Moncada is really close to the President.  Technically no missionaries are allowed to go places on Pday, but Moncada always asks the President and he says yes because he trusts him.

I also looked into sending a package home today, to get a feel before Christmas.  It would cost around 2000 pesos for the first pound and 200 every pound after.  So like 50 dollars and then 5 more every pound after.  Ridiculous.  I'm obviously going to keep looking around.  What's your thought on this? I'll keep asking around for sending packages.  I've been watching for a DR Santa too.  Have yet to see one.  Or even a Santa ornament.

Thank you for all your advice.  And the pictures.  They made me cry, but I loved them.  I plan on printing reading and applying your advice this week.  Thank you for everything.  For everything you taught me, and for helping me become the person I am.  I couldn’t have done it without you.
Love you more than I can express, Easton Potokar.

Two other thoughts as I looked through the pictures again.  Garrett’s hair is super long.  And he's rocking the jock sock.  Very nice.  Love you.


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