Monday, November 10, 2014

Made It Through My First Transfer! Ahh!

(Emailed to Friends)
Wow.  Made it through my first comp exchange in the field.  And I´ve got to say, the Lord answered my prayers this transfer.  The three things I prayed very hard for in my companion this transfer: Obedience, Diligent, and Happy.  And I got all three! :)  Elder Romero is from Honduras, and is actually my "brother" in the mission, meaning we had the same Dad (Trainer).  He's always very happy and I've never seen him down.  He loves to work as well.  ahhh.  I've done more contacting and talking to people this last week than I have in my WHOLE mission.  My whole training.  We've got tons of new investigators, and basically things are better.  My trainer taught me how to love the people, and Elder Romero is going to teach me how to work.  Obedience I already knew.  And I think I'll learn a lot more from him, but that's just part of it.  Oh, and I can understand his Spanish!  Woot!

Unfortunately, our neighbors have taken to playing music from Shake it Up on Disney channel.  Don't ask me how I know it's from that.  And they play it Dominican style.  Loud enough for the whole neighborhood.  Sigh.

The weather is starting to cool down here.  Actually it already has a lot.  I don't sweat nearly as much now during the days.  Occasionally (usually at night or especially in the mornings) it actually feels nice.  We never have any of that Utah chill though.  Unfortunately, this also means our water is colder in the mornings.  I'm getting good at showering quick.

We made a double thing of Jell-O this week.  It was massive.  And we didn't know how to get it out of the container.  So we tried to pour it out.  It wasn't all the way solidified though.  It went everywhere haha.  Jell-O on everything.

We're also now closer to living the law of consecration in our house.  We all put money in a pot and use that for food for every meal.  Because of this and other reasons the house is a lot more unified.  And happier.  I think Elder Romero plays a big part into this.

There was a fire in the Metro like two weeks ago.  Some guy brought a bomb into it.  Crazy stuff.  I think one person died, and lots were hurt.  Crazy stuff.

Also, not to make my Mom worried more, there's a lot of guards with guns here.  Like guarding restaurants.  Kinda weird, but that gives you a feel for how crazy this country is.

This week I had my high for lessons in a week.  Awesome!  I also had my lowest number of investigators in church.  This in part has to do with recent converts, and a new comp, and I expect this number will go up.

This week I talked to a lady who had on a Halloween shirt!  I asked her if she celebrated Halloween and she said it was just a shirt.  That she only believes in God and not in Halloween haha.  She was a little hardhearted with our message too.  Oh well.

Basically, all the lessons we taught on Sunday I believe will be members someday, just maybe not with us.  It was an awesome day.  I actually felt like a missionary which was AWESOME.  First we taught Lisa, recent convert, and her Dad.  Her Dad had been reading one of our pamphlets.  I think eventually he'll come around.  Then we taught the Familia Frias.  The kidnapping family.  The dad of the family is changing his work schedule so he can come to church, but unfortunately not until January.  His daughter actually prayed to know the church was true, but no answer yet.  But everyone I've seen who was willing to do that has been baptized, or is really close.  Basically if someone actually acts on our message, they have a good chance of being baptized.  She's really smart too.  Hasn't forgot a thing.  Then we had Magdalena, our fecha for the 22 of November.  She has some problems, but I think she'll make it this time.  Then we taught Nicolas.  Oh my goodness.  He's awesome.  We read Alma 32 about faith with him.  After he told us that he knows the church is true, and is going to try to give at least a half an hour every day to read his scriptures.  Without us asking.  He just said that!  Ahhh!  So awesome.  His daughter likes the church too, we just need to work with his wife.  They're not married, so it could take a little while to get them ready for baptism.  But they will definitely make it there.  So awesome.  We'll hopefully give them a baptismal date pretty soon here.

I think that's about it for this week!  Transfers have been good.  I've worked hard this week, and hopefully the fruits of it will start showing in the next few weeks to come.

Love you all, E Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Ahh.  Loved the pics.  They're fun.  Garrett’s hair was ridiculous.  TONS longer than mine was.  Mom never let me keep mine that long haha.  Cracks me up about the girls too.  And I'm really glad he's found a passion.  He's just never really found one before this that he loved.

I talked a lot about Romero in my general email.  Let me know if you have any more questions about him though.

Sometimes I wonder why the Lord would call some 18 year old, sheltered kid from Utah to be in charge of people's eternal salvation.  This is one that really freaks me out sometimes. Missionary work is a lot different than what I'm used to/good at.  Usually it's like put a screw here, do this to the numbers.  It's a lot freer.  More like English haha.  Need to get used to it.  I have been talking a lot more.  Not quite 50 50 (Romero talks a lot like Moncada did), but definitely a LOT more.  I'm a lot more involved.

Romero, Moncada, Potokar
I'll go through the week now.

Tuesday - transfers in the morning.  Some guy dropped off Romero.  Nicolas (usually it's a member of the church, but you know) took Moncada to Oriental, his new zone.  Moncada didn't plan anything the day before with me.  I just wung it, and managed to fill the day.  We visited some of our investigators and a bunch of members.  Phew.

Wednesday - tons of contacting.  With Moncada we really didn't have too many investigators.

Thursday - Reunion.  New guy in our zone, Elder Anderson from Utah.  I think he's a lot like me.  Quiet, and laid back.  I found out almost all the new guys are being trained by zone leaders.  Like the zone leaders aren't companions, they each have a trainee.  Only in our zone and Moncada's new one are the Zone leaders not training.  And Anderson is in the house of our zone leaders.  Corbitt is making sure none of the new guys have problems.  I think he's putting new guys with new guys too.  Romero only has two transfers on me.  His old comp is with Elder Bassett (my comp from the MTC), and only has 3 more transfers than me.  A hermana from my group is finishing someone else's training in our zone.  President Corbitt is trying to keep the new guys and the old guys apart, with the exception of obedient missionaries.  I think I'll be finishing someone's training in the next couple of transfers.  Not training, but finishing someone's training is more likely.

Friday - more contacting.  We found a family which was awesome.

Saturday - Crazy lady with Halloween shirt.  More families.  We found a less active member of like 20 years.  That's a lot for down here.  He was quoting all kinds of scriptures too.  And good ones you have to search from.  Like D&C 84:106.  Daniel 12:4 which he thinks is about cell phones and technology.  He was way cool.  We'll have to work with him more. Also had our first English class.  Close to a flop, but not quite.  Only an investigator of like years (who knows everyone in the ward, but isn't a member for some reason) was there for a while.  Then we got some more later.

Sunday - I gave a talk!  All the missionaries did.  It was supposed to be like 5-10 minutes and mine was more like 10-15.  It wasn't that long written, but I think it was because I talk in Spanish slower.  I don't know how many people understood, but oh well.  It was on faith.  I was pretty nervous, but once I got going I was fine.  Same as with my farewell talk.  The time went by WAY fast.  Not too bad.  Not really any feedback.  Haha I don't know how many people understood me.  Lisa said she didn’t.  People have to focus on what I'm saying to understand.  Then we had our awesome lessons.

Today - We played basketball with some members at 8 this morning.  And Satan knows my weaknesses.  They put on some NBA highlights.  Naturally, I watched some.  Oops.  It was hard not to.  Then we cleaned some and that was the day.  I loved playing ball.  Elder Decker is REALLY good.  Way good.  It was fun. I did OK.  Romero and Ventura don't know how to play so they just played Dominoes.

This morning Elder Decker and I chilled up on the roof for like an hour before basketball.  It had just rained and was really calm and cool and the sun was just barely up.  I should be uploading some pictures of it.  I talk to Decker a lot more now.  A lot in English which I probably need to change.  I talked to him for like 40 minutes on the roof this morning.

Romero knows very little English.  Or knows the words, but doesn't talk too much in it.  He understands more than he can talk.  He loves music and has listened to a lot of English music.  He’s a convert of around 4 years.  Way awesome.

Not all his family is members.  One side of his family is members and the other isn't.  I want to say his parents aren't, or at least his dad isn't.

Ventura is DL now and that's changed them a lot.  They had more lessons than us this week.  We had 35 total (includes some of our longer contacts.  Anytime we teach a principle and say a prayer.  Sometimes can be like 10 minutes) and they had 37.  They are working WAY hard.  Awesome.  That's another way in how the house is different. I'm confident we'll hit 40 lessons this week.  I guess Rodriquez, my brother, hit 60 some weeks.  He'd do splits with Priests and get tons of lessons.

Food is for all four of us.  Every meal.  The house is a lot more united because of that.  I do less cooking now because it's for the four of us.  But we share the load pretty good now.  The apartment is cleaner.  Romero likes washing dishes too (or at least he's always really quick to do them) so that's helped a lot.  We cleaned a good amount today to help out too.

 (Your president sure sounds way organized and knows what he is doing. Have you seen him lately?) I haven't seen him in a little bit.  Not since interviews actually.  He definitely knows what he's doing.  He's INCREDIBLE.  I REALLY hope someday you guys can meet him.  I can't entirely describe it, the Spirit he invites just from his presence.  He knows everything that happens in the mission.  Everything about everyone in the mission and never forgets.  He's amazing.

(Is your water heated only by the sun? Are your showers always luke warm?) Our water sits in that big hole in the ground then is pumped to the roof in a big black container.  So it's just heated by the sun.  Water is usually just lukewarm.  Naturally in the morning it's pretty dang cold.  I take quicker showers now haha.

(So how are the Dominicans at playing b-ball? Do you play at the church?) They're good.  There's a ton of good players.  The secretary and our ward mission leader are really good.  I struggled to keep up.  And ya, we played at the church.  It was way fun.  We had to start early because of how hot it usually is during the day.  Today it's been really nice.  Light on and off rain.  Incredible really.

(Are you still getting most of your contacts on the street?) It's more or less door to door.  Just who we can see sitting on their porch or who's door is open.  Depends on the area in our area.  Not necessarily new people, but people are just showing more progress.  We are getting better at including the whole family though.  That's what’s making the difference. I love that we are teaching families too!  It's awesome.  That's something I've really wanted too.  Lots of people just teach kids or youth.  I like families a lot more.  The blessings of the gospel are more readily available in families.  And plus, more baptisms!  Haha that's not the reason, but it's true.

While in one house this little kid was SCREAMING his head off.  Wow.  It brought back memories of when I had to try to comfort Lydia when she was like that on rides home from places.  Lots of little memories pop up in my head like that often.

English class is going to be every Saturday night for everyone.  Anyone can come.  It's a way for members to invite friends and for investigators to meet members.  Has lots of uses.

Mom sent me a pictures of the flag pole!  It's huge haha.  It might just be because it's so different.  Definitely wasn't there before.  It looks really good though.  Really cool.

MY MOTHER HAS A PHONE.  After like 10 years of fighting to not get a real phone, she gets one when I'm not home :)  That's awesome!  I wish I could help you learn how to use it.  I'm pretty sure you’re going to use it more than you think.

For Christmas.  For you guys, I heard you can ship packages home through the mission.  The same way they come in.  I'm going to look into that.  For me, here's my wish list: 3 ring binder, pants, shirts, body spray, and stuff for s'mores.  Pretty much in that order.  And maybe some garments.

Still haven't gotten the journal.  I expect it'll come this week.  I haven't been very good at writing in it this week.  I had a talk to write for church so that took up a lot of my time.  And teaching Romero the area took some time too.

I think that's about it for this week.  Please feel free to ask me anything else if I forgot anything.

Thanks for keeping me so updated on everything at home.
Love you tons, and miss you a million.  It's been a great Monday.  Elder Easton Potokar.

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