Monday, March 16, 2015

What a week! Meetings, New Comp, Miracle Baptism Date

(Emailed to Friends)
It´s been a solid week!  Definitely one of the most stressful weeks I've had in a long time, but I've made it through it.  Phew!

Monday - finished up making the rounds so Elder Martinez could say bye to everyone.  It was super sad.

Tuesday - Transfers!  I waited with Elder Mokofisi and Elder Lanza until Elder Solis showed up.  We went and looked at something called the "farro".  It was a huge building that a president made here.  Something to do with Catholicism.  It was super cool though!  I enjoyed checking that out.  Then Elder Solis got here about 2.  He came from about 4 hours away from here.  We then ate with him, me, Elder Mokofisi, and Elder Rasmussen. It was good.  I enjoyed that.  Feels like it was years ago when he showed up.  Then we had a few normal lessons.  I honestly don't remember who it was haha.

Wednesday - I had a district leader meeting at the mission office. We did some intercambios and I headed over with the other DL's from our zone.  It was really good.  We talked a lot about reverence, how to conduct a district meeting, interviews, etc.  It was good.  I learned a lot.  There's also a huge focus in the mission on having 15-20 investigators progressing for every companionship.  I have some stuff I'm going to implement with my district to get us up there.  I want to be the first district to get it.  It's way freakin high of a goal though.  With the Lord we can! Then we had some OK lessons.  A few contacts.  Trying to get back into the routine of things.

Thursday - Elder Clayton (of the presidency of the seventy) and Elder Martinez and Cornish (of our area presidency, both are seventies), gave a meeting in the mission office with the WHOLE Mission.  All 240 or so of us.  It was awesome.  President Corbitt really put a focus on reverence for this one.  I guess President Cornish told him "This is the most irreverent mission I have ever seen."  Before the meeting started, it was silent. Like being in the temple.  The Spirit was so there. This reverence is something the whole country REALLY has problems with.  Clayton gave a talk about how 30 years ago there was only like 15 members here, and now there's 20 stakes, and in the future they'll be OVER 80 STAKES!  Phew.  Really awesome to hear that.  Super cool.  Then they did some Q and A which is always cool.  Some missionaries asked some really deep doctrine questions, and he responded "I have no idea".  Like it was ridiculous stuff we don't need to know.  Said we can study the Doctrine of Christ for all our lives, and still not fully understand it.  Super cool. Elder Cornish answered a question on how he handles the stress of his calling too which was super awesome.  Said it's the Lord doing the work, that he just tries to enjoy being an instrument in his hands.  It was an answer to prayers.  I was feeling super stressed, and it really helped me get through it.  Then we had normal lessons.  Juan Carlos kind of told us he's done listening to us.  So that's that.  Family Brito are doing better, just need to come to church.

Friday - Zone Meeting.  I had to give a talk on reverence in front of the zone.  I feel like I did pretty good.  I was bummed I didn't get to have a meeting with my district, cuz I have some stuff I really want to set as goals with them.  Normal lessons after.  Nothing too amazing.

Saturday - OK day.  We went to help contact an area they're going to open.  Got there late and didn't really do a ton. Had an awesome lesson with Ranquel and Katherine.  We talked to them about how church went last week.  He really liked it, and said he sees it as somewhere he can stay in.  She was iffy.  They said they were coming to church this week, but never did.  Lame.  I think it's because of the kids or her.

Sunday - Church was alright.  Only two investigators showed up.  I winged giving a PMG gospel lesson to the youth.  After we left with an RM who's been home a week from Southern Mexico, Edward Garcia. Wow.  This guy knows his stuff.  Has a personality that's loving, but very very loud.  Just went through what everyone was saying.  You don't have a choice to say no to his commitments.  Somehow he managed to give a baptism date to Linabel, an investigator of like 2 years.  Miracle work.  I'm hoping to leave with him a lot, and see if he can "retrain" me haha. Teach me a bunch of new stuff.  I wanted him to help us put another fecha with someone that night, but the cita fell.

Today - cleaned, did our new planners, and played some basketball as a district. It was fun.  Then had lunch and that's the day.  Have a FHE tonight we're going to go to.

Upcoming week:  I have a baptismal interview on Wednesday.  Scares me a lot haha.  My first district meeting as DL. Should be a good week.

New comp:  Good guy.  Has 20 months in the mission.  Was DL for a couple of transfers.  Wants to finish his mission strong, something I can definitely help him with.  Very loving, and has a way with people. I've been focusing on the numbers a lot, so this should be something I can help him with!

Think that's about all for this week!  Enjoy your week! Hopefully this next week's even better.  Love y'all tons!
Elder Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
It's been a solid week.  Lots of meetings.  Lots and lots of meeting.  We only worked one morning this week.  We still pulled out 34 lessons though.  Not too bad with teaching Elder Solis the area and visiting members so he can get to know them.  Lots and lots of work to do in the area haha.  Here we go. In lessons we take turns taking the lead (not really turns, just whoever takes it), but he seems alright.  We really do a lot together. We're working hard.

Solis is ready to really work hard which makes me happy. He is always cracking a joke.  Really good guy.  I've found I can shift my sense of humor a bit for people, and it's working for us.  His sense of humor is different than mine, but we're doing super well.  Hopefully it keeps up.  He's really humble too which is awesome.  Asks often if there's anything he can improve on. He's helping me laugh more and love the people more as well, both things I've needed to work on.

We speak a lot of English honestly.  It's really hard not to.  There's some things that can only be said it English.  I need to work on that.  His family are all members.  He has 3 older stepbrothers, and a little brother and sister.  All his older siblings served missions as well.  Lived in Mexico for 2 years and was born in California.  His family is from St. George.  Dad (really his stepdad.  His real dad died when he was 6) owns a lawn care business and his mom is say at home mom.  I'm his first gringo comp too.

Eating OK.  I think I know how to cook more than Solis, but he does know how to cook.  He reminds me a lot of Josh Woodhouse.

I could use some advice with the baptism interview.  I'm super nervous for that one.  I have one on Wednesday and I think I'll have 5 more in the next week or two.  Las Americas has lots of fechas.  That's really about the only thing I'm still nervous about as district leader.

District meetings on our Thursdays.  We go over our investigators, brainstorm ideas to help them, and then someone gives a tema on a gospel topic is usually what happens.  I'm going to do it a bit differently.  We're going to set some goals and see what we can do to get this 15-20 goal down.  'I'm really excited about tackling this.  Probably overly excited.  I've had troubles sleeping thinking about it like I used to with robotics haha.

I think I'm going to take a robotics like approach to it.  Like how we brainstormed together to come up with ideas.  I'm definitely going to take a few of my own ideas into it, and really push for them cuz they could be inspired, but I want to hear what my district says too. Maybe they've thought of something I've never thought of, and they really can receive revelation for their areas too.

Rasmussen's a good guy.  From Hyrum.  He's been very complimentary about everything I do which has really helped me through things.  He's got lots of experience as a leader, so will remind me about the little things that sometimes I might forget.  Or he'll remind me of something and then the ZL's will call and remind me about it, and then I just seem on top of things haha.

We haven't been asking for many references, but the members have been hooking us up with them.  The return missionary knows his stuff.  There's a lot of skills I think this mission lost, or at least I've never seen done, that he implements.  His mission was a sharp well running one. They committed everyone to baptism on the first or second visit which is awesome.  Something I'd like to implement more here.  That and tons of other things that I've seen him done.  He's just super bold.  That's just how his personality is and it really helps in missionary work!  Something I'd like to develop to be able to use when necessary.  I feel flaky sometimes.  Lots of missionaries here just accept the no's and move on.  He really really pushes.  It's awesome haha.

Sebastian is doing OK. He just can't come to church which means he can't really progress according to number standards. Or get baptized.  It's hard.  Not quite sure what to do with him. Ranquel and Katherine are fun to teach, Familia Carela sometimes, Yomairy (reference) and Robert.  And Linabel.  We've got quite a few good ones. A few other investigators are progressing well.  Mainly Ranquel and Katherine. They've come a long ways. He said that church should be something you go to weekly, and something he wants every week.  He's been looking for a church for a long time, and it looks like he's chosen ours!  We just need to help out his wife more.

In the district leader meeting, President Corbitt had all the new DL's raise their hands. It was half of us.  Half of the DL's are new.  A few are younger than me, but most are around my time.  (Your mission meeting sounded super neat! Did all the missionaries go to the office or was it skyped or something?) All the missionaries were there, minus the islands!  It was WAY awesome to see everyone there.  They wanted everyone to leave immediately after, but obviously that didn't happen!  I saw all the MTC guys, some of the guys from Villa Mella, and it was great to talk to everyone and see where they're at now.  It's nice to actually be able to know people to talk to at these things now.  It kinda sucked when I was new at first.

We also had a lesson with this one guy this week.  The one who said he was an atheist, but then really wasn't.  He said he wanted to talk to me alone, so Solis backed up a few feet.  He then showed me a JW magazine and explained to me with the pictures how they're conspiring against the US, and how his neighbors are communist and a bunch of nuts stuff that supposedly has happened to him.  He had me record everything to send to the FBI.  It was weird.  It was long an hour long haha. Super Nuts.

Way weird about the JW thing right?  Then he started telling me how he's from the US, but grew up here since they've done a blood test or something.  It was crazy.  Elder Solis took some pictures of him while he was talking to me haha.  He told me at the end that my life and the life of lots of people depends on this.  Super weird.  We definitely did not set a date to return. I think it was just because I'm white.  I did leave him with a plan of salvation pamphlet though :)

(Your pictures this week look really good. That building is called the Columbus Lighthouse if you didn’t know. I looked it up online and it looks like they shoot spotlights out of it at night in the shape of a cross and say it can be seen all the way to Puerto Rico. Have you ever seen it light up? I wonder how often they do that.)  We didn't get to go inside since we didn't have time, but it's huge.  It's got a room for all the American countries, and I guess has a few things about each of them.  I bought that little knick knack for like 2.50 to remind me of it. Never seen it light up.  Never even knew it did that.  There’s an old truck there too that I guess the pope rode in. Super weird.

(I’m glad you got to play basketball today! Did you play at the church?) We played at some park close to Elder Kirk's house.  It was good.  Some of the neighborhood kids played with us, and Rasmussen and Henriquez don't know how to play much, so it wasn't as competitive as I would've liked, but it was fun.  Mokofisi is huge and really really knows how to play.

I miss robotics a lot.  A few times my mind wanders to it, and I still have trouble sleeping when it happens cuz my mind just races thinking about ideas on how to do things.  I heard they made it to Worlds on a bit of a longshot, but I'm sure they'll do great.  Sounds like they've been struggling some this year.

Forgot a funny experience!  On the way to see Elder Clayton, our bus stopped to let someone out and the battery died.  While trying to get it started back up it exploded (sounded like a gunshot!), and we all jumped out.  Haha awesome stuff.

And our taxi rear ended another car this week! The driver never ever got out, just yelled at the guy, they argued for a bit, and we just kept going haha. Another taxi this week ran out of gas, and we were almost to the house so we just got out.  We ended up pushing it for a little ways haha. A normal taxi is 4 passengers in the back and 2 up front not including the driver.  And the cars are TERRIBLE.  Junkyard cars in the US.  We could see the ground moving in one today.  Most are missing the window roller handles, the inside of the doors, some you only can open from outside, and cracks in the windshield are more common than not.  I've seen the buses, but we don’t use them much.  Only for places really far away.  Taxis for closer.  Taxis routes are smaller than the buses.  They call the buses "gwagwa" I think is how you spell it.  Sounds like a baby talking when you say it haha.

Haha I think the whole family is getting out of their comfort zones a lot this year - except maybe Garrett.  I don' think he has a comfort zone haha.

Let me know if you have any other questions!  Love you tons!  It was fantastic to hear from you! Glad to hear you had a good birthday Mom!
Love you tons.  Elder Easton Potokar.

PS not too many good places to eat in our area. We've eaten out almost every day this week because of meetings and lack of time, and I'm about sick of it.  Lots of picapollas, La Sirena (like a Walmart), and some yaroa today.  Pretty good. There’s a Burger King, Papa Johns, and a few other big restaurants in the area next to us though.

Elder Potokar & Elder Martinez

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