It's been a tough week here in the mission due to the unfortunate event that happened this weekend with Sister Smith. It's such a hard case. Sister Smith was actually training a new young sister; the accident happened two days after this new missionary came into the mission. Sister Smith actually served in my zone for a few weeks when I first came to this area, so I knew here a little bit, not too well, but I did know her.
We were all shocked when we got the call. Our new district leader, Elder Orellana (from El Salvador) actuall was her district leader in his last area. He and her were actually pretty good friends, so he's taking it pretty hard. We went out to Taco Bell on Saturday to go comfort him. I actually read in the recent Ensign an article about how to talk with people who are grieving. Surprisingly, the advice I found said not to talk too much...but rather listen. Specifically, let them talk about their favorite memories of the person who passed away. Don't rush the grieving time table, but share love and concern for those that are sad. So I did that and I just simply listened to Elder Orellana talk about his memories of her. As I lisitned, I felt more love for him and I felt like I understood him more.
I think we can apply this principle with our own lives. We shouldn't be quick to try and "fix" everyone's problems with our own experiences and advice. If you want to help someone...listiening is the first and foremost thing you must do. Then as you listen, the words to speak will be given to you in the very hour that they need to be given. I've had this experience a few times on my mission and I can testify, that when you listen to the person who has concerns, and then listen to the Spirit (feelings which are motivated by love and concern, not judgmental or condemning) then your words can have a great effect on people.
In other news with our investigators...we've had a tough time staying in contact. Emily (our one baptismal date) all the sudden got super busy and can't meet during the week anymore. She's still interested though. It's funny but ever since we set the date with her, she's had all these problems come up: ex-boyfriend trying to gain custody of the kids, school, work, more school. Satan is really trying to slow down her progression. All though as missionaries we can't do much to make all these problems go away, we can be patient and still endure with understanding that people have lives to keep in order as well as make a significant life change by following the Gospel.
Other than that, we haven't had too many stand out experiences this week. Elder Mendoza and I have been trying our best to hold on to the few investigators we have. Unfortunately, we have missed out on a few opprotunites to invite people to baptism in the first lesson, due to time. There is a differnece in walking out of a lesson when you invite someone to baptism and when you didn't. You feel more like a missionary when you do invite people. That truly is our purpose out here...to help people accept this message of the Restoration of the Gospel. It's hard and slow, but worth evry minute.
Thank you so much for the pictures of Jane! It looks like she really liked that Birthday cake. I was waiting for someone to shove her face into the cake when she took a bite. That's actually a hispanic tradition out here:)
Looks like things are going well. Keep reading the scriptures and praying! I've really come to love studying the scriptures in the morning. When I don't get to study (or inadvertantly fall asleep), there is a signficant loss of the Spirit when I go out to work that day.
I love you all and pray for you often!
PS. Elder Mendoza and I finally applied the Doctrine of Christ and cleaned our apartment!!!! It's a miracle!!! All it took was a little faith, repentance baptism by water and of the Spirit...and now we just need to endure to the end and keep our apartment that way!