What a week! I met my new companion on Wednesday, and things have just took off to a running start. President Taylor lined us all up in two lines; trainers on one end, and new missionaries on the other. He then called out the new companionships one by one. It soon came to my name when President announced I would be training Elder Pierce. We embraced and immediately hit it off. This is going to be an amazing transfer. I can feel this wave of new, fresh faith radiating from being in the presence of this Elder.
That evening, the Lord blessed us with two lessons, one of which we found two new investigators. It was incredible to see how prepared Elder Pierce was to teach. We taught one lesson in English and the next one in Spanish. It was great to see him get excited about the work.
One of the things about training new missionaries is that you start to notice your own weaknesses as well. This past week I've learned a weakness that I have. My weakness happens to be a strength that Elder Pierce has. He truly has faith in the converting power of the Gospel for our investigators. It's not that I lack this faith, but I will admit that the past three 3 and 1/2 transfers have somewhat diminished by expectations for this area. I had fallen into a sense of complacency.
And so I sincerely brought this matter to the Lord. I asked: How can I develop faith in the converting power of the Gospel for my instigators? That morning during personal study, the answer came as clear as crystal...."Work on punctuality."
It dawned on me that I had not been taking our appointments too seriously in the past...I'd been used to going to appointments late. Most of this comes from bad habits I formed early on in my mission. I was told that the Hispanic culture was naturally always running late so we could as well. Then I realized, when we aren't punctual, it's as if we don't have faith that our investigators truly will convert to the Gospel. We need to be where we plan to be, at the time we say we will. So this transfer, I'm really going to focus on being on time to things.
I've really felt rejuvenated from serving with Elder Pierce. He is so excited to be hear, and committed to being the best missionary he can be. In some ways he is better than me. But that's ok, I think the Lord intends me to learn from this training experience as much as he expects me to teach.
In other experiences for this week: Elder Pierce and I have had a lot of contacting opportunities We're finding lots of people to teach and just this past weekend we set two new baptismal dates, which we haven't done in a really long time. Miracles happen every day. Their names are Vanessa and Alvaro. They are a young family with a 6 month year old daughter. Vanessa has a desire to learn and go back to church, and Alvaro has a great understanding of our message. We are really hopeful. The lesson we had with them actually wasn't planned. Our appointment for that hour fell through and I felt prompted to go try this old potential of ours that we hadn't seen in a few weeks. We were there at the right time. We met Alvaro and he let us right in to share a message. It was great!
Just last night, we were working and all of our plans fell through. Elder Pierce felt the impression to say a quick prayer. I offered one specifically letting the Lord know that our plans had fallen through and that we humbly didn't know exactly what to do. We then felt prompted to try visiting an investigator's house in the area. The investigators weren't there, but we met a friend of theirs that was living in the same place. We talked to him and it turns out he knows of our church and said he would like us to stop by another time. So we set an appointment and now we have a solid potential.
Life is great! I mention the subject of this week entry as "New missionary fire" because I really can feel the difference Elder Pierce has brought to this area. In fact, half our district is made up of these new missionaries. There is a new spirit in the Branch, more hope, more faith... something I don't think I'd really felt in a while.
Expect great things from us. This will be a transfer of miracles if we do everything right. I plan to become more punctual and more hopeful, and re gain that new missionary fire I used to have.
I hope everything is going well at home. I'm glad to hear about Mark's mission call! He'll be a great missionary.
I love you all and I love this Gospel. It's true. siga adelante!