Last week sucked. The beginning of this week sucked. But, the end of this week has been great and you can actually see work happening which is amazing!
The beginning of the week was a little rough, and we really were not seeing any success, and I still felt super lazy and like we were wasting our time. However, we went to Christmas Conference and I felt totally energized and confident and felt like it would be okay to bring up this concern with Sister Patea again. Christmas Conference by the way was amazing. Amazing food, a great Christmas devotional, a variety show (best act by far was my old zone leader playing the music for the inspirational video "Rise and Shine" on a piano pipe, while another elder yelled the words into the mic), and a ride home. Love it for me.
On Friday morning before our weekly planning (the STL's were coming to join us for our planning) we talked about our thoughts on the work that we were doing, whether or not it was effective, how we could come up with new ways to find friends, and how to better follow Preach My Gospel and the order in which they've set our priorities. We decided to make quite a few changes, and instead of now spending the majority of our time street contacting in the town square (obviously we haven't gotten rid of street contacting entirely), we would use that time to focus on part-member families, and to help strengthen our relationships with the members and to get referrals from them. We also decided that we would clean out the area book, and start to get it organized by phone contacting, Light the World messages, and privacy data notices. With this in mind, we started our week off on Friday with a new plan. Unfortunately, Friday was already booked out so we couldn't fully set our plan to action, but we prepared for Saturday to be a day of miracles.
Y'all. Saturday WAS a day of miracles. We hadn't been finding any friends, and the key indicators/goals (which aren't everything I know, but also they can help us see where we need to focus and improve—for me at least) for new friends had been extremely low for the last few months. We found 8 friends on Saturday through phone contacting, privacy data notices, and bus contacting. We even found someone from France for Sister Patea!
Now I know that it won't always be like this, and just because we change something doesn't always mean that we'll find 100 friends ready to baptize, but I do think that trying to change things and improve helps us become more motivated, more energized and focused on our purpose, and it helps us really humble ourselves and turn to the Lord for ideas and suggestions.
I really am so grateful to be in this area, because I think there are so many lessons that I can learn. I've learned about trying to humble myself and asking the Lord for help for trying to find new ideas and being helped to find the courage to bring those forward to my companion. I've learned about being patient and loving to everyone you meet and see from Sister Patea, who is such a wonderful example of that. I've learned that members are really absolutely critical to the work, and if you don't have them, you don't have anything. And I think lastly, one of the pillars, or core principles for our mission, "every missionary a leader" is so important to our work. I think I've been really scared of and kind of hesitant about a few things because I'm a new missionary and I didn't want to overstep my bounds. However, Sister Patea is wonderful, and she has really helped me grow and stretch myself and has allowed me to take charge or lead a few things.
So in the end, those are the most important things that happened this week. It's been hard but it's been good.
Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and that you remember to write to all the missionaries away from home this lovely Christmas season!
P.S. I have 2 random requests:
If someone could send me mp3 versions of the songs for "The Forgotten Carols" by Michael McLean I would be forever grateful.
Also, if someone could send me a screen recording of the video "Loca the Pug" and the inspirational video "Rise and Shine" that would be the best Christmas present ever.
Photographs Below :)
Weekly Letter #12: December 16, 2019
4/ 5Oleh -