Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Week 52: In which we puzzle over our area, I ponder the midpoint of my mission, and i am confused by a bear suit.

Written 22 May 2017
Weekly Letter

Sorry, this week this letter is kind of lame. I'm almost out of time.

Here's some of my letter to President Lewis:

This has been a really amazing week. We've found a lot of new people. We also received some revelation during Stake Conference about how to move things forward in this area. Honestly, it's kind of confusing. The ward here is very strong, there are several members very fired up for missionary work, there are plenty of people to work with, and we have a lot of support. Admittedly, there are no native Spanish-speakers in our ward, and very few people who speak Spanish at all, but even still, that's out of our control. Besides, we have been able to overcome some of the challenges inherent with that situation.

To be very honest, it doesn't really make any sense. There should be a lot more happening in this area! Everything is in place for it to completely explode with work! Things are happening, and we've seen many miracles, but it doesn't match up. It's not nearly as much as it should be, all things seem awesome. However, we feel the key here is helping members be better at doing their family history. We feel that will get us the support we need from the other side of the veil. That is one thing that this ward has struggled with a lot.

We are super excited to start working with members to help them be better family historians. We feel that will make all the difference in opening the blessings of heaven in this area. It's like this area is just waiting to explode with the work, and we have discovered the floodgate. We talked to some members who are already very good at doing family history, and they got really excited about this new approach. The spirit was super strong as we talked with them about how they can be even better at family history, and how that will open the floodgates to missionary work. It was surprising to them how we were focusing more on helping members be family historians, as opposed to getting non-members to do family history. Of course, that will help the members as well, but we've felt that, combined with continuing to try to do missionary work, as the members do family history, they will be more excited about the work of Salvation and their eyes will be opened. It's an indirect way to try to launch the work here. The members got excited, and mentioned that it was a new approach that no missionaries have ever tried in the past. We'll see how it works!

We also found an awesome less-active member who moved from Mexico a while ago and is going through some rough times. Her name is Silvia, and we're super excited to start working with her!


Elder Adams

[Questions from Editor Mom]

How was your week? - Fantastisch!
That's German for "fantastic!"

What are you learning/doing that you hope you can use/maintain throughout your life? - I'm learning to study my scriptures! I love it! Also, I've learned more about how to be easier to get along with. Also, I'm learning that beating around the bush is dumb and gets you nowhere. I've lost patience with being misunderstood because I'm not clear about what I'm trying to say. There is a place for things like that, but there is also a place for straight up honesty. I like something I heard from a fantastic missionary in the mission: "The difference between being bold and being overbearing is love. You can never be to bold if you're loving." That means, I think, being a little more assertive. However, there is also a place for being carefully diplomatic. I'm definitely experienced at that too.

Have you learned anything about yourself or anything else that took you by surprise? - Well, I've figured out that being stubborn is not a good thing. I thought it had its place, but I've learned on my mission that there is a very wide gulf between being stubborn and being steadfast and immovable. Stubbornness is always born of pride. Being loyal, steadfast, and immovable are born of love. It's a subtle difference, but it makes all the difference. Being stubborn makes it harder to receive correction and much easier to justify yourself.

Any experiences with music lately? - Well, I just played cello in Stake Conference yesterday, so yeah. President and Sister Lewis were there. It was honestly a super simple arrangement, but I just tried to make it super lyrical and cello-y, and it worked! Everyone loved it. The President of the Portland Temple was there too, and he and his wife liked my playing a lot. It was a pretty cool experience.

How do you think the second half of your mission might be different from the first (aside from the obvious, like the fact that you will serve in different areas with different companions)? - Well, I'm honestly already in a much better position to bless others at this point, since I feel I have become a far better missionary than when I started out. I feel I will have more opportunities to help others with the things I've learned. Overall, though, I think it's always been like that; the main difference is it's at a different level.

Any fun conversations or funny situations? - Well, if Elder West and I are driving somewhere far away, or it's P-Day, or it's in the evening, we tell each other riddles. Our favorites are called "Stories with Holes". Basically, in these riddles, something happens, for example: "The man ran home, where the man with the mask was waiting for him." The other person can then ask yes or no questions to try to find out what actually happened and fill in the background. In that particular example, after asking a lot of questions, you realize that they were playing baseball, and the batter was trying to run home, where the catcher was waiting for him.

However, the last one we did, Elder West told me: "A woman walks into a cave, picks something up, and dies." I asked question after question, eventually finding a very interesting and intricate backstory involving a sensationalist nature reporter who picked up a cornucopia (which was hiding a dead flower and an arrowhead) and got killed by an insane escaped convict wearing a yeti costume. There was a lot of intrigue as well, which led up to this very odd climax (the reporter had been a witness at his trial, before he went insane, and was formerly his boss at the same company). I was getting very confused, because there seemed to be no end to this insanely complicated story.

As it turns out, Elder West was simply alternating between answering "yes" and "no". My train of logic had led me to this strange and fantastic situation. Talk about a major twist!

At one point, I learned she was killed by a man in a bear suit, but later found out it was actually a yeti suit. In confusion at this new revealed information, I exclaimed "That's not a bear, Elder!" That has now become a running catch-phrase in our companionship.
How is the finding going? How are your investigators? - The finding is going great! We have some awesome new potential investigators. Many of our current investigators have kind of hit a slump of progression, but some other amazing things have happened, and we think we know what to do to catch this area on fire!

Any nice surprises this week? - Well, we received some revelation during Stake Conference Saturday about how to make things really pick up in this area. That was definitely a nice surprise. Also, we found a less-active member we didn't know lived here. She was baptized in Mexico.

Do you have any mission traditions besides singing "Called to Serve"? - Mission traditions? Probably, but I can't think of any.

I'm taking our sister missionaries to Plimouth Plantation tomorrow, so won't be at a computer to respond much, but I'll keep an eye out for your email. Can't wait to hear from you! - Aww, lucky missionaries! We look forward to going to a cool drive-through private zoo today. Enjoy!

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