A special week--literally--it started out with something called Specialized Training in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
That was pretty neat. We discussed a few trends in the mission and places where we can improve. I need to do a better job of following up on commitments I extend and by doing that I think people will be more apt to keep commitments and appointments we set up. Also at Specialized training we were given some surveys that we could go around and use. So Elder Perkins and I decided to try them out and have found some interesting trends. It is nearly an equal split of people that will even listen to us or take the survey: believers in Christ and nonbelievers in Christ. Many so-called believers just say I have my own religion and slam the door in our face when we say that "we are trying to get people's thoughts on Christ". Interesting. So what has come to mind is really how we live what we believe and again, that General Conference talk about BEing and DOing. I have been trying to BE a better missionary instead of DOing more missionary things. I am being better, not perfect, but better. While reading Alma 34 in the Book of Mormon this morning I seemed to have insight after insight. What a chapter! The concepts brought up there can apply to anyone in any situation...it answers the question: what is the purpose of life, and also talks about the doctrine of Christ and HOW it works. All throughout, I was thinking: Amulek is talking to former members of the church about how to develop faith. These former members had gone so astray as to forget how to develop faith and wanted to know what faith was! Amulek discusses the need for a Savior and an infinite and eternal Atonement and shares that we must "pour out our souls" in prayer. That should remind us to evaluate our own prayers. Are my prayers sincere? Mine are getting better. Amulek then tells the Zoramites (and we must liken the discourse to ourselves today) to "not harden their hearts and come forth and bring fruit unto repentance...this life is the life to prepare to meet God...and to work out our salvation with fear before God" and lots more good stuff. I thought my studies would be pretty poor this morning considering we had to study at Subway--our car getting maintenance on other side of town so we got shuttle to downtown and studied in Subway for an hour and then library opened after that and studied here and now emailing. Phew...so you can probably sense a little frustration in people's attitudes towards us, but I always maintain a positive demeanor while finding, I am doing a better job of letting things go, its later that a little frustration comes out. So Elder Perkins and I are thinking of new ideas to try to get more commitment out of people. We would welcome any fresh ideas.
Elder Perkins is great. President Paulson has called a few times and teased me asking if my companion wanted to go home yet. Ha. That is just President though, I just slap myself in the forehead and laugh to myself. Elder Perkins played a year of football on the offensive line for Dixie College in St. George, UT and gave up a big scholarship to come on his mission. He has really turned his life around to come on a mission and is a happy, go-lucky guy. He likes eating. Ha, but seriously. Together we have been able to find a lot of new people like I had said, its just staying in contact with them and helping them progress is the difficult part. We have 9 people in our teaching pool and are trying to meet with people more frequently. The new surveys have helped us get in and teach a few lessons right on the spot which I think is fantastic. Leo, the baptismal date, has been sick and we have been unable to meet with him. This week we are really going to focus on helping investigators attend Sacrament Meeting. I think it is much needed because we have struggled the past few weeks. In fact, the Ontario district struggled this week after having a good prior week. I guess that is something I get to bring up in...my first-ever District Meeting tomorrow! The Dryden and I-Falls elders will be coming up to Kenora and I will be making occasional trips to both those areas in the coming weeks. A return to I-Falls!!!
Speaking of Elder Perkins, he is so funny. He makes me laugh a bunch, but what really gets me to laugh is that he won't eat his veggies. Won't. I try to trick him into it...doesn't work. We had a guy invite us in for supper last night and he had veggie stew and Elder Perkins eyes got huge and he struggled through the entire meal. Ha. He also doesn't like fish and does not know how to tell this world-class-fishing town's people that he does not want Walleye. Ha. He reminds me how I have really expanded my horizons and taste buds. I like just about anything nowadays. Even brussel sprouts and all that stuff, I still do it and down it. Fish is good. Also, Elder Perkins has been teasing me about how "old" I am in the mission and he brought to mind something VERY SCARY: The number of months left on my mission is now in the single digits. That is terrible! I still have so much to do and to learn!
This week I have really tried applying the gospel of Jesus Christ into my life and I feel the power it does bring. It is so cleansing and strengthening, it just takes the humility to sincerely get down on your knees and repent and ask for forgiveness and right the wrong. What a concept! The basics of the gospel can sometimes be the most difficult. I love learning about all sorts of things, but it's in the BEing of things and living beliefs that the joy comes. Again, what a concept.
I sure love you all. Thanks for everything. My plan for the afternoon is to buy a pumpkin and carve something amazing into it. I will let you know how that goes. I will keep you all in my prayers.