Family and Friends,
|Elders acting out the Nativity Christmas Eve|
We had a great Christmas here in Ecuador :) I loved talking with the family and getting to meet Mook through Skype and Christmas Eve was a hoot! We live in a house with four missionaries and I told them all that my family and I always act out the nativity scene on Christmas Eve and they were all like yeah lets do it! Haha. So we didn't have much to work with but we all dressed up as wise men or shepherds, Mary, and Joseph and had a good time being goof balls. Then we sang Christmas songs together and played ninja attack. It's a lot more crazy but fun living with four missionaries. Haha the other night after planning before going to bed we played a hilarious game called ¨Gallinita Ciega¨ (Blind Little Chicken) which is basically like tag but the guy who is it has to wear a blindfold and try to tag someone when they can't see. Normally the game would be nearly impossible but we've got a small house so it works pretty well and the best part is that while the blindfolded chicken tries tagging someone the other three guys get to hit him with pillows and try dodging him as he stumbles toward you. Hahaha! It's hilarious and a great time!
Oh by the way before I forget I wanted to thank Elder Fischer for sharing this...
¨Last Thursday, our mission had a really great Christmas party. They trained us on working with members and not using the same ten members to go out with you to lessons. Sister Neider put a paper cup under a cookie sheet and had an Elder stand on it. It was crushed. That represented an investigator by their self. Then she did it again with three cups, the extra two cups represented missionaries standing with the Investigator. Still crushed. Then she added a bunch more cups, representing fellowship from each of the auxiliaries, random ward members and ward neighbors, the bishop, etc. With about 20 paper cups, the Elder (who weighed about 250) didn't crush the cups when he stood on the cookie sheet that was on top of them. There wasn't just one or two fellowshippers, there were a bunch.¨
I used that object lesson the other day in a district meeting and it worked great :) and its so true that as a missionary you need to really branch out and think out of the box using multiple members to fellowship the investigators. I can testify that it is essential to having real growth in the church because it was one of the key factors that Roberto is such a strong convert. But when you're wanting to share principles like that with your district it is much much better to do it in a fun and interactive way like the example described above so that your missionaries enjoy your lesson, learn from it, and remember it because it was unique. I remember when I was trying to write my election speech while running for a leadership position in high school and thinking man what the heck am I gonna do that won't be cliche and boring like blah blah I'm a good student blah blah I love Modesto high blah blah please vote for me blah blah blah blah zzzzzzzz... boring! As I was trying to think of other ideas I came up with the idea to do a rap that would be more interesting and it turned out great :) Likewise many times there are district meetings that are blah blah blah boring so I've been trying to do my best to always make them exciting, unique, interesting, fun, and spiritual. One time I gave a lesson on why it's so important to put a baptismal date in the first lesson and used the analogy of trying to run a race without having a finish line and I had Elder Ayala run around the class feeling like the race was pointless because he didn't know when it would finish but then I told him that he was going to do a race and that here would be the finish line and I ran with him motivating him, telling him that we're here to help him, singing the Rocky song and then when he finished giving him a big high five and all that jazz. Haha Everyone got a good kick out of it and the lesson stuck. I doubt that we´re going to forget that district meeting and know since then we've been applying that principle very well as a district :) In fact we passed our district goal and helped the zone pass the goal for the first time in months :) Woohoo!! Another time I gave a lesson on confidence and humility and applied it to having healthy companionships and setting commitments with the investigators confidently :) It was something unique that really helped because often times the district leader focuses all on helping them teach better but really there are some companionships that are having some serious problems that aren't allowing them to feel the spirit and that aren't allowing them to teach well at all. These are just a few examples of some unique district meetings feel free to use them if any of you out there reading this are future or current missionaries :) Also I wanted to ask that if any of you reading this have any good creative ideas for an interactive district meeting (something unique like the cup thing or the race thing) then will you please send your ideas to my mom so she can forward them to me :) I'd love to hear some good ideas that you all have that I can use :) Thank you!
The other day we were teaching the Word of Wisdom and I was thinking about the commandments that we have and how many people have an incorrect perspective of the commandments. Many people see the commandments (namely the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity) as annoying rules that restrict you and limit your freedom: ¨Wow your church doesn't let you drink¨ or ¨That stinks that you can't have sex before you're married.¨ Many people, even we as members sometimes, are guilty of having these false perceptions. With a worldly perspective you will see the commandments as exactly that; limitations that don't let you have fun. But when you really understand the doctrine and realize that God created us, thus he knows exactly what we need and what we need to avoid to achieve the maximum happiness, health, and success in this life and the next. The truth is that the commandments (especially the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity) protect and bless our lives and amplify our freedom and true happiness. For those who falsely believe that the Word of Wisdom restricts your freedom, how much freedom does a drug addict have? How much freedom does an alcoholic have? How much freedom does someone who was paralyzed from drinking and driving have? Or those who say that the Law of Chastity limits your fun, how much fun does someone with Aids have? How much freedom and self respect does someone addicted to pornography have? How much freedom does a 15 year old single mom have in high school? All these questions should help us realize the truth that the commandments are blessings. With an eternal perspective you will see the commandments as safeguards and blessings from a loving Heavenly Father to help his children have joy in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
When we change our perspective and really understand the doctrine of Christ our attitude and behavior changes :) Let's all remember that commandments are blessings and we receive more blessings when we obey the commandments :)
Love you all lots :) Happy New Year!