Family and Friends,
President Amaya visited us this week to have interviews and reward us for being the zone that most passed the goal last week. We ate Carl's Junior together and had a great time with him and the Assistants. Elder Galvan and I had a wonderful interview with President Amaya. He said he had sent us here to raise the bar and put the zone on another level and that we had done just that. He congratulated us on the great unity, diligence, obedience, and enthusiasm that he could see and feel were very present in our zone and he said it was all consequence of the example of their leaders. It was actually pretty funny because he said that there's lots of missionaries that came from other less obedient and less focused zones and that when they got here to our zone it was like BOOM a wake up call and shocker. They can feel that its serious business here and then they get with the program and get their act together. He started cracking himself up haha but its really true and thats been one of the most rewarding experiences here for me is seeing the huge change and improvement that all of the missionaries here have had. Sadly, some zone leaders make the mistake of just worrying about and concentrating on REACHING THE GOAL and having results even if they have to intimidate, walk over, or boss around the missionaries to do it. That NEVER works. If you focus on the missionaries as people and children of God with a divine potential as Elder Eyring advises:
"Help others recognize the spiritual gifts with which they were born. Every person is different and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail. As you seek revelation to see gifts God sees in those you lead in the priesthood, you will be blessed to lift their sights to the service they can perform. With your guidance, those you lead will be able to see, want, and believe they can achieve their full potential for service in God's kingdom" ("Help Them Aim High").
and focus on their needs and their progress then they're happier, you're happier, and the goal almost takes care of itself. Yes you still need to give follow-up on the goal and focus on results but the people need to come first. President congratulated us on doing that well and said we're putting an example for the rest of the mission.
We had 4 baptisms last week but it was so crazy and busy that we didn't have time to take pictures...sorry! But it was a great experience and one of the investigators Didier taught me a lesson that I'll never forget. Didier is nine years old and his mom and older brothers are less actives that we are reactivating while baptizing Didier (the good ole hit two birds with one stone!). Didier is very very very shy and gets scared easily. When I went to baptize him the first time he got scared when he entered the water and he shot his hand up out of the water so we had to do it again. On the second time he got even more scared and traumatized by the water and shot his hand up and came out of the water whimpering and crying. I took him out of the water to help him calm down and tried talking with him to motivate to go back and try it again. The sad part is that lots of members (who had good intentions but insensitive and foolish actions) started to swarm around him and say to him or to each other ¨Are you crying? He's crying. Hey don't be scared of the water you're fine. Just do it. Hey are you alright already?¨ This obviously just made it worst and he literally curled up in a ball against the wall crying and refusing to respond to anyone. Luckily his mom and another member we're smart and he told him in a loving way that he could do it. After about 10 minutes of confusion and crying we finally took him away from everyone and went in to a room just the missionaries and him and one of the members that was a good family friend. We said a prayer together to help him calm down. We waited for several minutes very patiently not pressuring him and then I got down on his level on my knees and said, ¨Hey bud how bout we just try one more time and if it doesn't work we can go home and everything will be fine okay?¨ He agreed and we went to the fount but we closed the door and waited for everyone to leave until it was just me, Elder Galvan, and the member family friend (priesthood holder). As we entered the water he started crying again but we just waited patiently sat down and prayed and then the member made him laugh with quite a few jokes and motivated him and then he decided to do it. I took him in my arms, said the prayer, and we entered in the water together. It worked! He left the water beaming and happy having conquered his fear.
That taught me a lot about just being patient and not judging or laughing at people and being sensitive and gently persistent. Also the power of humor is very important as well. I've seriously changed since before the mission because before I would've thought what a baby and probably laughed at him a bit... I feel like I've changed quite a bit now that I think about it.
Love you all so much!