June 20, 2010
Hi family and friends,
Wow, this week was stressful. I was looking at the key indicators that are supposed to numerize our progress here, and was shocked to see zero new investigators. I also saw that we had not taught nearly as many lessons as before. Thinking back on what happened, I’ve been trying to piece together what made this week a bit slower, and what I could have done differently to feel more comfortable with the work I am doing.
Mainly, the stressful thing has been managing investigators and their needs in my head, and trying to coordinate all the Elders here. Here’s one thing I’ve definitely learned: missionary work is not a one-Elder job! I took the lead to a point that I felt overwhelmed, and because the other Elders weren’t exactly sure what has been on my mind with my vision of the area’s progress, I was on my own in planning and accounting for what happened. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
We’ve been working with some other, new people that are at different stages, and so going back to the basics with new people is tricky. Everybody needs a new explanation to the Gospel for it to apply to them. On Tuesday, we met an old widow who is a friend to a member. This frail woman has been feeling depressed lately, but she had been taking comfort in learning about Joseph Smith and the restored gospel. However, when we taught her, she was not effectively grasping the things we were telling her. We talked about how great the Temple is in that we can be sealed to our families for eternity, and she responded about how awful her life has been in the past. Those two aren’t very closely related. Luckily, she does want to be baptized, but I hope that we can teach her in a way that she can learn what that fully entails.
Other investigators have been David and his friends. David is 18, and he has a bunch of other friends and family who he plays basketball with. We stopped by on Tuesday, and started teaching about the Restoration to all of them. In total, we taught 8 people! Some of them are interested in coming to church, others are disputing a lot. They have really good questions though, like why is life so hard? Why did Jesus Christ have to die? Why can’t everybody just agree? When I told them that I understood their questions, and also knew how to answer them, they paused, and one said, “Really?” I said, “Yes, we just can’t answer them all at once, it’s better to go through the lessons we have planned out that answer most of them. Afterwards, you can ask away.” They haven’t been able to come to church yet because they train for basketball on Sundays, but we’re working on it. One of them really wants to come.
Joanna and Tuvao are still perfectly on track for their baptisms. Unfortunately, Joanna had to push hers back because she got sick, and then her family got sick to the point that they couldn’t come. She’ll be baptized in two weeks. Tuvao is getting baptized next Sunday. And guess what? She asked her family for permission, and they said yes. This was the family that kicked her out of the house. Tuvao said that they realize she’s not going to change her mind. She’s so happy. Elder Vaiho and I will be speaking at her baptism.
I can hardly believe that it’s already nearing the end of June. Transfers are next week. President Lindley goes home then. THAT will really shake things up. I might not be in Springvale anymore, that’s the scary thought. I was so excited to go to church yesterday, because the ward feels like my closest family now. They have been so helpful in supporting us with meals, referrals, rides, and even helping us move. I have no clue where I’ll be going next, but I know for sure that I love Springvale and all the people in it. It’s a love that’s hard to communicate, because it’s quite a mottled community, but something about being entrusted to share the Lord’s truths to a place establishes a special relationship you don’t get anywhere else. It’s a huge responsibility, but yields amazing rewards.
Thank you all for your support. You sustain me in ways I cannot articulate. You may not see how it benefits me, my teaching, my attitude, and my well-being, but it does. I love all of you.
-Elder Scott Baker