Monday, March 2, 2015
Last Transfer in Zilina, Slovakia
Hele, I'm sure you're all surprised that I didn't email you on Monday, but it's because of this: We are literally teaching too much to have the full hour and a half of email time, and usually the first hour is spent emailing President, and replying to other emails, and we only had about 45 minutes, so here we are now on...I don't remember, but I think Wednesday, and here's my email.
Well. Last week was crazy, just like it seems every week is now. I've noticed that the more time you spend diligently finding, the less time you actually end up spending. I'll explain myself real quick. At training we discussed a principle that I was really quite impressed with. The principle discussed was that we don't set apart hours of our day for "finding," we should be finding 100% of the time, we set apart specific hours for "contacting," or "tracting," not finding. I had noticed before then that around 40-60%, I'm not willing to commit to an exact estimate, of our new investigators are found either through teaching someone else, or through us talking to people about the gospel while we're doing something that isn't contacting or tracting. Contacting and tracting are not super effective missionary activities in actuality, however, they become more effective in proportion to how much you do them. It clicked in my head when I heard that, that if we diligently find, even when we're not "finding," that then we will have more people to teach, and we'll have to "find" a whole ton less. This is extremely true, and the best part is seeing it work.
So, we totally went bowling on Monday. It's super inexpensive here, because they found that if they put the same prices on bowling here as they did in America, no one goes bowling, so it's actually around the exact price of what it's worth. I was reminded yet again of how absolutely terrible I am at bowling, I had the lowest score both games. Later we taught Z., who is awesome, and she's totally going to get baptized, she's just scared of what her Catholic friends would do if that happened. We talked about Adam and Eve, which is always a really fun discussion, especially when she doesn't actually agree with the Catholic belief, and thinks ours is way better.
Another highlight of every week is P.M., this now completely active member here. This guy is seriously Branch President status now, he's preparing to go to the temple, and he has started to have enough confidence in his knowledge of the gospel to actually put forth his own ideas and comparisons during priesthood in church, which, I must say, are spot on. I am so happy to have him to work with, we're working on teaching him about every apostasy the world has gone through in as much detail as we can find in the scriptures, from the apostasy between the dispensation of Elijah, in which the Pharisees and the Sadducees as well as Buddhism and Taoism were all founded, to the apostasy right after Adam, in which (according to the Liahona magazine, I'm not actually sure where they got this info), Hinduism was started with the followers of Cain and Satan "plotted with his followers from that time hereafter."-not an exact quote from Helaman 6:26-27. Love him to death, we're going into the Great Apostasy tomorrow.
M. is doing awesome, she's still completely on track to her baptism on the 14th, and she really is prepared. We were going through the baptismal questions with her, and we started and it went sort of like this:
Elder S: Do you believe in God the Eternal Father, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost?
M.: and I say, "Yes."
Elder B: Gooood....do you ACTUALLY belive that?
M.: Starsi Brousseau, why in the world would I be trying to get baptized if I didn't?
It was so spiritual.
J.P. is normal, still obsessed with ghosts, and doesn't really feel a need to pray or really do anything religious. He has some really cool ghost stories though, it's fun. We're planning on giving him the best ghost story ever next time: The one where a guy was brutally and illegally murdered, but came back from the dead.
L. survived a crazy car accident last week, and this week is still doing really well. He's in sort of the same situation as Z., where he's TOTALLY going to get baptized, and he has nothing holding him back except for a crazy complicated situation with Sister S. being best friends with his ex-girlfriend all the while still being sort of in love with his ex-wife, with which he has 2 kids. We're praying pretty hard that something in that situation will change quickly so that he no longer has a problem with Sister S., and it's going to take a miracle, but at the moment he's progressing quite well.
P.K. is totally on track! We had the lesson last time that like, "You realize we're not Catholics and we want to baptize you right?" and he was all like, "Yeah, I knew that from the start, I kind of want to know why." So cool! He's this sort of old guy, like early 50's, and he tries so very hard to do what he knows is right, it's great.
M. is doing pretty well too, last time we taught him with Sister S., and it went pretty well, we showed him the "Your potential, your privileges," video from President Uchtdorf, and talked to him about trying to find out exactly what his privileges are BEFORE he no longer has them. He still doesn't have a huge desire, but he's totally getting baptized as soon as he realizes what the church organization specifically can offer him, which is friends who care about you and would like help you in quite literally every country on the planet. Teaching M. has really improved my English again as well, because, while he doesn't really speak English, he always has super great questions about the differences between words, and which word is best to say in certain contexts, I really like him.
I got to teach the W. family!!! This is a way-cool young family the other Elders are teaching, and our district is doing well enough in both companionships, that we've started having to go on splits so that we can all teach all of our lessons that our scheduled, so great. Elder F. has been very inspired with how he has gone about teaching them, people (Zone Leaders) keep trying to push him into trying to speed things up, but having gone there and having taught them myself, I am convinced that he has been taking the spiritually correct path with them. They are so amazing.
R., ok, well, we found out this guy is apparently a "real" Jehovah's Witness...I asked him during our 2nd lesson if I could see his new world translation because he was using a rohacek translation, and that has tons of stuff missing, but doesn't have the little asterisks telling you that they're missing, and he was all like, "Pozor pan Bruso, real Jehovah's Witnesses don't even let that thing come into our hands!" and proceeded to rant about all this corruption with the bigger JW church in Brooklyn and denouncing all they're "abominable creeds" and stuff, I was torn between confusion and a strange desire to record everything he was saying. Turns out, there are 2 JW churches, and the mission of one of them is to entirely discredit the other, but they call themselves the exact same thing, so there's no way to distinguish between them. Kind of crazy, but he's a joy to teach, he knows the Bible pretty darn well, so when we use the Bible to reference things and explain our point of view, instead of not understanding and getting caught up in random little reference battles, he understands the bigger picture and it makes sense to him. I really love this guy.
L. has gotten so hard-core into Anti material, which he doesn't completely understand. He is not in an amazing position to join either, because he's a minister for another church, but he is interested as to why he doesn't have the sorts of feelings about our church when he's meeting with us, as he does when he's reading bad things about us. Interesting.
R. is great, he's this awesome 21 year old kid who does MMA, and he's had some really cool experiences with God. He says he already has a Book of Mormon, but we're going to give him a new one, just in case. I'm really excited to see where he goes, we've only had a couple of lessons so far, but he has in every single case showed that he has a very open heart, and a sincere desire to do right with God. He knows L., which is a little iffy, but as far as I can tell, he doesn't really listen to anything he says, so we'll hope and pray he doesn't get into the same kind of stuff.
Sunday we gave our demonstration on Music History, Music Theory, and Conducting, and it was a success. We were in the building that day from 9 in the morning until past 7 in the evening just because of Church and then the activity, and then we were teaching the rest of the time, which illustrates my point at the beginning, we didn't have time to go out and tract like we normally do. Such a great week, and such a great feeling.
Lots of love,