Sunday, August 2, 2015

July 27, 2015 Jamaica Chronicles

Another transfer of being the small comp! Elder Vi is a Brooklyn missionary now! This picture is from transfer meeting, which was Elder Galke's last. He's going home! And..... (drumroll please)..... Elder Boden! I am staying in Jamaica and have been joined by the lovely Elder Boden from Roy, Utah.

So sorry I missed emailing last week! I had a lot of meetings

Well this has been a crazy week! Transfer meeting on Tuesday was great and we brought home Elder Boden. Jamaica Spanish is going down to a four man district, so it is now just us and Hermana Urizar and Hermana Snow. It's been quite the week breaking in Elder Boden - he's fresh from the Provo MTC. Its super different because my last two companions have been very experienced in the mission and had been in the area forever and knew it like the back of their hand.  We now have a super young district because Hna Urizar came out with me in February and Hna Snow has been out one transfer, Elder Boden zero.  Elder Boden is pretty solid.  Its kind of wierd because three months ago he was 17 years old and in high school, and now he's been launched straight into the frying pan of Jamaica! It's kind of funny because none of the new trainees want to go to Jamaica because they always do a street sweep in Jamaica the Monday before transfers with the incoming group (my group missed that because we were in Detroit) and so we learned at transfer meeting that they had all associated Jamaica with being traumatized fresh off the plane by our lovely selection of citizens . Elder Vi and I were laughing when we caught wind of that right before transfer meeting because I already knew who my comp would be and where he would be going since he was the only incoming Spanish missionary in the mission. (Oh btw that's why I was a little preocuppied last week and didn't write there was a lot of training and stuff).

Elder Boden is doing well, he knows the scriptures and has a good desire to be obedient, which is exciting.  As far as the work goes, our pool is still in a rut, but I think we are gaining some traction.  We have been counseling as a district and have come to the conclusion that we need to change something to get the members excited and involved and unified. We decided we needed to start ward activities, which haven't happened for four years.  The ward is just too small and the members don't have time.  Getting people to help organize and getting people to attend is difficult.  But we felt that that was what we needed to do to get things going and get our investigators fellow shipped.  Well no sooner had we agreed on that, our ward mission leader proposed the idea, and before we could get the idea to the ward council, Hno Castellano (high priest group leader) came to us with a detailed plan to implement regular ward activities and a strong desire to make it happen.  So I guess it must have been a good idea. Anyway, we spent a lot of time making a plan of action to carry out, and we had our first one on Friday.  We were super excited, and we had a good list of less active members and investigators who said they would attend.

As you might expect from trying to break the ice on that one after four years, things didn't exactly go super smooth.  I was getting pretty down about it, actually. We had worked so hard and been praying for a miracle, and nothing went right at all.  At first, only one investigator showed up, who is the husband of a member and wouldn't even come into the room where we were starting with a 20 minute workshop on family history. Probably just as well, as that twenty minute workshop turned into a forty minute argument. I felt just about like what Hno Castellano looked - he was sitting back there sweating bullets sinking in his chair with every vein above his collar popping out of his skin.  All this was happening while a Hna Amaya's baby was out in the echoing hall crying with an intensity I had never heard before, reaching decibels that I never would have thought possible from such a little package that seemed dangerous to my sense of hearing and my sanity. After the workshop, the projector that we had tested three times right before wouldn't function, so we skipped the 7 minute video and headed straight upstairs to play games and have a light refreshment.  Well Elder Boden and I were in the media center trying to figure out what was wrong with the projector. After a small prayer, it finally fixed itself. We walked back the gym, with me wondering how I was going to show excitement (Hna Snow is trying to coach me on how to show my emotions and make people think I'm a normal person with feelings.... haha!) and we stumbled upon a wonderful scene.  Everybody in there was having fun! I had never seen the ward (or the 25 people that were there anyway) having such a good time and I saw, for the first time, the spirit of unity begin.  They were acting like a fellowship, a brotherhood.  Hna Urizar and Hno Castellano started telling me all the reasons why it was a success.  Another investigator had come at that point, and he had a good time and got to know the members.  We closed off the night by showing the video and ended up having a really uplifting thought and testimony about family history work.

At the end of it, Hna Amaya's baby had been screaming horribly for an hour and a half, and it had become apparent that there was something really wrong with her and she was in some sort of pain.  Hna Amaya asked me if we could give her a blessing, so I grabbed Elder Boden and asked him if he wanted to bless or anoint, knowing full well he had probably never given a blessing in Spanish.  Turns out, he had never given one in English.  So we sat there in a little room with the poor baby as I taught Elder Boden what to say in Spanish and then gave her a blessing.  I doubt anybody heard what we said over the screaming.... but the moment we removed our hands from her tiny head it ceased completely.  They left in silence, and we learned on Sunday that the baby had been perfectly sound ever since. I realized after everybody had left and we talked about the event as missionaries with our ward mission leader and Hno Castellano that this night had been a night of miracles.  Some small, some large - all personal.  I don't have time to describe the rest of them, but suffice it to say that I learned an important lesson about attitude.  I don't consider myself a person who has a negative attitude, but I realized how much room for improvement I have.  I went home and asked God forgiveness for my ungratefulness and thanked him for hearing our prayers.  I testify to each one of you that today is a day of miracles - this very Monday afternoon.  It's a day of miracles just like Friday was a day of miracles just like Jesus' day and Peter's day and Paul's day were days of miracles. God does not change and the heavens have not closed.  I wish I had more time to tell more than just one small story from this past week. I give my personal witness of the power of the priesthood authority of God, the which every one of us has access to.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

July 20, 2015 No letter this week