Wow this week and a half has been nuts. I was talking with Jackson a while ago about how emails are so hard because no matter what we say, no one will really understand what we`re experiencing out here. I could go on for hours with details, but I guess I will just start from the beginning and do my best to fill you in.
As far as the mission work, it`s a bit frustrating right now. Our days are seriously filled with contacting.. and rejections in our follow up appointments with previous contacts. People listen here, which is really nice, but it`s just that no one does anything. We have so many contacts that go soo well, then we go back for a follow up appointment and we just get fed a bunch of excuses as to why they don`t have time or whatever else they come up with. Last week we had exchanges with the AP`s, and Elder Carhuaz and I got 25 new investigators (new investigator means like.. address and phone number and follow up appt). That's awesome, but almost every follow up that we`ve made since then just evaporates. AH! It`s so hard when you know someone has felt the spirit, but they reject your message anyway, or don`t act.. one of the hardest things in the mission.
Exchanges with the APs went well, but the APs, and some other missionaries, like to shoot for "same day baptisms." Basically where you just get someone really excited about baptism in the first contact, then drag them to the chapel and make it happen. It`s like selling the gospel and it makes me mad. Elder Carhuaz tried to do it with one of our contacts and I cut in and shut it down. He was pretty bugged at me after that, but I don`t think it's right. I realize that some people may be ready earlier than others to make that commitment, but without church attendance and at least a basic understanding of the restored gospel... no, that doesn`t fly with me.
We were walking down the street and my comp said "Look! That dog looks like a lion... take a picture with it!" so I did :) and it actually does look like a lion...
Contacting all day and talking with so many different people from different religions, you get a lot of mean comments about the church. Lately I`ve been struggling with a lot of doubts in the back of my head as to why missionary work is important and a other things like that. I still know the church is true.. and I`m learning to doubt my doubts before I doubt my faith just like President Uchtdorf taught. I know for sure that no other church brings as much clarity to life than ours though. It was funny the other day as some Jehovah`s Witnesses knocked on our door in the morning during studies. I opened the door and just gave them a big smile. Their eyes got a little wide as they saw my tag... then we began "the battle of the pamphlets." Haha! I was nice and heard out their messages, then responded to each one with the truth. They just got angrier and angrier with me as I defended the truth, and in the end I got one of them to take a restoration pamphlet (which is against their rules.. jehovah's witnesses can't take pamphlets from other religions). I win :) haha
Another time, while we were contacting, we started talking with a young mom who lives with her parents. Her mom is an Evangelica and walked in right as we were teaching about the first vision. She flipped, saying that Joseph Smith was a terrible man and all that. It turned into the usual argument, us helping them to see the purpose and importance of prophets, them telling us that prophets don`t exist and how only the bible is true (which was written by prophets...what??). She was super angry and fought every single thing we said. After she finished her rant and it finally got silent, I just bore my testimony that I know this is true. After I finished the room stayed quiet, and she took the pamphlet and said she would pray. Yes! The power of testimony is real :) She then saw a picture of the Book of Mormon on the back and started to get all riled up again haha. So I said "Just pray about what we talked about, and we can explain the Book of Mormon later." She wouldn`t set an appointment with us... but we`ll pass by :)
Yesterday we had pday as a Zone and went to the beach in Monte Hermoso. After traveling the night before and going to bed super late, we woke up at 5 am and met up with everyone in our Zone to take a bus at 6:30am. We spent about 6 hours hanging out and playing soccer and other games at the beach. It was so nice to be in the sand and hear the ocean (even though we couldn`t swim... that was a temptation of a lifetime wow). In the morning I was trying to teach the sisters how to do a two person cartwheel. Elder Barros overheard and told me he knew how. So I had him come over and do it with me so we could give an example. He started and we did one revolution just fine, then as he was bringing me up in the air for the second time, he collapsed for some reason... sending my face right into the ground. OUCH! Haha Now I have a bruise/cuts around my eye and on my forehead. I was fine and just laughed my head off on the ground cause I was so confused. One of the sisters caught it on video. It looks pretty bad and I was lucky I didn`t break my neck... it's a good thing God likes me haha :)
Never was the best with jump shots
Doing some meditation with Hermana Flores (left) and Hermana Recio (right).
After hanging out some more and taking some pictures we had lunch, then after everyone just chilled and I decided to take a nap. I don`t know what it is about the beach, but my naps always go a bit too far haha. I ended up pulling a "Cancun" and slept for like an hour and a half. Annnnd now I look like a burn victim because my body hasn`t seen the sun in 5 months.. haha. We were at the beach for quite a while though so every white person got pretty burnt. Poor Hermana Chesler looks like a tomato haha.
Me and the Zone at the Playa
Had some sushi for lunch.
After we got back from the beach, Elder Sotelo and I had to go to a baptismal interview before catching the bus for Pedro Luro at 8. On the bus we passed out again. I was so tired from being in the sun all day and messing around. Sooo we ended up missing our stop in Pedro Luro and ended up in Villalonga. Shoot! It was too late to catch another bus for Pedro Luro so we were stranded... so we called the Villalonga family and they said they had an extra bed because one of the sisters was out of town. We got to their house... got laughed at because we missed our stop... then got laughed at more because I`m so sunburnt... then they showed us to the room. One of the sisters brought me a REAL aloe vera plant and a cold wash cloth for my burns (apparently there is Aloe Vera here.. who knew?). That was heavenly and really helped me to feel a bit better. I was super grateful for that and for their loving hospitality to us. I think Heavenly Father was just shaking His head at me all day yesterday haha... he knows me too well and I`m so grateful for His patience towards me.
View from a bridge we cross in Pedro Luro every day to get to our house... not bad :) This river is huge and reminds me a lot of Jordan River where we go bridge jumping. Every time we cross the natural man inside me says "jump! jump!" it`s a daily battle...
Well! That`s (more or less) my week! Wish I could just have a camera on me so you guys could see all the crazy/funny/amazing stuff that happens here, but emails will have to do. I love you all! The church is true... remember to rely on the light you have until more comes and to always doubt your doubts before your faith.
P-day last week at the Fair in Bahia Blanca