What a week! I have millions of things I want to tell you guys.. but little time. So we will do what we can.
First. This week has been a lot better working wise. Elder Jackson and I have been making plans and goals to improve and have found a lot of ways to improve the way we work. Lately, as I've said before, we have been struggling to get new investigators and a lot of that is because we haven't been contacting a ton for various reasons. It's important though, so we started an activity called "Castigos" (consequences). So basically we have daily and weekly goals for contacting, and if we don't reach our goal, we have to receive a castigo :) We made a list of things like: eat a dried chili pepper, bar of soap in your mouth for 2 minutes (if it worked when we were kids, why not now? ;)), 500 pushups, sing a primary song on the balcony for everyone to hear, 10 "sting pong" shots from your comp, sleep with sweats on, etc. haha I think its hilarious and so far it's been pretty motivating. Our daily goal is 10 contacts each, and the first day I got 9... so I drew a paper from the bowl and got the dried chili pepper. Usually I'm fine with spicy so I just popped that baby in like nothing... then my mouth turned into Sodom and Gomorrah when fire came down from heaven and destroyed the people...WOW that thing was spicy. Elder Jackson got a video and it's pretty entertaining when you're not the person suffering 3rd degree burns in your mouth.
Then the next night Elder Jackson got some karma his way for laughing at me and didn't get his 10. He got the bar of soap and was dry heaving after like 30 seconds haha! I laughed and laughed. Good times. "Ok I'll contact I swear!"
Second. This has been a week full of good messages and thoughts. On Sunday, Hermana Mussi (from the family with 6 boys) gave a really good talk about marriage... not my alley right now, I know, but it still works for a missionary companionship.. plus all you married folk can use it as well so your welcome. She quoted a talk from Elder Nelson about how the first four minutes of when we come into contact with our companion (in the morning, starting a conversation, coming home from work) will determine how the rest of the day/conversation goes. If those first four minutes are all positive, patient, and loving, the rest of our time together will follow that pattern. The same goes for if there is anything negative or rude in those first four minutes. It helped me to realize I could be more loving and patient with my companion as well as others in my life. We need to make sure we always approach/treat others and live with a positive and loving attitude. Not too deep of doctrine, but a good reminder.
Another cool experience I had was this last Sunday when Elder Jackson and I were walking over to the house in Independencia (Elder Tew and Bennet) to stay the night for service at the bakery in the morning. We passed by an Evangelical church that was having a meeting. That happens all the time, but this time it caught my attention and I asked Elder Jackson if he would go in with me. He said sure and we went in to sit down and listen for a few minutes. At first I went in with a very judgmental attitude like "Oh boy.. here we go"...then as I sat there listening I thought "if someone visited my church, I would want them to listen with an open mind and heart." So I decided to really listen and be more open. As I listened I realized there was really nothing wrong with what they were preaching, against what I had concluded before entering. Yes.. it was pretty funny when people shouted strange things... and the lady singing/crying/moaning strange words in the corner wasn't the most comfortable thing, but they were just preaching of Christ like we do. The only thing though that kept doubts out of my head was my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. That hit me in a different way as I sat there. Everyone knows that through Christ we can be saved, but no other church preaches about God's plan of exaltation for us. We really don't change much about peoples beliefs as missionaries... we just add more, and it's such a precious addition that I'm so grateful to be able to share. I know it's true.
So our stake mission leader Cristian Unzaga owns a bakery. I think I talked about it last week maybe.. but anyway we have been going to help him on Monday mornings at 6am for the past couple weeks. We make bread and facturas and cookies and all kinds of stuff with him. It's a super cool experience. Also a free factura every now and then is definitely worth the service :)
Selfie with Elder Tew (from St. George)
Cristian guarding his prize facturas from the hungry Elders.
Few random stuff:
1. Our old lady neighbor Graciela (not sure if I've talked to much about her) LOVES us right now. When I got here she hated the "chicos" upstairs, but Elder Jackson and I have been helping her to take care of the building and we always try to be really friendly with her, and so far it's working! She makes us bread, gives us eggs and veggies from her farm/garden. It's so cute haha.. by now she knows that we can't kiss women on the cheek as missionaries so she always kisses her hand and waves it saying "gracias mi amor!" I don't think she would ever let us teach her (I've tried), but I really hope our relationship/example to her sparks some curiosity in the church for her some day.
2. Last night as we were working we passed by a house with an old man in the doorway playing some kind of accordion instrument. I have contacted him before and he wasn't very friendly, but this time we went back after we passed and said "Wow! That's so cool! Can you play us a song?" I think he forgot about me because he was friendly and played us a couple really cool songs on his weird instrument... also the whole time he played he stared at us with this suuuper serious face without blinking, I think cause he was super focused, but it was soo funny and it took all I had not to burst out laughing. I love random experiences like that. His name is Luis and we might pass by another time to listen more... oooor teach him ;) #goldentransfer
There is more to tell, but no time. Love you all! Have a great week.
P.S. Our ponderizing scripture this week is 2 Nephi 31:21
Bus ride to our leadership conference in Bahia with the Hermanas (Hermana Palma is the Sister Training leader). Had a fun time, ate lots of snacks, and Hermana Palma even taught me how to do a Rubik's cube... ya learn somethin new every day I guess.
The ONLY other passenger on the bus decided to sit right behind us on the bus and ended up sawing logs the whooole time. haha so I took out my camera and got a video and was about to go sit by him and take a selfie... but then the Hermanas said no.. so I took a couple from my seat :)
So yesterday was super hot, so Elder Jackson and I decided to camp out on the roof. The temperature came down a bit so it was soo nice, and the sky was so clear, tons of stars, aaaand a full moon. We had a fun night chatting and eating homemade popcorn. Then we went to sleep and I think it rained a bit in the middle of the night cause we woke up wet in the morning. Whoops.
Today after lunch we went downtown to take care of a couple things. As we were walking we saw this chess table in the park that looks just like the one from the Pixar short film with the old guy! So I looked around and whadda you know... there was the perfect little old man sitting on a bench across the park! So I went and asked him if he would come sit at the table with me to take a picture. He said "Sure! but I don't smile very good..." Ha so then we sat down to take the picture and he wouldn't look at the camera haha, so we chatted instead and got some nice candid pics. His name is Hugo. Great guy.