Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Good Habits, Gratitude and Overcoming Obstacles

LEARNING TO TRAIN. Trainers work with "greenies" (brand-new missionaries) for 2 transfers, so 3 months.  It's a little weird, now that I'm older than my companions age-wise and more relatively.  I'm in my 10th transfer, and then the others in my district are 8, 5, 3, 2, 1.  But I'll confer what wisdom I have on "my greenie!"

Anziano Kormylo was very outgoing, a Type-A personality, so even though I was more experienced, we talked about the same amount.  Now, with Anziano Liu, I'm the outgoing one, besides knowing the language better, so I'm the one prompting him to talk.  We also do role plays so he can learn more, and I encourage him to teach in lessons.

For example, yesterday we found a name in the area book (record of people contacts in the area over time).  We set up an appointment and met him at the church, and he seemed legit.  Not wanting to mess up this first encounter, I had to fight the urge to teach the whole lesson myself, and skip the 10 points and baptismal invite, so as to avoid scaring him away.  But I resisted, and let Anziano Liu teach his parts as planned, switching off, refraining from correcting everything although I did re-explain some pieces.  It went well!  It was a testimony-builder for me, of teaching as a companionship and using the inspired Preach My Gospel (teaching manual).

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.  We met with a Muslim man a couple of days ago.  Obviously you have to be careful when you teach Muslims, because A) they tend to be pretty "set" in their beliefs, and B) if they were to convert to Christianity, it could be very dangerous for them.  But we met with this one, who was referred to us by the sister missionaries, and we talked.  We gave him a Book of Mormon, and ... he gave us a Quran.  Whaaat? Yep, the whole thing is in Italian, and "Interpretation of the Last 10th of the Quran" in English.  It's just a novelty to have, like a Jehovah's Witness Bible, or a Scientology book, like collectibles.  Silly missionaries.  But it was a surprise to receive his gift!

SIDE NOTE: We usually use the word "investigator" to describe someone who is investigating the church and learning the gospel of Jesus Christ. They're just not baptized yet.  We had a conference recently, and the speaker brought up how strange a word "investigator" is!  Instead, I'll use the French method, of calling them "friends."

OVECOMING OBSTACLES. One of our friends we're working with is from Albania.  He went back there for 2 weeks, and while he was there he stopped smoking.  I don't remember if I told you about him already, but he's worth mentioning again.  Having overcome that obstacle (, that's a Big Deal), he wants to be baptized.  We're planning on the 26th.  That is an exciting development!

Julia's baptism is this Saturday.  Looking forward to that.

TRAINING for ALL. At the conference, our focuses were Planning (deciding how best to use each day), and Attacking the Day, by exercising, breakfasting, being up on time, being to studies and out the door on time.  Along the lines of that Marine's talk about making your bed. It was inspiring.  And, I saw some missionary friends from these 14 months, and it was a good time.

My best time of the day is whenever things are planned.  Other than "finding" activities (looking for people who are interested in learning about our Savior) or phone calls, that is.  I can "find" just fine, and in spite of bad habits (wandering sometimes instead of finding), it is a time-filling activity, if not particularly engaging.  So, having Ward Council (a meeting discussing the needs in the congregation and how we can help meet those needs), or teaching lessons, or teaching English class...all of those activities are nice parts of my day.

BEING THANKFUL.  I'm grateful that I can speak the language. And that I have cool people in the district, and cool zone leaders.

ADVICE FOR NEW MISSIONARIES. I would tell new missionaries to be prepared to talk to a loooooooooooot of people.

Love you, you guys are amazing,
Anziano Whitesell

P.S. Let me tell you about Saldi.  It's Sale Month, twice a year in July and February.  Prices are slashed all around, and missionaries go to town!  Shoes, suits, ties, jackets: SALDI.  So the nice suit I got? 100Euros.  I didn't feel the need to get Boggi, even if they dropped their prices to 600Euros. Not impressed.

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