Monday, January 18, 2016

Fwd: Adjusting to the Area

Buenas tardes!

Last week was my first district meeting.  I feel like it went well.  I got there and saw that there was my district of 8 other missionaries and that a Zone Leader had come and also an Assistant to the President and I felt a little nervous.  But I sat down and began to think that I had prepared the best I could and I knew that God would help me to do my best and I didn't feel nervous at all anymore.  I began to teach and I felt like I was able to recall all the things I had needed to.  I was able to remember past experiences I have had in the mission to answer questions and give good advice to the other missionaries.  Afterwards, the Zone Leader told me that it had went Really Well and that he had truly learned a lot.  A few days later, he told me that he loves that I teach "Very Surely and Calmly."  I told that to my companion and he said, "Yeah, that's very true!  I like that a lot about your teaching!  You talk with power and then you pause and the Spirit feels the room really powerfully."  And the Zone Leader's companion told me on intercambios this week that the two of them had talked about my district meeting and that the one liked it a lot and told his comp that he couldn't think of anything to tell me that I needed to improve.  So that has helped me out a lot.  I remember that when I received the call that I was going to be a district leader, I began to pray a lot (just like when I first became a trainer), expressing so much gratitude for the Lord for trusting me to have a position to lead others and even moreso, I prayed that the Lord would bless me and help me to be blessed with the spiritual capacity to do what the Lord would have me do and to teach and lead by the Spirit.  I know that the Lord has heard my prayers and blessed me.
Now I feel more confident to give District Meetings.  Which is good because I will have to do them every Monday.

THANKSGIVING - We didn't celebrate in any special way.  In fact, no one acknowledged it because it is an American holiday.  So it came and went and I didn't even think too much about it.
CHRISTMAS -  In Mexico, everyone parties on Christmas Eve night like all night long and they just sleep in on Christmas.  We went to the houses of a member and then an investigator on Christmas Eve (we were going to eat, but really just drank some Christmas punch), and the next morning we ate with two members and the same investigator.  Then we went down to our Stake Center and played volleyball for a few hours with our zone and watched Frozen and ate a few cookies and potato chips.  It was fun.  A lot of food.  :)
NEW YEARS - On New Years Eve, my companion and I finished a lesson at 8:30 and still had half an hour to get home, so we bought a little grilled chicken and grapes.  They have a tradition here in Mexico that when there are twelve seconds left to midnight, they eat twelve grapes and as you eat the grapes, you make a wish for each month of the year.  So my companion and I did that at about 10:15 and still got to bed at 10:30 and it was a fun way to celebrate. 
New Years is probably a bigger holiday than Christmas here in Mexico because for Christmas, no one receives presents or anything because they do for Day of the Wise Men/Kings.  On New Years day, there was no one in the streets and all the shops were closed down.  Again we went down to our Stake Center in San Pedro Martir and played volleyball with our zone. 
DAY OF THE KINGS - This is the holiday on January 6th, when all the children receive presents.  The day before, they all write their wishes on a paper and put it in a balloon and send it into the sky.  Then the next day, the kings (like the ones that brought presents to Jesus) bring presents to the children and leave it in their houses during the night.

This week we had Elder Pieper (of the 70) come to our mission and give us a conference!  It was Awesome!  Before the conference started, Elder Pieper told us that he wanted to meet each of us, so we all formed a line and went up to shake his hand and his wife's hand and tell them our name and where we are from.  As I did it, I told him that I am from Logan, Utah, and he said "You went to Sky View High School, right?"  And I told him yes.  Then I went and sat down and began to think that that was pretty cool that he would say that while there are three high schools in Logan.  No explanation but the Spirit of Revelation.  :)
Really the things he said have changed everything about how the way in which I teach.  He focused on that we often Give baptismal dates to our investigators, but that it should be them that choose when to do it.  It is Their baptism, not ours, so it should be done when they feel ready, not just at the end of the transfer, before we get switched.  :)  I have learned to allow them to talk more in the lessons.  Teaching is not talking, but also involves listening and sitting in counsel with them, everyone being edified from one another.  It is much more effective if you talk less and invite others to share more.  They can make an commitment and invitation for themselves that will help them more, be more personal, and they will be more willing to do it. 
Even though it's a little harder because the conversation can go a little off topic or you may have to be flexible with your lesson plan and willing to change what you will share, it really makes a world of difference!  We put it to practice the last few days and we've seen a huge difference in the reaction of the investigators and members! 

Oh, at Christmas you asked me if I think in Spanish or English.  I realized when Elder Davies became my companion that it has become a habit to think in Spanish.  When I first arrived, I would talk to him in Spanish and he wouldn't understand, so I would translate it to English for him and I realized how hard/uncomfortable it was to talk in English.  So that answered my question.  After being with Latino companions for about 6 months, I think in Spanish.  :D

Sorry, I tried a different computer this week and there's still not a place to enter my SD memory card.  I hope to send pictures next week!

Have a Wonderful Week!  I Love You All!

Elder Jarrett

Monday, January 11, 2016

What a Week!!!

What a crazy week!!!!  Aaaaahhhh!!!  I'm now here in CoyoacĂ n and I love it!!!  It's an amazing area and I have an amazing companion!  He is Elder Davies from Hooper, Utah (by Ogden) and he has like three weeks in the mission.  I am a mission dad for the second time!!!  And for the first time with an American.  I now know what it's like to be the comp that knows more Spanish.  Now I understand what I put my first few comps through.  ;)  It's been really fun.  Really, Elder Davies and I get along very well!!!  :)

It has been a very interesting week.  My companion is very new in the area and I just arrived.  So neither of us know very well the people, where they live, or when is the best time to go visit them or anything like that.  It has been slightly better than opening an area.  But we've been working very hard together to get to know the members and building that trust and trying to involve them in missionary work.  Members are SO SO important in Missionary Work!  I was doing some math the other day and realized that with 7 billion people in the world, the 80,000 missionaries would EACH have to talk to about 80,500 people to be able to share the message of the gospel with everyone.  But if every one of the 15 million members of the church were to share the gospel, each one of us would only have 500 people to talk to.  Missionary Work is not just for full-time missionaries.  I have learned that lesson so much on my mission.  The members are so important!  Joseph Smith once said that our greatest duty as members of the church is to do missionary work!

Being district leader is crazy too.  I found out that when you become a district leader, you do not receive any instructions as to what you are supposed to do, so it was flying by the seat of my pants for the first few days, just doing what I've seen my district leaders do before.  :)  My district is tied with another district for being the biggest in the mission.  There's nine of us - four Elders and five Sisters.  Four companionships, one of which is a trio.  The two other Elders are Elder Aguilar from Mexico and Elder Centurion from Peru.  The Sisters are Sister Hyer and Sister Goulding from the States and Sisters Esteban and Ruiz from Mexico and Sister Villefranco from Peru.  It's been awesome because the other two Elders in our District are the Secretaries of the mission, so they are able to help us out a lot.

Every night I've had to do reports with the companionships in my district.  I call them and see how their day went and how well they're doing with their goals and then try to help them see the best ways to help their area.  I also have had a lot of announcements from the zone leaders to make to my district every night.  Especially for this week's conference with Elder Peiper from the Quorum of the 70 on Thursday!!!

On Thursday, this week I had to do my first baptismal interview!

Other tidbit:  I have had 11 companions in my 10 months of the mission!

Oh and my first District Meeting is in one hour!  I am a little nervous!  I have to teach something for an hour and a half.  And the Zone Leaders told me that they are going to come!  I have thought a lot on my District's needs and this morning as I began personal study, I feel like I received a lot of revelation about what to teach.  I am going to teach about Goals and their importance.  Wish me luck! 

Sorry I can't send pictures today, my computer doesn't read my camera memory card.  I hope that next week I'll be able to!


Elder Jarrett

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fwd: TRANSFERS!!!!!!!!!

Mis Gran Amigos!!!!

TRANSFERS!!!!  Wow!!!!!   Saturday night we received a call from the Mission Assistants.  And....  My area of Ajusco 2 is being closed!  Elder Mayoral and I are both leaving!  So instead of having four missionaries, the branch of Ajusco will now only have two.  The number of missionaries in our mission is continually dropping and with the addition of another stake to our mission (starting this week), President had to close 10  areas.  
I'm going to Coyoacan!  And as District Leader.   Elder Mayoral is going to the new stake in Meyehualco.   My new area is very different than Ajusco.  I have visited my area several times before.  It is located in the center of our mission.  When I arrived in the mission, the mission offices were there and they did the transfers in the chapel in Coyoacan.  It is very well-known, very much in the city, and a richer part of the mission.  It is next to my old area in Jardines de Ermita, but is part of a different stake.   It is the ward of President and Sister Mecham, so if they are not visiting other wards in the mission, I will be seeing them on Sundays.   The new mission offices are now in the area next to Coyoacan.
Yesterday was a sad day saying goodbye to everyone.  I've had transfers before, but I've never been in an area for as much time as I've been in Ajusco.  I love Ajusco.  The people here have like become part of my family.  The four of us missionaries shared our testimonies and that was super special.  Then after church, many found out that we were leaving and several of them cried.

Today I complete 10 months in the mission exactly!!!  The time has passed by very quickly.

Oh, I've forgotten to tell you.  But I have showered with water from a bucket on various occasions.  I remembered this weekend, because we've had to do it for the past few days.  To heat the water here, you have to buy a tank of gas, and every morning, you have to open the tank of gas and light the water heater with a lighter.  And when you finish, close the tank and turn of the water heater to extinguish the flame.  But, about once every month, you run out of gas in the gas tank and you have to call a gas man to bring you a new tank.  And sometimes there's a delay to bring a new tank, it could be a few hours or a few days.  And this weekend, we ran out of gas, but we don't want to ask for a new one, just so we can use it for a day and leave to a new area.  So, we heat up a few cups of water on the stove and in the microwave and shower from a bucket.  So cross that sweet experience off my bucket list!  :D 

Pictures of my mountainous home of Ajusco

I love you all!!!  Have a Wonderful Week!!!

Elder Jarrett