Monday, May 19, 2014

Transfer Week!

Another thrilling update from the fingertips of Elder Backstrom, Argentina Mendoza mission, San Juan zone, Progresso Branch!

Yes! this week IS transfer week! AND.... I'm staying in progresso, with elder vintihallaba-something-or-other! (he has a long last name that I have not learned yet) (he is from Spain) (speaking of which, isn't Nathan Smith in Spain? how long does he have left in his mission?)
(I know nothing else about him yet)

The cool thing about this, is next week I will have many photos of things, because we will take goodbye and hello photos with members and investigators and the such. SO! that will be next week.

Yes! we ARE teaching investigators. good! I will proceed to give a short summary about them.
We have Emily who is around 23 and probably the most promising new investigator we have encountered recently. She is smart enough to understand many things rapidly which is helpful, and willing to keep the commitments we leave with her, also helpful. She has good questions and a cool seeming family we also hope to be able to invite to join the lessons.

Old man Dueñas (that's his last name. but when we met him, he just introduced himself as Dueñas and was like, call me hermano (brother) and then never told us his first name) is old, like older than time itself, but really funny and very receptive to our teaching. the real difficulty teaching him is getting him (and hopefully his wife who is frequently busy) to church, since they are old and that makes taking buses harder for them so we need to find someone who can give them rides or something.

The Machaca family is a part member family we are teaching. they are super cool, however there are several things that they need to do, like stop smoking, before they can be baptized.

Uh, there is also, many less active families who we visit, and other people who we have set appointments with but not taught yet.

Those are the people we are working with right now.

Cool, that probably wasn't fascinating but that's basically all we do, is visit people then talk with them.

Yeah, hmm. What interesting stories do I have to share with you? (ahh I almost just tried to pluralize you into yous)

I really can't think of any this week. Still eating lots of pasta, still eating lots of meat, still trying to convince the members that I really actually don't need that third serving of potato tart, that my mother will be absolutely fine with it if I return to her just as skinny as when I left. Sigh.

Ah well, this coming transfer should be interesting. it will only last 4 weeks, instead of six, and the next one will be 8, because in 6 weeks, or 2 weeks into the next transfer, president Avila will be going home and president Goats will be arriving. That will be a big change for the mission. He will come in with a full 6 weeks before he has to move missionaries around again... still, it's not very long to get used to things.

Good, on a more spiritual side of things, I wanted to share a part of the Preach my Gospel, the mission manual, in the "my purpose" section.

"The purpose of the gospel is to cleanse people of their sins so they can receive the Savior’s mercy at the day of judgment. Therefore, the focus of this book and, more important, the work you do each day is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Individuals and families begin to follow Christ as they exercise faith in Him and repent of their sins. They receive a remission of sins through baptism and by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost from one who has authority from God to perform these ordinances. They then endure to the end, or, in other words, they continue throughout their lives in exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, and renewing the covenants they have made. These are not just steps that they experience once in their lives; rather, when repeated throughout life these principles become an increasingly rewarding pattern of living. In fact, it is the only way of living that will bring peace of conscience and enable Heavenly Father’s children to return to live in His presence.

Obedience to Jesus Christ is a lifelong commitment. Through exercising faith, repenting, being baptized and committing to serve Christ, and then receiving the Holy Ghost, we can experience healing, forgiveness of sins, and complete conversion to the Savior and His gospel."

I felt as I read that during on of my studies this week, that it was an excellent summary of both the "What" and the "why" of missionary work.
There was also an excellent quote that complements the ideas in that little section nicely:

“We do not preach and teach in order to ‘bring people into the Church’ or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives. … We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Purpose of Missionary Work,” missionary satellite broadcast, Apr. 1995)

Reading that section of the Preach my Gospel this week was a great help that allowed me to re-focus on the purpose behind the work, to slow down, analyse my actions, and ask myself, are you acting out of love for these people? and then try and make according changes. I would urge all of you who are members (or not, that works too) to read the chapter about the purpose of missionary work- it's for sure one of the absolute best in the manual.

Anyways that was about it,
Have a good week all of ye,
I say unto ye, farewell,
El. Backstrom
(stay classy)

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