June 29, 2015
Brovary has so far been an enjoyable experience. My new companion is Elder H from Massachusetts. It has been very good to serve with him for the past five days because even though he is in my same transfer and we will be killing each other, he is very focused and we have had a lot of success in our short time together.
Over the past eight months, I have cycled through different levels of thinking about home, ranging from dreams of me walking through the airport, to just wondering what should be the first food to eat. These past five days though have more or less been devoid of such thoughts. For the first time in a long time I honestly don’t feel like the end is coming soon. More or less just that I am here and it is where I should be. It has been very refreshing and I think that my last transfer is going to go very well.
Our ward mission leader here has impressed me more than any member I have met here. He has been a member for many years and knows the teachings of the church incredibly well. Except for returned missionaries, I tend to get nervous when members start talking a lot in lessons. Many understand the principles of the church well, but don’t get the concept that others are not as familiar with them as they are. It is kind of like talking to an English major about engineering. All of the jargon that comes with the subject just makes it difficult to understand. This member, however, just understands the principles of teaching and the examples which he uses with each person are perfect. He is probably the only person who I trust to have in a lesson where I will say a couple of sentences in the beginning, and then he will take over for the next forty minutes, going back and forth between him and the investigator. He just understands how things need to be done so well. He has also done very well financially by taking the principles that govern the church and applying them to some kind of online business.
The ward mission leader was in one lesson which went about as perfect as I could have wanted. While preparing for the lesson that morning, we had a whole plan to talk about a certain subject. We agreed and said that is what we would do and moved on. During our conversation, we came back to the investigator and had an idea to address a concern which he has right now. I role played it to Elder H, and it seemed like the better route to go.
So instead of teaching what we had originally planned, we threw out everything and went with the completely different topic devised through our role play. Just as I had expected, I told a short story to introduce the lesson and then our MCL did his magic. My companion and I said nothing for about forty-five minutes as they talked. I was blown away at just how well everything the MCL said tied into the investigator’s main concern. He was bold where he needed to be bold, and pulled back when appropriate. It was honestly like watching a master conduct a symphony. I was just thinking to myself, “I can only hope that I become this talented one day.” By the end of the lesson, this person had verbally acknowledged that he believes that the church is true and wants to become a member. He just needs some more time to become a little more comfortable and take care of some personal issues. For him it is now not a matter of if, but when. A large portion of this is all thanks to our MCL.
Another interesting experience happened this week as Elder H and I were walking around a neighborhood ringing doorbells. I want to say one thing about neighborhoods here which contrasts greatly to the U.S. Because of the varying wages here and city planning, sub developments of identical houses which dot the landscape of the outskirts of major cities do not exist. Rather people will find some land and slowly build a house over many years. They start usually with a big fence and over years will add a little here or there. Walking down the streets is way different because you cannot just walk into anyone’s yard. There are big fences and behind most of them large dogs. So all we can do is hope that some of them will have someone working out in the yard, or have a doorbell (one feature that many do not have).
While walking along, we met this very old woman who is a Seventh Day Adventist, and invited us to come to church with her because it was Saturday. She was a very strong religious person and had no interest in us at all, rather trying to proselyte for her own church. We asked if there is anyone who we could teach, and she said her son, without thinking about it much. She asked what we would teach him and we said it would be about our church, to which she replied that he should just go to church with her.
She said his address, but we forgot the street name exactly, only the number. While walking along, I approached a mom and her daughter who were on the street picking cherries and asked them if we could meet. Much to the amazement of both my companion and myself, she said yes and we agreed to stop by sometime this week. Even more so to our amazement is the fact that the address which she told us is the exact street name which the older woman said.
The next day we stopped by the woman’s son to talk. He came up to the fence and said he would ask his mom, while inviting us into the yard. Both Elder H’s and my hearts skipped a beat when the same woman walked out because she had forgotten about us entirely, and said that God and sent us for her to teach. I stood and talked with the son while Elder H endured a very long sermon. The conversation I had went well. I talked about our missions and the message which we have to share. He seemed interested and even more so because the way I talked to him about God was a stark contrast to the way by which his mom would approach the subject. He took a Book of Mormon said he would call when he has time.
It was overall very unexpected and cool to see how everything worked out. The second person with whom we talked, living on the same street, and I am sure that his biggest plus is that we are just so different from his mom.
Overall, this has been a good week.