A Crazy Week with a New Companion

Dear Family,

This has been a pretty crazy week getting used to being a zone leader. Since my companion and I are both new zone leaders, we are trying to figure everything out still and don’t know exactly what we are doing. I’m starting to get the hang of the new role though and have enjoyed the opportunity that I have had so far to serve the missionaries of my zone. My companion, Elder Guillen and I are getting along great and having a good time together. We have had a lot of new tasks to do as zone leaders, but we are working hard and trying our best to help bring people to Christ.

This week was a pretty good one. We have two people that are going to be getting baptized this weekend. Blanca and Edwardo are awesome investigators and have been doing very well in progressing. Edwardo is Blanca’s grandson. Her husband still is pretty closed off to us, but he came in and listened to our message last time we went. It was the first time that he has ever come and listened to us. He said no to being baptized, but he seemed fairly interested in the message of the Plan of Salvation that we shared with them. I am positive that he will get baptized in the future. He just needs a little more understanding. Edwardo is a one of a kind investigator. He is not even baptized yet and the other night he asked us if he could go out and work with us sometime. I have never had an investigator ask me that before! It is usually pretty hard to even get a member to go out with us, but having an investigator go out on visits with us is pretty much unheard of! I am super excited for them to be able to take the step of being baptized in the church. It is going to greatly bless their lives.

Another one of our positive investigators is Mario. He has come to church for the last three weeks with one of his friends that is a returned missionary. She actually went and studied at BYU after her mission and they are both fluent in English. With his schedule and the small amount of time that we have been here in the area, yesterday was the first time that we got the chance to teach him. We taught him about the Restoration and the spirit was really strong in the lesson. He said he would pray about what we taught and accepted to be baptized on the 13th if he gets an answer. I know he will get an answer though and I know he felt the spirit during the lesson. He has to get a surgery though and will be at the hospital for awhile so I’m not sure if we will be able to teach him everything before that date, but even if we have to move it back, I am completely confident that he will get baptized.

We finally get to go to the temple this coming week and I am super excited. Our temple session is on Wednesday morning. I have been waiting for the temple trip to get here pretty much since I started my mission. It will be really nice to be able to go and be strengthened there and be able to set aside a few of the stresses of being a missionary for the morning.

I went on interchanges a few times this week and one of them was to Puerto La Libertad. That is the area in our zone that has the beach in it. We actually had to walk on one of the beaches to get to one of our investigators houses. It was a pretty rocky beach and reminded me a lot of the beaches we have been to in Washington. We were walking to the investigators house on the beach right as the sun was setting and it was really pretty. Next time I go I’ll take my camera with me and send some pictures.

Well I’m loving the mission life down here in El Salvador. I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Love,

Elder Black

Zone Leader and a Transfer to Asturias

Dear Family,

Well I had changes this past week. After serving in Lourdes for a change, I thought I would stay and my companion would be leaving since he had three changes there. But I ended up leaving. President Hintze and the Lord had another calling for me. In this change, I was asked to be a zone leader of the Santa Tecla Zone. I am excited to serve as a zone leader and a little nervous at the same time, especially since this is only my third change back in the mission field and I am still relearning a few things. I know Heavenly Father will help me though. My companion’s name is Elder Guillen and he is from Costa Rica. He is a stud and we are having a blast together. This is his first change as a zone leader too, so we are kind of learning as we go about how to be zone leaders. That has made for a few pretty late nights with trying to get all the numbers and everything figured out. I am extremely tired right now! Haha. I’m sure within the next week or so we will get everything figured out and be able to get to bed on time. I always wanted to stay up late before my mission, but out here on the mission field, going to bed on time or a few minutes early is the much preferred route. Haha. We’ll get on a more normal schedule soon. Our zone is a very pretty place and the beach is in the zone too. Our ward is called Asturias and it should be a pretty good ward. We have two people that are going to get baptized on the 13th of December and we had two more that came to church today. There is a member that used to be a mission president in our ward and he was talking to the investigator in church. He challenged him to be baptized right on the spot and the investigator accepted. We are going to work like crazy and I know we will have some success in this area!

This week has been a pretty big whirlwind getting used to everything, but I’m sure things will calm down a little bit as we get used to being zone leaders. I hope that I can learn how to be a better leader and realize even more that one of the biggest parts of being a leader is service. I am open to any advice that any of you have on being a good leader! :)

The multizone that we had was awesome! President Hintze gave us all a Thanksgiving lunch complete with apple and pumpkin pie. It was great! (Your pies are way better than the storebought ones we ate mom! They will still good though!) Afterward we talked about the Atonement a lot. One thing that really stuck out to me was a quote that talked about how if we can feel the guidance of the spirit as we teach, Heavenly Father has forgiven us of our sins. The spirit cannot dwell in unclean things. It gave me a lot of comfort and confidence as a missionary that Heavenly Father truly does forgive us. Satan has got absolutely nothing on the Atonement. The Atonement is the greatest gift we have ever been given!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

 

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Shrinking Muscles (Missionaries build other kinds of muscle)

 

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A new tie (gift) and having fun with some new friends

Lots of Walking

Dear Family,

It sounds like you guys had a good week. That’s cool that you got contacts Tanya! Did you not want to wear glasses? You have your permit Nathan? Haha don’t crash mom and dads car! ;) That is a ton of leaves that you guys picked up! We definitely don’t have that many leaves here! It is still pretty hot here too! It’s pretty much always hot here. I’m going to be freezing coming from hot weather here to winter in December next year!

Well this week was a bit of a slow week. We only had one investigator in church yesterday so we are going to have to move a few baptismal dates back a little while. No one seemed to be home when we would pass by and most of our appointments fell through. That equaled a lot of walking. My area is huge and sometimes we need to walk for 30 or 40 minutes to get to an appointment. It’s kind of a bummer when those people aren’t there, but I know that the Lord will bless me for doing my part. It’s also great exercise! Haha. I’m going to keep working my butt off out here so we can get all the blessings that the Lord has for my companion and I in our area.

Tomorrow we have a multizone meeting to celebrate Thanksgiving. I really like multizones because I get to see lots of other missionaries that I know, but more importantly, I get to learn and be spiritually strengthened by my mission president and his wife. It is always a great learning opportunity.

Our changes schedule is a little bit off for this change, so we are going to be having changes on Friday. We don’t know if we are getting changes or not still, but it is possible that I will have another companion when I email you guys on next Monday. I really hope I get to stay in my area for another change at least though. I really like it here and we have some very positive investigators that will hopefully be able to be baptized next month and I would really like to be able to be here for them as they progress towards their baptisms. Whatever happens, it will be what the Lord wants though, and I can definitely be happy with that!

I am still working on Italian and it has really interested me a lot. Leaning a new language is a lot of fun! To answer your question mom, my free time that I study it in is before study time in the morning and after we finish planning at night.

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Mine is going to be awesome too!

Love,

Elder Black

Tired and Happy

Dear Family,

This week was a pretty good week! I worked extremely hard and am pretty tired, but it feels good to know that I am giving it my all. I know I can’t be a perfect missionary, but I will try to be the best one I can and let the Atonement make up for my shortcomings as a man. I am definitely giving it my all out here though and I know Heavenly Father can see that.

I liked what you said about being successful every day that we focus on Christ, serving others, and trying to have the spirit with us. Those are things that we can control. We can’t control how many people accept to be baptized, how many investigators come to church, and many other things in the mission. We can do everything possible, but in the end it is up to each person to make those decisions, we can’t obligate them. We INVITE others to come unto Christ. We can control how hard we work and our intentions though. I feel successful even on the days that we come home and have hardly anything to show for our work. I feel that way because I know I worked hard and did everything I could. I actually had an experience talking to my companion about that last night.  I talked to him about that stuff and brought up a bunch of examples in the scriptures of missionaries and the things they went through to bring the truth to the people. It was also kind of cool because, I kept having scriptures and examples pop into my head that I hadn’t thought about for a long time.

We had four investigators in church yesterday and two of them are extremely positive. Julio and Veronica Zelada are their names and they are a great couple. Julio is a very intelligent person and has published 5 books and travels all over as a motivational speaker. They are extremely interested in the church and even went to go visit the temple grounds and made a goal to be sealed in the temple. They are super awesome and even invited us to come live with them. Haha. I thought it was pretty funny because they invited us to live with them the second time they saw us. They said they could feel something different with us though and they just trust us. Yesterday was the first time they came to church and they were already participating in the classes and really enjoyed church. They don’t have a baptismal date yet, but I will keep you posted.

We had a funny experience a couple days age. We talked to a guy in the street and he started telling us that anyone who dances, plays soccer with their friends, or does any other recreational activity of the sort is going to hell. Haha I guess I will have to repent of my sins after we play soccer today for p-day… ;) I talked to him a little bit about how that isn’t a sin but he just kept pulling Bible scriptures out and misusing them to tell me I was wrong. I politely told him that I hoped he had a great day and I was trying very hard not to laugh and my companion and I walked away thoroughly amused with what had just happened. It was super funny!!!

I also have been feeling extremely motivated to be even more productive with my time and maximize my potential in life and as a missionary, so I decided that in my free time, I am going to learn how to speak in Italian also. I really want to give myself every opportunity in life to be successful and have been feeling like doing something to do that. I think it would be a good language to learn and since I want to go to Italy someday, it would be nice to know. Coming back on the mission has helped me to be an even more motivated person to achieve the high goals I have set for myself.

I hope you all have a great week and are happy with life! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

 

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A service project moving bricks

Working Hard and Loving My Mission

Dear Family,

It sounds like you guys had a pretty good week! This week was a pretty good one here too! I am loving my mission more and more every day. A few days ago, we had our interviews with President Hintze. It was really good to talk to him and get his advice on a few things about how to become a better missionary. He got me even more excited about being a missionary. During the interview, he told me again that he has the highest amount of respect and confidence in me as a missionary for coming back and finishing my mission. It helps a lot to hear that from him and also helps me hold myself to a higher standard.

I was sick off and on throughout the week, so other than interviews, I don’t have a lot of cool stuff to talk about. I am feeling fine now though, so I should have a normal work week this week. On the days I wasn’t sick, we worked super hard finding new people to teach. We also really focused on inviting everyone to be baptized in our lessons. Even though I was sick for part of the week, we still had more baptismal invitations than I have ever had before. It’s been awhile since we have had a baptism, but we are working hard to change that. I am glad you taught me how to work hard. It is a skill that has helped me a lot on my mission.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Love,

Elder Black