A Visit From Elder Cook

Dear Family,

Happy belated birthday dad! Sorry I didn’t write that to you last week! I wasn’t thinking about it being before I would be writing you again until after p-day got over.

This week was a great one. Elder Cook came down here and talked to us on Saturday. They had all three missions in El Salvador there so there were tons of missionaries, but he still wanted to greet each one personally. We all got the chance to go up and shake his hand. It was a pretty cool experience to be able to meet an apostle. He talked a lot about missionary work and how to become better. He said that we are here as missionaries to preach repentance and baptize converts. His talk was really good and I enjoyed it a lot. At the end of his talk, he bore his testimony and it was the most powerful testimony that I have ever heard in my life. He testified of Christ and strengthened my testimony a lot. I don’t think I have ever felt the spirit so strongly before.

Another cool experience I had this week was when I went on interchanges with Elder Eggers. We have an investigator that has a speech impediment and it is extremely hard to understand him. Usually my companion answers most of the questions since he is so hard to understand. When I went with Elder Eggers, we started teaching him and I understood every word he said. It wasn’t hard for me at all to understand him during that lesson. It was a good reminder that the spirit teaches through us and a testimony builder of the gift of tongues.

We also had a mission broadcast that the apostles broadcasted out to all the missions in the world. It was a really cool experience to learn more about being a better missionary from the apostles and also know that all the other missionaries in the world were watching that same broadcast. They taught us a lot about how to work with members and how to be more effective missionaries.

One of our investigators, Cecelio, has been making a ton of progress. I did a street contact with him about a month and a half ago, but not much came out of it. He randomly showed up to church the Sunday before last and came yesterday too. He has been praying and studying everything that we teach and is beginning to gain a testimony of the church. He is progressing faster than any other investigator that I have ever had. He is one of those people that has been prepared by God and is ready for the gospel. The blessings are finally starting to show a little more here in my area. It has been a tough area, but we are finally starting to see the fruits of our labor. I am learning that the Lord really does bless us for working hard and being obedient.

I hope you guys have a great week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

Becoming a Consecrated Missionary

Dear Family,

I am glad to hear that things are going so well back at home. It looks like you guys have been plugging away with the usual busy life that we always have going on back home! I am glad to hear that you guys have been trying to focus more on studying the scriptures. I have found that the more I study them, the more I have a desire to keep studying them and learn more every day. I have been reading the Book of Mormon on my mission and am about 50 pages away from finishing it. I have learned a ton and feel like I have grown a lot spiritually because of it.

This past week, we had interviews with President Hintze. It was great to get to talk to him in that setting and he got me very excited to work as hard as I can out here in the mission. While I was talking him, he told me that I have lived up to all of the expectations he had of me and that he has some big plans for me in the future. Him telling me how much confidence he has in me made me want to do even more to become a consecrated missionary. My love for this gospel and the people here in El Salvador is growing every day. I am getting closer and closer to becoming the consecrated missionary that I want to become. My companion is a bit of a rough one, and really struggles a lot with being disobedient, but President Hintze told me that he has the confidence in me knowing that I can help him out. It made me feel good to know that my mission president has seen that I am trying my best to be a consecrated missionary and has that kind of trust in me.

We also had our zone meeting this week. In the meeting, we talked about the importance of having the spirit in all of our lessons. I really like Alma 26:12 when Ammon says that he knows that he is nothing without God, but with Him, he can do all things. It really puts the importance of the spirit into perspective. I really can’t do anything without the spirit. As missionaries, we are really just instruments in the hands of God. If we are trying our best to be worthy of our calling, God will testify through us.

We had a pretty cool experience after our interviews. My companion and I were about to leave the chapel, there was a guy that came into the church. When he came in, I thought I recognized him from somewhere, but I couldn’t remember where. Well he was a guy that I did a street contact with about a month ago. When I contacted him, he wasn’t all that positive, but on Saturday, he saw people in the church and decided to come. We told him that church services were going to be on Sunday. On Sunday, he showed up and stayed the whole 3 hours. We taught him about the Restauration and he accepted to come to church, said he would pray about the message, and also accepted to be baptized. It was a sweet experience! I have been trying to become a better missionary so I can receive the blessings that Heavenly Father has for me and that was a perfect example!

Well I hope you all had a great week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

Same Area, New Companion

Dear Family,

Well this week has been a pretty crazy one. I have a new companion now and we get along really well. I was pretty nervous when I first found out who my companion was because he was a pretty crazy missionary the last time he was in my zone. Since we became companions, we have worked extremely hard and had some good success. His last couple changes in the mission field have changed him a ton and he has become a very good missionary. His name is Elder Bosarreyes and he is from Guatemala. He is on his last change, so this will be my second companion in a row with only one change left. He is very focused on the mission and doesn’t hardly ever talk about how soon he is going home. He is trying his best to work hard and finish strong!

We started working better with the members and between us and the bishop, we have managed to get a lot of people on board with missionary work. It is really changing the atmosphere here in the ward.

Well I had to do a couple things so I am super short on time, but I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

 

I have a little more time now. I am just waiting for a few things at the computer.  I am really liking the mission now though. I am staying here in Asturias and will be here for at least this change and probably another one after that. President Hintze told me that he is going to be sending me to Belize after that though so I will probably be over there in about three months. I have been enjoying my time here in El Salvador and have been trying to make the best of every tough situation. I have decided that I am not going to let my happiness be affected by actions of others. It has helped me to enjoy my mission even more. I am going to be the most obedient and hardest working missionary I can be! Love you!

Happy New Year’s and Teaching on the Beach

Dear Family,

I hope you guys had a great New Years! This last little bit has been pretty crazy here in the mission. Things have been pretty similar to how things have been during the holidays in Jared’s mission too. A lot of people have left, but most of them are coming back now, so things should be picking up. We did work with a few different investigators though, and made a little bit of progress with them. We went on interchanges three times this week though, so I wasn’t in my area very often. We helped the missionaries in the zone understand how important it is to invite people to be baptized, and as a result, we had a huge increase in the number of baptismal invitations that we did as a zone in this week. It was pretty cool how willing our missionaries were to put that extra effort in to have some more success in the mission field. On one of the interchanges, I got to go to the area on the beach. It is super cool there, because they have a few investigators that live right on the beach. I love the beach and it was pretty awesome to get to work right there and here the sounds of the waves crashing as we were teaching the lessons. There is something super relaxing about hearing the sounds of the crashing waves. It relaxed me a lot. Sometimes the mission life can be a tad bit stressful, but things like getting to teach a lesson by the beach take that stress away and help a ton with getting refocused.

Over the next little while, things should be calming down and getting back to normal, so I am pretty excited about that. We have changes coming up on Wednesday, so I’ll be getting a new companion pretty soon. My companion is going home this change.  He is a really good missionary, but has just gotten a little focused on the fact that he is about to go home.  I am excited to see what happens and who my new companion will be this next change. Change meetings are always exciting. This meeting will be a little different than normal though. We usually have a big meeting with a bunch of pictures and rewards for missionaries that worked hard, but the area 70 said we can’t do that anymore. Now it is just going to be the changes and that’s it. It will be a little different, but it will help us to be able to get back to work a little earlier and be more efficient with our time. That will be a good positive that will be coming out of it.

Later this month, Quintin L. Cook is going to be coming to our mission and speaking to us. I am super excited about that! I don’t think it will be for a few weeks, but I am really excited that we will get to hear from an apostle of the Lord here in El Salvador.

Well I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

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The beach on the way to an investigator’s house.