Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 34: The secret to being a successful missionary... STICKERS!

Dear everyone,
To begin, here´s what I forgot in last week´s email...
1) Explanation of the subject line (the week I finally realized I could speak Spanish): I dreamed at least twice in Spanish!  I´m not sure if that has happened before, but this time I was conscious of the Spanish.  Also, we contacted some Canadian tourists on our way home and I had to speak English in the contact. My English was ridiculously awkward... ¨Oh, you speak English?  Well, we´re misione-... I mean, missionaries, of the Church of...Jesus Christ of... Latter-Day Saints,¨ and so forth.  It turns out I only know how to be a missionary in Spanish.
2) A big thank you to the Cluff family, the Keith family, and Sister Angie Arnoldsen for sending me their Christmas cards!  I loved seeing your cute pictures and reading your kind messages.  Thanks, Barb, for the stickers!  More on that later...
Anyway, it was an up and down week.  We have been working on applying a new mission initiative which translates to ¨the finding funnel¨ with some success.  I´m trying to focus on being more led by the Spirit in our lessons and responding to the investigators´ needs.
Monday: Family Night!  There´s an awesome group of recent converts who all congregate in the home of our lunch appointment, Hermana Melixza, every Monday night.  They practice teaching, and everyone participates in the gospel discussion.  It´s basically the most effective thing I´ve ever seen in convert retention, and I leave each week with my heart so happy!
Tuesday: Habitat for Humanity.  Just kidding... we went to help Luis Alberto clean out a little shack next to his house so he could live the law of chastity and not live with his friend Manuela.  They didn´t want us to help at first, but we just jumped in and didn´t give them the option to say no.  After we started, they got excited and were very pleased with the outcome.  From this experience, I learned: 1) People usually feel awkward when you ask how you can serve them.  ¨First observe, then serve¨ is a very true principle!  2) Everyone feels happier in a clean, orderly environment.  That is where the Spirit can dwell!  So go clean your room. :)

Wednesday: Divisions again.  Hermana Arana is the only sister training leader for this zone, so she works individually with each sister in the zone. This week, she worked with my companion in our area. I went to Pancasan 2 again with Hermana Lagos... I´ve started calling her, ¨my other companion.¨ We had fun visiting some of the same people as last week and helping some members bag homemade coconut candies, and they gave us some to take home-- yum!
Thursday: Weekly planning and a normal day.
Friday: Hno. Rafael, the ward mission leader, accompanied us on some visits.  Woohoo!

Saturday: Baptisms!  Luis Alberto and Santiago both got baptized.  We were a little worried when we couldn´t find Luis before his baptism, but he made it to the church on time and by himself!  Another miracle: we had sufficient baptismal clothing, and priesthood holders, and we didn´t have to run around finding people to give talks and prayers.  Life runs so smoothly with ward mission leaders who fulfill their callings!  Also, Santiago removed his white Catholic rosary before the baptism... that was another little miracle.  ;)
Sunday: We had a family at church!  And Luis Alberto got confirmed!  Unfortunately, Santiago seems to have forgotten how important it was to complete the second half of his baptismal ordinance and went to sell clothing on his bicycle early in the morning and was nowhere to be found.  Ouch, that hurts.  We´ll get  him to church next week to be confirmed.  
Two other things to note:
1) I gave out stickers to our primary-aged recent converts for learning Articles of Faith.  Wow, I´ve never seen kids more motivated by a little happy face or bowtie-wearing bear!  My companion and I discussed (jokingly... but with a little bit of seriousness) that we should give out stickers to investigators of all ages to incentivize them to come to church.
2) I have a new food addiction.  Well, two.  One of them is green (unripened) mangoes with lime, salt, and chile.  The other is ¨helados,¨ which are homemade ice cream things packaged in plastic bags.  I´ll try to send a picture next week.
My emails have certainly lost the spiritual aspect, so I promise to focus more on that next week!  A huge thank you to my brother Jake for his inspired email.
Don´t forget to love, serve, and smile!  Be obedient!

Love you!
-Hermana Hansen
1) All the baptismal candidates for the Pancasan branch this week
2) With Luis Alberto and Santiago (the one and a half converts)

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