Friday, January 29, 2016

Week 82

One of our investigators came to know the church through the efforts of his girlfriend and his good friend and colleague. He acted upon the invitation to attend church and met us there.  We hardly had to teach him much because he had already understood the messages by reading the lesson pamphlets and the Book of Mormon.  The changes he made in his life were made at the moment he
read the messages without hesitance.  He was baptized on Saturday, which was a great experience. The baptismal service started at 9 pm because his work schedule is so hectic. We are very proud of his progress and desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ in his life.

We've made a zone plan that involves working with members to meet new investigators and fellowship them so they can become baptized, strengthen the converts, and reactivate the less active.  The mission presidency and maybe a member of the Seventy are coming to check the district out.  We talked about it in the zone conference.  

There was a world wide conference for all the missionaries.  The focus was teaching repentance and baptizing converts.  We traveled a lot this week.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Week 81

This week was good.  We had a zone conference, and I was able to see many of my old companions.  We have been working hard with the members and investigators here.  They are doing better and are starting to overcome their challenges.

Aaron and Elder Solis

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week 80

This week was hectic but nice.  My new companion, Elder Wood, is also from Las Vegas.  We have been working well together and are looking forward to this change.  Our investigators are finally overcoming their respective obstacles to their spiritual progress.  We will continue to help them.  We traveled with the District Presidency to help the district's branch leaders.  We created a system to help locate, teach, and strengthen members and investigators by involving leaders, missionaries and members in the effort.  We will instruct the missionaries using this plan, and we hope to see results in helping strengthen the faith of others here!

Elder Peterson

Aaron and Elder Wood

Aaron helping cook chicken

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Week 79

Well, the submission to become a stake was sent by the first of January.  We didn't make the goal in terms of numbers, but there is still a chance that we can qualify since it's not always about the numbers.  Either way, we made significant progress and were able to find many people as well as clean up the membership system.  We found over 1000 people that do not live within the limits of the branch (we're talking about limits that are bigger than the entire mission) and found many inactive and less active members.  We will continue to
work with the less active and inactive members.  We will be able to work much better with the branch and district leaders since we were able to work closely with them in the assignment we had been given.  We did super-searches in three branches as a zone with members.  Now that the membership system is clean, it will be much easier to find
the members.  We will have to reconstruct the directions (almost all are poorly written or unspecific) and make a map of all the homes of members for easier access.  Since pavement, street numbers, and house numbers are nonexistent, and considering the fact that most families
have unstable income and housing.  Since it is very difficult finding someone's home by reading an address (and almost all the addresses were either unspecific or incorrect).  Most of the people we found this month were by interrogating every person in the neighborhood.  With a map, we will be able to attend to the needs of all members by visiting them, holding activities in their homes, etc.  This will also help the mission work go forward since it's more efficient and
effective working with members and references. New
missionaries won't be lost trying to find members nor investigators- it'll all be on a map.  These ideas aren't very new nor original, but it seems that no one has decided to put the ideas to work.  It's a little frustrating having to 'clean up the mess' that others have left- missionaries, members, and leaders alike- but it's something that needs to be done.  I believe negligence and ignorance are the two biggest factors.  Lots of missionaries come and leave, many secretaries don't understand their calling, leaders direct the work with little experience.  The Gospel here is in its second generation of growth- every thing is new and the circumstances are not exactly optimal in such an unstable society.  Given the circumstances and the challenges, the efforts of missionaries and members have allowed incredible growth here.   It's also more interesting being busy doing little investments of time and effort that will benefit others in the future.  Mission work is a system; all the parts need to work well in order for there to be progress and stability.  This requires effort on everyone's part, not just the 'missionaries and the leaders'.  We'll all have to work as a team if we want success. We are motivated to start this year well and will do our best to keep this work moving forward!

Aaron and Elder Rodriguez

 Fortaleza de Santa Bárbara