Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

Well I guess my mission has gone by faster for you all at home than it has for me here, because Elder Ramirez and I have already been together for 11 weeks, this being our 12th and final week of training.

Why was my second to last email called "A Tough Week?" Good question, I have no idea, because it wasn't. I'm not sure why I called it that. Huh. But yes, my last email represented a tough week. Thankfully not for lack of food or shelter (although our monthly budget has not arrived yet, due to a minor mix up from Church headquarters. For a few days, Concepción Sur will be the only mission in Chile with many missionaries eating bread and butter and leftovers until the money arrives). Thankfully not for sickness either. It was tough for a severe lack of success and a huge reality check for me that I had not been as focused and hardworking as I should have been.
However, I am happy to announce that this past week was absolutely incredible (the missionary is always a rollercoaster, but this has been the biggest 180 up to date). Elder Ramirez and I did a lot of self-analysis, set some lofty goals and went to work. And we worked, and we worked, and we worked. In fact, I have never worked so hard in my 7 months in the mission. And it felt great. We were/are pretty exhausted, but it's a joyful exhaustion. What happened was aparently the whole mission has been suffering from a bit of a lazy sweep, so President Martinez extended the challenge to every single missionary in the mission to complete the standards of excelence, or do everything possible to do so (just so you have an idea Jenn of how high those standards are: 5 baptismal dates, 15 lessons with a member, 15 others, 5 progressing, 10 new investigators, 10 lessons with less actives/recent converts, and 140 contacts). Every now and again, President Martinez does weeks like that that he calls weeks of santification. The purpose of this is to help every missionary realize what is our own potential. Well, it did just that. I can't say we completed with every one of those key indicators, but we did come close on a few and surpassed some others. I have a new sense now of what I'm really capable of and how much more I can give to this work. There truly is no other greater work in the world, and I'm so honored to be a missionary.

(Disclaimer: I realize that missionary work is not about the numbers, and please don't think that that's where my focus is, because every one of those numbers has a name behind it. But yes, setting goals and striving to reach them helps us grow and reach higher levels of dedication)

So I don't have much time to write any cool experiences this week. I apologize. But everythings going really well now. All we had to do was work hard. Who knew? We have a batpism coming up on the 12th of May and she's super super prepared. She's like another Andrea, which is really cool.

I love you all dearly. I apologize for the short letter, I promise I'll write more next time! I think about you and pray for you every day. Thank you for all your support and love.

P.S. Jennifoffer, packages and letters both should go to the mission office. It's more secure that way, in case of any hang ups, especially in smaller towns like Carahue, and in case of transfers. And goody! I would love to receive actual letters! :)

P.P.S. Heads up, Mothers Day is coming up, and you know what that means. Skype time! Boy time flies. I'm thinking the skype will probably take place on Sunday the 13th of May. Everybody get your Skype up to date so we can group chat! Woohoo!

 Sadly, I couldn't take it back to Carahue.
 Our zone in yellow after a mission conference the other week.
 Part of the talent show we did today for a tri-zone "Family Home Day"
Other act from the talent show.

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