I am mentally wiped out. We didn´t even have a rough week! Hopefully I can compose something more-or-less coherent for your perusing pleasure.
This week we have been trying to work harder with members to go out with one or two of them every day, or at least to coordinate so that every time we visit a particular investigator the same member comes with us. And...this week it didn´t work. Three reasons: one, because tons of appointments fell through when we did have members with us; two, because members couldn´t come out with us; but mostly three, because I think I´ve become accustomed to being lazy after last transfer.
That sounds harsh, but... I think it´s true, and I have to be frank with myself. Last transfer, what with troubles with Elder H**** in the second week of the transfer and not leaving on time in the second and third weeks, and with him stepping on a nail the last week and trapping us in the house for basically 5 days and then having to only go out for two hours at a time, I got used to having a lot of rest and a lot more free time at home. I tried at first (last transfer) to spend the time updating the Area Book, doing additional study, and in general keeping myself busy, but because the area wasn´t really progressing it got hard to keep busy and keep myself focused. The best days were the days we could actually get to work, but, like when one gets up late repeatedly, it gets harder and harder to refocus. This transfer we´ve been getting up and going to bed on time, as well as leaving the house on time, but I have still found that I "forget" to arrange for a member to leave with us, or it "slips my mind" to update the area book while doing planning. I don´t blame my past companions for not teaching me how to do that, nor do I blame my present companion for not helping me remember. I´m the one who knows the area, and I should be able to get in contact with members who can go out with us, just as I should be able to help Elder D**** study English in the afternoon and should be able to get up at 6 to run every day.
I have tons of little goals for this transfer and for each week to make myself better, and I´ve been seeing the progress bit by bit. However, when it comes to being focused in the afternoon and evening, I´ve been having a hard time changing. All my past companions used the afternoon as naptime and did "planning" in the evening so fast that I felt we had only written some names and numbers. Again, I don´t blame them--even as the junior companion in all cases I should be able to hold my own and put up an example. I´m trying to focus this week on that and to have patience with myself--that has probably been the hardest thing for me out here, since a lot of my retrospection has been way to negative. I need to look up more, and to have that "extraordinary faith" as though I have already changed.
My companion and I are getting along great (he´s a dominican from La Bombita, Azua, RD, FYI) and have been working hard. Not as hard as we could be, but we have been spending all day either in appointments or walking between them. However, another reason I need to keep working on patience is that our 2 potential baptismal dates for(and what would be the first since ) fell though. Neither made it to church, and one decided he´d rather be baptized in March (the 19th). Another investigator we were going to invite to be baptized this week disappeared to go to her grandmother´s house, and may or may not be back tonight. I hope, hope, hope she is there, but I don´t know.
Also, the Zone Leaders have been on our case about lessons with members present, since one of them used to be in this area and always had tons of success working with the members here. We have been told we need 45 lessons with members present this week, where the average in this area since December has been six or less. We already have lots of members planning to go out with us, but we only have 12 investigators, and can only meet with 4 or 5 of them regularly. We have our own goal to have 35 lessons with members this week (more than my past totals of all lessons combined in a week in my entire mission) to be realistic, but I still feel like that´s being a little too focused on numbers. It is better to spend 30-45 minutes with an investigator that captures information well making sure they get all the information they need and want, in my opinion, than having 7 15-minute lessons in a day and only being able to teach one principle so that we can move on to see someone else. I may be wrong, and if so I´m ready to be corrected, but...I don´t want to say so to the Zone Leaders yet, since I know they´re right in that I haven´t been working with members nearly as effectively as I could, and I want to demonstrate change this week first. I still feel like I don´t know where any of the members live, and like all the references and new investigators we try to contact have been falling through, and with the prospect of no baptisms for the last two months hanging on my shoulders, I have been doing a lot of introspection yesterday and today. There has to be a reason why the Lord is allowing this to happen, and I need to find out what He wants me to learn. I do have really high hopes for March, since we could have as many as 6 investigators be baptized in one night, so... I´m going to focus my thoughts and energies on obtaining that joy, for now.
Jessica, to answer your question, (She asked... How has listening to/singing the hymns and other spiritual songs helped you teach?) it has helped a lot. We try to start every lesson with a hymn, we listen to the hymns at home, and I often hum or sing them as we´re walking around. Music has always touched me easily, and I feel the Spirit more strongly when I am immersed in good music. It also helps me keep the dembow rap whatever-it-is from getting stuck in my head (which is so dirty, explicit, and nasty that even the beat alone threatens to kick out the Spirit if I hear it from 4 blocks away).
I love you guys. I miss you. Stay strong, and be patient with yourselves. Also, try asking the missionaries there for each of the six pamphlets of the lessons, and try studying them for FHEs or on your own time. It really is amazing how much I´ve learned from teaching from those simple little booklets, and it would help you all to participate more in missionary work, since you´ll know even better the simple and basic truths of the Gospel.
I hope you all have an EXCELLENT week,