EYY! I am super excited to talk to you all on Sunday! Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for the package! I got it intact (including Emma's surprise--I CALLED IT). All I have been hearing of the States here is that it is COLD everywhere, so it is good to hear that you're all alive. Yes, I will call around 3, or perhaps later--I'm not sure exactly how long the others will take or when they will call, but just keep skype open and in mind.
This week was a bit slow as far as the work goes--I feel like I'm hitting a missionary's block--that part of your mission when you have enough time to be considered a veteran but you still have a lot of imperfections and still need to be overcoming them but are getting senioritis about it. I know I am not a very effective missionary compared to my potential and compared to what is taught in Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook. I know what things I have to do to get better: I know I need to talk to everyone and ask for more references from everyone and to manage time in lessons better to make sure there is always a baptismal invitation and a couple of commitments at the end of the lesson. I know I need to have more courage in talking to people in buses and cabs, I need to find a better way to work with less actives and recent converts who are struggling, and I need to be more sincere and focused in prayer and in study. Even when I split these goals down into daily or hourly fractions, there is always opposition (which is to be expected). However, most of the opposition isn't from other people--it is from myself. I fight against the Spirit because I am afraid or because I want to wait for "the right person." Then I wait expecting a response and don't feel special about anyone, and thus don't talk to anyone. I have become too comfortable being a missionary who teaches without finding, and one who waits for people to come to him. One can have success to a degree as such a missionary, but...not enough. I am not meeting the Lord's standard. Our mission has the vision of baptizing 300 or more people a month, because we have the faith that there are more than enough people waiting for us out there. Think about 300 people compared to the 4,000,000 that live in the East Mission. That is NOTHING. Somehow I still can't get myself to do anything about it though. We are doing a "holy week" as a mission this week, in the which we have all committed to be EXACTLY obedient for AN ENTIRE WEEK, and to repent with all sincerity when we fail. I am seeking the strength to be that better missionary the Lord wants me to be especially this week--I am learning a lot about sincere prayer and true repentance. Pray that I can have that strength, please--I'm going to need it. In the last week the opposition has gotten much, much stronger on all sides. Simple failures and general errors have come back that I thought I had left behind transfers ago, and it is getting harder and harder to be obedient and focused. I don't want to fail, but if I continue moping about about how hard it all has become I will never progress. I love you guys so much. You are all great examples to me. I know that the Lord has many blessings in store for each of you, and I know that He lives and really can bless us with strength. I have faith that He can help me become more than I am and that He can truly change my heart.
Have a great week, and see you on Sunday!
PS--Sorry that was a bit of a negative rant--I just felt that I needed to share it with you. The Spirit has really helped me to further commit to these goals as I have shared them with you. In a mission tour we had recently, Elder Zivic of the 70 talked to us about breaking paradigms and sharing our vision. I can testify that as we share our vision with others and with the Lord that He gives us the willpower to do it. I feel the Spirit so strongly now that I have shared this with you, and I hope that each of you can set some goals for who you want to be and what you want to do this year. Then, share them with me--how you can be more exactly obedient to the Lord this year, or this month, or even this week--in our call Sunday. Try it as an experiment: plan everything out down to days and weeks, imagine yourselves reaching your goal, then share it with me and with each other before you go out to do it, and I promise that each of you will feel the Spirit carrying you through opposition until you become or change what you want to.