Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never Give Up

October 28, 2013

Goood times.

This week was interesting. Started out with the transfer and having big things happen. I became Zone Leader and took on the load of a zone that hasn't reached the weekly goal of baptisms for a week, which is 4. We have 6 areas so it's very possible to get. It's just stupidly hard. Everyone is working very hard. All the companionships are teaching at least 30 lessons a week and doing a ton of contacts. Our numbers are huge but our baptisms are non-existent. It just kinda makes you mad when you work so hard and you don't get the prize you want and the Lord wants. Whenever I hit a hard week on my mission, I always remember the phrase Elder Holland said in one of his talks to the mission Presidents in the MTC.  "Salvation was never easy!"  Why would our job as missionaries, saving souls and helping people get closer to Christ be easy if the Son of the living God asked when he atoned for our sins,  "Is there any other way?"  Salvation is not a cheap experience and we shouldn't treat it as such. I'm happy to know that I am a servant of the Lord in this work. I know that the Savior shares my pain when his message is denied, and we end a week without baptizing anyone. But I also know that He is here to help us if we just trust in Him.

I came to this area teaching the most inconsistent, least interested people I've ever taught. We're gonna have to start over with this teaching group. CONTACTS.  I just spend a lot of time being frustrated in the lessons because the people are rude and like to talk over you. We tried to do some contacts in a richer neighborhood to find some more respectful people, but rich people have strong opinions and keep their doors shut. Now I know how it is to serve in the US. We're gonna have to stick to the poor area and pick out the wheat from the tares.  In spite of all this we managed to mark a 14 year old, Marcio for Baptism. He has cousins in the church and everything and we were confident it wouldn't fall through.

We did a couple of visits in the other areas. The Sisters who work in the center of the city had this old dude that has been going to church for a year but won't accept the baptism. We decided we were going to try him. He's 82 years old and is almost crazy. He's on the border-line. We went there and right away he asks what we want. We start with a prayer and talked forever about the baptism and reviewed the restoration. He says he's been going to 4 churches for the last couple of years and says every church is the church of Jesus Christ. He said they're all trying to baptize him and that he wants time. I read Matthew 5.. about how we need to take drastic actions/act quickly to follow Christ. I lost track of time and realized we had been there for about 2 hours because he's one of the dudes who just talks to hear himself. It was just really hard to keep the floor and say what we wanted to say. Finally I just interrupted him and asked him if I could make a deal with him. I almost yelled. But he said, "yes" and I grabbed his hand to keep his attention and looked him in the eyes.  "Say a prayer and ask God if this is the baptism is for you. We will check back on this prayer and right now your baptism is marked for November 3."  He accepted and finally we left. My brain was about to explode and it was just a relief to leave that house. It was good to call the sisters saying we did it. They got happy.

Another visit we made was for the Sisters that live 45 minutes anyway. They had this 10 year old boy who wanted to be baptized. On the way there the bus broke so we got there super late, like 8. They were having a primaria activity at the church that night and the kid was there to do the interview. When we got there the sisters were there and said he had just decided that he didn't want to be baptized because his Grandma said she would get mad if he did. The sisters looked super sad and worried and I just wanted to change this kids' mind. So we grabbed him from the activity and took him to a room in the church and taught him. José and I used everything we could to change his mind but it just didn't work. His heart was locked before we even got there and the spirit was just hitting the wall. Kid with a strong opinion. It was disappointing but people have free choice. He said he would think about it and tell the sisters later. We left there at 8:45 to get to the bus stop. We waited there for about 15 and while we were there there was this drunk guy harassing us. I was talking to Bochi(DL) on the phone giving him the lowdown on this kid and this drunk guy just followed us throughout the bus station. We kept switching seats and he would switch with us. We grabbed some seats where it was just  two and he got frustrated, poured his alcohol in a square around one of the floor tiles and said ´´vai com deus´´....(go with God). When I got off the phone with Bochi I realised what had just happened and just laughed. There are some weirdos out there. Gotta be careful. Got home super late that night and died in our beds.

Sunday was fun. We left early to go get investigators to go to church with us and found out something amazing had happened. Marcio didn't want to be baptized anymore. His cousin, Junior told us this. Happened within a period of 24 hours. He was super strong and really wanting to get baptized... even said a prayer for his parents to let him get baptized but then this happened. We went to his house to see what happened. We got there and his mom starts telling us why he doesn't want to get baptized and that it's his own choice, blah blah blah. She said the brothers from his old church had talked with him; She said it's better that he stays in his old church because it's closer to home and more easy. Then she said something that really got me. "At least he's still in the way of God right?..."I had so many thoughts going through my head at that moment and I was just fuming inside.  I asked him if that was what he wanted and he said, "yeah."  I went to church really angry and just annoyed. People always talk bad about the church saying it's a cult without even going there and seeing for themselves. We could have baptized another girl this Sunday but it didn't work out. Nadja. Look out for this name this week. She's going in the water. The Zone ended the week with zero baptisms.

We had some investigators in the chapel this week that are really just good people. I was excited and forgot about what had just happened. We'll chase these people this week and baptize them. This week was just full of learning experiences and disappointing moments but nothing is gonna put out my fire. Jesus is the Christ and there is only one way to get to him, and we have it. I love this gospel and this work and will never give up.

Love you family. Hope this week is a good one.

Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

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