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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leadership: seeing the divine potential in others and helping them to see it in themselves

These are some pictures of Arandas. Idk if I told y’all about this place before but its where Elder Slik and I and the whole Los Feliz district used to go to eat lunch together. We went back! da best #carneasadafries

Agenda. Thank you and other stuff before I forget. Then qandas. Then quick week overview.

Thanks for sending me that letter Kato. I loved it. Really, I’m so glad you are having a good time and I’m pumped for you to just love the classes you chose. You are going to do awesome and I wish I could have been there for the toast party. You’ll have to invite me to the next one in 2 years. PS. You should go over to the Slik's house. They'd for sure make you some dinner says Elder Suave. 
Mom, thanks so much for the package! I love the bag and the ties are super nice! Thanks for thinking of me and looking out for me.

1. Where are you living? I’m living on like Stewart and Nelis in the old zone leader’s apartment.
2. What is your apartment like? It’s pretty small. I think when I lived in Sunrise I used up all my nice apartment points for like my whole mission so I've been stuck with all 1 bed 1 bath 2 room places. It’s nice though. I can’t get lost or anything like that.
3. I imagine you have a car – right? Yeah we have a car. Both of our areas are pretty small but they don’t connect and because we are zone leaders we get one too because we have to do a lot of administrative things.
4. How long has it been since you biked? It hasn’t been too long. Like last transfer when I went on exchanges and things I was almost always, if not always on a bike. I really like it because if the area is small and there are people out you can find a lot. But it’s also nice to have a car because you can just get from place to place really quick.
5. So what are your responsibilities as ZL? That's a hard question to answer. I think we are really just responsible for the temporal and spiritual welfare of the missionaries in our zone. We are to train and help them to be doing effective missionary work. 
6. Are you still getting lots of new missionaries or has it slowed down? Well there are pretty large groups of missionaries that go home so the incoming missionary groups have still been pretty big.
7. When is your first zone council?  And how often are they? Zone council - idk what that is. There is a zone meeting every month and a mission leadership council (which replaced zone leader council) every month as well.
8. Do you still hear from Elder Mayo? Elder Mayo emails me and sends me pictures every week. It’s awesome to always hear from him and know he is doing well. It always raises my spirits to hear his love and enthusiasm.
9. What was the best thing about Tuesday? Well, definitely the visit from Elder Andersen, like the apostle Elder Andersen. It was really cool. It was incredible to hear him speak and train us and feel and witness the power and authority of his calling. I know that he is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. You could just feel it. One cool thing about it was that I got to be the 1st one to shake his hand!
10. What was the funniest thing that happened on Friday? We were at the Odulios house (the like grandparents of Sabrina’s grandchildren) eating lunch after having a lesson and we were talking about church movies. Now let me fill you in about Brother Odulio. He's like the man. The coolest and smartest guy around, but anyway we start talking about church movies and he (and he's like 70) and he just starts tearing in on all of them. He literally said that Finding Faith in Christ sucks. Like it’s not the best movie ever but he went off on a tirade about how horrible it is. Then we went through and suggested others and he tore them all apart. He said, "I told Elder Oaks that its bad but he didn't do anything about it." Idk you must have had to be there. He is just one of the most humble and devoted men ever and he got all fired up about how the only good church movie is the old Restoration movie. 
11. What was for lunch on Thursday? I ate like a thanksgiving dinner sandwich, gravy stuffing turkey and cranberry sauce. It was pretty good. I didn’t get sick this time which was nice. It was pricey though. I was on an Exchange with one of the assistants and that’s where he wanted to go. 
12. What have you used to decorate your apt?  (Are your banners hanging?) I've got most of my quotes and Jesus pictures up and over my bed I have my Vegas banner and a big picture of the temple and the sign that grandma sent me saying "Don’ count sheep, talk to the shepherd" 
13. What is ES’s favorite cold cereal? A member gave us some cereal called "crave".  It was pretty good. He liked it a lot. 
14. Did you send us a picture of George two weeks ago?  (You sometimes forget to tell us who the pictures you send are of.) George is the big guy with short hair. Sorry about the lack of captions. I’m not used to taking nor sending pictures.
15. Will you get to go to George’s, Amelia & Leo’s and Martha’s baptisms? Yup. I will. Hopefully they don’t get scheduled at the same time that our baptisms here will be. I’ll work it out. I miss those guys a lot but I love all the new people that I’ve got to meet. 
16. Have you been thinking about going to the temple with the As next year? All the time. Oh it would be so sick. I'll probably be at BYU by then so I’ll be able to drive down in a matter of only a few hours.
17. What do you need? For like the 1st time in a long time. ESs and I want matching ties. We are already super unified but we want to be even more unified. So if mom you could find a few sets of matching ties, that'd be awesome. People already laugh that we are companions but we just want to be like .. one (see D&C 38:27).
18. How many are in your zone?  There are 7 companionships in the zone. So we have a pretty small zone in comparison to like Warm Springs which was 11. 
19. Do you have a zone motto/theme/logo?
20. How was your last interview with PN?  Did you tell him you had been dreaming of ES? I didn’t tell President but Elder Slik asked. Everyone in the mission knew we wanted to be companions. It’s kind of a funny story. ES was on an exchange with the other AP and he told him that the first transfer decision was putting me with Elder Slik. One of the assistants said no way they can’t be together they need to be split up to help other zones. But then like the "senior AP" idk what else to refer to him as, Elder Fischer, said "No! Just let them be companions. They are best friends and they love each other." So it stayed. Pretty funny if you ask me. It’s definitely been a breath of fresh air to serve with someone as awesome as Elder Slik.

Well the week was awesome. Hopefully those q and a’s answer a few questions.  I’ll try to go over the week. Again I didn’t have time to write in my journal. I KNOW I SHOULD! I feel bad. Like guilty even. It’s bad. But anyway
MONDAY! we had what was called a cottage meeting where we got a bunch of less actives, recent converts, and investigators together at a members home (other members were there too) and watched a movie. Afterwards there was a powerful testimony meeting. Something interesting was the movie though. It was one I had seen hundreds of times but I decided to really focus and try to glean some new revelation out of it and it was awesome I saw it in a totally new light and it really helped me throughout the week, my testimony was strengthened instead of me just sitting and being bored. All of us can always have that experience if we really make seeking in the scriptures an active and spiritual and consistent pursuit. Even though we've read the stories many times and they haven’t changed, we have and hopefully we are more spiritually mature than the last time so if we are ready and humble the Lord can teach us new things. I took that attitude to my study of the Book of Mormon the whole week and it was awesome. I usually have good studies but this week I gained even more from the BofM. That night we tried to have lessons but everything fell through. It was okay though. We had a member with us and they still had a good time.

TUESDAY! We had a lesson with Sabrina. It was kind of funny because there is a def language barrier and when we invited her to live the commandments she said no pretty emphatically. We were both shocked, then Brother Odulio explained the question to her and she said yes. We need to learn Tagalog. That afternoon was the Elder Andersen meeting. It was bawsome (boss and awesome). It was segmented into 3 parts. The first was hearing from Elder and Sister Callister (he's in the prez of the 70) and from Sister Andersen. Then Elder Andersen trained us on how to be better missionaries. It wasn’t directly about that but he talked about lots of things like not comparing ourselves to others and setting goals and focusing on helping others to have faith. Then for the last hour he trained us on The Atonement and missionary work, specifically about the merits and mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. Most of the hour was focused around 2 Nephi: 26 and 8. Not too much to report about Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY! I got to watch another district meting which was nice. It’s a totally different experience participating versus training. I like both. But I really did like giving the trainings. We visited a lot of the members. I love both of our wards here so much. We are really blessed to serve alongside such awesome people. The wards are like completely different but both teach the same things and work for the same goals. That night we had an interesting lesson with Clara's daughter. To fill you in, Clara is an older black woman who is losing her eyesight and hearing. The elders have been teaching her for a while and she liked the things they shared. She was going to get baptized but when her family found out they all freaked out and so that night we had this lesson with Clara and one of her daughters. The daughter started out pretty firm with us but we just bore our testimonies and shared our expectations and intents and it was cool to watch the Spirit soften her heart as the time went on. By the end of the lesson she set up a return appointment to learn more. Experiences like that are cool. Even if nothing comes out of it I enjoyed feeling and seeing the change. We also went to see Marcus that evening. He was someone we went and prayed with last week. He was really happy to see us and we talked with him about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. It was a good lesson, he opened up to us and talked about the things he was thinking and feeling. He said there is no point in being dishonest so he told us that he was unsure but he wanted to learn more and come to church. I love everyone so much. Elder Slik and I talk about it a lot but its kinda funny that we aren’t teaching any white people. No Caucasians. I haven’t taught really any my whole mission! It doesn’t make a difference at all but it’s just interesting to think about.

THURSDAY! I was on an exchange with Elder Fuller. He is from Michigan too but from the other side. It was a good day. He really taught me a lot by his example. He is a very by the book missionary. He is a master planner and he is really good at just remembering all the little things that make the big differences. We went to a district meeting about prayer. I liked it. It basically was a training session about how to receive more revelation. It sounds weird but a lot of it was personal reflection and evaluation time. Always pray earnestly. That's the bottom line. We taught Sabria tithing and she said she was excited to live the law of tithing. She really understood the principle. The Lord doesn’t need our money but we need the experience of giving it up. Later in the evening we went out with a priest who is unsure if he wants to serve a mission. He really liked it and then on Sunday went to mission prep for the first time and he said that he is going to go. It was a good, good night for him. He was definitely really scared beforehand though. It was funny. He must have asked us 4 times if we were going to go "tracking." I didn’t have the heart to correct him. That night we ate dinner with an eternagator named Sister S. Like THE nicest woman ever. Incredible. She's probably going to get baptized soon she is just dragging her feet a little bit. She made us the best enchiladas. So, so good. Then we went and exchanged back. Don’t mock me but I missed Elder Slik. I had kinda forgotten how well we work together, get a long, and how much fun we have. It was hard to adapt to a quieter, more reserved, more serious person. But I learned a lot and that’s the purpose!

FRIDAY! We had a good planning sesh. We taught Sabrina again. She is so ready to be baptized. She like is inviting anyone she can. She is also a Book of Mormon testifying machine. Friends or people at the grocery store, it doesn’t matter, she knows it’s true! Me too! But don’t take my word for it! Reading rainbow! We started teaching a new woman Toni. She is African American and really wants to do what is right. It was hard to teach effectively because she had soooo many questions but they were all good and sincere. Her son is an inactive member. She doesn’t not want to be part of the "church of man," she wants to serve God. I love hearing stuff like that. I know just where to send them. Friday night we walked around an apartment complex with a member and visited a few people. 

SATURDAY! I WENT BACK TO MY OLD AREA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT WAS SO AWESOME! I went on an exchange with one of the district leaders back into Montebello West. Oh man I can’t even explain how nostalgic it was. The whole time I was thinking about how much I’ve changed and grown since then. I’m proud of who I am. Truly. It’s a comforting feeling. But we had a good day. It was a leadership training exchange so it was like my job to train him to be a better leader and steward. Humbling experience to say the least. Basically the biggest thing I tried to teach him was street contacting by example. We talked to everyone. He was astonished and we got a lot of return appointments. I learned a lot too. Then we were working on inviting people to be baptized on a specific date and we set one person. It was a pretty awesome lesson. I loved teaching in Spanish again especially knowing that it was my old area. 

SUNDAY! I went to two ward councils and that was cool. We also got to go to a stake missionary meeting. People treat you differently when you are a zone leader and I don’t like it. It’s nice to be well respected but ... it’s unsettling. Anyway. Church was awesome. I went to FH this week because we have to split and it was a great sacrament meeting about missionary work and an awesome elder’s quorum about leadership. That afternoon we had like four lessons falls through which was too bad but it was still a good day. We accomplished a lot and we hit the sack at the end of the day dead tired after a great week of hard work. I love working hard and having a companion who is willing to push me even harder. I wish everyone got to be companions with Elder Slik. It’s a great experience. But I’m super glad I get to work with him every day. He has taught me so much. He cares so deeply for these people and he is here to serve the Lord. He does it well.
We make green smoothies every morning after exercising. They really make you feel good about yourself. It’s like 5 servings of vegetables to start the day. WAHOO!
Not too much to say. I’m loving life and that about sums it all up.
I love you all so much
May the Spirit be with you.

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