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As in California, it has been quite hot here in Reynosa, with the exception of the past two days. After three full months without rain, yesterday and today it poured. The streets flooded and the missionaries were soaked. I love the rain, even though it makes missionary work harder. When it's hot, I think about the Savior's love. When it rains, I think about the blessings of the Lord (Malachi 3).
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I'm glad to hear that there are convert baptisms in our [Redlands] ward. Send my congratulations to [the new converts]. Thanks for supporting them. Member participation is essential in convert retention.
I still don't have the pictures of my shoes. But my missionary mall shirts are size 18½, and are quite big on me. I still haven't received the package you sent a few weeks ago, and President Mendoza went to the P.O. Box last Saturday. I think something must have happened to it.
I think I mentioned this before, but the LDS edition of the Bible in Spanish is going to come out this month. I am very excited. I would love a copy. . . .
Mom asked about my week. Part of it I can describe as "wonderful," and part of it as "tough." I'll start with the worst and finish with the best.
Most of what didn't go so well this week has to do with my duties as a zone leader. Being a zone leader means I have to deal with problems that come up. The problems that are a natural part of missionary work, while stressful, I don't mind so much. But what is hard is when the problems should never have happened. I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say that I've prayed more fervently then ever these past weeks.
Our zone still isn't reaching our potential, and I feel it is because we are not always doing what we should be doing.
Sunday we had a whole list full of people to pass for [that is, pick up] on the way to church. Here in Cumbres, finding rides for people usually isn't too hard. The bishop's wife has a big van (like ours, but with even more seats) and every Sunday she helps us with everyone we need to bring to church. But yesterday her van had a flat tire. So with little time to warn everyone, we made various phone calls, asking members to pass for [pick up] one or two people.
We called Adiel, a 17-year-old recent convert, to pass for us [pick us up] and to help us with two other people. When he pulled up infront of our house, his engine was smoking. My companion and I tried to help him, but none of us know anything about auto mechanics.
A young man passing in the street came and offered to help us, saying that he knew about cars. He opened a part of the engine and told us to pour water in it. I was somewhat doubtful, but as I know absolutely nothing about cars, I did what I was told. We had poured in two whole gallons, when Adiel's dad arrived, and asked what in the world we were doing. The young man, startled, explained that the engine needed water. Adiel's father agreed, but told him that we were putting it in the wrong spot. We had filled the oil tank with water.
Luckily, Adiel's dad changed cars with us and we were able to go and pass for [pick up] the people we had invited to church. To our dismay, nobody came. Many members went to bring people, but no one was home.
Although it was a sad experience, I learned a lot. First of all, I have decieded that one of the first things I want to do when I get home is learn basic auto mechanics. Second, I was amazed at how quickly the ward mobilized to help us. My companion and I have been working hard to improve relationships with the ward members, and it seems to have paid off. In fact, this past week we had 14 lessons with a member present. Lessons with members are always great, especially when the member offers a simple testimony and sincere friendship to the investigator.
Friday I went in divisions [team-ups] with a missionary who has had a hard time contacting people in the street. On average, he has three contacts a day, well below the ten-contact standard. I went with the purpose of helping him. The Lord blessed me that day with an increased ablility and desire and we had 30 contacts between the two of us, and he has improved in the past few days in his contacts. I love helping missionaries.
Last Friday we also had a zone conference with President Mendoza. At first I was stressed, because we didn't have the key to open the sacrament room of the chapel where we were going to have the conference, but at last minute one of the missionaries opened it. (I'm not sure how.) When President Mendoza saw me, he taught me a great lesson. "Never let a technical detail take away from the Spirit," he said. I love that man. Every minute with him is a great learning experience.
Our zone conference, as all of our personal study lately, was about the Book of Mormon. I never cease to be amazed at the power of that great book. Here are some of the many things I have learned about he Book of Mormon this week:
- The Book of Mormon is the best missionary.
- The Book of Mormon is the keystone of my testimony of every doctrine -- even of my testimony of the Bible.
- The Book of Mormon has the power to bring many thousands of souls to Christ.
- With the Book of Mormon we can answer almost any question or doubt.
I wish I had more time, but my time is now up. I love you all dearly. Don't worry about me. Even though I'm sometimes stressed, the Lord is always with me. He is helping me and teaching me a great deal. That's what I've learned this week. As Elder Eyring says, "God helps the faithful priesthood bearer."