[With apologies from the editors for the long delay in posting this.]
This has been one of the busiest weeks of my mission, and almost none of it was with what we usually think of as missionary work. Let me explain.
Monday, after our preparation day, we had a special conference with president Mendoza. This time I didn't have to train -- all I had do to was play the piano.
In part of the conference, he mentioned that iPods are not allowed in the mission. I had not heard this before. [The previous mission president had approved iPods with appropriate music on them. -- eds.] President drove us home (me, my companion, and two missionaries who were going to stay in our house for the night). When we got there, I ran in and grabbed my iPod and turned it in to President. He is going to keep it safe. But I have lost half my music. That’s OK, it’s the price of obedience.
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Tuesday morning we had our district meeting. I taught about the importance of planning and how to do it effectively. It went well. We spent the afternoon in various bus stations, bringing visas and bus tickets to missionaries who were going to go to the temple.
Tuesday night we had a special meeting with the stake presidency. We expressed our concern that the members of the stake aren't fellowshipping like they should. I suggested a MMTC (member missionary training center). The stake president liked the idea so much that he decided to do it right away and sent out the email that all bishops and ward mission leaders would have a meeting this Sunday, and the following Sunday would teach their wards what they had learned.
Wednesday we woke up early to catch a bus to Monterrey. From 11 AM to 9 PM, we were in council with President, the assistants, and the other zone leaders. It was an incredible experience. Unlike my first zone leader council, this time I overcame my shyness enough to express my opinions and give my suggestions. We talked about a lot of things, from how we treat mission property (such as fans and chairs) to how to improve our manner of talking with the people in the street. I learned a lot and am putting it into practice and teaching it to the other missionaries in the zone.
Thursday we arrived in our area at about 10:00 AM. We had our weekly planning session, then went to eat. Thursday afternoon was the first time this week that we had proselyting time. It went well, but was also sad, because we had to say goodbye to Gerardo, our recent convert. He is moving to Linares, Nuevo Leon. It has been a great experience meeting and teaching him. Gerardo has changed a lot and I'm sure that within a year will be a full time missionary.
Friday and Saturday we also had for proselyting, except for a few baptismal interviews and having to print a few things for the zone. Teaching people is by far my favorite thing about missionary work (with the obvious acception of baptisms.)
Sunday was wonderful, but very busy. My companion and I spoke in sacrament meeting. In fact, in our stake the missionaries speak the second Sunday of every month. I spoke about the joy of missionary work, promising the same blessings to the members. But the best talk was given by a recent convert of my companion, Noemi Carreon. She told her conversion story with great power, and expressed her desires to be a full time missionary. It was a very edifying sacrament meeting and left a great spirit with the ward.
After church, we went to eat with the Flores family, then we were off to the stake center. First, we had a special zone meeting with the missionaries, where my companion and I talked about various matters we had discussed in the zone leaders conference. Immediately afterwards was the MMTC with the stake and ward leaders.
I was nervous about having to train bishops and the stake presidency, but it went well. Our stake is very excited about missionary work, and we are going to take advantage of this great opportunity to work with the members.
This morning we had our zone activity. We ate hamburgers (that my companion and I grilled) and the missionaries watched the Emma Smith movie. I say the missionaries because my companion and I didn't, because we were busy cooking. That's OK -- I've already seen it, although I don’t remember it, and it will still be around in two years.
Today we also have to compose a training for the district meetings this next transfer and send it to the assistants.
I forgot to mention that two returned missionaries who finished their missions in February came to stay with us this weekend (with President Mendoza's permission). they are Alex Coats and Jeremy Mahoney. Elder Mahoney was my companion my first three days in Mexico.
Their visit was great, but it also scared me in some ways. It was good to see them again, to know that they are doing well. They told us about all the RM's from our mission. Many are already married, including some of my mission heroes and friends.
It was also weird to see how they were normal people again. I´m afraid of going back to normal life, because there are parts of my normal pre-mission life that I don't want to return to. In fact, for the first time I am seriously considering extending my mission.