Wow this week was pretty AWESOME. First we played soccer with the president and the other zone leaders Monday and had a barbeque in his house later in preparation for the zone leaders conference. So goood. haha.
Then Tuesday, we had a meeting with him between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and talked about a ton, most importantly about consecrating ourselves as missionaries. One of my favorite scriptures was Omni 1:26, Si venid a el, y ofrecedle vuestras almas enteras como ofrenda a El. [Come unto Him and offer your entire souls as an offering to Him.”] I really, really liked it. And I’m trying to do so. I’m also trying to open my mouth at ALL times, and not ever think, well I don’t have to talk right now, or I don’t have to testify. Because I should ALWAYS open the mouth to testify with sound of regocijo [rejoicing]. And the promise is that if I do so, I shall be able to receive help from the Lord that is unknown among the children of men.
Those really impacted me. Then, Thursday, we had a special training in the Zone Hunter where the president came to teach us somethings about planning for lessons, and about consecrating ourselves, and about serving the Lord. He talked about the zone, and what we can do. I’m glad he asked about one thing: if the Arequipans are hard of heart. Before in the mission here, let’s say a few years ago, there were very few baptisms. Now the city of Arequipa has many more baptisms per month. He said: do you think the Arequipans have repented, or the missionaries? And we understood that really these are the remnants of the Lamanites. They are just waiting to be gathered up, and the better we can be the better we can take part in that gathering. One missionary in the mission saw15 people baptized this last month. He taught us about faith. We planned until late and had just a few hours. Then Friday we finished the plan and I had an interview with the president for the first time in a while.
He showed me first a sheet that has some of the key indicatores [statistics] of me in the past month both in Camaná and Arequipa, and said, here are your results, how does it seem to you? I was very, very preocupied [worried] by the 0 0 0 0 0 de bautismos en todo enero [no baptisms in January], knowing that it extends more before, and he definitely noticed my worry. I have been trying to make myself the best missionary possible and finding lots of people and in that I haven’t been able to do so. He asked me if I am worthy, and I said, yes, but maybe what I lack are the last "little" things: always talk spanish, be more punctual, writing every night in the journal since planning with the 13 principles and... He told me about how Preach My Gospel talks about obedience with EXACTITUDE and that’s true. We also talked a little about how to pray constantly and without stopping. We talked about the spirit, he told me about some of the things he did on his mission. I had come to be able to know what I have to do in order to give the step so that every week we can find some of those chosen children that God has prepared, and he listed Dyc 4, 6, 11, Alma 26 and Omni 1:26.
We also talked about gifts of the spirit. He said something very interesting, that when we look for gifts, we can find all sorts of gifts: Gifts of teaching, of listening, of being able to love, of getting along with everyone. I was also thinking about the importance of these and realized that they are gifts that would help us be able to do the work of the Lord with much, much more efficiency. He also mentioned that I need to know what Mosiah 28:3 means to be able to help people make covenants. In truth, there is such a huge difference in the life of someone who lives the gospel and someone who does not.
Sometimes when I talk to someone who is aggressively rejective, I get distracted a little because I feel like if I could be like Ammon, people wouldn’t be like that. But reading Alma this morning I realized that’s not true (see Alma 26)... but anyway, in place of being worried about these things, he said I should pray earnestly, that they might one day be able to get know the Church, that with them, we should offer this prayer if possible, and that even in the moment that they do all they can to reject us,we should demonstrate the pure love of Christ. Because, as he helped me see, every contact we do makes an effect in the people we talk to. This effect can be incredible and it can help them to in the future accept the next missionaries. The area has been proselyted by missionaries maybe 30 years. Some have known bad examples, and for that don’t want us to visit them, and need to see a better example. If we pray for them and ask the Lord to bless them then He can and they will be able to feel our love and see that the blessings we ask for are completed and the next time we come, they will say, “Hey you are friends of those who came before and made a difference in my life even though I rejected them.”
I worked on that in the few days of proselyting that we had, and we met with a lady who had a bad experience with a missionary a while ago, and demonstrating our love she came to understand that all people are imperfect and was able to overcome the image she had before.
Oh, and the best part, after leaving the interview we went to visit some brothers, where one is a recent convert and his brother is not member, who told us he wants be be baptized.
The next day we taught an investigator and read Alma 7 with her, and challenged her to testify to God her faith in being baptized at 6, and she was baptized!!!!!!!! She has been going to church 3 months but until yesterday didn’t feel the ability to make that promise with God. Wow.... wish I had more time but that’s it. Se llama Zenaida Arhuire. [Her name is Zenaida Arhuire.]
Love Elder Johnson