Monday, November 25, 2013

Missionary work is like yard work.

This week has been fun. We really saw a change in one less-active member of the ward. His enthusiasm for the Gospel has been reinvigorated. He even came out with us on a visit. 4 Days last week we split up to proselyte. Either with a member or with an AP. We really got some work done. But missionary work is like Yard work. No matter how beautiful your area is looking, neglect it for a short time and growth stops, and problems spring up.

We've been doing a lot of finding. With one man named Domingo, my companion really just let me do it all solo for the first time. 100% Spanish I attempted to ask him questions, understand his responses, and create interest in our message. It was hard. I saw little success. But I see I've come a long way, I'm doing the best I can, and I've just got to continue improving.

Last week during a meal with a member something special happened. While we were crunching down on some phenomenal flautas, the hermana's nephew came in and started talking with us. We had met him before, and knew he wasn't a member, so we asked some questions and moved our conversation to the topic of religion. When we brought up the restoration he said "I chose Jesus Christ to be my Lord a long time ago, if there's more out there it's a no-brainer. Of course I'm interested!"

We've taught twice now, and in his own words, he really just "wants to sink his teeth" into the Gospel. It is really exciting to meet somebody so very open to doctrine and scripture he hasn't seen before. He is incredibly prepared, living in the home of a member, and has been searching his whole life for this gospel. Now it's up to us to teach him, and invite him to change his life according to the Lord's restored gospel.
The weather changed overnight here. It really does get cold here. The number on the thermometer tells me it's time to wear shorts, my body tells me I'm in the Arctic Ocean. In rains in Texas. Really rains. Thursday during companionship study the lightning set off a car alarm.
 A couple days ago I was studying about the restoration, but instead of being in the Bible looking for "proof" (gotta love the Bible Belt) I  studied completely in The Book of Mormon. It was a testimony building experience as I realized the kindness and love God has for us as he removed confusion and contention through that amazing book. The Holy Ghost confirmed the truth of it to me as I read.

Thank you for living what you believe. Thank you for your love. Thank you for magnifying your callings.

Elder Decker

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's gone by like a plate of Floutas.

We are doing well. My new companion is getting over the flu, so we've been a little slow out of the gate.

 I am learning a lot. I am catching the vision of why finding is so important. I look at our schedule and see that the majority of the people we were teaching at the beginning of last transfer never progressed, and we are now seeing new people. It is vitally important to keep finding new people, and giving them a chance to accept the message.

I've found it is really hard to remember names. I want to know the ward, but I can't yet speak to them as well as I'd like, and then I go and forget their names!

Last week we taught a man we was genuinely and sincerely anxious to listen to us. He really wanted to understand. He even had a pad of paper out ready to take down what we taught. He had a great story about coming to Christ and the bible after a long drug addiction. All in all, he would make a fabulous member of the church. The problem was his attitude toward The Book of Mormon, the one thing that can prove to him the veracity of our message and he literally wouldn't even touch it.  He couldn't even consider reading that amazing book, that has done so good for me. We bore testimony, and were as inviting and helpful as we possibly could be, but he would not be budged. He just loved the Bible more than he loved God.

I noticed something interesting that night. No matter what he said about Joseph Smith or The Book of Mormon, it did absolutely nothing to me. Usually those conversations would leave me doubting and worrying, but all I felt for him was regret and disappointment.

Time has really flown. As far as I'm concerned, I finished a transfer at High School, a transfer in Provo, spent a transfer in Mexico, and now I'm going to spend at least two here in Pasadena Central. All of that in the last six months, and it's gone by like a plate of Floutas. I like floutas. They are probably like your eggrolls and taquitos mixed. They are the real Honduranian deal. There is usually queso or carne or something in them, but I swear one time it was papas.

Thank you for all you do for me. I'm am trying to make every sacrifice worth it.

If you could send English Scriptures as well that would be appreciated. And throw one of my hoodies in there, it can actually get cold in Texas (who knew?). Thanks so much.


Elder Decker

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chihuahuas and Christmas yard inflatables

This last week went well, and there was certainly a lot to learn. It was interesting to be finishing my first transfer in the field just as Elder Erickson completed his last. I was privileged to be his companion, and to learn so much from him.

The zone ended the transfer well with 4 separate baptisms, and 4 services. Each of those (now mormon!) children of God are coming to Christ and entering his fold. It was amazing to see the excitement and energy as so many made the enormous commitment to join the Lord's church. The Great Zone of Pasadena had two baptisms on Saturday (one english-yikes white people), and two on Sunday. Elder Erickson drove out to Umble for a wedding Saturday night, then he went back Sunday night for the baptism. Sunday morning was our baptism, then the Pasadena South Elders had another one after church. Sunday I got sick and was puking during Gospel Principles class, but after two jugs of pedialyte and a P-day, I'm fresh as can be. It's just been really busy and confusing and great. We crammed a ton of eating appointments in right before Elder Erickson left, right in the midst of my digestionary digression. We even met our extremely recent convert at Ranchito's for breakfast this morning at 7:30.

We baptized a lady on Sunday. She is amazingly energetic and excited by the Gospel. She has a lot to learn, and a long way to go, but she truly has a broken heart and contrite spirit and definitely was qualified for baptism. We will be careful to watch over her and continue to strengthen her. There field is certainly white for the harvest here in Pasadena, we need only to spend our precious time wisely. And then, just let the spirit work through us to get the work done.
I got a new companion something like 2 hours ago. His name is Elder Smith; he is from Payson Utah. I don't really know anything about him, but he seems great. He, Elder Jones, and I are gonna do some work.

2 things extremely prevalent in Pasadena right now- Chihuahuas and Christmas yard inflatables. 

My testimony, confidence, and ability to speak the language is improving. Spanish is really messing with my head. It's like I can't speak either language anymore. I've been reading from The Book of Mormon in Spanish, it does a marvelous work and a wonder.

I am grateful for the transfer meeting today, and for the spirit I felt there. It was energizing to see so many missionaries and their enthusiasm.

Elder Decker

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Have fun voting without me America

November 4, 2013

I definitely got your package. It was gladly received, especially by my companions. It just turned up on my front door, so it was pretty great. Daylight savings has really made things weird, as I'm sure it has for you, but we are a long way from anything like "cold." Don't worry about the heat or cold, those things don't exist here, but we do get some pretty sweet rain around here. It waits for every time I'm exchanged into a biking area. They've got Halloween enthusiasm around here, haven't ever seen so many decapitated heads since Brenna's LOTR marathon. But that night all we did was weekly planning, and ate a bunch of taffy.

It's incredibly important for people to do something in their own time. If it's really important to them, which the Gospel should be, being prepared for church will make a huge difference to their testimonies, priorities, and lives.

It's funny being the Zone leader tag-along. Everybody asks me if I'm a Visa-waiter. I'm not. I'm here for good. Last week a couple elders asked me if we even teach lessons, or how much time we actually spending being missionaries. The fact is, real leaders don't go tromping around doing super important mysterious things. Elders Ericson and Jones get bikes to the shop, transport missionaries around, order supplies answer questions, and ask the zone just to be better. It's not glamorous. So keep in mind, that becoming a leader is just having the duties you did before, but then spending extra time (sometimes a lot of it) helping others do the same.

Missionary work can be frustrating. I know what is most important for people, yet all we hear is how much people work, how busy they are, and how they are never home. Sadly we have two or three non-progressing investigators who will accept no commitments at all. Our visits are almost just social time for them. I fear that soon we will have to stop meeting with them, because our time might be better spent somewhere else.

I had a great experience yesterday bearing my testimony in sacrament meeting. There have been several times in my life that the spirit was really urging me to do something, but I would not. It is the worst feeling in the world. I could have easily talked myself out of bearing my testimony: the time is running up, my Spanish is bad, no other missionaries are up there, but I knew how I would feel if I did not, and I made a choice. As I sat down afterward, there spirit flooded into me. I knew I had done the right thing. I realized that when I asked my investigators to do things, reading, repenting, changing, that it is the same thing. I think they often know they should do it, though there are many reasons they could choose not to. I am glad I had the opportunity to do and feel what it is like to follow the spirit.

Have fun voting without me America

Elder Decker