Thanks for the pictures and the letters. Especially yours Mom I know you were in a weakened state and probably screamed in pain every time you pressed a key. Just kidding but really you rock thanks.
This last week was pretty.... different, but really good. Just getting the hang of being a zone leader and being in the north of the mission. I guess I’ll just go ahead and go through my week and all the crazy stuff that happened.
I really don't remember I think we finished P-day and just went out to work.
Working, but Tuesday night I got on a bus a left for Viña to go to a cool training meeting for all the new Zone leaders. I was on the bus alone for 20 minutes between the cities of La Serena and Coquimbo (another zone with another new zone leader) Pretty weird to be alone but then he got there and it was all good. We went on the bus down to Viña without problem.
Wednesday: In the morning we arrived in Viña. It was cool to be there again in the heart of the mission. The assistants Elder T and Elder G picked us up and took us to their apartment. We got showered and they made us breakfast. Their apartment was very clean just like you would expect out of assistants. Their apartment was really small though. After that we left to go to the Mission home, where I had not been for a couple months, to go to this meeting. It was cool to see president again, I was a little nervous to see him because he had just cut me a week ago (cut is a spanish thing, if you say someone “cut you” it just means they told you you were doing something wrong and the English translation for it would be “called me to repentance”). Anyways he was there and gave us a hug. Everybody arrived later and we began the meeting. The meeting went for about 2 hours and it was pretty good. Basically president expects that we do everything perfect which is cool. he cut me twice during the meeting which stunk, once for high-fiving a sister missionary (that one he did with his eyes) and the other for being along on the bus for 20 minutes between la Serena and Coquimbo (that one he just said Elder Cropper that shouldn’t have happened) He told me I was the youngest zone leader in the history of the mission (what am I supposed to say to that?) He said I had all their support and love. After the meeting they bought us all lunch. It was Arabic food. It was pretty good--not amazing though. After that everyone else left to go back to their areas but Elder F (the new zone leader in Coquimbo) and I did interchanges with the Assistants. I went out with Elder T, the American of the two. He is my grandpa in the mission (trained my trainer), so it was pretty cool to be with him. We only had the time to do a couple contacts when president called Elder T. After talking for a few minutes and telling president I was with him and would know the way (to where--I don't know) he hung up and told me we needed to run to the mission office. So we ran which made me start feeling sick (I wasn't feeling that good). We got to the mission home and got in the car that the assistants can use and drove off. While in the car Elder T told me president wanted us to go search missionaries apartments for contraband and that it was good I was there because I knew where the houses of these missionaries were and Elder T didn't. He told me we were going to 2 apartments of missionaries who had lived in my zone before, and I did, basically, know where they lived so we were good. We went to the first apartment, luckily they were out working. We searched it and found nothing. We went to the second and searched it and found a ton of movies, likeike Batman, Superman, the Avengers, Harry Potter, and a ton of “not allowed” music. We also found out that these Elders (the two companionships) were doing sleep overs. Bad. Anyways we took pictures and left. At this time I started feeling really sick like I was going to throw-up sick. We went back to the office to drop of the pictures and I went to the bathroom and just was very sick in there. I told Elder T I couldn't work and he said it was ok that we were going to have to leave and catch our bus to go home in like 30 min. Elder F arrived with Elder G, they gave me a blessing, and we got on the bus home. I knew I would be fine on the bus ride home even though I was sick because Elder G in the blessing said everything would be fine. I liked the interchange with Elder T. He told me President expects a lot from me. I told him that just because I was a 4th change zone leader didn't mean I could pull baptisms out of nowhere. He told me that President knows I can do it and that he expects me to be different (in regards to other zone leaders--like he expects me to be special.
Anyways so Thursday in the morning we got to Coquimbo, Elder F got off and I once again rode to La Serena by myself. While driving I had the scary thought of what if I got to the bus terminal and the elders weren't there to pick me up. Anyways I got the bus terminal and there were no missionaries in sight. I waited for a bit, walked around to see if they were in the building or not, they weren't. Nonetheless I prayed about it and felt like I should just walk home, alone. My apartment is only like 4 blocks from the terminal so I did it. I said a lot of prayers and arrived safely to the apartment. I guess now I will begin the other side of the story--their side. Elder L, my companion, was with two other elders (interchanges) because I was in Viña. They were in my apartment and had woken up at around 12 to come get me at the bus terminal. They told the elders in Coquimbo to call them when the bus arrived in Coquimbo so that they didn't have to wait there for forever. While they waited they decided to play a game of Monopoly (my game), anyways they waited for a super long time like 45 minutes and started feeling like they should leave to come get me and that the Coquimbo elders had forgotten to call. They cleaned up the game and were walking to the door. Just as they opened up the door to walk out is when I arrived standing in the doorway. It was actually pretty funny, they were pretty surprised to see me there. I just told them I had been disobeying the number one missionary rule for the last 45 minutes (including bus ride) and just wanted to come in.
Friday: Friday our District leaders went to Viña for a big district leader meeting. They said it was good. Elder L and I just worked. We called Coquimbo to tell them I walked home alone because of them, they felt pretty bad but laughed about it.
While walking Saturday down the road I got a call from president. I answered and after asking me just nice little things about how was I doing he asked me how my trip back from Viña was. After I answered he then asked if my companion had been there to pick me up. I said no and then after awhile gave the phone to Elder L to explain the situation. It was nice because I didn't get cut. Elder L didn't either because once we told him Coquimbo was going to call us he called them and cut them. He did however cut Elder L for playing Monopoly. He said table top games weren't allowed--that made me feel bad because it was my game.
Sunday we had 4 investigators show up to church which was awesome! At the end of the day some Elders in our zone game to stay with us (they live 2 hours away) because zone conference was going to be in the morning.
Zone conference! It was great, the crazy thing that happened was that during lunch I went up to president to apologize because of the Monopoly game. I told him I was sorry that the game had actually been mine but I would get rid of it. He basically just told me to grow up (hurt a lot because it was the 2nd time he had told me that in 2 weeks.) Then he took Elder L and I to the side and told us we were zone leaders and he expected more of us. Elder Larsen and I didn't like getting cut by president.
Anyways after conference I talked with Elder T for a bit privately, just more about being a zone leader. I told him I felt bad I had been cut by president so many times. He told me basically that president cuts him everyday. He said president expects more from certain missionaries (the good ones) so he tells them when they were dumb. He said he doesn't cut the bent missionaries. I basically told him I wanted president to trust me and I wanted to be a missionary that president could use for what he needed. He told me that was good and I just needed to do it. I like Elder T -- we are good friends.
After Zone conference, Elder L and I did a zone training thing. We tried to make it really professional (we typed things up and stuff) Elder G sat in and said it was the best Zone training he had ever seen, we liked that. After the conference we left to go work and then Elder G joined us both for a mini interchange (Elder T was with other ZLs). He helped us learn how to control our zone better and feel like it’s in the palm of our hands. He said we teach well and that’s why we are zone leaders. He told us president only picks people to be zone leaders that are obedient and are good missionaries. We talked some more with Elder G about how we had gotten cut pretty hard. He told us about all these times Elder T and he had gotten cut. One time they both cried while president was doing it. Anyways, he just said president trusts us 100 percent and he cuts us because he expects more of us. Elder G pulled me aside while we were working and whispered to me that President expects a lot from me more than anyone because--I don't know why... Anyways he told me not to feel pressured just that President knows when we can give more and sometimes to help us do it he puts on the pressure a little.
Pheww--so that was my week. We just had a good zone activity today. we talked about our families and how we need to search for more families (direction president gave us). I love you guys. I told about how we were all in the temple together while we got our endowments, Temples and families are the goals of the mission now.
To finish this very long story Elder L and I are just a lot more focused. I told the Assistants to take the Monopoly, chess board, and squirt gun (sorry mom) with them. They liked that. By the way, you were right about the Monopoly game.
This week will be a good one because we have zone leaders meeting. That’s when all the Zone leaders go to Viña for a meeting with president. Since we are in the north its like a 2 day function...fun stuff. They always take pictures so look saturday on the mission blog and you will probably find them.
Hope your feeling better mom, Michael thanks for the pictures! Mary I hope your doing well in Brazil! Rock it, and good luck for the next 3 months while you learn the language! Welcome to South America.
Love you guys!