Thursday, June 19, 2008

Notes from Sam -- 18 June 2008

Dear family,

I feel like we've hit a plateau with a lot of our investigators. They've progressed a certain amount, and something's going to have to change a bit to get them to progress more. It'll be a good challenge for Elder Adams and me - we'll have to make sure we plan well and pray with faith so we can know what to do to help them out.

Our lessons to members, on the other hand, are really starting to take off. We're teaching a lot of different members and we're starting to see some of the members progress a lot. The main idea of our lessons is to help the members build their testimonies through study and then to help them do missionary work. Last night in particular we taught a great lesson to a member couple named the Hamptons who have been keeping our commitments to study from Preach My Gospel and keep a study journal. We started by playing a song called "Child of Light" from my EFY CD and asking them to think about its message, and then we discussed missionary work and the challenges we face in doing it. The song really invited the Spirit into the lesson, and as we talked about missionary work with the Hamptons they made all these insightful comments about what they needed to do to improve as missionaries and about people they might be able to invite to come unto Christ. By the end of the lesson we were all quite excited about missionary. What was really remarkable about the lesson was how little Elder Adams and I actually did - played the song, asked a few questions, made some pretty unstructured comments about missionary work, and read some things from Preach My Gospel. What made it so great was that the Spirit was there, the Hamptons had prepared themselves to feel the Spirit by studying hard, and as a result the Hamptons were receiving all sorts of personal revelation about their missionary work while we sat in their living room. It was wonderful! I think watching someone else receive personal revelation must be the best experience a teacher can have.

I went on exchange with Elder McIntosh this week. We had a good time, and even though all our appointments fell through we set up a lot more and got contact details from a lot of different people. I learned a lot from Elder McIntosh as we planned the lessons, even if we didn't get to teach them - the idea about playing a song or doing something else to bring in the Spirit at the beginning of a lesson (which we used when we taught the Hamptons) was something he shared with me. We gave each other some good feedback and ideas about things to work on at the end of the exchange.

Our district meeting this week was about being happy. We talked about the doctrine of happiness (what determines whether or not we are happy, how happiness affects others, etc.) and then Elder Davies had us do some role-plays where we acted out various activities first in a sad way and then in a happy way. The role-plays got a bit silly in the end but they were fun. The meeting made me think about how Dad appreciated Man's Search for Meaning so much on his mission - a lot of the ideas we discussed seemed quite similar to Viktor Frankl's message. My assignment for district meeting was to pick some happy hymns to sing - I chose "There is Sunshine In My Soul Today" and "We Are All Enlisted."

Bus contacting has been up and down a bit this week, but it's becoming more natural. We've been struggling a bit with our goal to get contact information from someone on a bus every day, but during the day when Elder McIntosh and I were on exchange, we were blessed with contact details from 4(!) different people on the bus. So it is possible, we just have to keep working at it.

Next Wednesday is transfers again. It's come up again really quickly - it's a bit tough to believe that I've already served with Elder Adams about as long as my trainer served with me. Fortunately it seems almost certain that we'll be together for another transfer, so I'll have time to fix all the bad habits I've taught Elder Adams over the past six weeks. : ) I'm sufficiently certain I'll be staying that you can just go on sending letters to my address here until further notice.

We were supposed to get a group photo of our district on Tuesday (our last district meeting) but Elder Davies and Elder McIntosh had to run off, so the plan now is to do them on Sunday. So hopefully I'll have one for next Wednesday. I don't think there will be too many changes for our district in transfers.

I'll try and send some photos in a minute.

I hope you're all studying Preach My Gospel as well as your scriptures, and using a study journal. : ) If not you can invite your missionaries to come over and teach you about it.

Elder Pimentel

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