So the whole mission is that densely populated with missionaries. Corona is a little bit on the larger side, but most zones have at least 14 missionaries and they can get together for their weekly meetings with no problem. Our entire mission is probably about the same size of 1 or 2 stakes back home. People complain about having to drive 15 minutes to get to their stake center.
Dylan is still on date for his baptism next weekend. He was interviewed this last Thursday and passed, so we just need to set up the program. He also came to our ward party this past week and really enjoyed it and met a lot of people, so I think he will fit in with this ward just fine.
None of the referrals from the blitz have turned into solid investigators, though we've only been able to get in touch with about 1/2 of them so far. There was one that we were able to get in with and talk to, though he was already very firm in his faith and beliefs. It was interesting to hear about them though. He'd served as a chaplain in the army with a Mormon, so he knew a lot about our beliefs and where they differed. He was really nice though, and we gave him a Book of Mormon because he'd never had one before. There have been a lot of blessings from the blitz though, mostly because while we are out and about trying to meet these people, we cover more ground. We have been walking and talking in the areas of each of these people, so there have been some days where we spend 2 or 3 hours walking and talking because people aren't home. So we have found some other potentials from that.
Our companionship is developing pretty well. Elder Walker is definitely coming out of his shell more because of Elder Mecham and Elder Beck. If we lived in a 2-man we probably would not say much and he would still be really shy. That's how I would have been if I hadn't lived in a 4-man at the beginning of my mission. We are learning how to work together better, though I still have the tendency to do a majority of the teaching. Elder Camper's prophecy that after he left, I would just let out all my pent up knowledge is coming true.
Since becoming a trainer, I have learned so much more about results being fruits of your efforts. And also that things come as a direct result of your efforts. And that is because when I was with Elder Camper, the planning was shared equally, or he still took the brunt of it. Any planning I did sort of followed the pattern he had established. But now, I see that what we plan turns into what we do. I know that seems like a simple thing, but it was a huge epiphany, that came along with another one.
In this mission, with such a big focus on strict obedience all the time, people talk about how if you are obedient, you will receive blessings. You wouldn't typically think that working out, or not keeping score on P-Day, or any of those tiny rules, would affect your work. But people say that they do, so it sort of created this divide in my mind of "If you do one thing, then something good but completely unrelated will happen to you." So as we were going by the names from the blitz, all I was thinking was, "Probably none of these people are all that interested, they don't seem solid, but if I go by and see all of them, maybe the lord will bless me with a golden investigator". But that's not how this works. If I treat them like they aren't going to accept the gospel they won't! So that has sort of changed my outlook on missionary work and the world since then. I'm really trying hard to have a positive attitude for every contact and every lesson. There is this really cool quote Elder Camper shared with me: "Those who say they can, and those who say they can't, are both usually right."
As for the rest of the week, there just a few highlights I want to hit. The first one is a really great lesson we had this week. It was with a potential investigator named Cecilia that Elder Camper and I contacted on the street almost a month ago. She'd been pushing off appointments for weeks so I had almost given up on her. But finally, we were able to see her on Friday night. She has had a hard time being in and out of the hospital, and she has also lost some family members recently, and she'd told us that she really had been thinking about going back to church right before she met Elder Camper and me. She opened up a little bit more and talked about an experience she'd had a few days before that. She had had a dream of her uncle, who had passed away, in this great paradise, and she just remembered him reaching out to her and looking so happy and welcoming like he always had. So that was really great and a good starting point for us to go from. We continued teaching the Restoration, and when we got to the page in the pamphlet that shows the First Vision she stops us and says "He looked like that!". We then taught her about the First Vision, and as we were relating Joseph Smith's account to her, the Spirit was overwhelming. By the end of the lesson, she had committed to baptism, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and attending church as soon as she could (she already had a commitment for this week). She is so willing and excited to learn more, and I think that the Plan of Salvation will help her a lot. She is on track for Jan. 31st, which is a long ways away, but I think that as we teach her and she begins to feel more comfortable, her concern of not being ready will go away and she will feel ready to move it up some. But we'll have to wait and see.
Saturday morning we had a missionary breakfast with the stake presidency again, and it was awesome! We have a member who owns an IHOP so he catered it for free, and we had some talks from the presidency as well as the RM from our ward and her family. One of my favorite talks was from President Zimmerman about the gifts given to Christ at his birth, and the symbolism behind them. Of course they were all of great worth, but if you look at them in context, it means more. Gold was extremely rare during those times, and it was only for Kings, thus the King of Kings would receive a gift of gold at his birth. Frankincense was a precious oil used in many priesthood ordinances in the temple so it shows Christ's priesthood authority as the Son of God and that it is present at his birth and an inherent part of his character. And the Myrrh was used in embalming, a sign of his death being foretold, and again, only kings and the wealthy were embalmed so it points to his royal status as well.
From that I have developed a little bit of a spiritual thought/challenge. We can not give Christ physical gifts, and the only gift that we can truly give is our agency. And the best gift is to choose to get closer to him. In Matthew 4 (I think), it says that when Christ wanted to get closer to God, he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. None of us can do that, we are only mortal, but it reminded me of something another missionary told me. Whenever you want an added measure of the Spirit, you should do a 40 day fast of something. I personally have chosen to fast from the comics/crossword we get in the paper every morning in order to get a little bit more scripture study in. What will you fast from as your gift to Jesus Christ?
See you soon,
"Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work." -Gordon B. Hinckley