The most challenging thing I have faced in the mission field so far is probably people who don't answer the door or the phone. Sometimes it is investigators who don't show up for appointments, or investigators who never seem to be home, and they don't respond when you leave a message. Other times it is just that people don't answer the door, even when you know they're home. Elder Camper has taught me some fun tricks to tell if they are really home. If you look at the peephole, you can see when their head covers it to look through because the light disappears, and also a lot of people will lean on the door for balance and you can hear it. Other times they just lock the dead bolt right in front of you to get their point across. But from all of that, I have learned the value of backup plans. For every half an hour time slot in our planner where we write down names to visit, we have 3 or 4 backup names to go by in case they aren't home. Way too often, that half an hour is filled by going by all those names and having no one home, but at least we aren't wasting time twiddling our thumbs or looking for names.
This past week we didn't get to meet with any investigators. Our one with the most interest and potential was with his brother in Moreno Valley this week still figuring stuff out after his wife passed away. The others did text us in the past few days and apologize for being busy or sick and tell us to call today or tomorrow to set something up. Hopefully they mean it and aren't just being polite again. People don't realize that the nicest thing you can do for missionaries is to tell them no from the start. That might seem cynical, but there are some people who really have no intention of talking to us, and they're tactic is to tell us to call first or just drop by whenever, so that they can avoid us rather than telling us they aren't interested. Kind of backwards I guess, they're too nice for my taste.
However, because we haven't been meeting with investigators, our work with less actives and recent converts has been benefiting. Like I told you, Mitch moved back into our ward, and so this week we were able to teach him about the Priesthood and he was interviewed on Sunday for the Aaronic Priesthood. We also have been working hard to teach, fellowship, and bring to church those who just got baptized or who haven't been to church in a while. There is a quote from President Hinckley that says the first year of being a new member is the hardest and a person needs three things: a friend, a calling, and nurturing with the good word of God. We're supplying the third one and helping the ward get them the other two. We also had exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Friday, and I was in charge of Prado View again. It was a little bit easier this time, but it was really frustrating because all the people we tried to go by weren't home for most of the day. Luckily we had service in the morning, so our whole day wasn't wasted with driving around to empty houses.
So that was our week, leading up to transfer calls on Saturday night. But there's more to the story than that. Around 10 AM that day we got a call from one of Elder Camper's previous companions and he gave us some interesting news. He knew of at least 13 people who had been called by the APs to tell them that they were going to finish training someone else's trainee. Suddenly Corona didn't seem like the safe and boring place for transfer day, because we had 5 companionships that were training here. So all day, Elder Camper was waffling back and forth between whether he was hoping to stay or hoping to go somewhere different for his last two transfers.
To explain his thinking and answer your question about him, Elder Camper has 12 weeks left, two transfers. He figured he would be training me for 6 more weeks, and then he would only have 6 more left so President Mullen wouldn't transfer him to a new area because he would have little motivation to work. That's why we figured he'd go home from Prado View. But the news that someone might take over his training left him thinking that President Mullen might send him somewhere else for his last 12 weeks, which is long enough to get to know an area and see baptisms and be motivated to work hard.
Anyway, so we spend the rest of the day not actually so sure about what transfers will bring. So finally that night around 9:30 the Zone Leaders come over to tell us about transfers. And. . . Very little actually happened in Corona. The biggest news was that one of our Zone Leaders is the new AP, and one of our Elders is going to start training this next transfer. Apparently all the people who were called to finish training went to other places, and most of those trainers were given higher leadership like Zone Leader so they couldn't train anymore. In the end transfers weren't very exciting, but we were all on edge for a little bit.
It was sort of funny though because the next day, the Priesthood lesson was on pride, and I realized that I had been a little bit prideful. After I heard that Elder Camper and I were still together I was a little bit resentful. And that resentment came after hoping and praying all day that we were together still. But as soon as I was safe, I had time to wonder why it was and I started thinking, "Maybe President didn't switch him out because he didn't think I was ready to take over an area", and other dumb thoughts like that. Pride is never satisfied, which is what I took away from that lesson and I'm going to do better on that. I really am glad that Elder Camper and I are still together. He is really knowledgeable, and also I can help him figure out some stuff about his plans when he gets home. He's got a lot of plans and backup plans and he's just trying to figure out which order of priority they go in and how to accomplish them, but one of them is going to BYU-Hawaii, so I'm glad I can help him talk about the application process and testing and scores and requirements and all that kind of stuff. And we motivate each other to be fit too, though he's trying his best to make me gain the 40 pounds that supposedly everyone on the mission gains.
So now that I told you nothing really happened in Corona, you probably wonder why I called it change. Part of it was to see if I could trick you, hopefully that goal was accomplished. The other reason, is that I woke up and realized that at that moment my friends were probably sitting in some college class and that today was the first time in 16 years that school started and I wasn't a student. That's a long time to do something and then just change, and I was getting pretty darn good at it too if I do say so myself. And now I'm off doing something new and weird and hard and who knows how successful it will be. It's no longer just a fun summer camp thing. The realization hit me again that this is the next two years of my life, and it's not what everybody else is doing. I know that what I'm doing is good and will help me and it has been a lot of fun already too. So don't worry, there are no regrets, no trunkiness, just sort of a funny realization on my part.
Sounds like everything is going well with everyone, I look forward to more letters and e-mails once everybody gets settled into their new situations.
See you soon,
"Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work." -Gordon B. Hinckley