Sorry I am emailing so late in the week and so late at night. It was transfer week and we were busy. It went extremely well other than Salt Lake cancelling one of the elders return flights and him not being able to check in (I had the fun assignment of calling church travel and working that one out and then calling his family), there were three different arriving groups (visa waiters, Provo MTC, and Mexico MTC) and two of the planes were late, and all the departing missionaries flying back to Utah got to talking during their lay over in Phoenix and missed their flights (we almost just sent them all to stay at our house with mom, dad and Bex).
After so much time of constant going and lack of sleep, President Ashton and Elder Nilsen (our Housing Coordinator and President Ashton's good friend) took us golfing Thursday afternoon to relax. I learned that golf is not how I relax. It was fun though and we decided to make it a day after transfer tradition.
On Friday, we had Mission Leadership Council all day. That was best missionary meeting I have been to in the field. The Spirit taught me and testified and comforted and I left know what I needed to do and who I need to be. President Ashton on December 24, 2012 told the mission that he had received revelation that it is God's will that we baptize 1,000 people in the year 2013. By the end of August we will be at 300. That gives us 20 weeks to baptize 700 people. We are doing a mission wide fast (all members and missionaries) on September 1st in order to make this happen. The revelation I received during the meeting was what my part is in accomplishing the Lord's will.
Missionary work here is incredibly different than six months ago. Instead of us doing the missionary work and letting the members save the members, we now try to save the members and put them in charge of missionary work. As you can imagine there are some major changes to work out with that, but the results have been quite interesting. We rolled out a plan with Hermano Perez (the Ward Mission Leader) to teach every single family in our ward all the missionary discussions in their homes by the end of the year. We will start with the bishopric and then work through the Ward Council and on down the line. As we have been teaching members, it has been shocking to see how many members don't pay tithing, don't read the scriptures, don't fully keep the Word of Wisdom, and overall just aren't converted. We are presenting the plan to the Ward Council in the morning and then having a Noche de Hogar with the bishopric on Monday. Please pray that the Spirit will be there and that they will understand the vision of missionary work in these the last days.
The idea behind this plan is that instead of having 2-6 missionaries in charge of finding, teaching, and baptizing in a ward that has thousands of non-members living in the boundaries, we are going to go teach and strengthen 300 members and have them do all the work for us. The miracles that we have seen already are powerful.
So we aren't really teaching investigators right now. But have been teaching and testifying of Family History, the Atonement, and repentance to those who are struggling to keep their baptismal covenants. Tonight we went to go teach a family where the kids (all teenagers and one returned missionary) are active but the mom works most Sunday's and the dad refuses to go.
The kids weren't home and when we got there the mom was on the phone the whole time. The dad has one of the hardest hearts I have encountered on my mission and he generally screams and argues and fights during the lessons saying that he can't change and so on and so on. Tonight began about the same as always but after letting him talk for 15 minutes, we asked if we could say a prayer. I offered the prayer and prayed for every single thing their family needed. As a side note, I have found that that does wonders to change people's attitude towards me. After the prayer, it was silent for almost a full minute. I then looked at the hermano and bore my testimony. The Spirit came and after months of meeting with him, his heart was touched. The lesson was so different! He was calm, he stopped lying to us about being tricked into being baptized and told us that he had been really active in the church and had loved the church when we was living in Mesa. He told us his real problem and we scheduled an appointment with the Bishop for next week.
It was an incredible experience to be able to be used in the Lord's hands convey the Holy Ghost to one of Heavenly Father's sons.
We have been talking about desires a lot recently and I just want to desire God's will. There is nothing more rewarding or worthwhile in the world.
Elder Johnson and I have smart phones. We still have no idea when we as a mission will get the new rollout of Facebook and tablets and smart phones, but we asked the right questions and now have smart phones with the LDS Gospel Library. That makes studies very effective.
So much more to say, but it is late and we are going to bed.
I love you all and could not be more grateful for my family. Thank you for all the emails this week.