August 12, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Elder Said)
Lord, I Believe
Last night Said and I had a meeting with Stake President Castillo and went over some good points, mostly having to do with the unity between members and missionaries and the retention of recent converts. We spoke of the belief that we have a wall between members and missionaries that can be broken and we can begin to work together, and that by working together we can be successful. The biggest problem we have seen is that to a lot of the missionaries the retention of recent converts has not been important and so the majority of the local leadership believes that the missionaries are only here for numbers and have absolutely zero desire to help the ward; only to baptize. This belief, true as it may be, is causing a lot of problems in working with members. The missionaries have destroyed the relationship with local leadership over the last couple years and while I would like to change that, many other missionaries do not.
(This is the eternal problem with missionaries and the work. Too often they get caught up in wanting to see results right now and thus they rush things. They work for achieving numbers and not worrying about the future. Because in the future they will be somewhere else and it will not be their problem anymore. Then you have the locals who will be there for the future and these problems being created will be theirs to manage and hopefully solve. So to be biblical, they get caught up in building a house on the sand because they can show a result really fast, but most of the time it will not endure. And the members want to build houses on the rock, to stand the test of time. A good missionary will not give in to the easy way out and will toil endlessly even if that means no immediate results.)
The "Baptize, Baptize, Baptize" mindset is still very much alive here in the MCA and there are several missionaries that have no intention of changing. It will be impossible to fix this relationship with the members if the missionaries do not change. Take my zone for instance. La Zona Antofagasta is one of the lowest baptizing zones in the mission and it almost never reaches the goals that it sets. However this does not seem to be enough to change the way we do things. The ZLs are still there for "B,B,B" and they run they zone in that way. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and over again but expecting different results?
I have been very stressed with everything that has been going on here lately but a conference talk kept coming to my head, "Lord, I Believe" by Jeffrey R. Holland, a certain phrase from it especially: Christ Himself said, “Be not afraid, only believe,” a phrase which, by the way, carried young Gordon B. Hinckley into the mission field. I know that I am here for a reason in Angamos and I know that I am not here to do nothing and to flounder around and do nothing. In my email that I received from President Dalton this week telling me that I am doing incredible things in the ward and that, while results may not be showing right now, they will. I am trying to look forward 6 months, not 6 weeks, and it is very hard. It is a very blurry future, all depending on what I do, because I know that no one else who is here right now is going to do it.
Because of my desire to follow my mission president and work with his new vision, my numbers have been very low here lately and the ZLs are very unhappy with me. I am not working for right now, I am working for the future. They do not get it. The only thing that is important to them is the right now, and for that they think that I am a terrible missionary and leader. Because I am looking toward the future.
(The thing to remember is the mission president moved Gunnar to serve in his ward, and through the interview process gave him specific instructions on what he wants done. The new mission president has s different vision than the last one, and thus a lot of the other missionaries do not get it. They want results right now because that is what will make them look good; and Gunnar and his Mission President want results to last an eternity. So it is a hard road to walk when it seems you are not doing any good; but these crops take time to grow.)
Well I am trying to stay positive. I know that if I believe and I work like I know that I am supposed to work and follow the rules I will see results eventually. It is just very difficult to have to wait for them.
This week I have been trying to take out my carnet but I have run into several problems with this and have had to go the to the government offices every day this week and have to go again today, and probably tomorrow.
(A Carnet is his Chilean identity card. I am not sure what sort of problems you can have with that.)
And not a single other person has written me since you sent out my email.
(I asked him if his email had picked up since I put his address on the Facebook site. Shame on all of you! But do try and write him; everything helps.)
Also I do not understand those photos of the name tag in the sand, they seem really dumb to me, but whatever.
(I pointed out just about everyone else who maintains a public web-site with their letters have included a picture of their nametag in the sand. I said I didn't get it, and he didn't need to send one to us, but he should make sure and take one so he doesn't feel left out.)
I had tacos twice this week so that was awesome, also have an appointment to have tacos again this upcoming week, very excited. Should be able to start contacting references this week, so that will be really good. Well I love you guys!
(I am not sure where the Taco love is coming from, but yeah I guess.)