This email was written May 20, 2010, although Josh never responded or even mentioned that I’d written. PUNK 🙂
Hello Elder Josh,
Yes, this is Nate.
Yes, I haven’t written to you that much (maybe once), mostly because I couldn’t handle the Stephy stuff… J
But now that you’ve limited that stuff, I’ve decided to write you a little love note.
This note is inspired by your email about dealing with adversity, getting rejected, and dealing with missionaries that aren’t working as hard as you think they should.
Here are some things I learned being in that same situation many times on my mission:
- The best you can do is your best. I learned this in Lo Espejo – probably the biggest “ghetto region” I was in on my mission. The people were really poor, addicted to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, and many of them had been baptized but were in no way active in the church. I had just come from an area that was the OPPOSITE. The people in my prior area were middle class, harder working, and receptive in most cases. I worked in Lo Espejo for about 3 weeks with little success. At the time, I happened to be reading about Ammon and how he served the people first, and then their hearts were opened. My companion and I and another companionship decided to try it. In the mornings, we would go out in our street clothes (president approved) and offer service. We’d sweep their dirt, wash their dishes, or whatever. As we knocked on doors, the people would immediately say, “no, no, elder, somos mormones pero ya no.” and we’d say, No problema, estamos aqui solo para conocer a nuestros vecinos y hacer servicio.” The people were skeptical but started letting us in. Who wouldn’t want FREE Gringo Labor? We did this for a few days and felt really, really good about the direction it was going. I had a new companion who didn’t speak too much Spanish. One afternoon, after our siesta, we went out to knock on doors in our missionary attire. I said, “Your turn” as we arrived at the first door. We knocked, the door was answered, and the people said, “No, somos catolicos…” and immediately he said, “Estamos aqui para hacer servicio…” I was like, no, no were not…we’re in our church clothes.” But the lady listened to his broken Spanish and said, sure, come on in. We spent then next 30-45 minutes cutting leather shoes. They were nice but didn’t really talk to us. Finally I said we needed to go but would love to come back to help more tomorrow morning. They said sure. The next day we did service for them again and this time was a bit different. They started asking questions about why we were there, what we were doing, etc. We scheduled an appointment for later that day to come back and teach them the gospel. The rest is history. The whole family ended up getting baptized – la familia Ramirez Catalan – and now the father is a bishop in the Lo Espejo Lo Sierra C Ward.
- The more you love the missionaries, the more they will do what you want them to do and support you.
- The more you pray for guidance and help, the more God will lead you to the right people at the right time.
- Focus on the small success – it will lead to big success.
I love you Josh and miss you. I encourage you to lose yourself in the service of others and you will find yourself.
Heavenly Father wants you to succeed and wants to help you.
We keep you in our prayers and look forward to your great news about La Obra Misional!
Tu hermano mejor!