Well I'm in the field. And I have lots of mixed emotions.
To explain, first it's weird being here cuz I feel like I'm not actually here starting my mission yet, because I'm only gonna be here temporarily. I don't know if that makes much sense, but basically as I get settled in, learn the rules and everything, it doesn't mean that much to me cuz in 6 weeks or so I'm gonna be on my way to Brazil. The mission president here doesn't feel like my mission president, even though he is, and my trainer seems to be upset about training someone who won't be staying in the same mission as him.
My trainer and companion for the next six or twelve weeks is named Elder King. He just got done with training another Elder who's going to Brazil. He's obviously upset that he got stuck training two visa waiters, but that's okay. We get along anyways. He decided he's gonna learn Portuguese with me. I mean, might as well study Portuguese while I do instead of wasting time doing nothing. Plus both his parents speak Portuguese because they went on mission to Portugal.
Another emotion to add to the big melting pot of emotions this week is the excitement of being actually in field. Not only that, but this mission has Ipads, which is super cool! I get my own ipad to use until I leave (the mission office has loaners for visa waiters). Everything we do is on there. It's gonna be weird going to Brazil though, cuz just as I get used to doing everything electronic, I'm gonna have to turn around and learn to do everything on paper again. So I don't wanna get too comfortable with the Ipad, but yet if I don't learn how to use it right I wont be able to serve effectively. It's kind of a weird thing
Some good emotions, I am seriously so happy to be here. It sucks not being with all my friends from the MTC, but here we are doing real missionary work, which beats anything we ever did in the MTC. This week I met a lot of people that Elder King was teaching with his last companion. We visited a lot of Recent Converts and Less Actives. One particular less active is, I think, the reason I'm here. His name is Antonio (no last names, cuz this info is confidential). Antonio is an old crazy guy that the missionaries only visited when they were bored, or all their other appointments fell through. They didn't feel like he would progress at all. He is deaf almost. You can be shouting at him in the room and he won't hear you unless he's looking at you. This makes teaching him interesting... But anyways, my first visit there I got to know him very well. As we talked, we turned towards gospel principles. At first he just seemed like someone that wanted to argue doctrine and such. He had some weird ideas about the gift of tongues and all kinds of stuff. As I tried teaching him (my companion thought I was stupid for trying to teach him anything at all I think) he just kept arguing. I realized what was happening, and stopped him. I asked him if we could pray together, which we did, to invite the spirit. I then addressed his concerns, shared my testimony, and told him that I wanted him to come to church. He was shocked and impressed, I think. He agreed to come to church. Which he didn't do this week (we couldn't get a hold of him on saturday). So we visit him after church. it turns out he was working late Saturday and didn't have a ride Sunday. Also turns out that the Stake president visited him after church, but before us. In short the stake president addressed his concerns about coming back to church as well (he was offended when he first joined the church. He's a homosexual and other church members didn't like that back when he first joined the church). He also gave him a blessing. By the time we came, there was a huge difference in him from when I first met him. He told us that he wanted to come back to church, and that we would give up his lifestyle to focus on the Lord, because that's all that's important to him. We never even told him to change his lifestyle or anything, but the spirit worked within him, and now he's more excited than ever to come back to church. I'm so happy for him, and this short email doesn't do justice to explain this miracle I saw this first week I was here. I wish I could tell you all more about this incident, but it would take up too long of an email.
There are other people we saw this week. Ill summarize it again by saying, it's such a good feeling doing the Lord's work, for real now. I'm simply a tool in his hands through which more people can feel his spirit and come unto him, and it's amazing.
I'll close the email by saying that this mission is a lot of fun. I feel like im in the bible belt, everybody believes in Christ. There's lots of bashers here. My first day there was one that started yelling at us just as we walked into walmart. It's ridiculous. The other day we visited a family. They're really old nice people, but their adult son was there that day, and he just started yelling at us telling us how we don't believe in Christ. We explained we did, but he just kept saying "no, I study you guys, I know what you believe, you odnt belive you can be saved through Christ. Any of you guys that believe in that prophet john is going to hell!" It was very entertaining. Made the day more fun. We simply tried inviting the spirit, and by the time we left he was calm, and actually seemed friendly to us and believed us when we said we believe in Christ.
Well that's it for this week, a lot happened, and more to come next week. This email was all over the place, cuz a lot happened over the last week and a half, but next weeks email will be better. I'm still adjusting to mission life here.
Till next week, tchau!
- Elder Chandler Efros
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