Monday, April 22, 2013

Week #9

Querido Familia,

Tanner's dream might just be prophetic, because guess what.  I am no longer in Tallahassee!  I am now serving in the Valdosta, Georgia area, and this entire zone that I am currently in will be changing over to the Macon Georgia Mission in a couple of months!  I could very well be in Tanner's mission if my visa doesn't come by the time that he gets here.  Crazy stuff.

So here's the scuttlebutt.  I had only been in Tallahassee for a couple of weeks, and things were going really well.  Elder Correa and I were beginning to develop a really good relationship, and Elder Swarts was a really helpful senior companion.  However, for some reason I could never figured out, I was kind of under the impression that Elder Swarts didn't really like me.  I have no idea why, but he just wasn't to affable.  Nevertheless, we were beginning to have some success with our investigators, particularly Mignon, of whom I told you about.  But it was not to be. 

We had interviews with our mission president, President Jensen early this week, in which we basically just met with the mission president and talked through things.  So I had my interview with him and I mentioned my concern that I didn't feel Elder Swarts didn't like me and that I had honestly no idea why.  None whatsoever.  President Jensen wasn't quite sure how to approach this, so he just said to endure and try to be loving.  And that is how we ended the interview. But apparently I hit something in him, because he called me back into his office after a couple more interviews and told me that he would be sending me to Valdosta.  There was an elder here who had been having some back problems, and President Jensen wasn't quite sure what to do up until the point that I told him that Elder Swarts and I didn't seem to be too buddy-buddy.  He decided that that elder needed to go home and that he wanted to send me to Valdosta.  I accepted, and the next day I left for Georgia.

What a blessing.  Georgia is super great.  My companion, Elder Lynch, is ready to get some work done, so I have a feeling that we are going to have some great success here in this mission.  Elder Lynch is from Avondale, Arizona and has been out for about 8 months.  He has been super helpful and tons of fun to work with, so I am super excited to continue working with him until my visa comes (no news yet).  I had my first Sunday here yesterday, and our bishop is super awesome as well; he is extremely focused on using every activity and auxiliary organization as instruments towards missionary work.  Apparently Bishop Grant is known as being one of the best bishops in the mission, so I am exceptionally excited to work with him.

By the way, unorthodox black people names are a real thing.  So far, I have met people names Mayo, Quanyelle, and Tacheryl, and I am sure that I will encounter many more in the weeks to come.  One young man that I met was named Damian, but everyone calls him ET, because he looks like the alien.  Elder Lynch and I met him yesterday along with his friend Bruce, and ET is actually really interested.  He is 20 years old, and loves to try tons of different churches, so we are going to work on him to get him to attend ours on Sunday. We have a lesson with him later this week, so I am hoping for it to be successful.

Spiritual insight of the week:  I remember when I was younger I used to always get confused the stories of Ammon and Limhi and Ammon and Lamoni, simply because the story lines are pretty similar, not to mention the similarity of names and such.  But I am beginning to think that the similarity between the two stories is emphasized on purpose.  I am convinced that Mormon was one of the greatest literary organizers ever, and I think that the stories are written similarly so that the reader will compare them and see why one group was successful and the other not.  Both groups went up into the land of the Lamanites.  Both Ammons were taken bound before the king and then released to help lead the people.  Both groups are converted back unto the Lord and eventually led back to the land of the Nephites. But the thing that Mormon is trying to emphasize is the original purposes of the two groups that went up, that of Zeniff and that of the sons of Mosiah.  The people of Zeniff went up because Zeniff was "over-zealous" and saw the great commercial possibilities that existed in Lehi-Nephi.  But his mind wasn't stayed on the Lord, and his focus on things of the world led the people to sin.  But the sons of Mosiah were focused on bringing souls to Christ, and they ended up with great success.  

It goes to show how important your purposes are.  When you go on a mission, go up with the right goals in mind: to help others come unto Christ.  If you go out to see the world and just do it for the sake of doing it, you will lose important time in your life.

Thank you for all of your letters, and I hope to continue to hear from you.  Pietrus, I will send you a "real letter" during this week, and after you receive it, I expect a prompt reply.

Elder Jon Hendrik Vawdrey

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