What a week! This week was something else... It was a crazy week because this change wasn't like other changes. 9 new areas, and areas were reorganized to make a new zone! Zona Sensuntepeque. And that made things nice and interesting in the office. We had to buy and store all of the new materials. To make things worse, the temple office messed up and sent 6 foot refrigerators instead of the little ones we usually get, so we had 18 of those in the house as well (in fact we still do, they haven't come to replace them yet...). We had the entire house literally FILLED with stuff. There was a walkway about 3 and a half feet wide from the door to the stairs, and that was it. The kitchen was full, the livingroom, laundry room, study rooms...Crazy. I wish I would have taken more pictures. And upstairs all of the rooms were filled with mattresses to house the new missionaries and then the ones who finished and went home. We were up late almost every night, and one night we didnt even leave the office until. We had been out delivering stuff to new areas and had a few things to finish up at the office afterward, but don't worry, President knew and we had permission. We were home just before 11.
Anyway, in other news, we had changes here in the office, in my companionship! Elder Muñoz left. Elder Soza took his place. He is my new companion. He is from Provo, and he has 5 months in the mission. I remember how I felt when I came into the office, and how I felt when I only got 4 weeks of training instead of 6. Elder Soza got a call https://www.lds.org/night, and was in the office . He was "trained" (if you can even call it that) by Elder Muñoz and , and then Elder Muñoz left morning after changes meeting. TWO DAYS. He was trained for two days! And so he is still struggling and learning and stressing. But he is doing great. We haven't even left to go into our area to teach since I last wrote. Changes week seems to have that effect. But things will start to even out and hopefully we will be putting the hammer down on finding and teaching this week. We need to baptize. It's been a while. We just need to hunker back down into the somewhat "normal" schedule of being office missionaries and get out to teach at night. We have two baptismal dates still, but I don't know if they have progressed or regressed in the last week, and Elder Soza has yet to meet them. What I have seen this week is how the Lord helps us with our daily lives. I had a few situations this week that I didn't know if they could even work out. But a few prayers, handwritten checks, high-speed trips to President's house to get signatures and high-speed trips to the bank and we made it before they closed. I was so grateful that it worked out that I didn't even care that they could only give me almost a thousand dollars in $5 bills. The Lord helps us and cares about our daily, seemingly mundane wants and needs. But we need to do our part. I am coming to learn that this position in the office is good preparation for life. One day I will have to balance a job, a home, and a family with faithfulness in the gospel. I am starting to see how tough that can be. But that doesn't mean that the demands or expectations placed upon us are any lower. Hard times are given to us for growth and experience, not so that we have excuses. I think I may be making excuses - to my zone leaders, to myself, and to the Lord - because I have responsibilities in the office. My purpose has not changed, it is still "invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo, al ayudarlas a que reciban el Evangelio Restaurado mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su Expiación, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepción del don del Espíritu Santo, y el perseverar hasta el fin." It is still to find, teach, and baptize. Busier, more difficult situations are only greater opportunities to decide and show what our priorities are, to be diligent in ALL things. I'm going to stop making excuses. President Glazier told me that I was called to this position to baptize. Previous office elders have looked with the perspective that our work "influences" all of the baptisms in the mission, and therefore we shouldn't feel bad that we don't have many of our own. That is true, but President didn't say I was called to influence baptisms. I just need to be more diligent. Mom, Dad, Zach, Alix - I invite you to do the same. Mom already finished the Book of Mormon. Where are we? We can be more diligent, and I KNOW that there are blessings that await our family for doing so. I love you dudes. Dad, I am sorry and sad to admit that I did not get a letter out to you for your birthday. I'm working on it. It will be late, but it will come. I got your letters. LOVED THEM. Alix, go here
youth/learn/mission- preparation?lang=eng. Study your brains out. Mom and Dad, go here https://www.lds.org/ youth/learn/mission- preparation/parent?lang=eng. This new mission prep stuff is KILLER. And more importantly, I want to hear about how it goes. Will you do it? I have looked some of it over and I can see how helpful this will be, not only in helping Alix to prepare for a mission (if she chooses to go, for life if she chooses not to), but in strengthening our family. Dad, I am super proud of you for going on splits with the missionaries. You have no idea how grateful they must be for having a well-studied member like you in their lessons. Alix, I am proud of you for turning to the Book of Mormon to find answers to your personal needs. Start keeping your personal commitments you made at EFY now. Sometimes blessings are postponed, not lost. There are ALWAYS blessings for trying harder to live the gospel. Zach, I am proud of you for not giving up on your goals. You did something very missionary-like in your letter to me - you outlined your plans, and you also included a 'plan de respaldo'. Keep it up. Work hard. I love you. Mom, I am proud of you for finishing the Book of Mormon, and for being such a great Mom. I can feel it here, and I can see it in your weekly letters. Heavenly Father has a special place prepared for moms like you. I know how busy you are. But that doesn't stop you. Thank you for your example. I want to find parents and help them see how they can be parents to their children like you and Dad were to me. If I could truly accomplish that for one family, I would be humbled and grateful beyond measure. Those kinds of successes, blessings, families, are eternal. I am a proud son, and a proud brother. Love you guys. See you in two!
P.S. This is just one room of the house with extra mattresses. Elder Albrechtsen thought he'd have a little fun amidst all of the work to put stuff into the house.