Saturday, February 7, 2015

"I don't ever want to leave."

February 2, 2015

Dear family,

We were very busy this week. But it was a good week. We're seeing lots of good changes happen in the branch. We're really trying to work more with the members. Before, our main source of investigators was talking with people in the streets. Every now and then we would get a reference from member, but that was kind of rare. But almost all the baptisms that we're having are from the members. So this week we've been trying something different. Basically, we're no longer talking to people in the street. And we're visting the members like carzy. I realized that I really didn't really know how to work with the members. Before, we would visit the members every now and then, encouraging them to read the scriptures and stuff like that, and if we remebered we would ask for references at the end of the visit. But, for obvious reasons, we don't get many references that way.

So I was watching the District videos the other day. There was a video about working with the members. In the video, the mssionaries find out that the member was talking to one of her friends and gave her a copy of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I realized that the first thing that I would have done in that situation would have been ask for the name and the address of that person. But that's not what the missionaries did. They invited the member to talk to their friend agin and invite her to come over for lunch and talk with the missionaries. They even did a practice. It was great! It was succesful! I imagine that those missionaries got a super prepared new investigator that week. But I feel like if they had just asked for the reference right away it would not have been succesful. So this week we've been trying to help the members to take an active role in missionary work.

We gave one young man who's prearing for his mission Preach My Gospel and a specific study assignment and are planning to work with him a lot more. We challenged one hermana to invite her brother and 2 nephews to church. 

And in the brach, we have an activity every week that's call "La noche de hermanamiento" or followshiping night. It's a simple activity, consisting of a short message and a treat. Normally between five and fifteen people show up. But this week 28 people came. We sometimes have less people in sacrament meeting. We taught the message. We talked about missionary work. First, we asked them to think of the blessings they've received from the Gospel. Then we asked them to think of people who they want to have the same blessings. Then, we gave everyone a note card and asked them to write the name of at least one person that they thought of. We told them that we would give them a little time to think. People started writing right away! We gave them about five minutes to write and they just about filled their cards. Then we brainstormed and thought of many ways they could share the gospel with them, things like pray for them, invite them to church, offer service, invite them to family home evening, etc. Then we asked them to turn over the cards and write a plan of what they would do to share the gospel with the people they had written down. It was a great activity. We wrote down the names of everyone who came, and we will be following up. 

Then yesterday, we served our branch president. We spent about 3 hours in the church office organizing books and cleaning it up. We're also teaching his Dad, Mom, and sister. All 3 of them have accepted baptism dates and are coming to church. Member missionary work is so much better!

Apart from working with the members, we're spending a surprisingly large amount of time with church leaders. On Wednesday, we had our first branch presidency meeting. President L, one of the mission president's counselors, skyped in. It lasted about 3 hours. 

A lot of really good changes and being made in this branch. I don't ever want to leave. I want to see it grow. 

Then Thursday, the regional seminary and institute director called us. He was coming here to train our newly called institute teacher. He asked us to be present while he trained her because it wouldn't have been appropriate for him to be completely alone with her for a long period of time. So this week we received institute teacher training. That was a bit random and unexpected, but it was really cool, and I learned a lot.

It sounds like you guys had a busy week too. I am very much interested in where you guys will move. For what it's worth, Germany woùld be pretty cool. Sarah, I hope your knee gets better soon. 

Mom asked how G is doing. We actually haven't seen him since the time he came to church. It turns out he actually lives in San Salvador and was just here for the weekend visiting family.

Well, I love you guys!

Elder Hilton

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