Friday, August 12, 2011

Lessons Learned as a Trainer

Hey Family.

Things are going great here.  This last week was really great.  First off, as I said last week, I have a greenie, and he's really cool.  He's from "La Fabrica" aka Utah, but was born near San Francisco.  He grew up there until he was 12.  So yeah, this week has been a fairly big change, and also a great chance for me to increase my patience, and my Christ like attributes.  Patience, because it's all new, and Elder Hulme has needed to ask who and what things are a lot.  By that I mean he asks, I answer, and then like 1 hr later he asks again because it's slipped his mind.  And I've noticed that it bugs me a little, but also as I thought about it, I realized how much of a change it really is for him, and I remembered what it was like for me during my first cycle.   I was kinda doing some thinking this week on what my trainer was like, and how my first cycle really affected the missionary I am now.  And what I realized was that my first cycle really wasn't very good.  Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I really didn't learn anything about missionary work.  As much as my trainer liked his mission, he really was worn out, and didn’t really want to do all the work anymore.  As part of this realization, and in my thinking process up until now, I realized that as little as my trainer taught me, he definitely showed me a great example of what I don’t want to be, and how I should work and everything with Elder Hulme.  And Elder Hulme has taught me a lot during this week, and being with him constantly makes me want to be a better and better example for him, so that he's set on the right foot to becoming a fantastic missionary, which I have the faith he will become.  As for the whole District Leader trainer thing it's really not a problem.  The District leader "duties" really don’t take up a lot of time, nor do I really have any meetings to go very often.  So yeah, it's really not too much.  I'm just focusing on improving myself and through so doing becoming a better example for those in my district and out.
At this moment we don’t have a lot of people to teach, but we are definitely seeing some success, and we've been finding some new people to teach, or to hand off to the English speaking Elders.  There aren’t really any Caucasians here, but anyone we find who speaks English has to be taught by them, unless they want to attend the Spanish ward.  But the majority of people here in the Bronx speak Spanish, or both.  And the majority of Spanish people are either from Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic.  This cycle we have been planning on a way to get to know more of the members in the ward, so we've been making a lot of appointments with them, because in reality the best way to work and find people is through the members.  I really didn’t get to meet any of the members during my last cycle, so we're trying to make a good connection with the members in our area.  The other day one member invited us to come by and teach her aunt.  It was really cool, because they live together and the member was just baptized like 8 months ago or so, and she lives with her aunt and a few other people.  So we were visiting the member one day, and she asked us if we could come back the next day to teach her aunt a little more, and to try and help her accept the gospel.  The name of the Member is Venecia and she's pretty awesome.  She's missing all her teeth too, which just makes her super hard to understand, so Elder Hulme doesn’t really understand her.  He understands most people if they speak fairly clear, but for her, he just looks at me and says "what?!?"  Which to be fair, the same thought goes through my head occasionally with her.  So we went by yesterday, and taught her aunt Carmen a restoration lesson, and it seemed like she really understood the need for a restoration and I think she honestly has a desire to find out if it's true.  So we left her with a book of Mormon, and a little bit of reading to do by the next time we pass by on Monday.  Right now I think our biggest obstacle with her is that she works every Sunday, and her job requires her to be there for 24 hrs 3 days a week, and Sunday is one of those days.  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.  For now we'll just focus on helping her receive a testimony that this is the true church.  Another thing I noticed during that lesson is how the Holy Ghost can work through us.  My Spanish certainly isn’t perfect yet, and I have lots of things I need to fix.  But When I was really listening to what she was saying, I was able to speak much more clearly, and when I was trying to think ahead on how I would phrase something, it just didn’t want to happen.  So this last week my testimony has really been strengthened on the power that the Holy Ghost offers in helping with the missionary work, and how, really, my Job as a Missionary is to hold open the door of my mouth, and allow the Spirit to use me as a tool to teach the people here.  So yeah, things have really been going good this last week, and I honestly think that this opportunity I have to be a trainer is a huge blessing.
As for the questions about my ward, the Ward here is pretty sweet.  I'd say it's probably a little bigger than Heritage ward (unless it's grown a lot recently).  So that kinda gives you an idea.  We meet in the Stake Center which is in the middle of the Bronx.  It's actually a really cool looking building.  One thing that Elder Hulme and I are gonna do is take more pictures.  That’s definitely something I've gotta get better at doing.  I really don’t have enough pics and stuff.  So far I haven’t had to speak once in church my entire mission "knock on wood".  And I've only had to teach classes at church like twice which is also pretty sweet.  Most of the wards and stuff here are big enough that they don’t really have to call on the missionaries to speak in Sacrament meeting.  The missionaries do speak every fifth Sunday in my current ward, only three of them though.  So I dodged the bullet this last time. 
And as for my journal writing, it has gotten better, still not 100% but probably like once every other day or so.  Having a companion that wants to write in his helps a lot, because rather than talking and stuff we both write in our journals for a little while.  And as for the member meals, we really don’t have a rule.  I never ask for them to feed us, we just ask them if we can come by to share a message with them and stuff, and normally they do feed us just because that’s the way the Latino culture is.  They just like to feed people.  Occasionally even random strangers will invite you in to have a little something to eat.  Something that I thought was kinda funny though this week was as we were knocking on doors in this one building.  We were walking down a hallway towards a door to start knocking, and the first door we came to was this Dominican Woman in only a bra and pants.  It was kinda weird, but we talked to her for a little while.  It was just kinda funny especially the face of Elder Hulme after we left the door. 
Anyways, that’s about all the time I got for today.  I Hope all goes well this week, and that you all have a fantastic week.
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Carson Dilling
P.S.  If no one is going to use my laptop you could pack it away with all my stuff.  But if they do use it,  NO GAMES, OR LIKE, THINGS ON THE INTERNET.  Ok.  Perfect. 

I'm a father!

Note: This is a late entry from Aug 3, 2011

Hey, I don’t really have a lot of time this week, but I felt I should fill you in on what happened during the transfers.  I am officially a father.  That’s right, I'm training this cycle.  My new companion is Elder Hulme.  He's from Orem Utah, and is a really cool guy.  We're both way excited for this next cycle, and we really have some high hopes for what’s gonna happen this cycle.  unfortunately Elder Hampton returned to his house because of personal reasons, so that’s sad for him. 
Those pics of Sarah and stuff look pretty sweet.  I also see that she got a new laptop.  What’s going on with mine?  Is it in storage?  The pic of the sign looks really nice, as well as the weather.  Is it very humid there at all?  Anyways, I really don’t have much time right now.  SO I hope all goes well, and I'll be sure to have more time next week.
Love Elder Dilling