Another week in the mission has come and gone, and I am clueless how that happened. I was in divisions with Elder Lopez, one of the Zone leaders in his area for two days, and I don´t know why but, I feel like those two days just whisked by like they weren´t anything. We worked hard and really put a lot of effort, but it was so weird being in a different area. I also went with him for some interviews that he had to do for some of the district leaders...but we had to go all the way to Atlacomulco, which is about an hour north of Toluca in bus. (Elder Leavitt, the other Zone leader, who also was in Toluca Centro about a year ago, actually told me that our area actually stretches as far north as Atlacomulco.....that´s HUGE!)
Anyway, when I returned with Elder Chavez, it was like a breath of fresh air....I was back in my area. I learned a lot from the divisions and I got to know a lot of good people in the other area, but I feel more like I belong in this area. Anyway, the last two days of the week, we were able to work together well, and try to put what we learned in our different divisions in action.(Elder Chavez was here with Leavitt while I was with Lopez)
Also, we were really pleased that we were able to enjoy some fruits this week. Javier and Rocío were interviewed this friday, got baptized on saturday, and confirmed Sunday in church! It was something really gratifying to see that our work finally amounted to some fruits....but also humbling to realize how little we did. Sometimes I think we are literally spiritual cheerleaders for them so that they can win their game victorious. (not exactly a manly image, but oh well). But literally, I am really surprised how the Lord prepares the people. I think after the first lesson with Javier, I knew he was going to be baptized. Rocío, I felt would also be baptized, but needed more encouraging. Well, three weeks of teaching, encouraging, and fellowshipping later: the four of us were in the Baptismal font.
It really is a beautiful thing to be in the baptismal font, but I think it´s all the more gratifying after having taken that journey together from the beginning. This is one of the first times that I have had the opportunity to find, teach, and baptize the same family with the same companion in the same change. It really was a great experience this Saturday to help them make that decision. We´re looking to see if our other investigators will be able to take the same decision. It will be hard to get some of them for this change...because it ends this week, but I believe there are some that are ready, they simply need the encouragement to make the decision. That being said, I feel that that attitude can be at times dangerous. If we push people too fast to be baptized, it becomes OUR baptism....great for numbers, but hard on the people that have been converted into numbers.
I have seen many members that are less active, good members and everything, but they feel a weird sense of obligation now that they have been baptized and they feel scared about it. Actually, one of them has a son that is 10 years old and not baptized because she doesn´t want him to feel pressured too soon. As missionaries, we have a powerful calling, but an overwhelming responsibility. With every single one of these "numbers" we might see, there´s a face, a name, a soul. We have to be careful that we don´t let the number overshadow the rest. A brother in the ward here told us something I think has a lot of reason. He said "Focus on the people, and being obedient yourself, and the fruits will come. The worse thing you can do is focus on the numbers, because then they will never come."
I think that is really true. I think a lot of the time, when we focus on the numbers, we are no longer instruments of the Lord. We are merely ourselves, looking to gain fame and look good to peers, family, friends, leaders, and everyone else. But how many times do we look at shovel before we start digging? Never, unless the shovel doesn´t work when we try it. When we draw attention to ourselves, not only as missionaries, but in whatever calling we have, we no longer are a functioning instrument. More and more I realize that humility has everything to do with the work. We don´t use gold nails to build a house, because steel is more practical and just as, if not more, reliable.
I feel like I´ve written a ton, but I wanted to express that. I have been disappointed in seeing some of the missionaries....and I´m ashamed to include myself in that list....who get so pressured by the desire to be recognized by people that don´t matter, that they don´t focus on being the instrument the Lord wants us to be. I have realized a lot of things in the mission, but this is one of the biggest, and one of the ones I´m probably going to have to struggle and fight for some time to finally be the instrument the Lord wants me to be. I think I´m realizing more day by day what it really means to "forget yourself and get to work."
Thank you all for your support, your love, your prayers. They really do help. I feel like I have angels back at home to support me. Keep praying!