Monday, January 6, 2014

Scattergories builds unity

Querida familia,                                6 De Enero 2014

Last week on Monday, Elder Diaz and Elder Bell both had to go to a new missionary training in Resistencia and I had to accompany them. So there in the meeting I was asked to translate to English what was being said and the room was divided into Americans and Latinos. It was kind of funny because the missionary the sat the closest to where I was said, "I don't know why we have a translator; I've been here for three weeks and I already speak Spanish." He then diligently took notes of what I told him in English. 

So in that meeting is where we had to leave Elder Bell; as I mentioned he got transferred for medical reasons to be closer to the big hospitals. He was really scared to meet his new companion though because his new companion was also training a new missionary, but that new missionary went home early (I don't know why). So Elder Bell was worried that that missionary went home because of his companion and so, as a joke, Elder Diaz told him, "Yeah, I heard that all of his companions go home early." But I've never heard anything bad about Elder Bell's new companion, so he'll be fine.

So in order to help the branch really progress, we've been giving trainings and making tools for the leaders of the branch as well as for the members. We've mostly been working on how to do missionary work and how to do visiting teaching; then we also taught about developing Christ like attributes. As we were thinking in how to present our trainings, I had the idea that the members probably have never been trained or taught on how to do these things that all the members in the States just know how to do. I don't know that anyone has ever taught them how to do visiting teaching or what is expected of them in their visits. So the things that we're sharing should be of great value and should help a lot in the work here in Campo Largo.

Part of our plan is to have activities and lots of them. We want to keep the members involved in the Church as much as possible, especially now that they're in summer vacation, so that they can constantly be working towards greater goals and personal progress as disciples of Jesus Christ. Another reason to have all the activities is so that there is always something for less active members, as well as investigators, to do in the Church in an environment that is a little more relaxed than the Sunday meetings. 

On Saturday night we had our first activity to help get the branch going a little better than it was before and it ended up being really fun for everyone who came. We split into teams and played a couple of games. One of the games we played was Scattergories, but we played it one versus one on two separate chalkboards and the players had to race to finish their list before passing to the next person on their team. At the very end we had a game that wasn't so much a game, but we did because we wanted to show to the unity and love that everyone has one for another. So what we did was had everyone sit in a big circle to start and we brought with us a ball of yarn. The game went like this: You grabbed and held onto a length of yarn and you then pass the ball of yarn to another person, but in order to pass the ball you have to share something you admire about that person or share a good memory you have with that person. So we passed the ball around and ended up with a big spiderweb to show how we were all linked together. The idea was to have a visual representation of the unity that we have. We then shared about how we need to extend these links that we made to all the of the members who weren't present so that they too can participate in the blessing of the Church.

To go with the ball of yarn activity, we shared this scripture:

And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. (Mosiah 18:21)

Omar came to the activity as well, but only at the very end because he was waiting to take his niece home. So we convinced him to come in and stay a while. So he had some refreshments with the rest of the members, but he obviously wasn't as comfortable with everyone as he was a month ago. Now his hair has grown long and he has an earring that wasn't there before. But at least we've been able to meet with him now, even if it was for just a few minutes, but now it looks like Omar and Martha will be getting back together. So we're going to see what they want to do about their baptism and if we're going to continue with the wedding or if they are going to continue living separate.

We've been working quite a bit with the computer program from the Church that holds all of the records for everything quite a bit this week because it has been broken for a couple weeks. I've spent hours talking with the people from Salt Lake going through restoration processes and troubleshooting to get all of our records running the way they should be. It's been a tedious and boring process. I'm just hoping it's not some sort of sign as to what is going to happen to the branch in a few weeks.

Yesterday we sent five of the youth to the EFY event in Formosa. We've been helping them get ready since November and they finally left yesterday for their five day trip. As it is an event from the Church, all the youth are required to have basically missionary haircuts for the event,so we had two young men who needed a trim. One of them was very, very unwilling to cut his hair (his haircut is short on the sides and back and very, very long on the top like a super mohawk). So we trimmed his sides up and cleaned up around his ears and neck, but he wouldn't let us touch the top. So we said that they'll just make him cut it hen he gets there and he said that that would be fine. So we'll see if he comes back with short hair or not. The other young man was fine to let us cut his hair because he already knew, as did the other, that they were getting haircuts. So we gave them both their haircut just two hours before leaving.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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