This last week was a little busy because transfers happened a little bit early. But everything has finally settled down, and we are back to normal work. :)
Right now, our mission's goals are to baptize more, retain more, and reactivate more. We've also made these the focus of our zone here in Goya. After nearly 4 months, I believe I have finally gotten a grasp on how to be a Zone Leader. And I think we're doing pretty good as a zone; I think we're on track to have more baptisms this month than for the past year. The goal was 10, and we have 5 scheduled already so far, and have 3 more we can set later this week. On the retaining goal, we are making sure that each new convert has at least the first lesson re-taught every week, and has multiple visits each week. So far, very few of the new converts have gone inactive. Yay! And we are really working hard with reactivating the members. Each week the zone reactivates around 5 people, and for Elder Felkins y Yo, we have reactivated around 23 members so far. We've also had tons of success just sitting down with members and recent converts, and just reading the BoM with their families. So things are looking pretty good.
There is a part of me that wants to stay in Goya as a Zone Leader, I really enjoy being able to influence so many missionaries. But I also want to train again! Haha. I have mentioned it multiple times now to Presidente Franco, so I am pretty sure this next transfer I am going to train again. That'll be fun!. But whether I stay as a Zone Leader, or become a Trainer again, or just work in the Lord's vineyard as a normal missionary, the calling is the same; to just serve the people. And that is what brings true happiness, service.
We have a multi-zone conference in Resistencia this coming week. So we've rented a mini-bus to travel up there together as a zone! Oh man, I am so excited! a MINIBUS!! Traveling by mini bus is a lot faster than using the local Collectivos. While it usually takes about 5ish hours to get up there, with the minibus, it'll only take about 4, and it'll be lots more fun. That'll also give us more time to sleep! :D
So Elder Felkins and I are hoping for 2 baptisms this week, Valentina y Lucas. They are the children of a recently reactivated member named Lucia Lopez. Valentina y Lucas are twins! Pretty cool! And the kids are super intelligent, like super intelligent. They understand nearly everything. In fact, we basically don't even really teach them. We just tell the mom what we are going to "teach" on our next visit, she teaches her kids ahead of time, and we just verify to make sure it's all good. And I feel really good about these baptisms because we will be completing a family. So far, only the mom's been a member; but after this week the whole family will be members. My only fear is that the kids won't go through with their baptisms because they are super shy. I don't know if they're going to be able to handle having a bunch of people watch them as they get baptized and confirmed. But we will practice a bit with them to help them get more comfortable with it.
This brings up another point I've been feeling for quite a while ...I've been getting a little frustrated in the mission because I have not baptized very many adult males. While I've had lots of opportunity to bring the Gospel to several women and children, I'm having a much harder time reaching the men. My frustration has nearly reached the point where every time I see a man sitting outside somewhere, I go and contact him and try to share a Gospel message. All too often, they just don't accept our message; or sometimes they'll let us in, but only to talk with their wife and kids, but not with them. Haha. But that's exactly what the church needs down here: Priesthood leadership. I'm obviously "a man on a mission," and so I'm energized to teach the Gospel and bring people into the church. But I'm starting to realize the best way to do that is through the Priesthood. I'm really hoping that if I keep striving and contacting, I'll start to find some men prepared for the gospel.
I love bringing people to Christ. When returned missionaries say that the mission was the best 2 years of their life thus far, I can vouch that it's not a lie. I have loved every moment of my mission. From walking in the baking sun to walking through flooded streets, I have loved every day of the mission. My nightly prayers have become really special for me as I reflect back on my day and just thank God for how great the mission is. It's really a sweet moment as I feel a ton of gratitude and love for my mission during these prayers.
I know God lives, and that he loves us. This is a simple truth that has now been engraved on my soul. The Book of Mormon is true, and everything else follows. The Gospel is simple and brings happiness. I love being able to be a messenger in the hands of God to bless the lives of others. Yup, I love the mission.
Love Elder Clemóns