Playing Shepherd

Hola! I am eating my vegetables. I don´t like them anymore then I used to…but I eat them. I always eat them at members houses, but in the pension I just buy fruit. Overall though, my diet has changed. I eat a lot healthier now then I ever have in my life. I figured that it was part of doing everything to not be distracted, that my health be good and that I eat the right kinds of food. I have been able to stay focused; it is just a little more of an effort then it was before. This week was especially difficult because I wasn’t with my companion for most of it, but we will get to that story in a moment.

My perfeccionist struggles are fine…I came to the realization that I was already perfect and therefore there is nothing to worry about 🙂 hahaha yeah, I wish.  Anyway, they are doing a lot better. A big part of it is not leaving time for my mind to wander. I just work on stuff constantly. I prayed a bit about it and refocused myself; I think for me it is just something that I have to constantly keep in check, keep going back to the start.

My scripture study. Two things, as a mission we are reading the Book of Mormon at the rate of 8 pages a day in English. This means we will read it in the same time that it took [Joseph Smith] to translate [it]. So that has been interesting, especially because at the same time we are marking all of the questions in there. I think the best thing I have done this week for study is the chapter in Preach My Gospel about the attributes of Christ [starts on page 115]. I really love the section on patience [starts on page 120].  It says “patience is the capacity to endure (list of problems) without (list of side effects, anger, frustration).” I definitely have the patience to endure the problems; I lack sometimes the ability to do it without side effects. I am patient, I wait, and I am normally quiet about it. However, I will get frustrated internally, or it ruins my peace. In the end, that isn’t patience. Para que sepan the first question in the Book of Mormon is “Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod?”

And now…the weekly review.  Tuesday was mission conference aqui in la Serena.

March 2012 Zone Conference in La Serena. Elder Wintz back-row far right. Elder Tonkinson to his immediate left.

That was really interesting, but it wasn’t much profound doctrine or any stunning lessons.  It was a lot of practice teaching.  That evening we did splits in our area with a companionship in our district that lives far away. I went with Elder Godinez from Mexico.  The next day, Elder Wintz went to their area in Vicuña and worked there for the day with Elder Umbach while Elder Godinez and I stayed here. We changed Thursday morning again. Elder Wintz and I did weekly planning and then worked. Of the 7 lessons that we had planned for that day only one happened. All of the others cancelled or didn´t answer the door. Thursday night, we changed with the other companionship in our district, and I stayed in our sector again.  This is why I have playing shepherd; because this week, I ended up being more or less in charge of all of our investigators.  Friday morning, we studied, and then he and I went to go teach. Due to some difficulties with lunch scheduling, we ended up losing two hours of work time, so we taught one lesson and then had to go to la recova (a part of the city) at 6:30 to meet with our companions. We switched back and Elder Wintz and I took the hour taxi ride to Vicuña so that he could do an interview there.  When we got there, the interview got changed to the next morning so we went, found some food, and then slept on the floor of The Elders (needless to say, I barely slept). We woke up. Did the interview and then went back to La Serena. Where, we had a meeting right as we got home and then lunch. We spent the rest of the day running around and teaching.

Sunday, we got up at about 6:30 to leave early and fill the baptisimal font!!!! Oh yeah, we had a baptism and we have another coming this week and the next week!!!!! WHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The kid, named Juaquin, has been investigating for 6 months and has had several baptismal fechas. It was awesome. Just to finally see him get baptized. That also pretty much finishes the week.  Not too much more to say there. There is a lot of work to do. There is always a lot of work to do.  Here are a couple more detailed stories from the week though. Yesterday, we went to see an investigator. She came to Church and had stayed for the baptism. So we asked her how she felt and she said “Good” and then, “I have a story. So I was coming home from Church, and the taxi driver asked me if I was Mormon and I said, ‘Well I wasn’t but from now on, I am.'” WHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We found this awesome house, and I got really excited becuase the sign showed it being in our price range. Then I called the number and found out that no, it most certainly was not in our price range. So the hunt continues for a home. I got a haircut today. Just a quick trim on the sides; I look more official again. I have been thinking of home the last couple days in association with the cold. It is cold here in the mornings and nights, so it makes me think of the fire in the basement and hot chocolate! Anyway, I have a bit of time right now, so I am going to reply to your emails personally now. Thank you all for keeping in contact with me; I love knowing at least in general what is happening.

— Elder Caleb Tonkinson

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