Monday, June 6, 2016

The Biggest Surprise of my Mission

Hi everybody!!!

Well, like I said last week, I´ve been transferred! I was sent from the coast to the very top of the mountains. I am in Zone San Marcos, Area Tejutla. We are serving in a very small branch with an average attendance of about 30. The unique thing about this area is that due to the size of the branch and the lack of worthy priesthood holders, there are no branch members capable of being branch president. For that reason, my companion is currently serving as branch president, and I as his first counselor. And the biggest surprise of all? He is currently training me to become the new branch president.

So that was a huge surprise! That was the last thing I was expecting when I went to find out where I was being transferred. But there ya go! This area is rather different. We are high up in the mountains, so it is actually quite cold. I´ve been leaving to work in a sweater, which I never thought would happen in Guatemala! So that´s kind of a nice change. The people here are a bit more wealthy and reserved, and are a little bit more hard of heart, which makes baptizing here a little more challenging. This week has been quite tiring. My last area was rather flat, but here in the mountains it feels like every time we go anywhere we have to hike Mount Everest. Haha but I´m getting used to it.

My companion is Elder Villacis from Ecuador. He´s super cool and nice, and I´m learning a ton from him. He´s my first companion I´ve had from South America, and he speaks a bit differently than the other companions I´ve had. So understanding him has been a little harder, but I´m getting used to it.

Our assignment here is rather different than the average missionary. Since we are serving as a branch presidency, our duties to the ward are more important than those to our investigators. We do not find investigators through knocking on doors, but rather through the less-active members. Our main duties here are retention and reactivation, rather than baptizing new converts.

So my mission has just changed a lot! I´m getting used to it though, and learning a lot. I need to train to be branch president, and then the calling of a branch president missionary is six months long, so it looks like I´ll be up here for a while. I think the next few months of my mission will be pretty low on baptisms, but I will be able to see other fruits of my labors. For example, we are currently preparing two couples to be sealed in the temple, a sister to leave on her mission, and helping the whole branch receive their patriarchal blessings. The work is a lot different here, but I´m already starting to love it.

Have a great week everybody!

-Elder Thomas :)

Here's a portion of Elder Thomas's letter to us. Glad to know he's still a neat freak. 

I was a little bummed too about having transfers, but now I´m super excited about my new area! Don´t worry, our house is great. No bugs or rats, hot shower, all the good stuff. Yay!
I feel a little bit scared and inadequate for the responsibility I´m about to get, but I know the Lord will help me fulfill it. He always calls us when we feel the least prepared. And I believe this is fulfilling part of my patriarchal blessing: "You will be called to serve and help strengthen the church in areas where the church is young." I thought the fulfillment of that promise would come later in life, but looks like it´s happening now!

Never thought I´d leave the house like this on my mission...
The view from my apartment! That´s a look over my whole area. I´m going to be branch president of all of that!

I bet you can´t guess which bed is mine. ;)

The house!

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