To answer my dear mother´s questions that are probably of interest to everybody, or maybe not who knows, I´m going to talk a Little about the ward. Wards here in Guatemala are different. The church is Young so even the faithful members need a lot of help to get involved in the missionary work and their callings. I have a ward here in Chimaltenango and it is a really good ward for Guatemala, but of course that is relative haha. The hardest thing is lack of families that have been throught the temple together, this makes it hard to have people filling key roles in the church. For example we don´t have a second counsler to our bishop, a ward mission leader, ward missionaries, and a few other key callings. This puts a lot of the responsibilty on the Elders. I know at this point a few returned missionaries are hating me because they only had branches and they literally had to do everything, so for that I´m sorry, but I´m trying to explain my situation here haha. I really do have it good in some aspects, because many of the members enjoy helping the missionaries and for that I´m grateful. While I´m on this topic, I want to comment on how important establishing the church is. If the mission work is going as planned, after the people are baptized and confirmed generally the responsiblity is passed on to the ward missionaries, to teach and complete everything else. Here it can be hard, because we need to balance teaching all the recent converts of the past year, making sure they have the priesthood, are going inactive, etc. while tracting and finding with our own efforts.
Something we have been trying to do in the past week is to reactivate many of the less actives (many of which are recent converts in the past year) reawaken their desire to progress in this góspel and then try to work with their family and friends, because these are the people that usually have non member friends, not the faithful members that have been in the church their entire lives, because here that usually means your social life is the church. Of course this is what I´ve seen in my ward here, maybe that is an over generalization for Guatemala, who knows. We were very happy this week because an incredible amount of less actives showed up to church, and so now ¨phase 2¨of the plan is about to be put into action. Just kidding. But seriously. We now want to work with them and have their help in talking with their friends and family. We were again disappointed with 0 investigators after trying so hard and having 8 people committed to going, but we have to be happy for the number of less actives right? I also saw one of the less active families paying their tithing yesterday which is incredible, and I´m not saying that to give credit to myself, because I don´t feel like we did anything amazing or fantastic with them, we just showed up and shared some thoughts with them. Also in another less active family, one of the daughters wants to serve a mission out of nowhere. I don´t know what is going on, but I´m not complaining.
I´m learning a lot about what missionary work is. I´m learning that going out and tracting for 3 hours (at least in my mission) probably isn´t the best use of time. There is so much establishing of wards and branches here in Guatemala that is a huge part of the work that many miss. If we just baptize a lot of people that fall away because the core ward isn´t strong the work isn´t going anywhere. I´ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and it gets overwhelming sometimes because it is such a large task. Thanks Dad for your advice, because it really helped my concerns with just that. Taking it day by day is what I need to do and not beat myself up for the things that aren´t going perfect or how we want them to.
Anyways Mom, no I have almost no interaction witht he Assistants and the President because our mission is so big and also because of some of the changes made in the structures of missions everywhere. My Zone Leaders are awesome if not a Little too ambitious sometimes (they often ask us to things slightly eccentric, haha but it´s okay, probably because one of them is ending his mission tomorrow and wants to end strong) and my district leader is a latino. I took another video of the apartment and will be sending that for Christmas along with pictures and letters! I was going to buy stuff in Antigua for people but it just was going to be very expensive and stressful so I´m sorry. And the weather has been warmer, but yes I bought some thin gloves for under a dollar and found a fleece in my apartment that was an old missionaries. But thank you anyways Mom!
And yes changes are tomorrow, I´m sure I´ll be staying but Elder Alberto will probably be leaving. We´ve made a lot of progress together, and honestly I´ll be sad to see him go. He´s a really funny person and knows how to work hard but still to keep it a good time. Anyways sorry that there again isn´t anyone really progressing, Jose Rivas who we had high hopes for has a lot of problems with drinking and is ashamed of it and because of that has stopped wanting to meet with us. If anything happens I´ll let you know! I love you all and sorry if I can´t tell you everything I want to!