We had a great lesson with Teodoro this Wednesday! He came over to the Branch President's house for dinner and a lesson. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Lesson 3). I think it really helped him to understand the importance of baptism and of the Holy Ghost. When Elder Smith asked him if he was excited about his baptism, he said, "It's getting there." It was a good lesson, overall! He connected pretty well with Presidente Osorio, even though he (Teodoro) is a pretty reserved guy. We told him about the importance of coming to church, but alas, he did not come. That was a bummer. Hopefully he'll keep progressing!
We had a couple of good first lessons with some new families. The mission standard was just raised from 4 to 5 new investigators each week, and we hit it! We didn't even find out until Saturday morning that the standard had changed, so I'm really glad to have hit it. The mission is definitely lifting. It's a completely different mission than when I got here!
One magnificent blessing I have received from the Lord is the gift of tongues! I've been able to speak much more quickly now than I used to, and I realized it's because I don't have to translate nearly as many of my thoughts from English to Spanish. Most of the time I can just think and speak in Spanish. Another indicator of improvement is that everyone understands me (most of the time). People used to say, "Como?" or "Mande?" a lot, either because what I said didn't make sense, or they couldn't understand my pronunciation. Now people respond without obstruction or delay! As far as the interpretation of tongues, that's been improving a lot as well. If a gringo is speaking Spanish, I can pretty much understand perfectly. It's still iffy when a native goes off on a rant, but I can understand them when their sentences are relatively short, MUCH more than I used to! Of course there are still words I don't know, conjugations I mess up, and so on, but there's been noticeable improvement. Blessings from the Lord!
It's been getting colder, and there was a nice little blizzard on Sunday! Elder Smith's first snowfall! It all melted. But there will be more!
On Saturday we had our Branch Thanksgiving Festival, or as our branch mission leader calls it, "Festibal de Thansgeeveen." He's a gringo; he's just trying to be funny. It was great! We (Elder Smith, the Sisters and I) prepared a limbo game.
We had lots of delicious non-Mexican Thanksgiving food, and then played games. We threw darts at balloons, played stick pull, and the greatest hit: shooting a turkey pinata with a bow and arrow! It was lots of fun. Unfortunately, none of our investigators came, even though we invited them all. But there were a couple of less-active members there and Alejandro and Chelsey came! It was a good time.
We are focusing a lot on... well... missionary work! I was going to specify all of the things we're focusing on, but then I realized it can be summed up as missionary work. We're just getting another push to keep up with the Lord in this hastening of the work! There's a huge Christmas season initiative from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve called "He is the Gift." We'll be focusing most of our finding efforts and our work with members on utilizing this new initiative. It's going to be huge!
I'm grateful for the gospel. I'm grateful for the scriptures. I'm grateful for my jacket and earmuffs, my car and apartment, my branch and my fellow missionaries. I'm grateful for all of you, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission! I love you all! Count your blessings! There are a lot of them, I promise. Remember that Heavenly Father loves you! That's something to be grateful for! Happy Thanksgiving!