So this week was changes for the mission [every 6 weeks missionaries may change companions and/or areas] which means that there is just a lot of stuff that is going on. Missionaries coming, others going and just lots of people and suitcases in and out of the offices. On Monday we said goodbye to all of the missionaries that were going home and had a program for them with some cool stuff. When I finish there will be no surprises because well, I’ll be making those plans myself!
On Tuesday, we got all of the new missionaries (6). We picked them up from the airport and had a nice lunch in the mission home. It’s weird because I didn’t see the mission home in Lima ever [he was originally assigned to the Lima North Mission] and I didn’t see the one here in Iquitos until I had been out 20 months already. When we picked them up, I started speaking Spanish to them like normal because I don’t really even think about it anymore and well, 5 of them were American and I just saw that look on their faces from The Best Two Years: "that’s not the language they taught me in the MTC!" It was funny so then I just slowed it down a little bit and they understood me, kinda. I also started repeating everything in English for them too. We got them to the mission home and I could tell that they were all just so nervous and it made me think about how I was on my first day--I had no idea what was going on and I was so lost. We were sitting at lunch and just none of them were talking at all. I don’t know if it’s because they were afraid to speak Spanish or if they were just stunned by all of the stuff that was going on all at once.
After lunch we had a time to talk to their trainers and explain to them what they are supposed to achieve as trainers. Then we got to train the newbies. Again, when I got in front of them I just spoke a little too fast at the beginning and got that same look. I really noticed it because I was conducting the meeting and when I gave instructions everyone just kinda sat there...haha but then I slowed down and repeated myself in English and there were no problems. They actually did understand me in Spanish when I spoke slowly but I just repeated it to avoid confusions. Then there were trainings from Hermana Gomez, the secretaries, and Elder Anderson. I just took 5 minutes to share something small with them because really after all of that, I know they were just completely lost because I was there 20.5 months ago and I knew how they were feeling.
I wasn't actually even on the program to share something with them but I just took the time because we had some extra time. I shared with them Alma 26:12:
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
and related it to them. I just reassured them that they’re fine and if they’re lost they don’t have to worry about it because everyone starts like that. Ammon, even after all that he had done, all of the miracles and all of the stories, still knew that he was nothing. The Lord is the one who really does it all anyway. In the work of the Lord, our own capabilities really don’t even matter. All that actually matters is that we are on the Lord’s side. Because if we're on His side then He will perform the miracles through us. It just felt good to be able to share that with people because I knew how they felt because I’ve lived it.
I think that receiving new missionaries might be one of the best parts of this assignment. It’s an experience that is both funny and spiritual. President Gomez shared some cool things with them. Next change, we're going to get him to do it in English though. He speaks pretty well but he doesn’t have too much confidence in his English. Luckily, he has 2 APs that know how and we’re going to practice with him because the next group that comes in is big and basically all of them are Americans.
Other than that, we've had the leaders council this week and that was really interesting to be a part of the planning process of that and really to see how much planning actually goes into it and how much president really takes into account what we think. Also, it was way different to be in the council as the AP. I know that I didn’t really talk that much when I was back home, but that’s changed a lot actually, and that was way before being the AP. But yeah, it is a lot of new stuff that’s going on and its just a whole different world out here.
I love you guys and hope that you have a great week!