I have really been trying to be a more effective leader this week. If I don’t, we have a terrorizing “hermana” (sister missionary) in our District who doesn’t hesitate to tell us we need to start studying, and to knock off the horseplay. We get distracted sometimes…including me. For example, one of the things we have a habit of doing is placing bets on how many car horns or sirens we will hear that day. The Elders tend to respond better to me when we need to focus because I do it in a light-hearted manner, and not as a disciplinarian.
Your Mission President still has pictures of you on his phone. He asked me for your e-mail so that he could stay in contact with you…so don’t be surprised if you get an e-mail from him within the next few weeks. I asked him if he thinks I am going to be a better missionary than you, and he just gave me the PC answer that it is definitely something that everyone should strive to do. In other words, it is hard to tell whether he remembers you positively. I hope that President Smith isn’t only about baptisms like your mission president was. The MTC Mission President, President Cox, seems to be big on baptisms as well. He tells us if we are working hard, we should at least be able to get 20 baptisms a week. I definitely do not want to be a “cha-ká” missionary (note from dad: “cha-ká is a term from my mission days…it refers to a missionary who baptizes people without teaching them first). Nor do I do want to just write a family off just because I cannot convince them to be baptized right away; because that is not something Christ would do. That man who got baptized 23 years after you taught him is a perfect example.
I finally received dad’s first letter yesterday…the one you sent from Guatemala before you left the country… and I guess hand-written letters are more personal then emails. Congratulations, you were finally able to get me to cry… which is the first time since I have been at the MTC… because I usually just feel happy when I get to read your emails. My teacher informs me that it takes at least 14 days for a letter to get here from the states.
They took a photo of our District in front of the temple, and posted it online, but I am not sure where. They are pretty strict at the Guatemalan MTC. They don’t even want us giving our emails to other missionaries we meet in the MTC… but all the missionaries do it anyways. All the Latinos missionaries who arrived on the same day I did just left this morning. Even though I only knew them for 2 weeks, I made some great relationships with them. I got all the North Americans to call each other “the gringo missionaries,” and then when the Latino missionaries would call us “gringo,” I got all the missionaries to say, “you can not use that word…that is our word…only we can use that word.” (note from dad: this is an inside joke between me and Jake…it comes from a TV show we watched together).
Here is the humorous moment of the day: President Cox called one of the elders, “Elder Tomate” because everyone at our table did not want to eat their tomatoes because they were warm… so we all put them on another elder’s plate, and President Cox came by and said, “boy you sure like tomatoes Elder Tomate.” (note from dad: “Tomate” is tomato is Spanish).
While I have been at the MTC, they have trained us to teach people by providing us with “mock investigators” for us to teach in Spanish. So far I am 3 for 3 with getting my investigators to commit to baptism! Even though it is a “mock investigator,” I still feel overwhelmed with joy when each one accepts my invitation. I cannot even imagine how happy I will feel after a real investigator commits to baptism, and they can experience the blessings that the gospel gives them in their lives. While I was studying the Book of Mormon (BOM) section of “Preach My Gospel” (PMG) this week, I read a segment from Gordon B. Hinckley which said that every time you read the BOM, it just strengthens your testimony that the BOM is really the word of God. I encourage you all to accept this challenge as well, by reading the BOM daily. Remember, faith without works is dead. I promise, as you do this, you will be even more blessed at this time.
Con amor, tu hijo Jake (aka Elder Cudney)