Advice from dad in response to Jake’s last discouraging email: I know it is frustrating son. Believe me! I know! I lived it! You just have it tougher than I did because Tierra Fria is much more difficult than the coast.
Just know that the Lord will bless you for your faith, your diligence, and your hard work. Take comfort in the prospect that there is a family out there, that you will find, and that only Jake Cudney can touch. Don’t forget, I baptized about 60 people during my mission (most on the coast), and I would say that 90% of them are probably inactive today. It is those special families, like the Castillos, and the Brinckers who make it all worthwhile. And then there is the influence you may have on an inactive family that brings them back, or even the son of an active family who is contemplating a mission. Your example and friendship may make the difference on whether he/she serves a mission. Just remember that baptisms in and of themselves are not the end all and be all of your success. Once I realized that it wasn’t about the numbers, and I didn’t stress about baptisms, my mission became much more enjoyable. I know it is frustrating and painful, not because of the numbers, but because you grow to love the people you are teaching, and you want dearly was is best for them and their families and their eternal salvation. But you can’t stress about it, because you can’t change the way people are… and all it will do is make you bitter and sad. Enjoy your mission! Find humor in the way the Chapines are, and let it slide. Set goals on how many Chapines will hide from you that day, or count how often you hear “fejese” or “primero Dios.” Have fun with it. Just love the people for all their faults… because they are very loving and caring people. Once they know how much you love them and cared for them, they will open up more. Try not to be too pushy or salesy. They will see through that.
I hope this helps.
Jake’s response: You are right dad! It is super true that you just have to love the Chapines, despite their flakey ways. On the flip side, it is sad when I see people not follow through with the things that I know will help them obtain eternal happiness. You know, one of my many weaknesses, that God has recently helped me noticed… and one of the things that I have realized is probably holding me back the most, is this: sometimes I want to help people changes their lives so much, that people may see me more as pushy rather than someone who genuinely cares about their life. That is something I am working on, and trying to improve this year.
What Jake did for New Year’s Eve:
We started the night eating churrasco with Estelita. Afterward, we went over to the Calderon Family’s home (who, by the way, knows Yanet) to eat tamales… since I got gypped on Christmas. Later, we went over with the family who has us over every “Family Home Evening” to play games. To end the night, we just went back to our pad to play “Risk” until the Chapin firework show started… which, by the way, surprisingly initiated precisely at midnight! I was thinking that “Latino Standard Time” (LST) would carry over into the New Year’s celebration, and that fireworks would start 15 to 30 minutes late. This shows me that Latinos can be prompt, and on time if they want to.
I’m fairly certain I will be transferred this month. President Smith usually doesn’t keep missionaries in one area for more than 6 months. Estelita has already started telling me not to worry if I get transferred, since she is going to come visit me anyways. I’m pretty sure she has a special bond with me.
Thanks for fasting for us and our investigators yesterday. No wonder why I felt so happy at church yesterday… despite the fact that all our investigators who we had invited, and who had committed to coming to Church on Sunday, didn’t show up. I was especially disappointed about David, who had experienced a miracle on Saturday. Unfortunately, I will have to explain to you guys how we found David next week. We have some investigators who could only meet with us at 5:15 today, so we have to go. Bye! Love you!