So this last week I got to go to Manchester, NH for Tuesday and Wednesday for a MLT (missionary leadership training) meeting. I was there with 45 other missionaries including the Zone Leaders from Concord and Exeter, all the District Leaders and Trainers in the mission, most of the sister missionaries, and a few select others. IT WAS AMAZING! It was basically directed towards teaching us many different principles that we need to work on as a mission, and then we are to go back and teach those things to our districts, companions, etc. I learned so much about so many great and helpful things. It was really great getting to spend so much time with President and Sister Wilkey, too.
Oh, and I bet you are all wondering - yes Spanish Sacrament Meeting is interesting. I love it, but it's hard to stay focused because there's always kids running around and people talk freely, so it's kinda loud too, plus the meeting always started 10 minutes late and a third of the people come during the sacrament. But it's all the same gospel, and that's what matters to me :) I'm really loving the Hispanic culture. It's very different than my own, but overall, the great part is that people are generally more loving/caring/welcoming/selfless and they know how to have fun!
I've also been learning a lot lately about relationships and communication and such. As a District Leader, I have the opportunity to help others who are struggling in whatever they may be dealing with. Some issues may be based more personally than others, but in all ways I seek the direction from the Spirit to know what I can do to be most helpful to that Elder/Sister. It's really amazing to also find how much I must grow in order to be an effective District Leader. I thought that I was being held to a high standard as a missionary, but then as a trainer I realized I was held to the standard of setting the example for a new missionary; and now I see that I am help to the standard of setting the example for a district comprised of 2 sisters, 5 elders, and a new missionary - my companion - and I see that in order for me to teach, correct, or advise missionaries in my district, I must first be doing those things myself. In other words, I'm learning not to be a hypocrite, and I'm growing from it, haha.
Oh, so the lady we starting teaching the other week, who is the daughter if a member, came to church for the second time yesterday and then came to the Christmas broadcast! It was so awesome and she is so solid! She is loving this Gospel, the things we are teaching her, and the happiness/hope it brings to her life. Oh and we had a sweet miracle this last week. Elder Blad and I were walking to an appointment, but we were going to be super early, so we looked at the ward list and decided to contact some people along the way. As we went to the house of a less-active man, we looked at the mailbox, and his name wasn't there. I looked at Elder Blad a little disappointed and he said, "Who knows, let's still try anyways". As we went up the stairs, I had this feeling that my expectations were right, but that something good was about to happen. We knocked on the door, and sure enough, the man we were looking for had moved a year or so ago, BUT when we offered to share a Christmas message with the man and his family, and quickly invited us in. It was so great! and it was all in Spanish! The family enjoyed our message, and we even got to share with them more about our church and the Book of Mormon. We then gave them a copy and they said we can come back next week to tell them more about it. I was surprised that I was able to do all this in Spanish, cause I've really been struggling with it lately, but the best part for me was when I was testifying about the Book of Mormon; everything flowed so smoothly, they all listened closely, and the Spirit was definitely there. So that night I relearned that sometimes the wrong address will prove to be the right person - or family :)
Well, I love ya and I'm excited to tell you about what miracles come from working during the Christmas season!
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr