Well, I called it. Ever since I got to Berlin something felt off. Not bad, just like Berlin wasn't a perfect fit for me. I felt since my first week here that I wouldn't stay long, and I was right. I have changes. My companion, Elder Newey, is going to train next change, so I'm gone. I have absolutely no idea about where I'll go. Predictions have ranged from Santa Rosa de Lima (literally the farthest-away area in the mission) to the mission office (again! But this time it was the secretaries telling me that I am going to be a secretary, not just a prankster district leader) and almost everywhere in between. We'll just have to wait and see on Wednesday.
The Lord's thoughts truly are higher than our thoughts. I don't usually understand the changes until the second or third week of the change. Here in Berlin I was struggling for the first week. It wasn't until I got to know some of the investigators that I figured out why the Lord sent me here: they needed my testimony to give them the push to start progressing. And now that they're progressing, I'm getting sent somewhere else to help other people.
I once read a simile in a book that compares missionary work to old-time field work, the kind done by the Israelites in the times of Christ. Sometimes the soil is not very conducive to farming, so someone gets sent in to pull out the stumps and rocks, and to enrich the soil until it will support a crop. Sometimes, it takes years to prepare the soil. Some areas are like this. The missionaries work and toil for transfer after transfer without results. But it does not mean that their labor is in vain. It just means that others will participate in the blessings of their work later on.
After the preparation the field is seeded. Many times, the sowers do not get to see the results of their labor. Sowers are missionaries who contact. They get into doors, teach the first discussion, but get transferred out before baptisms come about.
After the seeding, but before the harvest, there is still much work to be done. There is fertilizer to be spread and pesky weeds to pull out. I've done a lot of this work here in Berlin. I've helped to nourish people spiritually and to pull out the destructive doubts.
Then there is the glorious harvest. Baptisms. The thing that everyone hopes for. I got to do that too.
Unfortunately my time is up, so I'll have to continue this next week. Talk to you all later!
Elder Colton West
El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission
Editor's Note: it is very rare for a missionary to serve less than 6 weeks (one transfer, or change as they call them in ES) in an area. The regular changes date for Colton's mission is 12/23. Since this is 2 days before Christmas they had a "short change" of only 4 weeks from their last one on 11/11 and are doing changes this week 12/9. So this is the shortest he has ever been in one area. We are anxious to see where the Lord sends him next!
|Nativity scene at the temple!|
|Invitations to the temple|
|They have Arizona drinks here in some supermarkets.|
They are so wonderful!
|I'm eating sugarcane. It is delicious!|
|More Christmas spirit!|