Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Thirty-Second Letter

August 23, 2010
Hey Family!

Well, it sounds like you have had a way interesting week, but I will start by telling you about my week really fast. It was pretty good and we were able to find 7 lessons this week which is a record for this transfer! I know, that doesn't seem like a lot, but it really is for our mission. Our mission is so much more different than others in the world and I will explain that a little more in a minute. Like I said in my last email, last Monday was zone conference and Tuesday was preparation day. This week went by really fast. Wednesday was a pretty normal day and we found some lessons. Thursday the same... Haha, there really isn't much to say about my days cause they all just blend together! Friday I was on exchanges with Elder Hilton again and that was really good. He's a really good guy. We had a pretty long day of just contacting and knocking and didn't really find anything new. But we did have a good conversation with a guy on the street that I had talked to before. Do you remember in my first transfer when Elder Coxs and I ran into that guy that was just bashing on the church and calling Joseph Smith a moron and all that stuff? It really made me angry and I had a really bad day? Well, it was the worst argument that I have ever had and it really set me off. I didn't lose it on the guy or anything, but it wasn't good. So, that was back in March and Elder Hilton and I ran into him again on Friday and when I saw him, I was like... On No... So he started into us and started bashing, and I was afraid that I was going to get all frustrated again. But I said a prayer and asked that I would be able to keep my cool. It's so hard in those situations... But it went ok and I was really grateful cause I felt the Lord's hand in helping me to stay calm. I felt a lot better about it and it helped me to let go of the run in with him that I had back in March. Anyways, that was cool. On Saturday Elder Lindell and I were able to find and teach a few more people. And yesterday, Sunday, we found one more lesson. So it was pretty good. We found some pretty solid people, so I have some hope for the future. So, to address a few of your questions, dad... We were never able to get back in contact with Rojus again. I don't know what happened there. And I don't know why so many people get so scared off by us. I often ask myself that question... It is so hard to get people to listen in this mission and it just seems that so many of the people are so hard. In Lithuania especially, they have a very deep culture of being Catholic. We will even ask people what religion they are and thy will say that they are Lithuanian... Meaning of course, I'm Catholic! Most people are very hard toward us and I think there are a lot of pressures from families when it comes to meeting with us. A lot of family members tell them not to meet with us. I think a lot of people see anti-Mormon stuff and so many of the people here don't want to give up there lives of partying and drinking. There is a huge problem with that here. I really can't describe it to you. And I don't mean to be negative, I really love the people here and the country, but it is a very hard and worldly place. I look in some of the church magazines and see how much success the church has in other countries... Nigeria has over 80,000 members, Japan has over 120,000 members and I won’t even go into south America! I know their populations are a lot bigger, but it seems that there are so many more people willing to listen. Lithuania has 700 members but maybe only 250 are active. In South America missionaries get depressed if they don't get a few baptisms a week. We get a few lessons a week if we try are hardest... Sometimes I wish that I could bring all of the missionaries of the world here nd maybe they would have a reality check. This IS one of the hardest missions in the world. Now, having said that, I am very, very grateful to be here! I really do love this mission and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! I need to be here and this is such a wonderful opportunity. It really is. You also asked if there is something different that we can do here... I often ask myself that too. Ah... We try different things and new ways to try and get people to listen to us, but it's so hard. It's very hard
to do service cause most of the people are too stubborn and prideful to let anyone help them. And most of all.... The Catholic Church just has a huge hold on the hearts of the people. I'm sorry to be so blunt. Anyways, I hope that helps answer some of your questions. I get very frustrated with it at times and I often wonder what we can be doing better. But I appreciate all of you advice and ideas. ah... it really does help. Thank you. So that was my week though! It was a pretty good week. It's actually gotten a lot cooler here and I haven't been sweating at all! I actually got a little cold for the first time in three months! haha... But it was a good week for us. Make sure to make the most of this school year! You can't save or store time, so we need to remember to make the most of every day that we have. Ok, so dad, that is absolutely INSANE about the football world! I promise I won’t get distracted by it, but wow! I can't believe that BYU when independent! Is it just the Football team that when  independent? And when does all of this take effect? Is BYU going to be able to find some teams to play and how will they get into a bowl game? Man, it's just way interesting. Thanks for filling me in. I can't wait until I can see football again. But I've been thinking about this a little and I would please ask that everyone in the family be a little bit careful about byu football games this season and not make me feel like I'm missing out a ton. Tell me about them, but just be careful ok? You all know how much I love byu football and I'm really going to miss it no matter what I do. So please just be careful I guess. I want to hear about it, but yeah. Cool? :) The church is true and I'm so glad to be a missionary here. It really is such a blessing and I hope that you are being blessed too. I am constantly praying for you all in the things that you are doing. I know that you can all succeed. I am doing pretty good out here. It's very hard at times... I'm not going to lie! The mission is hard, but it is such a good thing too. I feel like I am growing a lot. I see that I still have so much growth to do, but I can see that I am headed in that direction! I have learned so much about the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ and I am really grateful that my knowledge is being deepened. I really can see that I am growing and I have so many things that I can see in myself that I want to improve. Anyways, I really need to go, but I love you guys an hope that you have a wonderful week! Good luck with school starting and everything!

Love, your Elder Leishman

222 days down, 508 days to go!