Monday, April 20, 2015

El Arte de Aprender Callarse - Elder Jacob Avery

Written by  Elder Jacob Avery, serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Birthday mango (he left his camera in Lima, so I'm using old photos).
"The Art of Shutting Up." That's the art I'm going to have to learn this week. My companion and I get along well and are learning together how to do the work of salvation. Our only problem is that my companion loves to talk...a lot. Talking is essential to being a missionary. That's how we we contact, teach, invite the Spirit and share experiences. But another crucial skill is the art of learning to shut up.

Preach My Gospel advises us to not be afraid of silence because it helps people analyze, feel the Spirit, and learn things by themselves. The fear of silence often comes when missionaries think that they are there to teach a lesson, and forget that they're there to teach a person. We need to understand that we don't need to answer every question, touch every point, and share every bit of information in our heads. That is not how people learn.

Can you imagine the Savior trying to teach us all that He knows in a 30 minute lesson? Of all that He knows about the restoration? That would be impossible and completely unnecessary. As missionaries we teach the gospel to help people come unto Christ, but that journey is traveled step by step, as is any other voyage we embark upon. The steps are only achieved if a person obtains knowledge and ACTS on that knowledge, so it does no good to teach the restoration in so much detail that it takes an hour and a half to finish. We need to focus on the first step someone needs to take to come unto Christ, and help them learn and act on that first step.

 After accepting a first lesson, an investigator's next step will be to pray about the prophet, Joseph Smith, then read and pray about the Book of Mormon. That's all. To help them understand the importance of these two steps we'll have to explain the restoration, ask them to ponder about it, and bear our ONLY saying what they NEED to know to help them take those steps. Anything else is fluff, and they'll forget about it the next day. I've found that taking pauses and reading their facial expressions helps me know what to say. There's no crime or shame in taking two seconds to talk. Jesus, even though He knows everything, would pause just to help people learn. So, if He's taking pauses knowing everything, how often should we take pauses if we're learning together with our investigators?

In another note, this week I'm going to have interviews with my mission president, and I'm hoping to learn a lot from him. I'm still wondering what the Lord wants from me, given that he's put me in two of the roughest areas in the mission for more than half my mission. On top of that, I'm training a companion who I feel completely unqualified to train.... I keep telling myself that God must really trust me ;)

We found a new investigator named Ro**. She has a cousin who was baptized a few weeks ago and now she wants to learn! I'm very optimistic about her. I'm just worried that her family will cause her problems because she's still in her 20's, in school, and depends on them. We'll see.

Our mini Zion area is working out, I think, because all of the old people say hi to us and are nice to us. Hey, that's improvement! Now if we can just baptize them all and make a señors' singles' ward ;)

So, there's the updates this week :) I can't wait to send baptismal pictures, but until then I'm going to have to find someone to baptize.

I love you guys! Thanks for your support, help, and especially your prayers. Have a great week!

Elder Jake Avery

Bold and Valiant Fish (April 13, 2015)

Interview with Presidente  (April 27, 2015)