New Town, New Responsibilities

[This letter was originally sent by Elder Spencer Call on 03 October 2016….I am posting it now].

Dearest Family and Friends,

I just got off the phone with President Bush; he extended me the assignment to serve as a Zone Leader in Zona Copán in La Entrada, and I accepted. I have mixed feelings…I love this area, the members, local leaders, investigators, people in general, the conveniences of living in a city where lots of things are easily available…but I feel now that it’s time to go. I’ve been able to learn so much, and President Bush told me, ¨Elder Call, we can see that you’ve been able to lift the area incredibly – many baptisms, investigators progressing, increased attendance in church. But now we need you in La Entrada.¨ So it’s time to go.
Here’s the little that I know about Zona Copán:
  • 26 missionaries in the zone
  • The Copán District is SO close to becoming a stake, which would be a huge step forward in Honduras and to getting a temple in San Pedro.
  • The only thing impeding the district from becoming a stake is my area, Rama La Entrada (The Entrance Branch)…the area is a lot of reactivation of priesthood holders and baptizing. I like that a lot!
  • The zone is HUGE. The furthest part from me is Ocotepeque, where Elder Coeto is! But President made it clear that he doesn’t want the zone just spending time in meetings and on buses; we need to take advantage of the fixed things and meetings to do lots of divisions to continue to lift the district. Grandpa and Grandma Call – from your experience in Vanuatu (and in Tahiti), what key ideas or things would you suggest to lift the district? I would love to hear your ideas.
  •  My companion is an Elder Vasquez. Other than that, I don’t know anything about him.
  • Copán! My Indiana Jones adventure will continue in the ruins 🙂
 The happiest news is that Rosa Rodriguez will be baptized here this weekend, and goodness me, we’ve worked hard with her. I would say she is my most converted convert, with Mirna Pineda a close second. She knows the Gospel, and wants so badly to please the Lord. I can’t forget her saying to me, ¨I just don’t want to fail Him again – I’ve failed him so many times, and I don’t want to do that.¨ I’m super stoked to see the photos with Elder Villacis and his new companion!
But as for Puerto Cortés, it’s been an amazing experience, topped off with the conference. Unfortunately this building’s computer is stupid and so I won’t be able send the last 80 photos (and more) that I have to share. Once I get to Copán, I’ll send them all, including with the baptisms. 

La Familia Zalvidar! Elder Spencer Call, Magna, Oscar, Rosa, Elder Villacis

Other news

  • La Familia Zaldivar is getting more active; Oscar is a stud; he’s learning patience and is helping his wife, Magna come back. Rosa still didn’t come to church this weekend; she told me on the phone, ¨I love the tortillas I make; sorry I can’t come today.´ All you can do is invite *sigh*
  • Familia Hernandez Cacho: My goodness they’re super active. I’m so so happy for them; saying goodbye will be super sad
  • Familia Henriquez: Tonight we have FHE with them; that will be a huge cryfest. But I feel good because I know that they’re converted truly to the Lord and they have Nusly Mejia to help them stay active and along the path to the tree.

LDS General Conference

We watched conference this weekend, and I watched the Women´s Session (8AM Saturday replay), Saturday morning, and both Sunday sessions in Spanish. It’s way better in English, personally, and I asked the amazing Relief Society President, Maybelin Mejia, to loan me her iPad for the Saturday afternoon and Priesthood sessions. I liked it a lot more in English, but regardless of the language it was a marvelous, uplifting, and refreshing experience. I particularly was struck by Elder Bednar’s talk on becoming a more consecrated disciple – his four steps inspired me. I downloaded all of the sessions and you can bet I’ll be listening to them all the time!
But to be honest, I was so tired as we came to conference weekend. The last 3 weeks have been exhausting between divisions, baptismal interviews, people dying and me going to all of the hospitals in Puerto to make sure they don’t die (with Elder Ortiz; he’s a master of solving problems), and ministering to our own folks, be it members, recent converts, and investigators. I was ready to rest for the two days and be reinvigorated spiritually with conference.
As I pondered leading up to the conference on what questions I had, I remembered a question from Elder Carlos A. Godoy that he posed in a conference talk a few years ago, ¨Are you living up to receive the fullness of your blessings that you’ve been promised in your patriarchal blessing?¨ The Spirit then gave me the question, ¨What do I need to change so that my family, the people, and I can receive the fullness of the blessings of my service?¨
The biggest answer I got was that I need to maximize my time in the morning more; starting with more effective exercise (we’ll see how that goes in Copán) but especially with ´a serious study of the Book of Mormon.´ I’ve been pressing on well with my goal to finish the Libro de Mormón by Christmas, but as I pondered, I concluded that I could improve the seriousness and intensity of that study to learn about the Savior, His Atonement, and how to be the best disciple possible. That, combined with more effective prayer, will help a lot.

A Priesthood Man

After the Priesthood Session on Saturday, I recalled one of my favorite talks ever from President Eyring entitled, ´A Priesthood Man.´ He said there are three key elements he noticed over the years in his heroes:
1. A Pattern of Prayer
2. A Habit of Service
3. Rock-hard Decision to Be Honest
That’s the big challenge for me in this transfer – to become a Priesthood Man. 
This comes to the big quote for the day, one that guides me daily and I’d say a life-changing moment. In my second interview with President Dester, in response to a question I posed (I don’t remember what I asked), he stated;
¨Elder Call – we bear the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God. Therefore, we must strive to live, love, and serve as He did – always¨ (29 March 2016, Potrerillos, Cortés).
That’s my goal in this transfer cycle – become more obedient, more focused on others, and do my small part in this great work. I honestly shrug when people thank me; I don’t feel I deserve much thanks. All we do is visit as much as we can, walk in the sun, eat with members, study like crazy, and do whatever President Bush, local leaders, and most importantly, what the Spirit instruct or invite us to do. What a beautiful life.
Have a stellar week. Thank you for your prayers, even when I fail. I cannot thank you enough.
Love, Elder Call 

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