When Investigators Don’t Progress

Dearest Friends and Family,

Flechón Missionaries!

Elder Call and Elder Elmer this week.

Well, due to the illness stuff (Elder Elmer was ill), it was a slower week but one that was joyful. Last Saturday, we had interviews with President Bush and I told him, “I know that you do transfers by the Spirit and all, but if I stay here for another change, that’s a-ok for me. I really want to help the branch so it becomes a ward, and Elder Elmer and I are loving it up here…” President laughed and said, “Oh, Elder Call – every week Elder Elmer just tells me, ‘Wow Presy this is the life! I love being with a flechón (missionary slang for a straight-arrow missionary) because then you are both obedient and have the Spirit and life is just so good!”

One bummer is that on Wednesday we went to visit Jeison and Denia and Jeison had finally given in to the temptation and drank coffee. That’s ok; repentance is real and so pushed the baptism a week back. We are going to visit them and their cousins tonight so we’ll see what’s up!
And well, both Elder Elmer and I are struggling a tad to write good letters because the time is disappearing before our eyes…

Finding Investigators Prepared by God; Helping Investigators to Progress

So we invite, and invite, and invite, and love. Inevitably the day will come (perhaps his week or the next), where we’ll lay the ultimatum and say, “What is the end goal for you? Where do you want to go and who do you want to become?”
So Dad asked a question about finding investigators and particularly what we do with people who don’t progress…
So the honest truth is that the people of Honduras all love God and love to listen to His word, so if we want to (and Elder Elmer and I have done it on numerous occasions), we go out, contact someone in their house, ask to them to let us in to share a ‘mensajito’ de Jesucristo, they say yes. Then, once we’re inside, we get to know them a little bit, follow the Spirit to find some needs they have (generally you could just narrow it down to invite them to repent and learn about the Restoration of the Gospel of Christ), and share something little. Invite them to read a little (if they can), for sure to pray about it, and then we put a return appointment. Boom new investigator! 
So if we do that a bunch in one day (which happens when lessons fall), we end up with a ton of news. 10 in one day? Do-able.
What’s nice about this is that you get good and seeing who is in the moment and ready to listen to the Restored Gospel, and if they keep the early, little commitments, then you keep going back and they progress. This is particularly effective when you’re doing this with references from members, which are like baptisms in waiting. The down side of this all, and I recognize it, is that we are very slash and dash. That is, if you don’t progress quickly, we are moving on and looking for the people who really are ready.
Sometimes I read the stories in Preach My Gospel [Editor: the missionary training handbook] about how much some missionaries have to struggle doing service, knocking 1,000 doors, beg for member references, etc, and I think, “Well, the ‘field is white already to harvest.’ If you don’t have people, open your mouth, don’t be afraid, and go get people. They are waiting for you, whether they know it or not.
So then this question – what do you do with investigators who aren’t progressing and don’t really want to, and you can’t drop them? A few ideas:
1. We drop them. Honestly that’s the quickest, most effective reaction in this mission. If they don’t want anything, “That’s fine, here’s our phone number, keep reading, pondering, and praying, and when you’re ready to talk to us again, call us.” And we’re gonzo.
2. We invite them. Thinking about it, we have one lady right now named Marina Navarette who’s super Catholic and cool and she’s reading the Book of Mormon like a maniac, believes it is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, etc. But, despite understanding the doctrine of the Restoration, she doesn’t want to come to church. Hmmmm. Well then. Interesting.
So Elder Elmer and I are trying something new by also teaching the marvelous truths restored by God, aka Plan of Salvation, temples, etc, coupled with invites to church activities and meetings, outings of the youth, etc. Even though inside she’s ‘got it,’ she doesn’t want to go to church or accept a baptismal invite. Hmmmm. So we invite, and invite, and invite, and love. Inevitably the day will come (perhaps his week or the next), where we’ll lay the ultimatum and say, “What is the end goal for you? Where do you want to go and who do you want to become?” If she, knowing the truth, still does not want to repent, well, that’s alright – we’ll keep loving her but we’ll give her some time without visits from us to feel the distance and the difference.
3. We help them identify the difference. Particularly in this change, Elder Elmer and I have focused on not only inviting the Spirit into our lessons, but more importantly identifying it for them. We help them describe the fruits of the Spirit, why they are here, why they are good, and how they can feel them again. Many times we ask;
  • “If you wouldn’t have kept _____ (commitment), what would have you missed out on?”
  • “If you like what you are feeling right now, what are you willing to do to always have it with you?”
  • I think you could flip those very questions for a struggling ‘investigator;’
  • “What do you feel you are missing out on, and what do you think you could do to have it?”
  • “If you don’t like what you are feeling right now, then what will you not do in the future to not have it.

4. We serve them and help them realize their identity as a child of God through sincere repentance.

If there’s one thing I’d share with my sisters, it would be that God, as their Father, loves them and will help them become whoever they need to become. Repenting is good, and joyful. You can study, teach, and live this principle a lot.

At the same time, it is also best to help them feel your love and recognition of their identity as a child of God through service, notes, and prayers. I always need to remember that Elder Elmer, too, is also a representative of Jesus Christ, and therefore I need to see and treat him as such.

So pray for Jeison this week. He’s a good kid and what’s to be a missionary. I’ll send photos :

So, there’s some stuff going on back home, eh?

Andrew Call Mission Predictions

Mission Call predictions for Andrew (complete with Honduran vocab):
  • un lugar bien macizo
  • un lugar bien frio; la gente tomará mucho cafecito bien rico
  • un lugar lejitos de acá
  • hijole ombe será bien consagrado este man
But in English, I’d say:
  • UK por alli
  • Denmark, Sweden (Scandinavia por alli)
  • Japan
  • Maine!
Andrew – I’m super excited for you and know you’re preparing well. Keep up with the sweet classes, hobbies, cute dates, and consecrated preparation.
Well, have a stellar week! Sorry this is bad for stories. I’ll record some for next week!
Elder Call

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