All is good in the hood. This week has been a little tougher than the last couple, but that's alright. Not every day of life is our best. My week went as follows
Tuesday was alright, the West Indies district left and they all signed my journals. The zone leaders handed down the zone leader ties, one to the tall zone leader and one to the short zone leader. It has like 30 names on it, so it's pretty sweet. We also received the robe of righteousness, which is basically just a bed sheet. They were really awesome and I'm definitely missing them, but it was time for them to get out and go preach in their very sweaty corner of the vineyard. We had a devotional by Elder Matsen (a retired 70), but I sadly didn't pay a ton of attention to it.
Wednesday was possibly the worst day I've had so far. It started out early and I just felt so tired and miserable I thought i was going to die. I tried to keep a good attitude and stay awake, but I just kept dozing off in class. I really want to kick the bad habit of complaining all the time, but Wednesday I definitely failed at that. To top it off I just felt really sick (the sickness of which a lingering runny nose and nasty cough is still persisting). I didn't really get too much out of our first classroom instruction, but the second one we learned about gospel principles. I love gospel principles, but I just couldn't concentrate. Before the class started a teacher named sœur Pace came in and told me I was going to teach an "investigator" named Ester (which really just meant we were going to role play). We had a substitute named frére Myers for that class and sœur pace came in to help us before we went "tracting" (which was basically just knocking on a door and trying to get frére Myers to let us in). I was talking to my companion and we disagreed about the baptismal invitation. Sœur Pace came over and told me I was wrong and I just felt so upset. We went tracting and I didn't do amazing, we used the baptismal invitation and it went over fine, but I just felt a little upset. Before I went to bed I wrote in my journal "I guess I'm going to have a long prayer tonight. I guess I just need to work a little bit harder and maybe it'll go better" and trust me when I say that it was a very LONG prayer.
Thursday I had my lesson with Ester, and it went AMAZING! I understood everything she said and at the end I gave her the baptismal invitation. She said no because she was already baptized. I was pretty confused about it, but I asked her to go to church on Sunday (It's funny because we have to ask them after Sunday if they went to church) and I asked if we could meet again. We scheduled for Saturday. As soon as I walked out of that class I learned how to teach. It was the first time aside from French lessons that I really felt like I learned how to preach the gospel. I found out that to explain to someone that had already been baptized you should teach the restoration. Everything just seemed to click into place. We also had TRC which I also did amazing! It really was a day of confidence boosting and I just felt really happy.
Friday was pretty routine, We worked on keeping lessons simple, which actually really helped me. The weird thing about Friday was that I actually started paying attention to how to teach. Before I would kind of zone out and mostly concentrate on learning French, but I'm starting to realize that I NEED to learn how to teach! Other than that though, it was a blah day.
Saturday we did service and i had to clean bathrooms. Don't get me wrong, I've cleaned plenty of bathrooms and I was happy I got to move around and work rather than sitting in a classroom (farmwork messes up your brain I guess), but I really hate bathrooms. I just had to focus on doing work for the lord rather than cleaning nasty bathrooms. I taught Ester on the restoration, and it was amazing. Up until this point I had felt so discouraged about learning French. It's been pretty tough for me especially since everyone else in the intermediate class is so good at it. I really saw how much hard work pays off in this lesson though. Ester understood most of what I said and afterwards sœur pace complimented me on how well I taught (which is saying something because sœur Pace is kind of mean). It's weird, I'm really starting to like sœur Pace because of how rapidly my teaching is improving when just three days before I really did not like the lady at all. I have another lesson today so let's see how it goes!
Sunday was another day of parting. The Montreal missionaries left for their mission and the only person that had ties to South Carolina went too. It was just some kid who had gone to the college of Charleston for a year named Elder Flitton. I don't know why, but I just felt like he was one of my last ties home. I'm not homesick or anything, but it's just a little bit sad when Elders part ways on a mission. Elder Fierro, and Elder Bybee were awesome too and it just feels kind of strange to know that some of these people you became best friends with in 3 weeks you might never see again. Other than that my obedience paid off. The whole day I had just been talking about pie. It's crazy how you can miss something soooo simple, but I just talked about pie all day. Finally, at the end of the day, I planned hard for my lesson today and when I walked out of the classroom to go to the residence at 9:30, The lord poured down blessings in the form of delicious apple pie. Sœur Dick (the old sister training leader who was leaving tomorrow) had been sent pie for her last day in the MTC. HAHAH, as childish and as silly as it sounds, I don't think I've ever had a spiritual experience where the Lord testified to me so clearly that I was doing the right thing. It really made me love being here. We had a devotional by the MTC administrative director that was really awesome and afterwards we watched "only a stone cutter" and in those short fifteen minutes I realized what my spiritual stuff for this week was going to be.
So, what did I think of my whole 24 hours of trials? Now that I think back I think how silly I was to get so upset about such simple things, but yesterday I also wrote this. My whole life I've been cruising on good luck, and natural intelligence. I do better spontaneously than a lot of people do by planning and working hard. I've always thought, play to your strengths and you'll do fine. It's funny, because when brother Miner (the second councilor in my bishopric) asked me what my favorite scripture so he could put it on my plaque was I did what I do best. I didn't answer him until the last minute. Finally he found me in the church hallway the Sunday before I left and asked again. All I could think was that I had been flipping through Ether with the missionaries a couple days ago when I had driven them to a lesson. I flipped through a couple pages in Ether and found a scripture. Like I said before, I play to my strengths because that's what I'm good at, that how I've done things my whole life. I gave brother Miner a scripture that I literally had never read in my entire life. Ether 12:27. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness that they may be humble: and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I learned this week that missionary work cannot and will not ever be what we want it to be. Missionary work is not spontaneous or impulsive, Missionary work is careful planning, missionary work is prayer and faithful study, missionary work is everything I've been weak at my entire life. And yet I am a missionary. I will change, I will work, and I will make what was once weak strong. Have a great week everybody
With Love from your missionary,
Elder Michael Beneamato Bruno