English Zone Leader in Indiana!

December 2, 2013

!FELIZ CUMPLEANOS MAMA'!

Hey howdy, hey family!! You are never going to guess what in the world happened at transfer meeting! This last week has been absolutely bonkers and I am tempted to not tell you where I even am because you probably don't know ;P I did write it in the card I sent you though mom, you should get it today if you haven't already gotten it. 

[How is our awesome zone leader?] So, this awesome zone leader is being way stretched but I couldn't be happier or having any more fun than I am right now! 

The announcement for this week is that I am actually in a trio, I have the awesomest companions in the world, I am in Anderson, INDIANA (a town that went from 26 factories to 0), and the biggest part of this is that this is NOT a Spanish area... Looks like the Lord decided I needed to go English for the time being at least! Crazy right? But it is so much fun! 

My senior zone leader is Elder Hansen who was actually my zone leader when I was back in Fairfield, Ohio serving in the Miami River branch. I looked up to him so much and I still do, he is just an All-Star missionary! You can imagine the shock and excitement that I went through when they called our names at transfer meeting. To add to that, God gave us another junior companion, Elder Stoddard from good 'ol St Anthony, Idaho! I had heard so many good things about him from Elder Burt and Elder Tanner that I just got even more pumped. This transfer is just going to be too good!

Elder Hansen is the master planner and serious teacher and he can talk to anybody and he can sing very well. I don't really see a chink in his armor at all! 

Elder Stoddard is a stud at knocking doors and being relaxed. He just got transferred from serving on the University of Cincinnati's campus and he is a pro. I actually will go home with Elder Stoddard which is another fun fact. 

We are just seeing great things here. Last night we went on temporary splits with some priests and we just had a great afternoon! We had a priest, Nate, with us and he was just a huge help to us. He introduced us to his friend who didn't come to church that day and we had a great visit with him and his non-member step-mom. She is going to make us homemade pizza haha!

Also I had an awesome experience with a man named Austin yesterday who is a friend of a recent convert who rocks. He didn't know how to pray, and after a great spirit filled lesson, he prayed for, from what I can tell, his first time. The spirit was thick enough to grab! He said he felt so much weight lifted and he couldn't stop smiling. So awesome! A huge part of the lesson was those patterns of light videos from mormon.org with Elder Bednar. Those things rock!   



Another funny story, we showed up to a house in time to see a teenager lock his keys in the car. Well naturally the mom of the family he was visiting was wary of what we were up to as missionaries so she was discreetly trying to shoo us away. Long story very short, she came out, we helped her break into the car, we joked, we asked them for 5 minutes [of their time], we taught her family inside, and they all became new investigators. She kept calling Elder Stoddard her partner in crime, it was hilarious. I just really dig it out here! I can't even tell you how much I am learning from these two stellar missionaries.

[What did you do on Thanksgiving?] On Thanksgiving we ate with the Stafford family. Her son actually came up with his family from Hamilton, Ohio and I knew them because they shared the building with the Miami River Branch. And I had been to their house. Elder Hansen actually served in their ward and knew them as well.

It was actually a surprise to the mom to have us over because she has two sons on missions right now. So we walk in, this lady starts crying, I am thinking "oh crud" it's never a good sign when someone starts crying when you walk in the door haha, but it was a cool moment. Grandma just wanted her daughter-in-law to have the missionaries with them for Thanksgiving.

We did have your dinner you sent me before I got transferred so we could have one last family dinner in EastCherry. I had my first Monster energy drink there because it was the joke all transfer, I would never drink one. So Elder Tanner bought us all one for the last night including a special one for me, so I ended up drinking it. It was way good haha. So what did you all end up doing for Thanksgiving?

[Tell us about your new companions.] So Elder Hansen is on his last two transfers now, and his family moved up to Pocatello while he was out here. He is seriously one of the best missionaries in the mission and he is so sharp! He is way into theater and sports and can sing really well. I love him!
Elder Hansen, Elder Fivas, Elder Stoddard

Elder Stoddard is just cool and relaxed. He has no problem talking to people and is just the epitome of chill and fun. We are all pretty similar and we get along super well and our teaching styles are starting to gel very nicely. Actually in the Taco Bell he started singing with the radio, "Everybody Wang Chung tonight!!" haha. We started talking about how our dads always sing that. Then "funky cole medina" came on next and we just laughed even more! Haha love you dad.

[Tell us about your new living arrangements.] We live in a tiny duplex that has had missionaries in it forever, but I guess that is par for the old Indiana mission. It's cool to have a basement for storage but Elder Stoddard hardly has room for the mattress he sleeps on because [the room] is so small :P And there is no dishwasher! (She quit last June) hahahaha that was for dad as well. 

[What are the responsibilities of a zone leader?] OK, so the zone leaders for the most part are the elite Elders. They are the role models for the rest of the missionaries around them. The thing is that all of the experienced zone leaders are leaving this transfer and the next so President has to pull up young bloods and train them so we have a clue after the missionaries who know what the heck they are doing leave. It's a scramble but we are up to the task. President Porter put it like this: "The zone leaders are the back bone of a mission. They are the ones who are experienced and who know how to get it done and have high numbers in a week." So it's our job to motivate the others and train them how to do smart missionary work. It's daunting because I am still so young and I am supposed to be the model of success, but I am up to it, especially with these stud companions. We report the numbers and analyze them to see what the zone and the mission needs training on. 

[How many districts are in your zone?, how many zones in your mission?] So there are two districts in my zone, and 8 companionships. There are 12 zones in the mission :) I get to go to leadership council tomorrow for the first time!

Ok ma, I hope that was a long enough letter for ya :P I sure love you and wish you a very happy birthday! I will try to send pictures but I have to use a companion's computer. If not, til next time!

Con amor,
Elder Fivas