Hola familia. This mission time-warp thing is getting out of hand.... I feel like this week absolutely flew by, but at the same time, what happened at the beginning of this week seems like it was in another lifetime. It makes my brain hurt sometimes to think about how time passes on the mission.
On Monday for a zone activity we went to Alcatraz! It was pretty cool. They have a self-guided audio tour through the jail and the grounds. It's kind of funny--trips to Alcatraz are approved by the mission, even though it involved breaking all of the rules (riding on a boat, wearing headphones, watching Discovery Channel, etc.). It was fun! I'd recommend it for the family (but after I get home from my mission!).
Thursday morning was zone leader council for us too. Like Elder Croft said, zone leader council is awesome. It's always really interesting to see how the Lord blesses us with different types of inspiration as we discuss the doctrines and principles that we'll apply to our calling as leaders, and then to see how He guides us in adapting those things to different needs. President Meredith is doing us a great favor in teaching us to sit in council like the apostles do, basing ourselves in the doctrines and principles and then applying them according to inspiration and the specific plans we make. We discussed a lot about how we can work better with our members and encourage the missionaries to seek revelation as they do so. Sometimes we get caught up in the to-do list and we forget that this is a revelatory work that we're doing.
We went on two exchanges this week. We're trying to front-load the transfer with exchanges, so that's 2 of 12 done. I love going on exchanges with the sisters. I always learn a lot from them. It's something that's really pushing me though, to offer feedback in a way that's kind and loving, but also addresses the problem directly. I know that's an important thing to learn, but it's definitely not easy!
Our teaching pool is a little crazy right now. Christian, the kid who told us he believes in aliens, was going to come to church but canceled. We had an awesome lesson with Osvaldo, another teenager we're teaching, and were waiting for him at church, but he didn't come either. We were also expecting Leslie, Flor's cousin, but she didn't come either. It was disappointing to not have anyone come, but we feel like this will be an opportunity for us to be able to distinguish where we need to be focusing our teaching, and with whom we should be spending our time.
Sister Osborn and I both spoke in church on Sunday. It was a good experience and I appreciated the opportunity, although it's always super odd to hear my voice speaking Spanish over the microphone. Sister Osborn did a great job. This was actually her first talk in sacrament meeting as a missionary, even though she's near the end of her mission!
This week we learned a great lesson about setting goals. This week we'd set a goal to teach a certain number of lessons. In this mission, and especially in this area, one of our struggles is teaching enough lessons. There are a lot of reasons why it's difficult to teach a lot of lessons every week, but this week we decided we would do absolutely everything we could to reach the standard of excellence that Elder Perry set when he came in March. We set the goal, prayed like crazy, worked like crazy, and last night as we were totaling our lessons, we were shocked to see that we'd somehow reached our goal. The math almost didn't make sense, and we didn't even realize that we'd reached the goal until our district leader said something. It taught me that I need to have more faith to work toward a goal and prayerfully invite the Lord's help as I work. It's something I'll be applying more, for sure!