Hola Familia Nielson,
Brooks I wouldnt worry about all that negative influence around you in basketball, just take it as an opportunity to be an example an lead those guys. I wish I could've been a better example to my teammates off the court. But thats good you got the left hand down and are playing. A lot of the missionaries have regrets becuase they quit some sport before they finished high school, I have a hard time sometimes when people ask me if I played baseball and then I have to tell them that yes I did but then I quit my freshman year. It makes me wonder what I could've done if I had played. So the benefits are great from just making yourself get better and working and not giving up. Who cares if you dont play all the time and your teammates are loadies, just do it and have fun for yourself. Thats kind of how the mission is, you have to entertain yourself because a lot of the time you have a companion that is completely different from you and better than you in your weak areas. You have to suck it up and just continue to work at it and be humble but confident. I have a hard time sometimes when things arent going so good and I just want to say why? why me? But then I think about it and I pray for help and I always get that same answer of "shut up and just do it, dont be a wimp and keep going." So if you dont want to play basketball anymore than thats fine but dont do it just because you dont think youre good enough or you are being put down by the negativity.
We had a great past week and I had a lot of good experiences. We had our Zone Training and trained the missionaries on working with members and planning. It went really well and we got good feedback as to how the meeting went. Then afterwards I got an uplifting experience where Elder Elwood (the Elder who we met in the restaurant before going into the MTC) who's an assistant pulled me aside and gave me a bunch of compliments as to how I am a hard worker and how much he admires me. It helped me to feel like I could handle the future events that we had in the week because we had planned an exhange with one companionship that is really struggling and also talking with one companionship that is struggling with obedience and also getting along.
I went on an exchange in Kutztown PA and taught some menenite people, basically amish, but I was with an Elder who is really struggling and so we had a good time together. But an experience that we had that was really special was we were tracting in this farm land where there were houses scattered around. We were walking on the road through the slush and snow from house to house. We taught one guy and then he told us of the house across the road and how they are from Guatemala and need some help. We went over and the mom (white lady no spanish) was outside smoking. We started talking to her and she wasnt really interested, but then I asked her about her daughter that was handicapped and if we could meet her. She lit up and let us come in to meet her. The girl was Guatemalan and was confined to her bed. She had a hole in her throat to breathe and her body was tiny. She got an infection when she was pregnant at about 20 years old and then it spread to her head and it was a really tragic story. But the step-mom starts talking to her in broken spanish and my ears lit up. I then started talking to this young lady and to see the smile in her face and the joy that we were able to bring into that broken down old house was awesome. I asked the young lady if we could do anything for her and then she mouthed something that we didnt understand. She kept saying the same thing but none of us could understand it. Then I thought she said "oracion" which is prayer, so I asked her if that was what she said and she opened her eyes even bigger and smiled and said yes. So I said the prayer and we were then able to teach the step mom in english a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. It was great to see though how that little prayer opened up this step mom to accept our message and start to ask us questions about our Church and where we meet and when because she has been looking for one. So we set up another appointment and those Elders will be going back this week. But I was really grateful to be able to speak spanish and the feel so happy from being around that young lady.
This is going to be the last week of the transfer and we are going to have a lot of changes in the zone. I dont know what will happen with my companion and I, I'm pretty sure we'll stay the same but you never know. Have a good week you guys and stay warm. hay los vidrios = see you later (only to mexicans) Suavecito por alli = (take it easy)
el amor de fily