Monday, August 15, 2011

Branch Status

With Elder Malan
Dear family,
Hey family hows it goin? Well from your letter mom it sounds like you had a very hectic week, but it sounds like every thing turned out good for the activity. One of the things I love about the mission is that I have learned to plan a lot better and actually in the last capacitacion with President he talked a lot about planning, because there are a lot of missionaries who haven't learned to plan yet and he taught us that every plan needs to answer 4 question, who? what? when? and how? 
Well I had a very good week. On Tuesday Elder Malan came to my area and we did divisions. It's funny because Elder Malan is now my zone leader and I am branch president and in Gualipes it was the opposite, I was the zone leader and he was group president so that's kinda funny. Well while we were walking around looking for people to contact a Joven from the branch came up to us and said there was a gringo looking for us who used to be a missionary here. So for the rest of the night we were wondering who it could be, but around like 9:30 while we were talking, the doorbell rang and it was Elder Tisdale, oh wait I mean Dan Tisdale. I don't think that I have ever talked about him, but he finished the mission like 5 months ago. He came to Costa Rica with his family for a week and then they left and he has been by himself for a week just visiting old areas and converts. It was super cool and he spent the night with us, so basically we were up until 1:00 a.m. just talking about everything so that was cool. 
Okay to answer the questions that Dad gives me I think I need to expain better the situation that we are in here in San Vito, because I don't think that I have explained it very well. Basically the branch down here is dying. So like 6 years ago there were tons of faithfull members and there were leaders and everything was going well and there were even plans to build a chapel. Then through a chain of events that involve missionaries and members making idiotic decisions and doing stupid stuff and with a whole lot of gossip, basically everything fell apart. For the past 3-4 years, missionaries have been the branch presidency because the two priesthood holders that are active refuse to take the calling or they can't because of worthiness issues. In the attached list of members, there are like 97 and there are only 9 who come to church every week, and then 10 who come at least once a month. The rest of the members either are not willing to forgive and forget what happened in the past or are just too lazy to come to church or don't want anything to do with the church or us as missionaries . . . so yes, it's super hard down here. 
For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a project for President Galvez and I actually finished it last week. We took the list of members and looked for everything one so that we could find out what their status is and to clean up the list because there are a ton of people who have moved away. Plus for a bunch of the members, we don't have very good address which made it difficult to contact them. Basically what we learned is that we have the possibility of raising the attendence from 15 to 40 if we work hard with the less active members who will accept us in there homes, but its super hard with people not being able to forget the past and being lazy. Right now we don't have branch presidency meeting because I'm the branch president and my companion is the first counselor... so actually we have branch presidency meeting every day at 9 for companion study.. haha! The few members with callings are: 1) one sister teaches the sunday school class for the youth, which is only 4 usually. 2) There is the young womens leader, there are only 2 young women. 3) And there is the Relief Society leader and there only three women. 4) The only Executive Secretary that I have is MLS, which does all that stuff for me, but President Galvez talked to me and said they are going to take the computer our of our building, because apparantly in places were the church is held in regular houses (and not official church buildings) we can't have a computer. This is going to make doing tithing and offerings more challenging. The bad news is that if things don't start to pick up here, they are going to close the branch so thats why President had me do that form about the members to see what members we have and who we can work with.
Well I hope you all have an awesome week I know that I am cause I'm going on divisions with Elder Sirrine to do a baptismal interview. Oh and I hit 21 months in the mission YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm pretty excited if you can't tell. Oh and thanks for that countdown clock. FYI - I was looking at my blog and you put up a picture of a flower with the caption, "A pretty flower". Actually it is a very powerful hallucinogenic plant that people use when they go to clubs and stuff like that. OOPS! Well I love you all and enjoy your last full week of summer HAHAHAHA!!!! Elder Smith