It was soooo great to skype with you on this past Sunday!!! You're looking really great and sounding great! It's wonderful to see you so happy and energized by what you're doing. Rather than give you a travelogue on this past week it seems like you're interested in more of a dialogue, which will get kick started with questions back and forth to each other. You asked for it!! So here goes...
Thanks Dad I think this is a good idea. I'll try to respond quickly and efficiently.
1) What is your definition of "success" especially as it relates to missionary efforts/work?
Like I said while skyping I think that success isn't defined by numbers rather the by your relationship with God. I love an idea from the coach in Friday Night Lights and how he defines perfection. Perfection isn't reflected by the scoreboard or the number of baptisms that you have, rather by the dedication and love you have for the work. I honestly believe that if you do everything in your power as a missionary to obey, love and serve you will be successful. That's when God will put prepared people in your path.
2) You only have a few months left as a full time missionary, what will you do to ensure that you work hard till the end and 'leave it all on the field'?
I will do my best to not let down on the little things. If you're doing the little things all else will fall into place. I'm not really worried about this though because I LOVE proselyting.
3) What's your favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon? How about other scriptures that you love?
I love the chapters 2 through 4 from Mosiah but also chapters 36 to 38 in Alma or 1st Nefi 8....the tree of life!!. King Benjamin and Alma hijo are two spiritual savages!! But honestly I think it changes every now and then because the whole Book of Mormon is just soo amazing that its hard to choose one favorite chapter. Right now I'm reading Jesus es el Cristo. I have loved studying the New Testament, especially the book of ACTS. Paul is one of my favorite scripture heroes and I just love to read abut the original church of Christ. To read it side to side with the BoM and to read it thinking of the principles of the restored gospel. What about you papa?
4) Has anyone asked you to play the piano in church or do they even have pianos in your current area? How about singing - have you done any more solos? :)
I have never been asked to play the piano. I think I have said this before but Dominicans are tone def and they hate hate hate it when people play the piano. Its really sad because people here have some of the worst voices I've ever heard in my life!! But after 2 years of sac meeting here Ive gotten used to it.
5) How often do families cook for you vs. how much do you cook for yourselves? Do you do all your other domestic chores like cleaning and laundry?
We eat with families maybe 2 or 3 times a week. I usually don't eat breakfast and we usually eat lunch at home. But people like Carmen and Harley will cook for us on occasion. Right now we eat with them every Saturday. Every once in awhile people will make us Cena. Cosas como yuca, mango or espagueti. But its not too often. I usually cook. Yesterday I made rice and eggs. I love rice now. In terms of other cleaning we clean and wash. Our washing machine is nothing more than an oversize weak blender, its such a joke. It just spins water around so our cloths never get REALLY clean.
6) How's your relationship w/ your mission president? Do you get to see him very often? What's his family like?
Pres Castillo is Preach my Gospel. He is super super awesome. I think that right now he is stressed out because as zone leaders we have a monthly meeting with him and the APs and we haven't had the meeting this month yet. I haven't vocally talked to him in over 2 months but I respect him alot. He has 3 kids, but I've never met them. His wife is super quiet and spiritual. Overall I think that they have been really overwhelmed but they're adapting. Keep in mind that he is like 38 years old.
7) What have been the keys to having a good relationship with your companions? I know you've had ups and downs - what are things that make a difference and are within your control?
Love and patience. I have realized that I'm A LOT like mom. Little things get me angry aveces but after about 10 minutes I forget about them. I haven't really had any problems with comps who like to work and obey, by the end of each transfer we become best buddies. I realized that there are many things you can't control about your comps and a lot of times the reason that I get mad has to do with one of my own problems and not theirs.
8) How have you seen the Lord's hand guiding you in your life this past week, month, year?
I feel guided everyday. With Elder Irish this is something we have been studying. Basically we are working on our inspired questions and listening skills to let the Holy Spirit guide. On Monday we were guided to a super awesome guy who wants to give up beer and cigs. We talked to him as a person and just tried to insert gospel principles naturally. We left our lesson and realized that the spirit was strong and felt that we said things that were really put into our mouths to say.
9) Do you know how much we love and admire and appreciate you?
Hahaha this is a trick question!! I love you all sooo sooo much.
DAD thanks for these questions, I won't have time to write home a weekly letter and quite honestly I have nothing else to really say. Abrazos y amor de la República.Elder Blake
I hope so on the last question, because you're awesome and I'm so proud to have you as my son. You're such a joy and a blessing to all of us.
Work hard and stay focused. Do all that you can to suspend the notion of time and just work hard each day and moment!
Love you so much and look forward to your answers and questions back. If you're pressed for time then you can pick one or a couple or a few and we can dialogue over the next few weeks!