Elder Johnson shared a lot of things with us that are really going to help us in this work.we had a conference for all the Spanish speaking missionaries up in Wenatchee. I was great as he answered questions and addressed concerns in relation to working with the Latin American culture. One thing that really stood out is how in the Latin American culture they act more based on feelings than logic. His advice to us was to testify often so they can feel of the spirit and feel that the things we are sharing with them are true. Here are some other random notes from the Spanish conference; Be direct in commitments, Be a good listener, Teach them to look for miracles, Set the example. One other thing that he emphasized is the fact that missionaries are HARVESTERS and not sowers. Our purpose is to find those that are prepared and help them make and keep commitments. His analogy was that of a tomato farmer. The farmer can go in the field and yell/encourage the unripe tomatoes as much as he wants but it will not change the fact that they are not ready. His time is better spent searching for those tomatoes that are ripe and ready to be picked. We as missionaries need to do the same thing. We need to look for those that are prepared and give those that are not more time so they can one day be found prepared and be harvested. It's not hat we should completely ignore those that are not prepared but rather that we should not force them to do something they are not ready to do. He brought our attention to the fact that so many times people a forced and coaxed into making the baptismal covenant when they are not properly prepared. Many times this results in people being baptized into inactivity and as Elder Bednar says "You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost". When they are not prepared it is like baptizing a bag of sand since they do not truly understand its purpose. This whole idea is emphasized in Doctrine and Covenants 4: "4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul". After that conference I can now say I know what that scripture means when it says we are to thrust in our sickle.
Another topic he covered in the Southern Zone conference is how we need to practice receiving answers from the Lord and repenting so we can teach our investigators more effectively about the process. He told us of how it is very important for the youth to learn how to use the atonement and how to repent before the mission. He told us of how many missionaries get to the field and find that they don't know how to repent and how it would be so much better if they learned before hand because it will give them the experience they would be able to share with their investigators.
Sorry most of my email this week is filled with things I learned from conference. I just wanted to share the great insights and I hope you can gain something from what I have shared. I hope all is going well back home. Enjoy the summer break!