Monday, April 26, 2010

Be Bold, but not too Bold

Dear Family,

My language skills are progressing significantly. I am much better at expressing my thoughts and have begun to think in Spanish. Because our ward sometimes has talks in English I often find myself translating in my head by trying to think about how I would say what they're saying in Spanish. I have also found it interesting that already my Spanish is beyond the English ability of most of the Native Speakers. This doesn't say a lot, and still means there is a lot of room for improvement, but we find that it helps to bridge the language gap that often exists between generations in Spanish speaking homes.

A good example of this is a lesson we taught last week that involved a mother and her two children. She didn't understand English very well and her children didn't understand Spanish. We took turns summarizing in the different languages. This made for a very long lesson, but allowed mother and child to communicate on a level they don't always get. It also helps because of the presence of the Spirit. It tends to bridge language barriers better than my inadequate Spanish.

Spanish has also yet again gotten me into trouble by being bold. We had our first guy who really wanted to bible bash. It wasn't an effective use of our time, so we tried to wrap it up after the first ten minutes. Needless to say, he didn't want to be done with us. Fortunately, my WONDERFUL Spanish came out in command form this time. I guess I was a little more direct with him than I needed to be. Luckily, I through in a por favor at the end to make it a little bit more polite. I guess I still need to work on being a little more subtle. I'll have to practice passive construction.


Elder Badger

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Week Come and Gone

Dear family,

I am glad to hear that Kate has survived another semester at BYU. I'm glad that you enjoyed mission prep. Many of the things I learned in that class have helped me as I have sought the Spirit in teaching. We had an experience that has demonstrated to me how important the Spirit is in conversion. It really is the third member of our companionship. Miracles happened with the aid of the Spirit. So often people truly hearing the gospel is dependent on them opening up their hearts to the Spirit. Like it says in Alma 32 if they will give the seed of faith a little bit of soil to grow in it can be nurtured by the Spirit and grow into true conversion. The number of parables related to faith, seeds, and the Spirit are great. I now know why Grandpa likes botany.

Much of this weeks experience is contained in a letter I sent home last week. I am very excited to call home on Mother's Day, not because I am homesick, but because I am anxious to tell you about the baptisms we will have had by then. We should have our first baptism on the first of May, two more on eighth, and at least one more on the twenty-second. We are very excited. We have gained more area and are now using a little area along Middlefield referred to as Little Michoacan. When we work in Little Michoacan we feel as if we are in Mexico. All we hear is Spanish. I didn't know places like this existed in the United States.

We are also glad that the weather is finally brightening. This means that Carne Asada season is in full bloom. You can smell the meat grilling everywhere we go. We were amazed that we hadn't had any taco's during my first month in the area. This has changed. the last three nights have been tacos, tacos, and tacos. It's a good thing I like them.

I hope you get that letter very soon. The experiences we had on that day were amazing. I will not forget the miracles we witnessed that day.


Elder Badger

Monday, April 12, 2010

One Transfer Down

Dear Family,

I can't believe it's already been a full transfer. I have been blessed and will stay with Elder Tidwell this next transfer. We even get to keep the same area plus gain a small Latin pocket we affectionately refer to as Little Michocan (a city in Mexico). An added blessing, we get to keep the same apartment. I'm kind of spoiled with an indoor parking space, a view of downtown Redwood City, and granite counter tops. It will be hard adjusting to an Elder's apartment whenever I get transferred. We are a little bummed because our District Leader, Elder Pitcher is getting transferred. I actually knew his cousins, the Snow's from Camp Helaman. His uncle is Dr. Snow in the Olympia Stake. He's Canadian which is forgivable. The Stanford's single ward will miss him.

Speaking of the Stanford's single wards. I've been on a few exchanges with the Elder's that cover the university. I've learned two things from this experience. One, take dating advice from the Stanford Singles First ward, it's a marriage factory. Two, don't take advice from the Stanford Singles Second ward, the twenty-five and up ward. From the second ward I've received advice such as, "Roses are better than dates because their cheaper, easier, and the girls like them better." I'm not sure I will be following this tidbit of wisdom when I begin dating again.

One of my new talents I have developed on my mission is readily switching back and forth from Spanish to English. It's amazing how much we have to do this especially when bridging the communication gap that often exists in Latino families consisting of first and second generation immigrants. We even find our Spanish handy in places like Jack in the Box. It really helps when you want to order a "Yumbo Yack."

I can't believe how fast time has been going by. I have been pleased to hear that Kate is successfully dominating Brigham Young University. I sounds like your hard work has been "vale la pena." Are you flying back or driving? I hope all is well. We have been having a wonderful time here. We have a full functioning area now and hope to harvest this transfer.

Con Amor,

Elder Badger


In my aged state of twenty-one years I have learned many things. The most important of these things is patience. The challenging thing about patience is that it is never fully learned and ironically it takes great patience to learn patience. Through patient learning I have learned that I will never learn perfect patience. It would require perfect patience to do so and thus the paradox is formed. As you can see I thoroughly enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf's talk from priesthood session of General Conference. I wish I had heard it sooner. Yet again, I had to patiently wait to one day hear.

Conference is a wonderful thing as a missionary. It is the only church meeting you can invite and investigator to without having to fear false doctrine. We brought an investigator to the Saturday afternoon session. From this session I learned two things. One, Elder Christopherson prerecords his talks in Spanish and speaks like a native and, second, that if Elder Holland speaks about the Law of Chastity you might as well say amen and consider that principle as taught.

You will also be pleased to note that I have been thoroughly stuffed with cake on my twenty-first birthday. I baked the cake mom sent, had red velvet cake yesterday at a lunch the stake put on for the missionaries between sessions, and then had flan cheesecake last night at a member's home. I am stuffed with cake. As for my birthday, the plan is to explore downtown Redwood City and then play a rousing game of Monopoly with our district leader and his companion. There have been threats circulating for a week that Elder Pitcher has made other missionaries cry as he made them mortgage every property in their possession.

In relation to the work. Last night we taught one of the best first lessons in one of the best situations yet. We committed our investigator and her two children to baptism in the home of a young member family. It was the perfect situation because the family then had her stay for tacos barbacoa (yum). They were able to help resolve many of her concerns because they were converts from the Catholic church and had many of the same concerns. She is excited for her baptism on the 8th of May and began to make quick friends with the member family we introduced them to. Members really are the best missionaries in a ward. We should think of a nonmember family back home that we could invite to do the same.

Thank you for the birthday wishes.


Elder Christopher Badger

A Long Week

Hola familia,

It's been an especially long time since I have talked with you last. This week has yet again been amazing, but especially long because of our delayed preparation day. We were delayed because we were assigned to attend the temple this day. Fortunately, it is only four short days until I write again. In that time we will be blessed to listen to general conference. I'm looking forward to testing my Spanish comprehension skills.

We have been working furiously to prepare people for baptism. We have already had to make the tough decision to drop investigators that aren't willing to keep commitments. I didn't realize how important small commitments such as reading the Book of Mormon can lead to the larger one of Baptism. Fortunately, we still have a good number of investigators that are on track for their baptismal dates.

President Jackson has taught us to commit to baptism every lesson. This sounds harsh, but it really helps us devote our time to the people who are prepared to hear the gospel. Often we find this sifting process saves hours of time that could have been better used with someone who is ready to follow the Savior. This reminds me of something I learned in my New Testament class. The whole time during the Savior's ministry he brought his disciples through a sifting process. When we read about the bread of life sermon we learn that many of his disciples walked with him no more. This commitment process does this. It also helps these people realize that we are here to help them follow there Savior, not to talk about nice ideas and simply teach. The gospel requires action as demonstration of faith. This is the hardest challenge for most of our investigators.

Once again, I love you all. Happy Easter. I look forward to sharing my thoughts about General Conference.

Con Amor,

Elder Badger