View of Londrina from the Mission Office
Londrina Mission Office, featuring our hard working Assistants: Elders Bower, Sorenson & Allred (left to right)
Getting ready to go bushwacking . . . ok, maybe not
So this week was actually quite good. Arapongas has been a very good city to me regarding low rejection rate, but it’s not really a city known for baptizing. We have gone several weeks with few to no investigators at church, which destroys the possibility of one’s progress towards baptism. But finally we got 4 people to come to church with us, and Elder Schirmer got 6. We are teaching a member’s neighbor, named Adriano, who went to church as a young man (now he is 30) and he has great potential to be baptized this Saturday, which will be a great relief because our mission is on fire right now after over a year of mediocrity. In January, the Londrina mission baptized 105. The highest number I remember was January of last year, which was 78, that being the highest high, since usually we´re in the 50´s. That is bad for a mission with 140 missionaries. The hardest thing about this “mile marker” was not being able to participate in it! I wanted to die, but things are looking up. We also had a guy named Anderson go to church, he is a big black guy who got out of prison recently for a mild crime, but is now humble and seeking God. He´s way cool, and way interested, but he needs to get legally married, which he wants to do. We´ve been working harder than ever these last few weeks to be part of the mission success, and it looks like it’s finally paying off and the Lord is blessing us for our efforts.
Last week I went to Apucarana to do a division with Elder Carvalho, the Zone Leader, and Elder Allred the Assistant, and it was way good. We had a lot of success. They initially brought me there because they thought I didn’t mark any baptismal dates, but then they realized the mission numbers had a typo, and I showed them we had actually marked 7 dates, so they felt nice and dumb, but hey, that’s life.
(Mom's comments: In a letter I received from Derek today, he closed with the following: "And yes, looking back I can honestly say it was the best two years of my life. What I didn't know and understand is that it's not always just joy and fun, but the "bad" experiences are just as much, or I think even more important than the "good" ones.")