you are all in luck because this week I have all the time I want to write :) The last two weeks we have had zone activities and so we have been rushing to even get an hour to write and last week I only had 30 minutes.
This week was really cool. we had a zone conference in which the area president , Elder Johnson, spoke to us. He spent a good 2 hours talking about just the first principle of lesson 1 in chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel, I am a child of God. It was amazing what he showed us about this theme. Sadly I don't have my notes with me, if I did I would say a lot more. It was AMAZING!! After he finished talking about that he moved on to us (the missionaries) working with the members. He taught us exactly what we need to do to be able to work together. He gave us what he called "La regla Elder Johnson" or in English "The Elder Johnson rule". this rule is that whenever we enter a house we must teach at least one principle of chapter 3 of PMG (Preach My Gospel) and the second part is that we must receive one more person to teach before we leave that house. it has been really interesting putting this rule into practice. the day after the zone conference we were talking with the old branch president and just buy asking him for names he started listing off people who were either less active, old investigators or people that he knew. in the end we had about 11 names of people that lived near him. the only problem is that they all live in San Isidro which is in the other half of the branch and therefore not our area (there are 4 elders here, us and another companionship). either way it was really cool to see it put in action.
Later in the night of when we had the zone conference we had another meeting with Elder Johnson. this time it was with all of the ward councils in three stakes (Amalucan, Fuertes and La Paz). there he had us split of into ward councils and each of us then listed names of people that the ward council members knew who were not members or less active. it was amazing how many names were pulled out of that meeting. in just our little branch we had about 35 names and in all the three stakes we had about 1500 names (no I am not exaggerating).
One of the things he said a few times in both meetings is that we are now in a new era of missionary work. we no longer go door to door trying to find people, we work with the members. The world has really changed a lot. the members have now been turned into the finders in the work and the missionaries are just here to teach (we will still contact and find by our own means just that it shouldn't be our main resource to find people).
As for writing you all a letter. I have :) I wrote it a few days ago but haven't been able to send it yet. It will hopefully not take to long or else it won't get to you around Christmas (it is Christmas themed).
Speaking of Christmas... We were allowed to watch the Christmas Devotional last night. it was really cool. it was a nice thing to be able to do on my birthday. It also made me miss home a little. particularly the winter/Christmas atmosphere that is there right now. I really do miss being there with all of you. Of all the things that I miss about home, the people is what I miss the most. Well at least it will only be another 14 and a half months until I get to see you all again in person.
While I am on the subject of seeing you all again we should probably discuss when you want me to skype you. I would think that it would be easiest in the late afternoon or evening when you are at Grandma's and have had time to get hooked up and all. Just tell me when you want me to call and I will do my best to call at that time, but remember that I am 2 hours ahead of you all and I have to be back in the house by 9pm (7pm your time). I hope I get to talk to you all for awhile not just a few minuets. It will also be nice to be able to see all of the family together.
make sure to give a thanks to all the people who wished me a happy birthday. I don't want to miss someone.
as for the area. I told you just about everything when I first got here. It is a pueblo but a relatively big one. the area itself is bigger than my last one. Even with such a big area there still aren't very many members. We seriously have less than 10 families of members in our half of the branch. the good thing about that is that there are plenty of non-members here. as for what makes up the area it is mostly houses (the other half is the "downtown" part of the pueblo). the streets are mostly stone (not really cobble stone but more of a interlocking patio stile, it will be better to show with a picture when I have one).
well I don't really have much more to write so I hope this satisfies your want of a letter from me.
Elder Jason Blanding