In Elder McConkie’s words: “Wow. What a crazy week. In retrospect, there was almost no normal thing about this last week, however there was plenty of growth.” There was a lot of driving back and forth this past week from their area to the mission office and thereabouts. Elder Sirrine, the Zone/District leader was called as Assistant to the President (AP) and Elder McConkie was called to the position of District Leader. (Definitions of these callings are written at the end of this post.)
Thursday evening, we took a trek out to East Hampton. We’d had an investigator who had fallen off the face of the earth (which, by physics, is fairly impossible to do, so we figured she was actually just still in East Hampton). We pulled up to her house unannounced. I was pretty nervous. When we walked up, she invited us in to her backyard. She told us that she’d been avoiding us because she didn’t do her assignments. Well, at least she was honest. We had a little talk and it seems like things might be on the up and up. So far, they are still a little rocky, but at least we have contact again! 🙂
We’ve been teaching this Costa Rican family whom we found a few weeks ago and they are solid. They are SO close to God and are looking for truth. We had our lesson with them yesterday and explained prophets and the principle behind a modern day prophet. All of them (mom, daughter, dad) promised the study the Book of Mormon daily this week. We’re pumped! They understand English SUPER well, but my Spanish does come in handy during these lessons. 🙂
The highlight lesson of the week was with *Paul and *Linda. First, we had a great dinner! So much fun. They fed us some good chicken, salad, and mashed potatoes.
After which, we gave them a lesson. We started out by reading the story of Moses and the bronze serpent. We discussed how simple it was and – because with many bites from poisonous snakes you have very limited time to react – they needed to look fairly quickly to be healed.
We then shared a quote that said roughly, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”
Our entire lesson was pointed to the fact that they needed to act now to know if the church was true or not; they needed to come to church and ponder to know if this is God’s church. Over the next 10 minutes we discussed how going to church at all was good, how we develop a personal relationship with God just by following him. I was prompted to share Moses’ story. We discussed how Moses was called by God personally to lead the people out of bondage. It was mentioned that there must have been plenty of good people among the Israelites, but who was the one that led them out of bondage? The prophet of God.
We discussed how wandering in the wilderness for 40 years must have been no fun, how eating manna for countless days must have been bland. It was then that we said, “There is a Moses on the earth today. His name is Thomas S. Monson and he is the current, living prophet.” I shared how yes, perhaps, our church isn’t the most fun, isn’t the most colorful, etc. However, by partaking of the whole truth, by choosing to follow the prophet of God, we would develop a personal relationship with God we could not develop otherwise. Still somewhat apprehensive, they said they would come to church. I know that there is a prophet on the earth today. I know this prophet is Thomas S. Monson.
I know that our Father in Heaven cares for us so deeply that He is in the details of our lives.
Just today, after Elder Asplund and I discussed how it would be nice to have something like a Magic Bullet to blend fruit up in, a departing missionary gave us exactly that. Recently, I’ve looked over my service clothes (my non-proselyting clothes) and had a glancing thought about how I could use more. This same missionary gave me a whole pile. I thought about how I could use more pants. He gave me another pair of pants. In addition to this, three separate families gave us food this week. We have food in our fridge again!
Truly, these small miracles are obvious examples of God’s care, love, and existence. He is more than just some ethereal something, who is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. No, he is our Heavenly Father. He has a body, something we learn from Genesis 1:27. Christ is our eldest brother, separate from the father physically, but one in purpose. The Holy Spirit is the third member, separate entirely from the other two while one with them in purpose. He witnesses to us of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the love of Heavenly Father. He gives us guidance, comfort, and answers.
I am humbled by the Lord’s trust in me with his responsibility. I will serve him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Love you all!
District Leader: Each area is divided into groups of missionaries. The District Leader is responsible for his group of missionaries (going on training exchanges with other elders—the sisters have their own sister training leaders with whom they go on exchanges–, gathering reports, checking in in the evening, conducting District meetings, etc.)
Zone Leader: Several Districts make up a Zone. The Zone Leader is responsible for his Zone gathering reports from and training/going on exchanges with District Leaders, conducting Zone meetings, etc.;
Assistant to the President: The president of the mission, (presiding priesthood authority) has two Elders who are his assistants for the entire mission. Their time is divided into training Zone leaders and carrying out administrative duties for the President, as well as proselyting.
Here is a great quote from the Preach My Gospel Manual: “Leadership assignments must never be viewed as a way to obtain personal recognition or advancement, but rather as opportunities to serve others, to develop greater love, and to learn (see Ezekiel 33–34; 2 Nephi 26:29–30). Like all callings in the Church, each assignment has its own importance;”