I want to know Christ.

 far-rockaway-sunrise    So this last week was CRAZY. My goodness. So awesome! I started off the week with a trip to Manhattan for the temple. And then we had Zone Conference on Friday. And then Elder Holland was in the area and asked our mission president if he could have a meeting with all the missionaries. 🙂 Finally, I was called as the Branch Clerk for the Rockaway Branch. 🙂

October 12, 2016

     The temple experience was incredible. So beautiful, so comforting, and it provided the guidance I needed. 

     Today I was on exchanges with Elder Stoker. Cool story, as we clean up AreaBook, we’ve prayed that if we are supposed to teach people, that we will catch them on the first phone call, and if they don’t answer, the first visit. We simply don’t have time to visit them all over and over–we are attempting to clean our AreaBook and it is just so messy! Anyways, we went to look up one of these people, and as we walked away from the house, she pulled up and we got an appointment. THEN someone called us over from our car and asked us about our religion. We shared a Book of Mormon with him and a little bit about our message. It was awesome! 

     This evening, Elder Stoker and I were walking to an appointment, when some Black guy was blaring gospel music out of his car. I started dancing quick enthusiastically and that guy called out “That’s how you do it!!” Haha! I waved back at him and just laughed! So much fun!

    Our final appointment was a referral from the Sisters. He is a middle aged Haitian man. After we explained the Book of Mormon and prophets, he said he full-heartedly believed. In fact, he said that he had a radio show and tv show and was going to share some words from the Book of Mormon, as well as mention us on there. The word is gunna be spread! Basically, he is prepared by the Lord. As we left, he made the comment that in the past 22 years of going to church, that the past 40 minutes were more spiritual satisfying than all of that. I am so humbled by the Lord’s trust!! I hope I can continue to have His trust.

     We have realized that the Lord gave us Peter, who may very well be the such a help to some other recent converts and non-members. There are a couple of other recent converts who have so much in common with some of our investigators. We hope they can be the key!! That would be 4 or 5 strong Priesthood holders right there!! Which our branch so desperately needs!

     I love this work! I am so grateful to the Lord! Let’s keep working hard! I’ll press forward with faith. In name of Jesus Christ, amen.

October 14, 2016

     Today was a great day!

     We had Zone Training Meeting. It went over by about 2.5 hours. Haha! The Zone Leaders were stressed out! The Sister Training Leaders were both assigned 10 minute workshops. And they both gave 45 minute workshops. Haha!! That said, they were both pretty incredible and definitely inspired were what we all needed to hear. Afterwards, we had an incredible break out session where our Zone Leaders went over some new guidelines for planning we have received. The guidelines are super inspired, however I haven’t been sure how to apply them, so the break out session was super good.

     Afterwards, we went over to an investigator’s apartment again with Brother Thompson. And oh boy! Brother Thompson is perfect for him. 

October 15, 2016

Notes from meeting with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

     I shook Elder Holland’s hand today. As I prepared to shake his hand, I was overcome with the Spirit as I realized that he knows Christ. He knows my eldest brother. As I realized this, I realized just how much I want to know Him as he does. I felt what it is like to be in the presence of our Savior–the desire to serve; the desire to humbly follow and submit my will. 

     During the musical number by a few missionaries, “I Know the My Redeemer Lives,” I watched Elder Holland just looked into Heaven, eyes full of emotion and absolute gratitude and praise. That’s what I want. My thought during this was an answer that I’ve been searching for. I desire to truly understand this work. I desire to no longer sleep, but to awake, give all, and move forward with the Light of Christ, directed by His Spirit.

This incredible feeling is what I desire to have all the time. As well, I desire the understanding that comes with it. I’m not here to just “share a message of Christ” (my typical response), I am here to teach about, to testify of, to share the message of the restored gospel, of a living prophet.

Elder Holland’s son

  • Embrace the Restoration of the Gospel and its message as much I embrace my testimony of Christ. If I share the Book of Mormon with that same love, I will have that same authority and power that the missionaries of old had.

Elder Holland

  • “It’s not about you. It’s not about you.” There are personal blessings that come from this mission, but it’s also about the 14 year old boy who said a prayer and what came of that. 
  • A mission is a sacred trust. As a missionary, I have a sacred trust.
  • Returning to real life is not a thing. This is as close to Real Life as I will get.
  • I can NEVER, EVER return to what I was before. However good I was before, I was not a return missionary.
  • When I testify, especially when I return home, of my mission or as a missionary, don’t tell dumb stories. Elder Holland says he wants to see Captain Moroni standing there, testifying of what their mission mattered to them, testifying of the truthfulness of the divine message I shared.
  • To evaluate, ask “What would the world/church be like if every missionary were like me?”
  • The Book of Mormon is the greatest missionary tool. It is God’s greatest gift to missionary work. It not only contains the fullness of the gospel, it has a Spirit itself.
  • Elder Holland never had a significant conversion experience on his mission with investigators–and he had many–with someone who was not studying the Book of Mormon. 

     After our meeting with Elder Holland, President Glass–the stake president for the area I am serving in–pulled me aside (he was at the meeting) and called me to be the Branch Clerk for the Rockaway Branch. He set me apart and had me train a little bit with his clerks. Then, I spent 3 hours with our new Branch President, his 2nd counselor, and the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency doing tithing and fast offerings for our Branch.

     By the time we finished, I realized how big of a responsibility this is going to be. Our Branch President is 28 and going through school while he holds a full time job. His wife is about to have their first kid within a couple months, too. The Stake President asked me to help him out however I can. I guess it really is true that there is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone.

     Actually, I got a little irritated with the 1st counselor to the Stake President. While he was training our Branch President and 2nd counselor on tithing, he turns to me and says, “The clerk’s office needs to be cleaned and reorganized. You’re not doing anything this week? Good. Will you come in and organize it?”

     I’m happy to do what will help our leaders do the work here in the area, and I feel it is totally in line to ask me to help with this, considering the request of the Stake President (fyi, President Reynolds is totally aware and agreed). However, I got a little frustrated when the counselor assumed I wasn’t doing anything. I shouldn’t be bugged, though. He wasn’t trying to be offensive, and his request was totally appropriate. I told him we would arrange to come over after studies this week to reorganize and clean. All that said, I am super excited to help out! I am humbled by this calling.

teaching-army-guys

“Taught some guys from the Army. They LOVED the message and were pumped to read the Book of Mormon.”

     As well, we have been talking about how we want to clean up our Less-Active list. There are so many that are on that list that aren’t here anymore and many who live in the area, but we don’t have their records, and now the Lord has blessed us with a greater ability to do this work. (Of course I talked to our Branch President about this and I know I have to get approval and be communicating before I do anything.) 

     After this, we headed to give sacrament for a sister in our branch who is in a Senior Care Center. She took a nasty fall this week and severely bruised the side of her face, though she has a good attitude about it. However, after sharing concerns she was having, she asked us for a priesthood blessing, in addition to giving her the sacrament. Elder Johnson did the anointing and I did the blessing. As I listened for what the Spirit would have me say during the blessing, I felt a prompting to comment on how her journey here on earth was coming to a close. I was TERRIFIED to say ANYTHING like that. I mean, telling someone they are going to die isn’t fun business. However, I listened and timidly spoke the words I was given. When the blessing was finished, she told us that what we had told her had been the topic of her thoughts recently. She even remarked that she was considering the idea that her life here was coming to a close.

     Before we left, she asked us, “What is the place like after this?” In the blessing it had been mentioned that she was moving on to a wonderful place where she would share the gospel with those who had also passed on. We shared a short message on the Spirit World and what was going on there. I am so grateful for the blessing of knowing the Plan of Salvation! No matter whom we teach, when we teach the Spirit World, everyone seems to have a lightbulb moment. When we explain that in the Spirit World, the Lord gives those that didn’t have a chance to hear His Gospel or accept it in its entirety an opportunity to hear His word and accept it for themselves, they realize how much sense this makes. God loves us! He is our Heavenly Father! He desires to give every single one of His children a chance to learn all He has for them. And He does this by sending missionaries, both here on earth and in the Spirit World. I love that!

parallel-parking

“I’ve gotten so good at parallel parking. Backed right in. also, I’m pretty humble. :)”

     Such a crazy week! We are getting better and better at planning! Our District is growing and reaching. I am learning a whole TON about leadership. My word, I am beginning to see why Christlike leadership requires so much charity and selflessness. Haha! I have so far to go before I have either of those, but I’m working hard! I’m more appreciative of the incredible leaders I’ve had. Seriously. 

Hope y’all had a great week! 

Elder McConkie

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