Thursday, September 8, 2011

July 29, 2011 - Zone Conference was great!

Hey everybody,
As I was telling Anne, I´m a year through my mission and I have completely run out of creative subject lines and greetings to the family as you can see above. I am telling you this so that you have 0 expectation of creativity from this creatively burnt out elder. I just can´t think of anything.
Anyway, I´m glad to hear Mom that you are enjoying or enjoyed girls camp, I´m sure the girls are as well. I forgot you were there when I sent that little email so I hope you don´t think I was being impatient and ungrateful for the emails I always consistently recieve from you and the family. I was just letting you know because I assume you like hearing from me on Wednesday as opposed to Thursday or Friday. Generally I will email you by Wednesday if it isn´t a weird week (like this one was). President has a new thing where he wants someone in the office at all times so I will be more or less regulary switching my P-day from Tuesday to Wednesday and vice versa every other week. It´s a good change but weird for us due to the fact that we are used to taking Pday together. My Pdays are much more productive now as I´m sure you can imagine. I wrote 6 letters this Wednesday, I was very happy with myself. Anyway it would be best if everybody that has the intention of writing me does it by Tuesday so I can respond when I am in the office and take what is called here as "family time."
The highlight of this week was Zone Conference. I was so happy because the assitants and President addressed what I have basically ranted to you about since the beginning of my mission. There are just so many mission traditions that have no source in Preach My Gospel the scriptures or anything resulting in that the teaching on a general level in the mission is pretty awful. Most the examples used aren´t even doctrinally sound, and missionaries use examples to replace the teaching instead of add to it. This isn´t to criticize, but I have just seen so many investigators left confused, left feeling as if they weren´t understood, or left uninterested because instead of explaining the real doctrine in a simple manner applying to the intelligence and the needs of the investigator, a missionary pulls out a pen and puts in the hand of the investigator telling them it is a prophet. Not that these common examples are always bad, but my good friend Elder Knight from Nicaragua explained that these examples that he heard as he was investigating the church for 4 years (he was a very active Evangelical, playing guitar and piano in this church for basically his whole life) made him feel as if the missionaries were trying to convince him that this was true instead of just teaching and allowing him to feel that it was true. It is really cool to see how the mission department is trying to really teach missionaries what Preach My Gospel is trying to say and get them to really just teach this simply and tell people that we have the truth with conviction. I could obviously improve in all of this, but it was great to see that President really understands how we are really going to connect with some people that maybe wouldn´t instantly see the appeal of the gospel from these rote tradtions that have formed in our (and I´m sure many other) missions.
Anyway now that I´m done ranting (again), the most powerful part of the meeting was definitely the little message that Sister Brough gave about how obediance and faith together give us power and the personal conversion necessary to teach this gospel in a way that will result in lasting conversions. We cannot convert more than we are personally converted. President also gave a powerful testimony of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. He told us that in his opinion Joseph Smith understood better than anyone in this dispensation what Jesus Christ felt like because he knew that he was going to die for this cause, that he was going to leave behind his family and the work that he had sacrificed so much for. He told us about how Hyrum Smith would not abandon his brother even though he was told that he would be killed if he went with Joseph. He willing went to his death because of his loyalty to his brother and a prophet of the Lord. Seeing the testimony that President Brough has was really powerful and was a great motivator to keep working hard.
So that was all great, and the area I feel is improving. We are finding a lot of new people that we hope will rapidly progress. Elder Lydiksen is a great companion that is always willing to improve, I just hope my next companion is the same. I will be letting you know next week what is happening with changes in the office because we will find out Monday to make all the administrative changes. I love you all and I´m trying to do my best out here for you.

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