On Sunday, we took the boys and Jessie to the Sunday fireside with Kalani Sitake and Ty Detmer for the BYU fanfest. It was held downtown at one of our stake centers. After the fireside, they were able to shake hands and Aaron chatted with Coach Sitake for a while. He is really laid back and very approachable. The boys liked what he had to say and I appreciated Ty Detmer's message as he shared his conversion story and testimony and the blessings of the priesthood. The previous week we had David Archuleta for a fireside that we took Jessie to. She loved hearing his experiences in the gospel and him singing meaningful songs.
The kids have the big STARR tests this week so preparation and some anxiety going on hear. On Monday, we had an investigator Family Home Evening at our house. The two investigators attending were African youth from the Congo and Rwanda. This place really is a foreign land… They two boys are refugees and have been in the states for just less than seven months. Their English skills are a little rough, but we had a fun night with them and it was good for our boys to see how the missionaries try to answer questions about already having been baptized and how to get answers to prayers. Zac and Bode told me when these two young men choose to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints they want to be there. The boys faith and courage made an impression on them.
Zone Conference week........Aaron will again focus on one of the doctrinal elements of the doctrine of Christ. This conference the focus will be on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Aaron kicked of the meeting with the teaching we received from Elder Robbins on how the battle is the Lord’s. This was a timely topic as we have many of our missionaries that get discouraged when they don’t see the success they desire or when things don’t go their way. We know the victory has already been won and little reminders now and then that help the missionaries focus more on what they can do and let the Lord worry about the rest are very helpful. During the interviews, Aaron had many missionaries talked about how this topic had helped them to overcome some of the struggles they have been feeling. It’s always good to see what we teach have an impact in their lives and the more we focus on faith in the Savior the better they do.
The zone and sister training leaders taught their respective zones how to help their members adopt their investigators and they all did a great job. One of the things we have observed is that missionaries are slow to involve the members because they feel like they need to have ownership for the investigators progress. While they do run point, we’re trying to lift their vision on how the members can support and help investigators progress far faster and better when they get more involved. We are using the term “adoption” and we’re asking members to take more ownership in helping investigators keep commitments. So many of our members are willing to help, not necessarily in finding, but in fellow-shipping and teaching. We’ve seen great success from the missionaries that immediately reach out to the ward mission leaders, as they help us determine a member match for those we’re teaching. When members adopt investigators, they become excited about the work, invite them to church, help them progress, and lead them towards the temple. We refer to it as planning for conversion and we’re striving to help the missionaries become better at seeing the big picture.
I taught the missionaries how to make connections and not simply make contacts. We have to do a lot of street contacting and door knocking and often times missionaries go through the motions and don’t make real connections. I utilized the CASH (compliment, ask questions, smile, help) acronym that I used for the new missionary training a few weeks ago to help the missionaries remember that they need to be approachable and sincere when they engage people. When they do this, they can then tie that connection they made to principles of the restoration and have a greater chance for a return appointment that night or the next day. Aaron thinks I have way too much fun in these role-plays. Yes, there is a lot of laughter and fun while I share my message with the missionaries. The last several conferences, I have done PMG challenges where I read a brief statement from PMG and the missionaries have to find it. The first missionary to locate it gets a prize. This time I had them do it as districts. It added a different competiveness twist to our challenge.
The last part of our conference was focused on teaching people and not lessons and to make the point Aaron had the missionaries take a personality profile test. He used the typical amiable, expressive, analytical, driver (green, yellow, blue red) test and provided them with the descriptor of each personality type. They loved finding out more about themselves, their companions, and most importantly I was trying to help them see that they can’t teach without coming to know how the gospel connects to people personally and their needs. It was a good eye opener for them to see that they just can’t roll in and keep teaching the same way each time. This approach will help them stay focused on people and not on pushing a message.
We always end our meetings with the testimonies of our outgoing missionaries and we had some great testimonies these conferences. It is so rewarding to see them talk about how the gospel has changed them and how it has become part of who they are. The elders are all ours now and we are seeing the fruits of our teaching for these last two years. Our greatest hope is they’ll stay faithful and true.
During interviews, Aaron had them share the things they feel like they are doing well and a few of the things they are working on. I shared with them an activity that they could do with their YM/YW or ward to show them how the Book of Mormon is a way that answers their questions. The activity involves using the 15 questions of the soul, role-playing and a challenge to share/give the Book of Mormon to a friend between the Young men, young women and missionaries in a two week time period. I also share ways to think about coming up with new CASH questions and how adopting can happen and help those that struggle to come to church. With these activities, my focus is to help them with one of their key indicators (finding and helping people come to church). Each day as I would come home after 6:30, I was exhausted, but I would then focus on the kids, make dinner and get ready for the next day.
Allie arrived Friday afternoon!!! First stop………Torchy’s Taco. We ended up getting it for the rest of the family and they were grateful that we did! Did I mention our family loves Torchy’s? It’s so good to have us all under the same roof again. We went to the beach on Saturday and had a fantastic time. We loved being in the SUN! It makes us happy. The boys had a get together at the Bird’s house later that day and then Bode went to his first church dance with some of his friends he made on Trek. It was a busy week but a great week.