I received an interesting call from Allie girl today. She was so happy…loopy kind of happy. Apparently she was in a lot of pain during the night from getting her wisdom teeth out so she took the pain medications when she woke up in the morning. Notice I wrote medication(s). She misunderstood that she take one or the other not both. Even then I think because of her size a half would have been sufficient. Basically she was in no condition to be at school. So grateful for family at home that could pick her up at school and care for her until the medicines wore off. She was back to her non-loopy self by Tuesday morning. ;)
In preparation for zone conferences that took place this week, I picked up snacks from Costco. Our mission secretary that usually does that has been out sick for almost two weeks. We have also noticed a lot of sickness going around among our missionaries. I have encouraged them to get a flu shot although I am seeing colds and sinus infections too. I also prepared my message that I will be sharing with the sisters during the breakout with them. My goal is for them to understand their divine potential and power they have been blessed with and how it can help them on their missions, with their families back home but mostly help them to love themselves unconditionally because their Heavenly Father loves them that way. I also prepared the kids for zone conferences because Bode had to walk Jessie to school on his way to school. This meant they had to wake up earlier than they are used to and that Jessie’s hair and lunch were prepared the night before. Bode had basketball tryouts this week after school Monday – Wednesday.
Zac did make the high school team and will start for the freshman team. He'll either play point or shooting guard and he's excited for the opportunity to play. We look forward to seeing what kind of talent there is in the area when we can catch a few games. Bode found out after tryouts on Wednesday that he made the Jr. High team and will be starting guard for the 7th grade team. Bode made another friend on Friday. His name is Juanes and he's from Ecuador. Bode is also having good experiences teaching some standards to some of his friends. Most if not all take the Lord's name in vain on a regular basis. Some of Bode's friends say it quite often and so he asked them if they believed in the commandments. They said yes and he boldly told them they were breaking one. :) At first they were like no we aren’t and then he explained how they were. They tried to blow it off saying they were only joking. His reply was it’s not a joke so stop. He surprises me with his frankness. I love it!
I am not going to lie zone conferences are exhausting. You experience a little Groundhog Day repetition. You go to the first zone and then the next and do the same thing again but for four days in a row. Another reason for the exhaustion is that we take the conferences on the road so we can minimize travel for the missionaries and have ward/stake members participate where possible. The conferences are needed and do make a difference. It amazes me that we teach the same basic principles but with a little different approach from the time before however the different approach clicks for some, where it didn’t before. Goes to show the importance of varying our teaching styles to the varying learning styles.
Our first topic for the day was "Submitting our Will to The Father". Elder Holland spoke on this topic at the mission president seminar and it provided a great launch point for us to discuss obedience and just doing what we're supposed to do. He taught that agency is a disaster when it's used incorrectly and that the only real gift we can give God is our hearts and minds. For the most part our missionaries are obedient but we like to teach that obedience brings blessings and exact obedience brings miracles.
Aaron had each stake presidents to take a half hour with the missionaries assigned to their zones. This was a very helpful for the missionaries so they could see that we are indeed working together and focused on the same priorities. Aaron followed up afterward to discuss the importance of working with members and how to think differently about how they are engaged with their wards, ward councils, members, and bishops. We are hopeful that we'll see a big turn around on this topic as it is the only way we'll see more convert baptisms.
Another topic discussed at zone conference was teaching people, not lessons. Often times the missionaries investigator hasn't kept his commitments from the first lesson, but instead of helping them and teaching them a lesson that will help them keep commitments, the missionaries race to the next lesson. In many ways it's like saying, its no problem that you didn't do anything, but let me now give you the next lesson with the hope that you'll feel the spirit and keep the commitments this time around. We have missionaries that will teach all five lessons without getting the investigator to do anything on their end. The path to conversion is commitments, commandments, and covenants and if they don’t take the first step they'll never get to baptism. It was an eye opener for many of our missionaries; we have a tendency to teach lessons not people. This is another one of those topics that we'll continually teach so that it will click for some each time.
I then met with the sisters after lunch. Meeting with the sister separately was one of my favorite parts of zone conference. I love being with the sisters and connecting with them on a personal level. My other favorite part was when the new Christmas initiative, "A Savior is Born" was introduced. The message is simple but powerful that it truly brings the spirit of Christ to the Christmas season. This will be great opportunity for the missionaries to use the many tools the Church has available to help people discover why we need a Savior in our lives.