A great week of zone conferences and interviews this week in the Great Texas Houston South. Aaron continued our conference focus on an element of the doctrine of Christ and this conference was on how to more effectively teach repentance. Missionaries can go through the motions of teaching the steps of repentance vs helping the investigator experience the need of a mighty change of heart that can happen when they utilize the Savior’s Atonement to repent. Aaron emphasized to the missionaries that they and their investigators need to understand that repentance is truly turning away from the natural man where we change our minds, our knowledge, our spirit, and even the way we breathe. Repentance simply means to change and turn back to God. Our discussions with the zones also led to the basic principle that we all need to understand, that faith in Jesus Christ enables men and women to repent. Without the faith and hope that the Savior through His atonement will make us clean and whole, the desire to repent will be shallow and short lived. We felt it was important that the missionaries realize that we all are in the process of repentance and that it as a lifetime curriculum.
I taught the importance of using the Book of Mormon and at Aaron’s suggestion I improved the prizes to $5 restaurant gift cards for their role-plays and PMG mastery. My PMG challenge was to help the missionaries the importance of using the Book of Mormon as a tool in conversion. The BOM is the single greatest conversion tool we have in conjunction with the Holy Ghost. When an investigator desires to know what the BOM can do for them by reading and then does, it is amazing what happens to them.
Our zone leaders and sister training leaders taught their zones on the skill of how to begin teaching. They emphasized taking the time to set the right environment (turn of phones or TVs), ask enough questions about an investigators faith, experience, family, etc, state their purpose, help them know how to feel and recognize the Spirit, and set the right expectations. This is an important skill that helps them bring the spirit into their lessons. By doing so it helps them teach the investigator and to their needs instead of a rote lesson which can happen if they forget to utilize how to begin teaching.
We also concentrated on working through members and did an activity where the missionaries had to text, call, or leave a message with as many members as possible in 10 minutes. Their outreach needed to include a friendly greeting, a missionary invitation, and an opportunity for follow up. We challenged them to do 10 member connections every day; if they don’t, the missionaries are out of sight and out of mind of the members. It was a good activity for them, many had great responses back within the day and we are hopeful as the missionaries continue to do so we’ll have more members engaged with us.
The conference ended with Aaron with different activities to help the missionaries understand the need and how to hold crucial conversations. They took a survey that identified their style under stress and it was a lot of fun to see how they responded to both their strengths and weaknesses. Aaron shared with them some of Elder Holland’s talk on the “Tongue of Angels” and it really helped them think about the way they communicate and respond when there is conflict in their companionships. We are always trying to teach lessons that will apply when they are married.
Aaron interview the missionaries after the zone conferences each day and on Friday. He focused on change (something they want to stop doing and something they want to start doing). I helped them focus on more productive ways to use their study time. I also gave them time to ask me questions about anything they wanted to know about president and I, the family, etc. It was very interesting what some of the groups ask.
While we were busy with zone conferences, Jessie had Activity Days camp. Each day they had a devotional, service and an activity. Their service ranged from car washing, giving cookies out to those that served in the temple, collecting food for the local food bank, a lemonade stand that got cancel because of a major downpour. The girls were sad about that. Their activities included learning First-Aid, CPR, yoga and hip hop. The ended the week with a daddy daughter activity of laser tag and lunch at Pepperoni’s. Jessie loved the whole thing! Jessie took a job of weeding the neighbor’s yard for $10 an hour. She and I worked hard for 3 1/2 hours and I’m not sure if her half of the $40 we earned was worth it to her. ;) It was so hot and humid.
Zac has lined up a job doing pest control for a few weeks while he’s in Utah. The boys made it every day to summer training this week however Bode was throwing up on Monday so they came home early. They continue to hang out with Austin and Donavon swimming, jumping on a soapy tramp, making and exploding pop bottle bombs (against my advice) and grabbing fast food when they can. ;)
We had our first tropical storm, Cindy, and fortunately it missed us for the most part. We hope to make it through the summer without a hurricane but weather forecasters say we are due. L This week has been a speeding bullet blur, but amazing as usual.