We had a memorable and very busy week with Elder Corbridge in town for our mission tour. Elder Corbridge arrived on Wednesday afternoon and joined our family for dinner here at the mission home that evening. I was just a little stressed out about what to feed him even more stressed out about the food then the talk I would be giving during our zone conferences. I kept it simple by making beef stroganoff, salad, fruit, rolls and brownies. A no brainer except I almost forgot to boil the noodles. Elder Corbridge is a very warm and friendly and very much like a typical grandpa. He got to know the kids, asking them about the best (being with the missionaries) and hardest (missing family) part of the mission so far. The boys left after dinner for Young Men’s so de spent time with Aaron and I reviewing the mission and any of our concerns. Jessie was anxious to carve her pumpkin into a Jack-o-Lantern so I excused myself while he continued to visit with Aaron about the mission. Jack-o-Lantern was a success in Jessie’s eyes. Score for me.
On Thursday and Friday we held multi zone conferences and had half the mission in each day. The conference included two missionaries that were randomly chosen to speak for 5 minutes on a topic given to all of them prior to Elder Corbridge’s arrival. The topics they had to prepare were, "what do I want/expect for my mission/life", "how do I teach with power", and "how do I work with members". They all did a great job and I just love how good our missionaries are. I then spoke about how we feel the spirit and shared five personal experiences of how it has blessed her life (prayer, blessings, scriptures, music and temple. Aaron focused on the covenant promise of the sacrament and how the Spirit can always be with us as we remember, take upon us, and keep the commandments the Savior has given us. Our topic was well chosen as it tied into everything Elder Corbridge taught for the meeting.
Elder Corbridge is an amazing teacher. His message was on what he describes as the most important thing (Alma 7:7-17). He asked the missionaries why anyone would join the Church these days. What he taught is simple, but really powerful as we teach. It boiled down to the idea that the most important thing is coming unto the Savior, having faith in Him and His Atonement, repenting, being baptized and keeping our covenants, having the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. This is our missionary purpose and the purpose for every calling in the Church. He taught them that as we teach we should help the people see that they need a remission of their sins and that they need to have the power and Spirit of God in their lives. This is the only path to God and if we teach this right it becomes the only intelligent thing to do. The gift we all strive for in the life to come is that of eternal life, the gift we should all strive to have with us in this life is the Holy Ghost. He walked the missionaries through a model (syllogism) that helps people understand the destination (back to God's presence), the route (Doctrine of Christ) and the conclusion (what do I then do to follow the route to get to my destination). Great teacher, awesome to watch him in action.
Aaron organized a multi-stake conference training while he was here and we had five stakes come and participate in our training. He asked me to speak and so I shared some of my experiences of working with the relief society and how working through the ward council blessed the lives of the sisters she was called to serve. My favorite quote from my time in the RS is “we succeed when we invite.” Aaron spoke on how our bishops, ward councils, and missionaries should have a shared vision of bringing others to Christ through the truths of the restored gospel, faith in the Savior and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end (notice a theme here). Elder Corbridge followed that up with an experience a ward council had with the missionaries where they made the decision that they would take ownership for finding so the missionaries could teach every day. Every member of the ward council had an assigned day of the week to fill the teaching schedule of the missionaries. Their efforts included less active, investigators and members and the results were amazing. From 2014-2015 they went from 2 baptisms to 15, 31 to 38% sacrament meeting attendance, and all other key indicators for the ward went up. His point was that if a bishop and a ward take ownership for the missionaries, the work progresses faster than the missionaries can doing the work on their own. This was an awesome story of bringing a ward and the missionaries serving in the ward together for the same purpose of bringing others unto Christ.
Last night we spoke at the adult session of stake conference, another trip to the podium for me to speak. Oh, I have come a long way when it comes to public speaking. I am never excited for it and may grumble a bit because of my inadequacies but I will do it if I have the promise of the spirit with me. Tonight marks Aaron and I’s 27th anniversary of our first date so we decided to speak together. Our assigned topic was how councils, ward and family, bless the lives of individuals. I shared a recent family council we held where we reviewed some of the things we are working on as a family, keeping the Sabbath day holy, family scripture, and our family mission statement. Aaron shared how a ward council had blessed our family as we arrived in Texas . Another great night to teach, we felt like it went very well, and by the time we're done Kim will be able to teach anyone, anywhere. :)
What an exhausting but amazing week at the same time. We couldn't be more blessed to have the experiences we are having. Zac had a cool missionary opportunity this week. One of the kids on his bball team (Noah, African American) asked him about church and the Book of Mormon. Zac and Aaron reviewed how he could introduce it to him and he did that yesterday. He is also going to try to get him to come to church this Sunday. How cool is that! Our kids just stick out and we're grateful that they are having missionary opportunities. Zac is at HS bball tryouts this am, Bode's last football game is Monday and then he tries out for bball the following Monday, Jessie is a 70's disco queen and hoping she gets to trick or treat tonight. The ward held a trunk or treat last night so they already have more candy than they need. We are headed to the Myer’s, a family in the ward, for a “treat before the tricking” meal. Life if good, we are expecting a major rainstorm and hoping we don't have too much flooding throughout the mission today.