As I was loading these pictures, I thought, "Wow these are all favorites." And then I realized that last month's were favorites too. It will probably be like that every departure. It is awesome to serve with so many great souls!!
I saw greatness today. Thirteen minutes is all you get, but those thirteen minutes are priceless. The zone gathers for instructions and training while the President interviews. I do not interview, but I visit with the Elder or Sister who is going to interview with President next.
Today I ask questions about the missionary's scripture study and their acknowledgement of blessings. I shared a quote by Elder Golden, "the battle of missionary work is won before you leave the apartment." I then asked each missionary what they thought that meant. No one looked at me with blank stares. Their experiences have given them insight and understanding.
For me the most interesting part of our visits was the different directions the visits went. I had a general idea I shared with each missionary, and then the Spirit took the conversations to many different paths.
The best part of the experience were the small moments I witnessed. I watched one companionship. As they passed each other, Elder McCl______ reached out and gave his companion Elder Tay_____ a pat of encouragement. It probably lasted only 3 brief seconds, but the effect lingered as I remembered how good it has felt to have others that wanted the best for me. "Love one another as I have loved you." Tears flowed as one missionary asked if I had advice on how to gain more charity. The companionship wasn't an easy one. My heart swelled as missionaries told me of how wonderful their companions were. Another missionary, with tears in his eyes said, "I have learned how much my Heavenly Father loves me." What a priceless gift!
I mostly felt how much the Lord loves these Elders and Sisters. My heart swells as I think of each of them. How great it is to be a fellow servant!
Another amazing realization was how different the conversation pathways went. We started by talking of scriptures and the Lord's blessings, and we ended up on any number of topics. I believe that is because the Spirit directs the conversation based upon the desires of those being interviewed.
For a couple of missionaries that were struggling with being obedient, I had the thought to read from Joseph Smith History about the adversary trying to overpower Joseph Smith before the Father and the Son appeared. I asked why they thought the adversary came. Their response, because he knew how impactful his works would be. I then asked why the adversary would try to over power them. I asked one Elder in particular, who is very charismatic why the adversary would want to neutralize him. As he answered, I watched the Spirit of understanding come upon him and then a determination for obedience cross his face. I know he left more determined. How will he stay that way? By hanging on to the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ... See Helaman 3:29
So what do I say of my days measured in increments of thirteen minutes? I saw greatness!
I love Mission Leadership Conference! Some of the topics we studied were the Doctrine of Christ found in 2 Nephi 31-32. As we discuss topics, and I feel great power and insight from the missionaries. I am amazed what I learn or have reiterated to me. As part of the training we did a role play where you were behind someone that you wanted to meet. Some opening lines where great others not so good. As we discussed the best way to get someone's attention, I was really impressed what Elder Lop______ said. He said that he does not try to trick people or focus on other topics when he meets someone. In a fun way he says, "It's your lucky day because you get to meet the missionaries." "Have you ever wondered what missionaries do?" Another thing I felt I learned from the role play was that you should always be 100% truthful. Because then the Spirit can be there. We had several new zone leaders and Sister Training leaders. They will be great
Our mission has a large number of University and College Campuses. Serving in an area that has so many young adults is a great opportunity and responsibility. When those who are in their decade of decision accept the gospel; more times than not, generations are effected. They handed out every pass along card, pamphlet, magazine and copy of the Book of Mormon they had. One might wonder how effective such a day was? Priceless, because anytime someone who has an abundance of the Spirit interacts with someone else they increase the light in that person because, "Light cleaveth unto light." D&C 88:40; "Man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other." 2Nephi 2:16; and "For by my Spirit will I enlighten them," D&C 76:10.
A week or so ago, President and I received a package in the mail. It was a box of spuds decorated in the most unusual way. The note said they'd decorated potatoes instead of pumpkins in honor of us. I had to laugh. Most missionaries are pretty creative. They figure out how to make the best out of every situation.