June 23, 2014
The theme of love and charity has apparently carried on throughout the entire missionary world for the past couple weeks, because it was a big topic during our district meeting this week. Elder Holdaway, our district leader, decided to switch things up this past week during our meeting. Generally we do a lot of role plays and critiquing and going over plans and such, but this week, Elder Holdaway assigned each of us to do a five minute training on a particular teaching principle from Preach My Gospel (I was assigned to teach about using scriptures effectively, if you were wondering).
Elder Nielson’s was my favorite, by far. He based everything he was assigned to train on upon the principle of loving the people. In his quiet, Pocatello, Idaho way, he summed it up: you gotta love ’em. You have to love the people, otherwise there’s no point in you teaching them because it’s not honest, genuine, and heartfelt teaching by the Spirit. If you don’t love someone, whether they be a street contact, a family you’re teaching, or a less active member, you’re not going to be able to teach by the Spirit, thus, you’re not going to teach in a way that will bring people to Christ. You’re not teaching the gospel, you’re teaching facts. Not effective at all. Trust me, you learn it the hard way on a mission. You’ve got to love the people.
And it applies to your fellow missionaries too. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about over the past months – there’s this idea that we’re not allowed to be friends with one another here in the mission field. We can be friends with members, friends with investigators, but heaven forbid you be friends with another missionary. I’m thankful to have the friends that I have made here in the mission field, because in all honesty, there are days when all we have are the Lord and each other. We’re definitely a family out here, there’s no other way to put it. I’ve become the biggest champion for being unified and relying on each other in the past several months, because unity in this Church and this Gospel makes all the difference when it comes to the individuals participating, as well as when it comes down to the results at the end of the day. Unity allows us to work harder and more effectively, to stay positive, and to really love life because we’re able to rejoice in the triumphs and mourn the sorrows with one another. No one should ever have to do this work ‘alone.’
To encompass it all, you have to love the Lord and know He loves you. That’s why we’re all out here in the first place. Because we love the Lord. Because we know He’s right beside us every step of the way, no matter what, no matter who. He doesn’t make up the difference between our success and failure, He IS the difference. Knowing that, and learning that, has changed my mission. It’s changed who I am. It’s changed who it is that I want to be. It’s the difference.
I love the quote by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in his General Conference talk entitled “The First Great Commandment,” given in October 2012:
So that’s my spiel for the week. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot and studying a lot about lately. We gotta love ’em.
This morning in my personal study, I started the book of Alma again and found some pretty cool insights. In Alma 1 about becoming an instrument in the hand of the Lord. Being list-maker-me, here’s the steps I found in the chapter that I thought I’d share with ya’ll:
1. Be steadfast: committed to Christ.
2. Be immovable: never wavering.
3. Be faithful: stand fast to what you believe.
4. Be obedient: keep the commandments.
5. Be patient: trust the Lord and His timing.
6. Be diligent: keep working hard.
7. Be useful: use the talents the Lord gave you.
8. Be giving: use your time, means, and talents for the work of the Lord.
9. Be teachable: humility is key.
10. Be Christ-like: live your baptismal covenants and the personal covenants you have made with the Lord.
Boy, do I love the scriptures! They are pretty incredible, and I love spending time in them every day.
This week was busy for all of us Mission Hills missionaries. We kicked off the week by having Family Home Evening in the Park with our ward. It was a sports themed night, so we spent the evening grilling and playing volleyball and soccer. It was cool for the ward to see us in non-pros (i.e. not our proselyting clothes) and to hang out and get to know them in a different setting than church, dinners, or lessons. Sister Flake was so excited to play volleyball for the third time that day, and I was just stoked to play another pick-up game of soccer with the elders.
World cup mania has taken over the mission – we rely on our members to give us the scores, and there’s this huge friendly rivalry going on in our ward. Half are for Brazil, half are for Mexico, and then you’ve got Sister Red who’s depending on Germany to take the cup. We got permission to teach a few of the recent converts I worked with before I left Mission Hills the first time, Emily and Michelle. I got tackled by half the family, and after that, the first thing they told me was the rankings in the cup. It was the cutest thing to hear a play-by-play from Logan (he’s 8) and Alyza (she’s 7).
On Saturday we hosted (okay, we showed up and looked good for) a surprise birthday party for our ward mission leader, Brother Flosi. Let’s just leave it at it’s really hard to surprise an FBI agent and to cram half a ward into someone’s itty-bitty back yard. It was to have more time with the ward and enjoy the famous taco night hosted by a couple in our ward on a weekly basis.
We were able to teach a few lessons this week, which was a miracle as most of the people in our area seem to be on vacation. Or hiding from the missionaries. Either way. It was pretty awesome. We were able to teach Lorraine part of the Restoration, which was pretty incredible. It’s a real blessing to see people learn, perhaps for the first time, that Heavenly Father loves them unconditionally, and that He has a plan for them. It never gets old, teaching the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. I still love it, even 10 months later into my mission.
Today is ASL day in the land of Sister Red and Sister Flake – in order to help me improve my ASL and interpreting, Sister Flake is refusing to speak and to use her hearing aids today. It’s pretty fun, but challenging. Thankfully, we laugh a lot. The miscommunication highlight of the week was top. Elder Magele asked Sister Flake on Monday afternoon if she wanted to pepper, or play volleyball one on one and work on ball control. I totally understood what he was asking, but died laughing at her look. She thought he’d asked if she wanted a pit bull, and he was really confused as to why she didn’t want anything to do with it. Any time Sister Flake looks stressed or worried now, Elder Magele and I just ask her if she wants a pit bull. I love my companion!
Life is crazy here, and I love it. I’m so thankful. And still really pale.
PS – I’m so excited to go to the temple with the English/ASL/Korean missionaries this week!! Pictures next Monday. :)
Photo 1 – It was a long week. Nap yoga is all the rage here in Mission Hills.
Photo 2 – Elder Lee and I have Sister Flake hooked on pancit.
Photo 3 – 101 ways to wear a lava lava.